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MichiganVotes Weekly Report: October 15, 2021

House Bill 4712: Retroactively increase state subsidies for a particular developerPassed 29 to 7 in the Senate on October 13, 2021

To retroactively make a particular developer’s project eligible for increased “refundable” state business tax credits under a suspended program that authorized actual cash payments from the state treasury to a relative handful of companies and developers approved by state officials. The bill would allow the particular developer to "shuffle" the credits/subsidies he was granted between two separate projects in a way that maximizes how much is collected.The bill would also increase the total subsidies the developer will receive, and allow another five years to complete the project. The House Fiscal Agency estimates this will result in a $12.8 million increase in either foregone state revenue, or in actual cash disbursements to this developer.

House Bill 4837: Restrict outside groups’ access to state voter databasePassed 21 to 15 in the Senate on September 30, 2021

To restrict access to the state's qualified voter file (QVF) database to the Secretary of State office and other authorized election officials, local and county election clerks, and state employees or vendors who do maintenance and security work on the QVF. The bill would remove a provision authorizing access by a “designated voter registration agency.” The Senate also passed House Bill 4838 by the same margin, which would have banned connecting the electronic poll book at election precincts from being connected to the internet on election day. Note: Both bills were vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Oct. 3.

Senate Bill 321: Require teacher “mental health first aid” trainingPassed 36 to 0 in the Senate on September 29, 2021

To add to teacher continuing education courses a requirement that they include “mental health first aid” training, and require the Department of Education in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services to "develop or adopt" a program for this. This would include "identifying potential risk factors and warning signs for mental illness, and strategies for helping an individual experiencing a mental health crisis."

Senate Bill 664: Count quarantined public students for funding allocation purposesPassed 36 to 0 in the Senate on October 7, 2021

To include absent students who are "in quarantine" and "being educated through physical educational materials” as defined in the bill to be deemed present on the school district enrollment “count days" on which state aid is determined.

Senate Bill 280: Put time limits on initiated law petition signature countingPassed 20 to 16 in the Senate on September 30, 2021

To require the board of state canvassers to complete the canvass of signatures collected on an initiated law petition within 100 days after it is filed with the Secretary of State. If canvassers declare there are enough valid signatures then the proposed law must be immediately forwarded to the legislature for consideration. Under the state constitution, unless the legislature enacts the law proposed by an initiative that gains the required number of signatures, it goes on the next general election ballot for a vote of the people.

Senate Bill 280: Put time limits on initiated law petition signature countingPassed 55 to 48 in the House on October 6, 2021

The House vote on amending the initiated law process described above.

Senate Bill 82: 2021-2022 State BudgetPassed 35 to 0 in the Senate on September 21, 2021

The non-education of the state budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2021. The bill appropriates $50.706 billion for all non-education state spending, of which $10.378 billion is federal money, including unprecedented amounts enacted by Congress as part of epidemic "stimulus" and relief bills.When the state education spending authorized in House Bill 4400 is added (see below), the combined budgets propose spending a grand total of $68.9 billion in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which is $10.4 billion more than the state has ever spent prior to the pandemic. That includes $3.6 billion more in state spending, a 10.4% increase, and $6.7 billion more in federal spending, a 28.4% increase.The legislature did not appropriate the total amount available for the year, leaving about $11 billion in federal grants and higher-than expected state revenue collections to be allocated later.

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