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Whatever Happened To These 7 Bills?

June 21, 2016

Several high-profile legislative issues were thrown back in the freezer Thursday as House members and senators tied a bow on the spring session of 2016.

MIRS covered in its Thursday report why energy reform and medical marijuana regulations haven’t been wrapped up by lawmakers, yet.

But how about these other seven subjects that received a fair amount of attention in 2016? Will any of these be taken up in the 11 session days before lame duck? How about during lame duck?

1. No Fault Reform – Not even a super majority in the Senate and the most conservative House in a generation can bring substantial changes to the state’s unlimited medical benefits for catastrophically injured car accident victims.

Advocates fear that without changes, the fund paying out benefits will be financially crippled, but until Oakland County Republicans see evidence of this they are standing firm against a cap to Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) payouts, even if it’s for uninsured individuals who are injured in a car wreck as a pedestrian or a bicyclist.

2. Repealing Prevailing Wage House Republicans were waiting until Protecting Michigan Taxpayers collected enough signatures to put a citizens initiative in front of them, which would have not needed the Governor’s signature to take effect.

That’s not happening this election cycle. Now leadership has to wonder whether it’s worth passing something that Gov. Rick SNYDER is going to veto. With an election right around the corner, don’t count on it.

3. Uber Bills – Ride sharing companies are still operating without legal authority in Michigan and lawmakers are starting to hear from constituents about being ticketed by police for operating what is being viewed as an unlicensed taxi.

But with some highly influential contributors within the Republican Party not wanting Uber and Lyft legitimized with state regulators, don’t look for any action on bills any time before November.

4. 3rd Grade Reading – House Speaker Kevin COTTER (R-Mt. Pleasant) and Sen. Goeff HANSEN (R-Hart) are both conferees on this bill and both had bigger fish to fry this year. Until House and Senate Republicans agree under which circumstances a 3rd grader would be held back for not being able to read at grade level, HB 4822 isn’t going anywhere.

5. Civil Service Bills – Cotter’s constitutional amendment that asks Nov. 8 voters to make it easier to fire poorly performing civil service employees could still a see vote during one of the two session days scheduled before the September deadline, but he needs a two-thirds majority in the lower chamber.

That means finding 10 Democrats. Finding 10 Democrats to repeal no fault might be easier.

6. State Unemployment Insurance – Rep. Ed MCBROOM (R-Vulcan), chair of the House Oversight and Ethics Committee, pledged to continue working over the summer on legislation to turn around the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), which let a computer determine if someone was committing UIA fraud.

7. Bathroom Bills – Putting in state law that transgender individuals must use the public restroom of their assigned birth might play well in the Upper Peninsula and northern Oakland County, home of Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba) and Rep. Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake).

But it’s not something legislative leaders want going farther than their respective Government Operations committees. Democrats have Flint and Donald TRUMP to hit Republicans with this election cycle. The attitude seems to be to let the North Carolina Republicans fight this war.

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