Sine Die has come and gone in Lansing. As our Michigan lawmakers closed the books on this legislative session, we tallied the numbers to see what was accomplished in the statehouse.
There were 1,375 bills introduced in the House, and 740 introduced in the Senate. There were also 234 public acts.
Thirty-two of those combined 2,105 bills have already been presented to the governor for signature. There is one still waiting to be placed on the governor's desk.
Several of those bills concerned items of public interest that consumed the news cycles, and our attentions. Namely, the expansion of concealed carry, retirement reform, and changes to driver responsibility fees.
The legislation passed in the House and Senate included the creation of a reporting system with uniform financial and accounting standards for local government retirement plans. There would also be an early detection system in place to help local governments and the state identify potential funding problems. Additionally, local communities will be required to make a minimum level of payments related to retirement systems for new hires.
The Senate passed a package of legislation making changes to Michigan's open-carry and concealed-carry laws. The bills allow concealed pistol license (CPL) holders to carry a concealed weapon in gun-free zones such as schools, churches, and sports arenas. Schools would have the authority to prohibit students from carrying a concealed gun on school property and can negotiate with employees during the bargaining process as to whether they can carry on school grounds. In order for a CPL holder to carry in these locations they would be required to have an additional eight hours of training. The legislation also prohibits open-carry in gun-free zones.
The House voted in support of a bill package ending driver responsibility fees and forgive outstanding fees. The fees were scheduled to be phased-out, however this proposal would speed up the date for removing such fees. Driver responsibility fees are assessed after a driver accumulates a certain number of points on their license or commits certain offenses.
There were also a few big fish that got away, big efforts for new legislation that just couldn't capture the votes. The most noted of them being income tax.
Following a long session day, the House of Representatives fell only a few votes short of passing a bill aimed at reducing the state's income tax. As originally introduced, the bill would have incrementally reduced the state's income tax rate over the next forty years, until the rate was eliminated. However, following debate and discussion, an amendment was adopted on the House floor that would have instead reduced the rate from 4.25% to 3.9% over the next four years and also paused the rollback if the State's Rainy Day Fund didn't have at least a $1 billion balance. Despite the change, many legislators voiced concerns over the impact the tax rollback would have on the state budget, estimated to be over one billion dollars by the House Fiscal Agency. Ultimately, the bill failed by a vote of 52-55.
We're taken some much-deserved rest after this session and now we're gearing up for 2018. Lawmakers return to the statehouse on January 10.
Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.