May 17, 2013, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Vote Report
Deer hunting, "excess" property tax and Medicaid
Senate Bill 198, Amendment to accept federal health care law Medicaid expansion: Failed 13 to 25 in the Senate
To accept $1.53 billion in federal money to expand Medicaid eligibility under the terms of the federal health care law ("Obamacare"). The amendment offered by Democratic Sen. Vincent Gregory would also shift $181 million in current state health care spending onto the federal budget, making those funds available for other purposes in the short-term, but the terms of the expansion would require more money from State of Michigan taxpayers in a few years. Republican Sen. Roger Kahn joined all Democrats in voting "yes." This vote is not necessarily the final answer on this issue.
Senate Bill 347, Expand state housing subsidy agency powers: Passed 36 to 2 in the Senate
To empower the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to use money in reserve funds to “invest” (buy ownership interest) in companies or nonprofits whose “primary purpose is to acquire ownership interests in multifamily housing projects” (and not necessarily build new ones).
Senate Bill 345, Authorize more state government housing subsidy debt: Passed 34 to 4 in the Senate
To repeal a requirement that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) must scale back its debt from a “temporary” maximum of $4.2 billion authorized in 2012, to $3.4 billion after Nov. 1, 2014, subject to some exceptions. The borrowed money is used to provide taxpayer-backed mortgage loan guarantees, subsidies and more.
Senate Bill 335, Extend Medicaid "gamesmanship" insurance tax: Passed 25 to 13 in the Senate
To extend from 2014 to 2018 the sunset on a 1 percent health insurance claims tax intended to “game” the federal Medicaid system in ways that result in higher federal payments to Michigan’s medical welfare system. As introduced the bill would have eliminated the sunset and empowered the Department of Treasury to raise the tax without any further authorization by the legislature.
House Bill 4283, Expand allowable deer hunting guns south of “rifle line”: Passed 106 to 0 in the House
To expand the types of firearms allowed for deer hunting south of the “rifle line” in the Lower Peninsula. In addition to shotguns and muzzle-loading rifles, hunters could also use .35 caliber or larger repeating pistols, and certain .35 caliber or larger straight-walled rifle cartridges (but not modern "high-power" rifle rounds that carry for very long distances). Long-range rifles have traditionally not been allowed for deer hunting in the more densely-populated part of the state south of an uneven boundary located at roughly the same latitude as Mount Pleasant.
House Bill 4705, Refund excess property tax collected by school district on retired debt: Passed 108 to 0 in the House
To require a school district (Stephenson in the Upper Peninsula) that collected a property tax millage for bonds that were already paid off (retired) to transfer the excess revenue it collected to the state. The overcharge would then be given back to local taxpayers by reducing the amount of state education property tax on their next tax bill.
House Bill 4168, Repeal mandate for sheriffs to kill unlicensed dogs: Passed 106 to 0 in the House
To repeal a 1919 law that requires county sheriffs to locate and kill all unlicensed dogs, and which defines failure to do so as nonfeasance in office.
House Bill 4363, Ban local governmental body “phone-in” voting: Passed 92 to 14 in the House
To establish that if a member of a public body is allowed to cast a vote on a decision by the body without being physically present, it is a violation of the state Open Meetings Act.
SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, 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 http://www.MichiganVotes.org.
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