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Weekly Roll Call Report of the Michigan Legislature

December 14, 2018

Senate Bill 1197, Authorize Straits of Mackinac pipeline and utility tunnel: Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate

To create a new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority governed by a three member board appointed by the governor with the duty of entering into agreements to build, maintain, operate and eventually decommission a utility tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, which among other things would contain a controversial oil and gas pipeline. This has been signed into law, and Gov. Rick Snyder is now finalizing a deal that with Enbridge, the current oil pipeline owner, which will pay for all the above.

House Bill 5955, Preempt local government occupational licensure mandates: Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate

To prohibit local governments from imposing new licensure mandates on individuals seeking to earn a living in a particular occupation if the state already imposes its own licensure mandate on that occupation. Locals could keep their current licensure mandates but not impose any new ones, except that "grandfathering" would not apply to any new state licensure mandates that are imposed going forward.

Senate Bill 1262, Expand scope of marijuana business background checks: Passed 30 to 7 in the Senate

To expand the definition of “applicant” for a marijuana license to include a company's managerial employees and officers, partners and stockholders who own at least 10 percent, and for a sole proprietor, his or her spouse. Applicants are subject to an extensive background check process. Also, to increase the penalties for a non-licensee selling marijuana while claiming to have a state license to 93 days in jail and a fine between $10,000 and $25,000, and felony penalties for subsequent violations.

House Bill 5749, Prescribe rule for truck "platoons" on highways: Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate

To exempt truck “platoon” operations from a traffic law requirement that trucks leave sufficient space between themselves and other trucks for other vehicles to pass. Platoon is defined as vehicles "traveling in a unified manner at electronically coordinated speeds." Under current law truck drivers must leave “sufficient space between the vehicle and another truck so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy the space without danger.”

Senate Bill 1049, Ban government taking a cut of tow truck fees: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate

To prohibit a local government from paying a commission or a cut of vehicle tow-truck (wrecker) recovery or towing service fees from a towing service in exchange for steering business to that company.


Senate Bill 1258, Make state park vehicle tax surcharge the default: Passed 28 to 9 in the Senate

To require a person to "opt out" of paying the optional state park "passport" surcharge that is attached to annual vehicle registration (license plate) renewals, meaning the default would be "opt in" and a person who doesn’t want to pay must actively choose not to. Under current law “opt out” is the default, and a person has to affirm they want to pay the extra. See also House Bill 6125, which would require having paid the fee to park at trailhead or forest campgrounds; under current law this applies only to state parks.


House Bill 5494, Clarify drone operator liability for drone crimes: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate

To define unmanned aerial drones as “an extension of the person” for purposes of assigning responsibility for criminal misuse. Bills have been introduced to essentially add "also illegal if done with a drone" provisions to various criminal offenses, and this bill would make that presumption automatic.


Senate Bill 1195, Impose tax, expand regulation of radioactives in hazardous waste landfills: Passed 91 to 18 in the House

To establish a $5 per ton state fee on depositing “technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials” (called “tenorms") in a Michigan landfill. Senate Bill 1196 establishes restrictions and extensive regulations on such deposits.

House Bill 5526, Assign letter-grade to each public school: Passed 56 to 53 in the House

To require the Department of Education to develop a system that assigns each public school building a series of letter grades between A and F based on different academic measures, including success and growth rates on the state’s math and reading tests, as indicated by metrics the department would determine.

House Bill 6595, Revise ballot measure petitioning rules: Passed 60 to 49 in the House

To impose additional rules and restrictions on petition gathering for constitutional amendments, initiatives, and referendums. Not more than 10 percent of signatures could come from one of Michigan’s current 14 congressional districts; petitions would have to have a brief summary of the proposal; paid petition gatherers would have to sign an affidavit that indicates they are not volunteers; and petitions on which the circulator provided his or her wrong address would be invalidated; and more.


House Bill 5707, Make teacher rating criteria less empirical: Passed 104 to 5 in the House

To reduce to 25 percent a requirement that 40 percent of a teacher’s year-end effectiveness evaluation be based on actual student progress as measured by test results.

SOURCE:, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit

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