Tales from Lansing
McBroom votes down "carveout" for feminine hygiene products, Markkanen asks for the resignation of official on the job for less than 1 year, votes to shoot down local Airbnb zoning
This update is compiled from official records held at legislature.michigan.gov.
Sponsored bills introduced
Senator Ed McBroom introduced Senate Bill 681, to rename the M-69 bridge over the Paint River to the “Clark Schwedler Memorial Bridge”. No vote has occurred.
Clark Schwedler grew up in Crystal Falls and was a U.S. Navy Seal. He died in Iraq in April of 2007.
Sen. McBroom also introduced Senate Bill 682 in October. The bill would create the Office of Rural Development within the existing Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The bill assigns duties to the office including work to identify opportunities for rural businesses, analyze energy and infrastructure issues, assist with grant applications, and more. No vote has occurred.
Sen. McBroom also cosponsored Senate Bill 703, an appropriations bill for northern Michigan recreation and state parks. It would dedicate $310 million to the Department of Natural Resources, $250 million to address deferred maintenance on infrastructure in state parks, $30 million for Mackinac Island State Park, and $30 million for the Northern Michigan Regional Tourism and Sports Fund.
Votes of note
Editor’s note: This is not an exhaustive list of votes. Unanimous votes, party-line votes, and routine bill packages are generally not included as they are typically covered by other media sources. The intent is to spotlight votes our local legislators have made that might be unexpected or otherwise unnoticed. If you’d like a more complete record of your representatives’ votes, I recommend MichiganVotes.org, which has a fairly up-to-date and easily searchable summary. Ballotpedia.org also has some good information.
Sen. McBroom was one of two Republican senators that voted against House Bill 4485 when it came up before them. The bill would extend the sunset on a 50 cent cap on the tobacco tax placed on cigars. Four Democrats also voted against the bill, but it still passed.
Sen. McBroom was one of two senators who voted against exempting feminine hygiene products from use tax with Senate Bill 153 and House Bill 5267. Sen. McBroom said that carveouts in the property tax laws had and were again causing problems, and starting to make similar carveouts in the sales tax portion “undermines the broadness and the scope of the sales tax”. He said he could only support such a change if it were in the context of a broader discussion and overhaul of the tax law.
He was joined by Senator Lana Theis, who said parents were more concerned about children being forced to wear masks in schools than taxes on feminine hygiene products.
Sponsored bills introduced
Representative Greg Markkanen introduced House Bill 5365, which modifies the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to work with House Bill 5367, which HB 5365 is tie-barred with.
House Bill 5367, proposed by Representative Beau LaFave, essentially repeals the requirement to get a special license to carry a weapon in public spaces by gutting the law of the definition for “acceptable proof”, among other things.
Rep. Markkanen also introduced House Bill 5450 in October. The bill would reduce sentencing guidelines for defendants who have been honorably discharged from the military or completed a term with the AmeriCorps or Peace Corps or another community service (including employment). No vote has occurred on the bill.
Votes of note
Rep. Markkanen was one of several Republican representatives to vote in favor of House Bill 5043, which directs the Department of Education to establish a home-based family child care network. The network would offer participants coaching, professional development, and other operational supports. It was passed by the House and is currently in the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors, and Veterans, under chairperson John Bizon.
Rep. Markkanen was among the majority who voted for House Bill 5003, which increases fees on surface discharge permits. Fourteen other Republicans split from their party to vote against the measure. The bill was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Oct. 19.
Rep. Markkanen voted in favor of House Resolution 175, which calls for the resignation of Acting Director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency Liza Estlund Olson because of (in short) mismanagement. Olson was appointed by Gov. Whitmer on Nov. 5, 2020.
In a mixed vote, Rep. Markkanen joined with several other Republicans and Democrats to pass licensure mandates and a $75/per charger fee on paid electric vehicle charging service stations in House Bill 4801.
In a mixed vote, Rep. Markkanen voted in favor of House Bill 4722, which would keep local governments from enforcing zoning restrictions on “Airbnb-style” short-term rentals. Only certain regulations on noise, advertising, and other nuisances would be allowed under the law.