How They Voted

While the Legislature is adjourned for a primary election campaign break, the Roll Call Report is reviewing key votes of the 2013-2014 session.

Senate Bill 257, Expand “Business Improvement Zone” tax-and-spend entities: Passed 35 to 2 in the Senate on April 11, 2013.

To expand the items that a “Business Improvement Zone” can spend money on, revise voting rules in a way that (potentially) reduces the proportion of property owners needed to impose a zone’s tax-and-spending powers, increase the proportion of owners needed to dissolve one, reduce notice and public meeting requirements required to establish one, increase penalties for not paying the “special assessments” these entities impose, and more. These zones have the power to impose levies to pay for the debt they incur to pay for projects that are supposed to benefit the property owners.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

Senate Bill 38, Authorize wage garnishment for nonpayment of “administrative hearing bureau” fines: Passed 35 to 1 in the Senate on April 18, 2013

To allow a local government to garnish the wages of a property owner who has failed to pay fines imposed by “administrative hearing bureaus” that most cities are allowed to create for enforcing “blight violations” under a 2003 law.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

Senate Bill 39, Authorize foreclosure for nonpayment of “administrative hearing bureau” fines: Passed 35 to 1 in the Senate on April 18, 2013

To allow a local government to foreclose on property owned by a person who has failed to pay fines imposed by “administrative hearing bureaus” that most cities are allowed to create for enforcing “blight violations” under a 2003 law.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

Senate Bill 218, Expand borrow-and-spend “water resource improvement authorities”: Passed 32 to 5 in the Senate on March 14, 2013

To eliminate the sunset on local governments creating new “water resource improvement authorities,” which use extra property tax levies and “tax increment financing” schemes to divert other taxing units’ property tax revenue to cover debt service payments on debt they incur for various recreation and development projects. The bill would also expand the scope of activities and geographic limits of these entities, letting them borrow and spend for dredging among other things.

Rep. Edward McBroom, R – Vulcan, Yes

Senate Bill 288, Give NRC duty of designating huntable game species: Passed 25 to 11 in the Senate on April 25, 2013

To give the state Natural Resources Commission (in addition to the Legislature) the power to designate a species as a huntable game species. This was widely regarded as an effort to preempt a ballot initiative to prohibit creating a wolf-hunting season.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

Senate Bill 347, Expand MSHDA developer subsidies: Passed 36 to 2 in the Senate on May 16, 2013

To empower the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to “invest” (buy ownership interest) in companies or nonprofits whose “primary purpose is to acquire ownership interests in multifamily housing projects” (and not necessarily build new ones).

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba , Yes

Senate Bill 345, Authorize more state government housing subsidy debt: Passed 34 to 4 in the Senate on May 16, 2013

To repeal a requirement that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) must scale back its debt from a “temporary” maximum of $4.2 billion authorized in 2012, to $3.4 billion after Nov. 1, 2014, subject to some exceptions. The borrowed money is used to provide taxpayer-backed mortgage loan guarantees, subsidies and more. The House has not taken up this bill.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

Senate Bill 163, Limit DEQ wetland use restrictions: Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate on May 22, 2013

To expand certain exemptions to a state wetland permit mandate, require permit denials to document their rationale and authority, slightly increase the state’s burden to justify restrictions on an owner’s use of his or her property, prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality from imposing regulations that are beyond the scope those required by federal law, and make other changes to these land use restrictions.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

Senate Bill 173, Ban local mandates that private employers must grant leave: Passed 25 to 13 in the Senate on June 5, 2013

To preempt local governments from adopting ordinances or policies that require private sector employers to provide paid or unpaid employee leave that is not required under state or federal law. This is related to a nationwide campaign promoted by unions to lobby for such local mandates. The House has not taken up this bill.

Sen. Tom Casperson, R – Escanaba, Yes

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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.