Local legislators voting update - December 2021
Here is how some of St. Joseph County’s state and national representatives voted on selected legislation in December 2021. State Rep. Steve Carra 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. Steve Carra
- Dec. 2, House Bill 5190, passed House 57-43
Carra voted in favor of the legislation, which would revise state high school graduation requirements that require 2.0 credits in a language other than English by reducing this to 1.5 credits, and adding a .5 credit “financial literacy” requirement. The Michigan Department of Education would be required to develop "content expectations" for the personal finance course. The bill is currently in the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee as of Dec. 2.
- Dec. 7, House Bill 4232, passed House 64-39
Carra voted in favor of the legislation, which would change a law that prohibits a person less than age 18 from selling or serving alcoholic drinks. The bill would lower the minimum age to 17. The bill is currently in the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee as of Dec. 8.
- Dec. 9, Senate Bill 637, passed House 91-11
Carra voted against the legislation, which would authorize a state government “community crisis response grant program” that would give state grants to local governments related to 9-1-1 call response processes, with the amount in part determined by the extent they meets criteria determined by a social-welfare organization selected by the state health and welfare department. The intention would be for “calls to existing 9-1-1 dispatch centers and other existing crisis lines…are responded to by one or more community crisis responder clinicians or community crisis responder peers,” with “law enforcement for the purposes of stabilization, de-escalation, harm reduction, screening and assessment, and connection to mental health, substance use disorder, social, health, or other services and supports as needed.” The bill was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 23.
- Dec. 14, House Bill 4294, passed House 55-48
Carra voted in favor of the legislation, which concurs with a Senate-passed version to allow a school district to hire a current employee to be a substitute teacher who is not a teacher and does not have a college degree or otherwise meet the legal requirements to be a substitute teacher. The individual would get a raise if their current pay was less than substitutes’ pay but would not get a cut if it was more. This would expire with the 2021-22 school year. The bill was signed by Whitmer on Dec. 23.
State Sen. Kim LaSata
- Dec. 2, Senate Bill 565, passed Senate 34-0
LaSata voted in favor of the legislation, which would appropriate $3.34 billion to spend on drinking water and water infrastructure programs and grants. Of this, $2.37 billion comes from federal stimulus dollars and relief dollars, with the rest of the money collected and borrowed ($290 million) by the state. The bill is currently in the House Appropriations Committee as of Dec. 2.
- Dec. 9, Senate Bill 273, passed Senate 21-16
LaSata voted in favor of the legislation, which establishes 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. The bill is currently in the House Elections and Ethics Committee as of Dec. 9.
- Dec. 14, Senate Bill 769, passed Senate 24-12
LaSata voted in favor of the legislation, which would create a segregated “strategic outreach and attraction reserve fund” (account) in the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, and use the money to give subsidies to businesses said to create “investment-ready sites” for the benefit of particular companies and developers. The bill was signed by Whitmer on Dec. 20.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton
- Dec. 1, H.R. 4055, passed House 408-17
Upton voted in favor of the legislation, dubbed the American Cybersecurity Literacy Act. The bill would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to develop and conduct a cybersecurity literacy campaign to increase knowledge and awareness of best practices to reduce cybersecurity risks.
- Dec. 8, H.R. 5609, passed House 411-13
Upton voted in favor of the bill, which would direct the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish and maintain a library or catalog of each type of contract offered by packers to producers for the purchase of all or part of the production of fed cattle (including cattle that are purchased or committed for delivery), including any schedules of premiums or discounts associated with the contract.
- Dec. 9, H.R. 5314, passed House 220-208
Upton voted against the legislation, dubbed the Protecting Our Democracy Act. The bill addresses issues involving abuses of presidential power, checks and balances, accountability, transparency, and election integrity and security. The bill requires the Department of Justice and the President to submit to Congress specified materials relating to certain pardons, prohibits presidential self-pardons, authorizes specified actions to enforce congressional subpoenas, and requires federal campaign reporting of foreign contacts.
- Dec. 15, Senate Joint Res. 33, passed House 221-209
Upton voted against the resolution, a vehicle relating to increasing the country’s debt limit by $2.5 trillion. The measure was signed by President Joe Biden on Dec. 16.