This week, I was proud to co-sponsor a resolution introduced by my colleague, Sen. Erika Geiss, to recognize February 2020 as Black History Month, recognizing and paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who have overcome adversity and discrimination. Through raising awareness about the realities of our nation’s history and celebrating the invaluable, and often overlooked, contributions of African Americans to our society, we hope to continue breaking down barriers in order to create a more equal future.
House Bill 4203 amends the Sales and Use Tax Acts to modify the current exemption of prosthetic devices. Current law requires a prescription for prosthetic devices to qualify for the sales/use tax exemption. This bill would expand upon the prescription requirement to also allow prosthetic devices that are implanted into humans at a hospital or freestanding surgical outpatient facility, and ensure patients can receive necessary medical devices without an additional financial burden — aligning prosthetics with other medically necessary devices currently tax exempt.
I offered an amendment on the Senate Floor that would require this tax exemption to hold the Michigan School Aid fund harmless and make sure that we are not negatively impacting the future of education funding. You can watch my remarks on this amendment here.
The bill expands eligibility for Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services to include health professionals. CISM services are meant to assist individuals in coping with work-related trauma. Those currently eligible for CISM services include EMS personnel, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, rescue service providers, and dispatchers. Considering the kind of high-stress environment many nurses, home health care workers, physicians, and others encounter on a daily basis, it is only right that they have access to these important services.
This bill expands the nonprofit property tax exemption to include properties that are used solely to support research and development in present, and emerging, technology. It has the potential to bring important high skilled tech jobs to communities around the state.
Energy and Technology
Senate Bills 596, 597, and 598 amend the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act to make a number of changes regarding distributed generation/net metering programs and create changes to the way that net metering credits are determined for electric customers.
Additionally, this legislation lifts the 1% (per utility) cap on net metering. By passing these bills and creating these necessary changes, Michigan can become a leader in renewable and clean energy, creating jobs and allowing residents to have more control over their energy costs.
Economic and Small Business Development
Last Thursday, the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee heard testimony on House Bill 4816 introduced by Rep. Brandt Iden. This bill would allow Ingham, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Ottawa, and Washtenaw counties to levy an assessment on hotel guests to finance event center projects and urban recreational services.
Insurance and Banking
Last week in Insurance and Banking, we heard testimony on House Bill 5174, introduced by Rep. Daire Rendon. This legislation would increase the fee that a licensed surplus line insurance broker or agent may charge from $50 to a fee that is reasonable to cover underwriting and other expenses that are unique to surplus lines. The bill passed unanimously and is now headed to the Senate Floor.
MICHIGAN’S NEW AUTO INSURANCE LAW
After Senate Bill 1 passed through the legislature last year, new auto insurance reform will take effect for policies issued or renewed starting after July 1, 2020. To help educate drivers about these changes, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services has launched a new website about everything you need to know about the new changes. Learn more at Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance.
Every year, Special Olympics hosts a Legislative Polar Plunge at the steps of the State Capitol to raise funds for their incredible organization, which provides sports training and athletic competitions to empower kids and adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s an organization that’s important to me and I’m proud to be a (very cold) part of this event. This year, on Feb. 27th, the whole McMorrow team will be jumping with me!
Meet Up with Mallory events are informal opportunities to ask questions and discuss topics regarding state issues, as well as receive updates about what’s happening in the Michigan Legislature. They also are a great, convenient way for you to come meet with me without having to travel far, and to share your thoughts on district matters so I can better represent you at the Capitol.
Here are the details:
Friday, February 28
with Rep. Michael Webber
11:00 a.m. to Noon
Rochester Hills Public Library, 500 Olde Towne Road, Rochester, MI 48307
Friday, March 6
with Rep. Mari Manoogian
10:30 a.m. to Noon
NEXT Senior Citizen Center, 2121 Midvale St., Birmingham, MI 48000
Monday, March 9
8:00 to 9:00 a.m.
The Office Coffee Shop, 402 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067
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