The Capitol Report

May 15, 2014

michigan capitolThe Capitol Report. By Rep. Ray Franz, 101st District of the Michigan House of Representatives.

This is the Capitol Report for the week of May 12-16.

On Tuesday, the House took up five bills and all passed nearly unanimously.

HB 5261 would exempt the sales tax on a vehicle transfer to in-laws. Currently, that exemption exists for all others close relations. Another bill, HB 5476, would require the public service commission to better take cost of service into consideration when setting industrial electric rates.

SB 862 would allow liquor sales at The Big House – U of M Stadium – during an upcoming international soccer match.

SB 546 requires appointees to public library boards to be electors of the community.

Finally, SB 749 would allow a parent of a minor who was a victim of a crime to give a victim rights statement even if the victim is no longer a minor, due to the length of the trial.

Wednesday was very busy with 28 bills and 25 of them were approved nearly unanimously. The agenda included 17 zeroed-out appropriation bills from the Senate. This is typically the process so that all appropriations measures go to conference to work out Senate and House differences.

We also took up a two-bill package, HB 5223 and HB 5224, that establishes evaluation standards for teachers and administrators. Local evaluations are allowed if they meet minimum standards.

SB 574 would allow some counties where the state does foreclosures to do their own. Currently, 12 counties would be affected.

There was a three-bill package, HBs 5375-5377, that would allow for-profit nursing homes to hire on-staff doctors, addressing a 1980 attorney general ruling that prohibited the option. HB 5389 allows for dining room assistants to help feed patients.

There was also a bill, HB 5451, to give tuition assistance up to $4,500, annually, to Michigan National Guard members for college or vocational training. I co-sponsored this bill and hope that it will expand Guard members’ opportunities, as well as encourage service in the Michigan National Guard.

Finally, there were two joint resolutions – HJR M and HJR N – passed by super-majority votes to place initiatives on the ballot that would require colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition rates for honorably discharged veterans.

That’s what happened this week in Lansing.

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