MichiganVotes.org is a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to provide concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. This report was released Friday, Aug. 6.

The House and Senate remain on summer break, so rather than votes this report contains some recently multi-bill legislative “packages.” These are often introduced when some purpose requires large or small modifications in more than one existing statute. They may represent part of a “platform” promoted by either the Democratic or Republican caucuses in the House, Senate or both bodies, but can also be bipartisan. Separate bills in a package typically have different lead sponsors.

Senate Bill 273: Prescribe absentee ballot “drop box” rules and restrictions

 Introduced by Sen. Ruth Johnson (R), to establish rules on the use of absentee ballot drop boxes by cities and townships. Among other things, a drop box would have to be approved by both the Secretary of State and the county board of canvassers. Drop boxes would have to be monitored at all times with video cameras, with the recordings kept for at least a month after the election. This is part of a Republican election integrity package comprised of Senate Bills 273 to 311. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5191: Make statute language gender-neutral for proposed marriage amendment

 Introduced by Rep. Tim Sneller (D), to replace current terms in various statutes with gender neutral terms. This bill amends a state “foreign marriage act” and repeals its ban on recognizing homosexual marriage. It is part of a legislative package comprised of House Bills 5191 to 5243 and linked to House Joint Resolution J, which would repeal the state constitution’s recognition of marriage as only between one man and woman adopted by voters in 2004. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5049: Suspend ban on social promotions of third graders who can’t read

 Introduced by Rep. Lori Stone (D), to suspend during the 2020-21 school year a law that prohibits advancing a third grader who has not attained basic reading competency to the next grade, with a number of exceptions and alternatives. This is part of a Democratic package of bills comprised of House Bills 5049 to 5052 that would suspend school accountability measures in the 2020-21 school year. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5032: Subsidize government broadband projects

 Introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D), to amend a 2020 law that authorized state subsidies to certain private sector “broadband” companies but not government ones, to instead also permit the subsidies for government entities including “public-private partnerships.” This is part of Democratic package of bills comprised of House Bills 5049 to 5042 that would suspend school accountability measures in the 2020-21 school year. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4792: Ban requiring COVID vaccination “passports”

 Introduced by Rep. Beau LaFave (R), to prohibit a “place of public accommodation” from requiring an individual to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination or immunity status to gain access to or receive a service. This is part of a bipartisan legislative package comprised of House Bills 4789 to 4794 prohibiting COVID vaccination “passports” and similar measures. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

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