Senate Bill 542, Allow more generous government employee health benefits: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate
To increase from $11,000 to $13,455 the “hard cap” on the amount the state, a local government or a public school district can spend for an "individual-plus-spouse" health insurance policy under a 2011 law which either caps these benefits or else requires public employees to share some of the cost. The Senate Fiscal Agency reports this could increase state costs by $19.4 million annually; since there are seven-times more school and local employees than state employees the overall cost to taxpayers could be much higher. (The statutory caps also increase each year with inflation.) The bill would also revise some factors in the formula used to set the caps in ways that generally permit granting more generous benefits.
Senate Bill 471, Restrict releasing juvenile criminal history record information: Passed 35 to 0 in the Senate
To restrict law enforcement agencies from disseminating juvenile criminal history record information, except in response to a fingerprint-based search. This would make the information available to employers subject to government-mandated criminal background checks on employees, but not to journalists reporting on subsequent crimes a juvenile may later commit as an adult.
House Bill 4770, Restrict accident-related commercial solicitations (“ambulance chasing”): Passed 98 to 10 in the House
To restrict access to vehicle accident reports for 30 days after the crash by requiring outside parties to file a statement that they will not use a report for commercial solicitation ("ambulance chasing"). The original bill's method of limiting access through a controversial effort to define "journalist" was removed. Violations would be subject to a $15,000 fine, and subsequent violations up to one year in jail.
House Bill 4993, Use some hunting and fishing fee hike money for PR campaign: Passed 77 to 31 in the House
To use $1 of the recently-enacted increase in hunting and fishing license fees for a public relations campaign promoting hunting and fishing. The bill would create a state “wildlife council," with political appointees representing various interests deciding what advertising agency to hire and helping to design the PR campaign.
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.