Bills continue to push way through lame-duck session

Time is up for the Michigan Congress to work on legislation before the new, 2019 legislators take their offices, but they didn’t let a day go to waste.

Thursday’s final legislative session of the 99th Michigan Legislature lasted past 7:30 a.m. on Friday, according to Sen. Tom Casperson. Gov. Rick Snyder has signed more than a dozen bills into law in the last week, and many more are on his desk for consideration through the end of the year.

These are a few of the bills still under consideration by the governor as he prepares to leave office:

HB 4205 –This bill would prevent state agencies like the Department of Environmental Quality from adopting regulations more stringent than the federal government. It passed both the House and Senate with strictly Republican support, including Casperson’s. Snyder has vetoed similar bills in the past.

HB 6595 — This bill would add more requirements for petitioning to get statewide initiatives on the ballot. Opponents say it’s obstructionist but supporters say it ensures initiatives are supported by a wider cross-section of the population.

HB 6553 — This bill, which passed both House and Senate with wide and exclusively Republican support, would allow either house of the legislature to intervene in any court of the state. Republicans say it would allow the incoming legislature to defend cases surrounding legislation it has passed that the incoming administration may decline to.

SB 1176 — This bill would prohibit any state agency from requiring any non-profit from disclosing its donors. Any disclosure, purposeful or accidental, can result in a payment to the donor revealed. It passed without any support from Democrats.

“They had a good pitch,” Casperson said.

Casperson voted in favor of the bill, after previously telling the Gazette he was uncomfortable with the scope of its provisions.

HB 5526 — Casperson also supports this bill, which would reapply an A-F letter-grade rating system for Michigan schools. Casperson said it isn’t intended to be punitive, but rather to aid state authorities to know what schools need more support. Local administrators have expressed frustration with constantly changing rating systems.

SB 1244 — This bill would pin state toxicity regulation levels to federal values and impact how toxic substances are cleaned up in the state.

HB 5916 — This bill blocks local communities from passing bans on puppy sales from pet stores, which some have passed to limit puppy mills. It would require stores buy puppies from licensed breeders.

In the following week, the Gazette will monitor and summarize the bills Gov. Snyder signs into law.