Local legislators voting update – April 2022

Here is how some of St. Joseph County’s state and national representatives voted on selected legislation in the month of April. State Rep. Steve Carra and State Sen. Kim LaSata’s voting records and details of the legislation are courtesy of MichiganVotes.org. United States Rep. Fred Upton’s voting record is courtesy of his U.S. House website. Details of U.S. House bills are courtesy of the Congressional Research Service.

State Rep. Steve Carra

  • April 13, House Bill 5569, passed House 101-1
    Carra voted in favor of the bill, which would authorize spending more on state road patrol subsidies. Specifically, the bill would revise the “maintenance of effort” spending requirement that comes with counties accepting the privilege of having their own sheriff road patrols augmented with State Police “secondary road patrols” at no charge. This refers to a requirement that counties use this subsidy to permit a net-increase in patrols rather than substitute patrols paid for by state taxpayers for ones provided by county taxpayers. The bill would slightly water-down that requirement in some instances. There were three other similar bills regarding this topic that Carra voted in favor of. The bills are currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee as of April 14.
  • April 13, House Bill 5777, passed House 92-10
    Carra voted against the bill, which would require the state education department to “develop a resource for use by a parent or legal guardian of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing and is age 5 or younger…to monitor and track the child's expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy.” The bill is currently in the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee as of April 14.
  • April 26, House Bills 5274-5277, each passed House 102-0
    Carra voted in favor of the bills, which would create a statewide electronic case management system for child abuse and child neglect cases. Among other things, the bill prescribes a notification process for individuals subject to being enrolled in the system, as well as revise suspected child abuse registry details. The bills were signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on May 5.
  • April 27, Senate Bill 258, passed House 61-38
    Carra voted against the bill, which would require a newspaper in which government legal notices are published to also place these on a section of a website that can be accessed at no charge. Note: Before the internet, even most small communities had daily or weekly newspapers, and state laws required them to publish certain local government notices to the public, for which they were paid. As the 21st century advances these laws have been modified to reflect changes in technology and the newspaper industry, with some changes opposed by newspapers previously paid to run the notices. The bill was signed by Gov. Whitmer Thursday.

State Sen. Kim LaSata

  • April 21, Senate Bill 993, passed Senate 33-0
    LaSata voted in favor of the bill, which would create a segregated state account (“fund”) to hold money extracted from pharmaceutical companies in government lawsuits related to their sales of opioid pain killers, and spend the money collected in a manner consistent with the “judgment, settlement, or compromise of claims” in lawsuits against prescription drug makers. The bill passed the state House on May 10, and is currently awaiting action by Gov. Whitmer.
  • April 21, Senate Bill 994, passed Senate 33-0
    LaSata voted in favor of the bill, which would create a 24-member “opioid advisory commission” within the Legislative Council, a bipartisan entity that administers the legislative branch of state government. This would be comprised of specified political appointees and state officials, and would provide annual reviews of state government’s activities in this area. The bill was passed by the House on May 10, and is currently awaiting action by Gov. Whitmer.
  • April 26, Senate Bill 788, passed Senate 21-15
    LaSata voted in favor of the bill in a party-line vote, which would establish a separate campaign finance contribution regulatory regime for office holders who are the subject of a recall campaign, including donor disclosure requirements. The bill would also slightly increase limits on campaign contribution amounts to candidates for the legislature or for local offices is larger jurisdictions (>250,000 population). The bill was in response to a fundraising loophole Republicans say Gov. Whitmer took advantage of last year to exceed campaign contribution limits. The bill is currently in the House Elections and Ethics Committee as of April 26.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton

  • April 1, H.R. 3617, passed House 220-204
    Upton voted against the bill, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.
  • April 7, H.R. 3807, passed House 223-203
    Upton voted against the legislation, which would provide an additional $42 billion in FY2021 for the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund and gives priority to previous applicants who have not received a grant. Additionally, the bill would establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program for small businesses that suffered a pandemic-related revenue loss of 40 percent or more. Aggregate grant amounts would be capped at $1 million. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.
  • April 7, H.R. 6968, passed House 413-9
    Upton voted in favor of the legislation, which would prohibit the importation of energy products from Russia. Specifically, the bill prohibits the importation of Russian products that are classified under chapter 27 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (which includes mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, bituminous substances, and mineral waxes). The bill was signed by President Joe Biden on April 8.
  • April 28, Senate Bill 3522, passed House 417-10
    Upton voted in favor of the bill, which would temporarily waive certain requirements related to the President's authority to lend or lease defense articles if the defense articles are intended for Ukraine's government or the governments of other Eastern European countries affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The bill was signed by President Biden on May 9.

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