Local legislators voting update - January and early February, 2021
Here is how some of St. Joseph County’s state and national representatives voted on selected legislation in the first month of the new legislative session in the state House and the United States House of Representatives. 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
- Feb. 4, House Bill 4049, passed House 57-52
Carra was the lone House Republican to vote against this legislation, which would establish that the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not have the authority to issue epidemic-related emergency orders that close schools for in-person instruction or prohibit school sporting events. This bill would amend the 1978 Public Health Code to instead give this authority to local health departments.
- Feb. 4, House Bill 4048, passed House 58-51
Carra was the lone House Republican to vote against this legislation, which would allocate $1.49 billion in federal coronavirus relief money to local school districts. Among other items, this bill also authorizes $86.7 million for non-public schools, $21 million for extra grants to summer school teachers, and more. The bill also appropriates $363 million state dollars to pay for extra “incentives” to get teachers back in public school classrooms. The bill is "tie-barred" to House Bill 4049, which transfers the power to close schools during an epidemic from the state health department to local health departments; this means the school spending bill can't become law unless that bill also becomes law.
- Feb. 4, House Bill 4047, passed House 60-49.
Carra voted in favor of this legislation, which would appropriate $393.5 million in state dollars to give property tax and other relief to “afflicted businesses” impacted by state COVID-19 lockdowns affecting restaurants and bars, “exercise facilities, “recreation facilities or places of public amusement,” and “entertainment venues." The bill would also appropriate $150 million to the state unemployment insurance system “for offsetting expected exposure to state fraud and improper payments" during the epidemic.
- Feb. 4, House Bill 4019, passed House 59-50
Carra was the lone House Republican to vote against this legislation, which would appropriate $868.5 million in recently-approved federal coronavirus relief money, which is about 25% of the entire amount available to the state, with the rest to be allocated later. The appropriation directs $510 million federal dollars to expand food stamp distributions and related programs; $165.5 million for household rent and utility subsidies; $143.7 million for coronavirus testing and contact tracing; and smaller amounts for other purposes.
State Sen. Kim LaSata
- Feb. 4, Senate Bill 30, passed Senate 34-0
LaSata voted in favor of this legislation, the only legislation in her voting record as of press time in 2021, which would designate a portion of I-94 in Wayne County as the Firefighter Coleman A. Tate Memorial Highway.
United States Rep. Fred Upton
- Jan. 12, H.Res. 38, passed House 222-204
Upton voted against the simple resolution, which called on Vice President Mike Pence to “convene and mobilize” former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare Trump “incapable of executing the duties of his office.”
- Jan. 13, H.Res. 24, passed House 232-197
Upton was one of 10 House Republicans to vote on the simple resolution, which impeached former President Donald Trump with a charge of incitement of an insurrection. The article of impeachment cites statements from Trump to the rioters as well as his lies that he won the 2020 Presidential election as evidence.
- Jan. 21, H.R. 335, passed House 326-78
Upton voted in favor of the legislation, which provided an exception to a limitation against appointing a person as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces. The legislation, which also passed the Senate the same day and signed by President Joe Biden on Jan. 22, was necessary to allow for Biden’s nomination of Lloyd Austin for United States Defense Secretary to be approved.
- Feb. 4, H.Res. 72, passed House 230-199
Upton was one of 11 House Republicans to vote in favor of the simple resolution, which removed freshman Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Budget Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee.
- Feb. 5, H.R. 447, passed House 247-173
Upton was one of 28 House Republicans to vote in favor of the legislation, known as the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, which codifies and streamlines existing standards that support apprenticeships and expands the model to youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs. It is a reauthorization of legislation originally passed in 1937.