The Michigan legislature met on the second Wednesday of the new year, as prescribed by the constitution. No roll call votes were held in the House or Senate, so this report describes some bills of general interest from 2021 that are still pending.

Introduced by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), to create a government “climate resiliency corps.” Among other things this would spend money to create “bioswales, wetlands, plant trees” and address stormwater runoff; produce “community education about rain gardens and rain barrels;” pay for “projects designed to combat high temperatures, flooding, or power outages caused by climate change;” and more, in addition to activities like “monthly training and professional development to corps members on climate resiliency topics.” The bill would authorize grants to pay “members” at least $15 per hour. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D), to prohibit any new state highway projects until the Department of Transportation imposes a “green infrastructure” permit mandate that among other things would require roadwork to come with an “analysis of the impact of forecasted climate conditions over the expected life (including) precipitation data, trends, and projections; an analysis of alternative methods of stormwater management; recommendations for reducing the impact of vehicle traffic including decommissioning roads, removing lanes, increasing public transit, and converting existing lanes to dedicated public transit lanes” and much more. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Introduced by Sen. Erika Geiss (D), to place a mandate in state statute that freight train must have a crew of at least two. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Introduced by Rep. Matt Koleszar (D), to authorize up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for assaulting or endangering school-related personnel including employees, board members, contractors and more. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5536: Require state file reports on school pension ‘double dipping”

Introduced by Rep. Lori Stone (D), to require the state-run public school pension system to file reports with the legislature on the number of “retired” school employees who are already collecting pensions and are also currently on a school payroll collecting a paycheck. This is linked to House Bill 4375, which would repeal a requirement that a school district must pay the unfunded pension benefit liabilities associated with employing a retired teacher. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Introduced by Rep. Joe Tate (D), to require the state agency in charge of regulating the marijuana industry to give cash subsidies to “minority-owned businesses” and “woman-owned businesses” that want to go into the business of selling the drug. The bill does not state where the money would come from. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Introduced by Rep. Steven Johnson (R), to repeal an annual state gas and diesel tax increase based on the inflation rate for the past year, which was imposed with a general increase in these taxes in 2015. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

Introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D), to make it a misdemeanor subject to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for the operator (captain) of ship more than 700 feet long to drop an anchor in the Straits of Mackinac. Also, make it a crime for owners of these big ships not to engage a “ maritime pilot” when they traverse the straits. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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 www.MichiganVotes.org.