Tuesday, June 20
I voted NO on HB 4820 (Rep. Skaggs) to allow the inclusion of personnel decisions for teachers in collective bargaining agreements. EXPLANATION: The last thing we need for our public schools is to provide more power to teacher unions while children are already struggling with their math and literacy scores.
I voted NO on SB 359 (Sen. Chang) to remove the language that performance must be the driving factor in teacher’s pay for community school districts (which is exclusively Detroit Public Schools). EXPLANATION: Currently in Detroit, teachers are paid based on student performance, but this legislation will allow teachers to negotiate their pay through collective bargaining. Teachers should be paid based on merit, not through union negotiators.
I voted NO on SB 289 (Sen. Moss) to expand the Transformational Brownfield Program, which assists Michigan communities in transforming obsolete and vacant properties into mixed-use developments. EXPLANATION: We should not provide handouts of hard-earned taxpayer money to private corporations.
I voted NO on SB. 35 (Sen. Irwin) to remove the requirement that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) apply an asset test to determine eligibility for the Food Assistance Program (FAP), the state-level program that administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). EXPLANATION: Without the asset test in place, we are allowing people with significantly higher financial well-being to receive necessary assistance.
I voted NO on HBs 4474-4477 (Reps. Arbit, Grant and Puri) to redefine “ethnic intimidation” as a “hate crime” under the Michigan Penal Code, and would change the elements of the offense. EXPLANATION: Under this definition of intimidation, if one is repeatedly “frightened” of harassment (even if no harassment has occurred) this could be considered a hate crime. I worry that these various forms of legislation will be used against individuals who speak out against the dangerous rise in transgenderism in our youth.
HB 4474 PASSED: 59-50; HB 4475 PASSED: 59-50; HB 4476 PASSED: 83-26; HB 4477 PASSED: 82-27
I voted NO on HB 4354 (Rep. Weiss) to delete many currently prohibited subjects of collective bargaining for schools, making them subject to contract negotiations. This includes topics such as personnel decisions, performance evaluations, merit pay, notifications to parents on teacher performance and district consolidations. EXPLANATION: Making these changes will effectively put the teacher unions in control of schools with little recourse.
I voted NO on HBs 4356 and 4357 (Reps. Carter and Hood) to repeal the prohibition on including contracting of non-instructional services to a third party by a school from collective bargaining agreements. EXPLANATION: Further expanding collective bargaining in the public sector is a step in the wrong direction.
BOTH PASSED: 56-53
I voted YES on HB 4689 (Rep. Hope) to designate a portion of highway US-127 in Ingham County as the “Trooper Starr Memorial Highway”. EXPLANATION: This highway naming allows us to express our gratitude and appreciation to Trooper Caleb Starr for his service to Michigan.
I voted NO on HB 4044 (Rep. Koleszar) to repeal the prohibition on step increases when a contract between a school district and an employee union has expired. Employees would also no longer be required to pay any increase in their health care benefits during the negotiation period. Finally, it would also repeal the prohibition on increases becoming retroactive. EXPLANATION: The practice of allowing employees to receive step increases after a contract has expired provides little incentive for them to settle a new agreement particularly if cuts are necessary.
I voted NO on HB 4233 (Rep. Churches) to amend Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) to remove the prohibition on public school employers from utilizing public school resources to collect union dues. EXPLANATION: Public employers should not be collecting dues and fees on behalf of a union that bargains against them as they are basically ensuring that the other side of the table has their costs covered.
Wednesday, June 21
I voted NO on HBs 4293-4302 (Reps. Hope, Farhat, Coffia, Edwards, Brixie, Grant, Hill, Young, and Andrews) to declare marriages under the age of 18 void; remove the provision allowing individuals who are 16 to 17 years of age the ability to marry with parental permission; remove the ability for probate judges to allow persons under the age of 18 to keep the exact date of their marriage out of the public record; eliminate language that persons under age 18 who are married have the same rights and privileges of people who became married after age 18; change the distribution of estate assets to married children; prevents parents from authorizing a marriage if the child is under the age of 18; remove marriage licenses as evidence of emancipation when renting a room; concerning the annulment of marriages involving a minor; remove marriage from the statute regarding emancipation of minors; and change the Michigan Penal Code in several sections, where underage marriages are mentioned. EXPLANATION: If the age of consent in Michigan is 16, allowing individuals of this age to engage in sex, get an abortion or mutilate their bodies without parental knowledge, then it seems more than reasonable that they also should be allowed to get married.
HB 4293 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4294 PASSED: 98-11; HB 4295 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4296 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4297 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4298 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4299 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4300 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4301 PASSED: 104-5; HB 4302 PASSED: 104-5
I voted NO on SB 66-68 (Sens. Chang, Lauwers, Geiss) to require the Department of Education (MDE) to develop informational material relating to sexual assault and sexual harassment appropriate for pupils in grades 6 through 12. The bills would also prohibit sexual assault under the guise of medical treatment and would amend the sentencing guidelines in the Code of Criminal Procedure to include the felonies proposed by SB 67 and to delete the guidelines for the offense that bill would eliminate. EXPLANATION: Criminal sexual conduct laws of this state are already sufficient to deter and punish the conduct at issue.
ALL PASSED: 105-4
I voted NO on SBs 69-72 (Sens. Theis, Johnson, Hauck and Rivet), which are part of a larger package that would makes changes across several different acts to prevent sexual assault and harassment particularly for minors. These bills were in response to the Larry Nassar incident. EXPLANATION: Rape and sexual assault are already crimes and the reason why Larry Nassar is rightfully behind bars for the rest of his life.
