Posted by: Jennifer Foley Posted date: November 21, 2013
November 18, 2013
COURT OF CLAIMS TO MOVE
With the stroke of his pen, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law legislation (SB 652) that moves the Michigan Court of Claims from Ingham County Circuit Court to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
His signature is on condition that lawmakers pass a trailer or repair bill dealing with right to trial by jury that would leave the current jury trials in circuit court. The House immediately introduced legislation (HB 5156) to clarify that concern. It was referred to the House Government Operations Committee.
HIGH COURT NAMES COURT OF CLAIMS JUDGES
The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously appointed four Court of Appeals judges to the new Court of Claims two Democratic appointed COA judges and two GOP appointed COA judges.
Those appointed to the Court of Claims are Judges Pat Donoforio, Amy Ronayne Krause, Deborah Servitto and Michael Talbot.
Former Governor John Engler appointed Donoforio and Talbot to the Court of Appeals. Krause and Servitto were appointed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm.
NO-CARRY ZONE, AMMO BILLS FIRE THROUGH THE HOUSE
With bi-partisan support, the House passed legislation (HBs 4133, 4134, 4350 and 4715 through 4717) that expands the number of people who can carry firearms in gun-free zones and prohibit felons from carrying ammunition.
The first three bills allow active or retired corrections officers, certain federal law enforcement officers, active or retired probation officers and current or former prosecuting attorneys to carry pistols in designated “no-carry” areas like schools and day care centers.
The latter bills ban ex-felons from possessing ammunition, which goes along with current law that prohibits ex-felons from possessing guns.
CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS LIMITS INCREASED
Legislation (SB 661) that would double campaign contribution limits and triple campaign filing requirements in the off-years sailed through the Senate.
Two other campaign finance bills (SBs 440 and 441) were also fast-tracked through the upper chamber.
They would require committees to file campaign reports electronically if it received or spent at least $5,000, rather than the current standard of $20,000; extend the statewide electronic filing system to counties, if they chose to adopt it.
HOUSE PASSES LIQUOR BILLS
The House passed a six-bill package of legislation (HBs 4709 through 4711, HB 4257 and HBs 5046 and 5140) that would bring several changes to state law regulating alcohol sales.
The first three bills would increase the amount of beer microbrewers can brew from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels per year, allow one brewpub to have a financial interest in up to five other locations, and allow a brewer to sell its beer at two tasting rooms instead of one.
The other legislation would open the door to customers at licensed restaurants to bring their own wine to dinner, allow for intra-county transfer of specially designated distributor licenses, and allow the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) to issue liquor licenses above current quota applicants within redevelopment project areas.
LIQUOR CONTROL BILLS CLEAR THE SENATE
A seven-bill package of legislation (SBs 504 through 507, SBs 650 and 651, and HB 4772) fast- tracked through the Senate last week.
The bills amend the Liquor Control Code, including one bill that codifies the state’s current ban on secondary item that is currently under examination by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
Currently, MLCC rules prevent secondary items such allowing business owners to have a choice about whether or not to have logoed barware but the commissioners are reviewing those rules and considering changes.
HOUSE PASSES BRIDGE CARD ATM BILLS
Holders of Bridge Cards who want to access cash at ATMs located in a strip club, casino, liquor store or race track will be out of luck under a four-bill package of legislation (HBs 4858, 4859, 5014, and 5015) that has passed the House.
The Senate passed similar legislation in October.
NURSE PRESCRIPTION BILL GETS SENATE APPROVAL
On a narrow 20-18 vote, legislation (SB 2) that allows nurses with advanced degrees to write prescriptions and give referrals, cleared the Senate.
Democrats offered several amendments but only one was adopted. That requires an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) to be held to the same standards as a physician when it comes to malpractice or licensure removal proceedings.
NO PROSE ON CON
A House workgroup on Certificate of Need (CON) has concluded that the process is fair at this time, but more in-depth vetting is needed if changes are to be made.
Rep. Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage), co-chair of the workgroup told the House Health Policy Committee last week that if changes are to be recommended the issue has to be looked at holistically and intended and unintended consequences need to be understood.
Committee Chair Gail Haines (R-Waterford) has promised more discussion on CON.
SENATE PASSES RX POT BILL
Legislation (SB 660) that would treat medical marijuana like a pharmaceutical has passed the Senate.
The measure advocates medical marijuana be treated like a medicine and sold in a pharmacy like setting, although the current caregiver system would also stand and run concurrently.
The bill, if it becomes law, would not go into effect unless the federal government rescheduled marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance.
STATE OBTAINS LEASE TO BELLE ISLE
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a 30-year lease on Detroit’s Belle Isle as a result of an agreement approved by the Michigan Treasury’s Emergency Loan Board (ELB).
DNR Director Keith Creagh said the 30-year lease gives the DNR a better chance to secure grant opportunities. Detroit City Council members proposed a 10-year lease.
REVENUES ROLL IN
Based on the October 2013 revenue collections and on a year-to-date basis, the Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) is reporting that state tax receipts are $440 million over the May 2013 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference estimates.
According to SFA, the above-forecast revenue is primarily reflected in collections from the State Education Tax (SET) and the repealed Michigan Business Tax (MBT).
General Fund collections are $244.1 million higher and School Aid Fund collections are $215.5 million higher than expected.