Michigan Legislature

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

Parents could use tax-free savings accounts to pay for students' school-related expenses including extracurricular activities under legislation that has cleared a divided Michigan Senate. The Republican-led chamber approved the bills 23-14 Tuesday, with Democrats and some Republicans in opposition. The legislation goes to the House for consideration next. 

In an effort to abolish gerrymandering, an all-volunteer group of activists has collected hundreds of thousands of voter signatures to overhaul redistricting in Michigan. Voters Not Politicians, a ballot committee opposed to the partisan gerrymandering of congressional and legislative districts, is preparing to turn in roughly 400,000 signatures to force a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot. 

Michigan legislators are proposing new laws designed to better protect victims of domestic violence and stalking.

Bills introduced this past week would create an address confidentiality program, which supporters say exists in 37 states. Those subject to personal protection orders would have to relinquish their guns. Other measures are aimed at addressing housing- or job-related factors that keep victims with their abusers.

Republican lawmakers are renewing their attempt to let gun owners carry their weapons inside Michigan schools, day care centers and other gun-free zones. Fast-tracked legislation up for a vote in a Senate committee Tuesday would allow concealed pistol license holders with extra training to carry in nine areas that are currently off limits. 

The Michigan Legislature has approved bills that will continue the state's 0.08 blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving until 2021.

The limit was set to return to 0.10 in October 2018, putting federal funding at risk unless lawmakers acted. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation that won final, unanimous passage Tuesday. Legislators moved to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level in 2003 but have put a sunset provision in the law so the issue is revisited.

Bill extends statute of limitations in sex assault cases

Oct 17, 2017
Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

Legislation up for a vote in the Michigan Senate would eliminate or lengthen the statute of limitations for filing charges in cases of sexual assault. The legislation before the chamber Tuesday would allow a prosecution at any time for second-degree sexual conduct if the victim was younger than 16.

In cases of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, the statute of limitations would rise to 20 years after the offense or the victim's 31st birthday, whichever is later. That's 10 years longer than now.

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

Michigan municipalities would be prohibited from levying local taxes on food and beverages under a bill advancing to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk for his expected signature. No local government in Michigan is now considering such a tax. But lawmakers say it is possible, pointing to Philadelphia and Chicago as places with soda taxes. Similar taxes have been approved in San Francisco and Oakland, California. 

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

Legislation advancing in Michigan would prohibit municipalities from levying a tax on food and drinks. Supporters of the bill approved 31-5 in the Republican-led Senate Wednesday want to prevent local taxes on soda and other unhealthy items. Such taxation isn't under consideration at the local level in Michigan. But advocates of the legislation say it's needed to pre-empt potential local taxes after municipalities such as Philadelphia and Cook County, which includes Chicago, enacted a tax on sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. 

A $56.7 billion state budget is headed toward Gov. Rick Snyder's desk after the Republican-led Senate gave it final approval on mostly party-line votes. The bills approved Thursday include more money for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges.

There is less for prison spending and environmental cleanup. Republicans say the budget includes record spending on K-12 education, money to train new state troopers and addresses debt in the teacher retirement system.

Michigan Senate to vote on letting vehicles run unattended

Jun 13, 2017

Legislation up for a vote in the Michigan Senate would let residents legally leave a vehicle running unattended on private property. The bill , which won House approval last month, was proposed after a Detroit-area man was ticketed $128 for leaving a car running in his driveway as the vehicle warmed up. A state rule requires people to stop the engine and remove the ignition key before letting a vehicle stand unattended. 

The legislation would keep the prohibition in place only for vehicles parked on public streets, but not if they are equipped with a remote-start feature.

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