ALL PASSED: 105-4
I voted NO on SB 73 (Sen. Shink) to amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to exempt from disclosure information about the identity of a party who proceeds anonymously in a civil action alleging sexual misconduct. EXPLANATION: If you are making an accusation against someone in civil court, you should not be allowed to conceal your identity on legal documents. Everyone has a right to face their accuser in court.
I voted NO on SB 236 (Sen. Irwin) to redefine the phrase “mentally incapacitated” in the Michigan Penal Code to criminalize sexual relations between voluntarily intoxicated individuals. EXPLANATION: The Michigan Penal Code’s current definition of “mentally incapacitated” is more appropriate, and no changes are necessary.
I voted NO on SB 129-132 (Sens. Singh, McDonald Rivet, Cavanagh, and Shink) to amend the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act to allow tax revenues captured from an eligible property to be used for certain housing activities with MSHDA’s approval. EXPLANATION: This allows housing to play by a separate set of rules than other projects that apply through the Brownfield program. We need to have a level playing field, not special carve outs.
SB 129 PASSED: 71-38; SB 130 PASSED: 72-37; SB 131 PASSED: 72-37; SB 132 PASSED: 72-37
Thursday, June 22
I voted NO on HB 4375 (Rep. Grant) to amend the Land Bank Fast Track Act by expanding the ability to form a land bank to cities with a population over 50,000 and located in a county that does not have a land bank authority at the time the city establishes one. EXPLANATION: Land banks provide unfair competition in the marketplace. This will allow for more unfair competition with properties located in qualified cities.
I voted NO on HB 4343 (Rep. Conlin) to require the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) to submit a report to the legislature on “payday lending” institutions licensed under this act. EXPLANATION: The majority of what this bill requests from the department is already posted online and readily accessible, more information should not be required.
I voted NO on HBs 4377 and 4378 (Reps. B. Carter and Neeley) to amend the General Sales Tax Act and Use Tax respectively by specifying which foods are taxed under the acts. EXPLANATION: This makes compliance too difficult for sellers to follow. The rules and laws on what food is taxable and not taxable should be uniform and easy to comply with.
BOTH PASSED: 56-53
I voted NO on SBs 137 and 138 (Sens. Damoose and Irwin) to amend and expand eligibility standards the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) must use for the Guardianship Assistance Program, adding references to tribal welfare agencies and other child placing agencies and further amend the conditions required for the Guardianship Assistance Program (which are a prerequisite of federal funding) to ensure certification before the child’s 18th birthday, and more. EXPLANATION: The guardian assistance program would better serve those in need through the private sector.
BOTH PASSED: 105-4
I voted YES on SB 161 (Sen. Geiss) to modify various requirements that individuals must meet to be issued a teaching certificate, as well as requirements pertaining to professional development for certified teachers and easing reciprocity for teachers with out-of-state certificates. EXPLANATION: Easing opportunities to obtain advanced credentials could increase teacher retention as they have more opportunity to demonstrate effectiveness in their career. Districts and ISDs may reward these advanced credentials, leading to long-term retention.
I voted YES on SB 162 (Sen. McCann) to modify various requirements that individuals must meet to serve as a school counselor and easing reciprocity for counselors with out-of-state licenses. EXPLANATION: Honoring out of state licenses makes it easier for schools to find qualified counselors.
I voted NO on HB 4066 (Rep. Coleman) to create the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). EXPLANATION: We do not need another bureaucratic office dedicated to central planning.
I voted NO on HB 4454 and SB 164 (Rep. Carter and Sen. Shink) to amend Business Improvement Zones to provide for proportional voting for the creation and operation of zones. EXPLANATION: If this bill becomes law and re-establishes a weighted voting system, it could crush our small businesses. The big guy gets to vote on what the little guy has to pay, with larger businesses literally having a larger voting share than the smaller ones and being able to determine how the assessing is done, thereby favoring themselves.
HB 4454 PASSED: 77-32 and SB 164 PASSED: 75-34
I voted NO on SB 288 (Sen. Singh) to eliminate the sunset of September 30, 2023 from the Michigan Energy Assistance Act. EXPLANATION: This bill allows a government program that should be eliminated to carry on indefinitely.
I voted NO on HBs 4132 and 4133 (Reps. Snyder and Mueller) to amend the Michigan Vehicle Code by allowing tickets to be issued for speeding in construction zones based only on camera evidence. EXPLANATION: Society doesn’t need cameras all over the place spying on people.
BOTH PASSED: 67-42
I voted NO on HBs 4317 and 4318 (Reps. VanderWall and Neeley) to create the Solar Energy Facilities Taxation Act and Solar Energy Facilities Tax and amends the General Property Tax Act by exempting solar energy facilities from personal property tax. EXPLANATION: This allows land to be used for solar with tax exemptions that could be better served for agricultural or residential use.
HB 4317 PASSED: 92-17 and HB 4318 PASSED: 93-16
I voted NO on HB 4561 (Rep. Liberati) to amend the Michigan Liquor Control Code by changing the requirements on electronic coupons for alcoholic liquor. EXPLANATION: This bill opens the door to market decisions similar to ESG scores.
I voted YES on SB 326 (Sen. Singh) to exempt a vehicle sale from the Use Tax if the vehicle was purchased by a dealer for resale and was not registered in the name of the dealer prior to the customer purchase. EXPLANATION: A technical fix needed to ensure dealers aren’t wrongly taxed after a recent update to the tax code.
“Elected officials have a duty to be as open and transparent as possible,” said Carra, R-Three Rivers. “Lawmakers should never trade their silence for information about corruption that benefits the politically connected in their communities. Our job is to represent all the voices of our districts.”