Local legislators voting update
Here is how some of St. Joseph County’s state and national representatives voted on selected legislation in the month of November. State Rep. Aaron Miller and State Sen. Kim LaSata’s voting records and details of the legislation are courtesy of MichiganVotes.org, and United States Rep. Fred Upton’s voting record is courtesy of his U.S. House website.
State Rep. Aaron Miller
•Dec. 3, House Bill 4687, passed House 61-44
Miller voted against the legislation, which would explicitly permit deer and elk baiting for hunting, and feeding deer and elk during hunting season. This particular vote was to concur with the Senate-passed version of the bill from November, which would limit baiting to one bait site per hunting site, with bait items that are no larger than a sugar beet. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 19.
•Dec. 11, House Bills 4307, 4308, 4310-4312, and 4916-4918, all passed House
Miller voted in favor of all eight bills, which helped set the framework for the legalization of sports betting in the state of Michigan, and which were signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 20.
•Dec. 11, Senate Bill 455, passed House 55-53
Miller voted against the legislation, which would exempt the equipment owned by the Nevada company that occupied the former Steelcase “Pyramid” building in Grand Rapids, switch, from local debt millages, local special assessment levies, and some school property tax levies (“revenue enhancement” millages and “sinking fund” taxes). The House-passed version links this to passage of bills that would require the state to reimburse the local school taxes not collected due to granting this privilege. The bill is currently in the Senate.
•Dec. 11, Senate Bill 340, passed House 98-10
Miller voted against the legislation, which would permit “remote pharmacies” that use a “telepharmacy system” to sell prescription drugs, in which a “continuous, real-time audio and video link to connect a pharmacist parent pharmacy with a remote pharmacy operated by the parent pharmacy.” Licensed “pharmacy technicians” at the remote site would dispense drugs under the remote supervision of a licensed pharmacist under rules and restrictions specified in the bill. Among other provisions the bill would require that patients be able to communicate with the licensed pharmacist through the system. The bill is currently in the Senate.
State Sen. Kim LaSata
•Dec. 4, House Bills 4540-4543, all passed Senate 36-0
LaSata voted in favor of all four bills, which would authorize state tax collections from out-of-state sellers. This follows the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in South Dakota v. Wayfair that allows states to levy sales and use tax on out of state sellers if a state exempts smaller sellers (less than $100,000 in sales or 200 transactions annually), and creates a collection system that feature, in the words of the opinion, “a single, state-level tax administration, uniform definitions of products and services, simplified tax rate structures… and also provides sellers access to sales tax administration software paid for by the State.” The bill is part of a package comprised and designed to meet those conditions.
•Dec. 10, Senate Bill 152, passed Senate 38-0