The League of Women Voters of Michigan often takes positions on legislative or citizen initiatives and other proposed governmental policy or regulatory decisions. If an initiative reaches a legislative committee, a voting body or other decision makers, the League may take action (testimony, letters, phone calls, public statements, etc). The lack of public action is not indicative of the numerous decisions to support or oppose an issue that the League makes on a regular basis.
November 18, 2021: LAWSUIT AGAINST KENT COUNTY APPORTIONMENT COMMISSION
Along with local League members, LWVMI filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Appeals against the Kent County Apportionment Commission for partisan gerrymandering in Kent County. The plan adopted by the Apportionment Commission shows clear partisan bias, among other legal violations. The League is asking the Court of Appeals to vacate the Kent County plan and adopt another plan the commission considered that has less partisan bias.
November 13, 2021: OPPOSE GUN STORES BEING IDENTIFIED AS ‘ESSENTIAL’ BUSINESSES
LWVMI opposes HB 5187-5188 because these bills do not protect individuals from gun violence but instead limit possible government actions to protect the public from such violence in emergencies. Current legislators cannot foresee future emergencies or types of weapons available. It is possible that access to more firearms and ammunition could lead to unintended and dangerous outcomes.
November 13, 2021: SUPPORT VOTING RIGHTS PACKAGE
LWVMI supports HB 4361, HB 5513-14 which would require local clerks to maintain a permanent Absentee Voter (AV) list, require ballots to be counted within 72 hours of an election and postmarked by election day, provide for electronic return of AV ballots for overseas military and spouses, require clerks to send AV applications with prepaid postage, eliminate the restriction not allowing voters to be transported to the polls and other rights that make voting more accessible and safe.
November 13, 2021: SUPPORT FOR PRE-TRIAL BILLS HB 5436-5443
LWVMI supports these bills that establish pre-trial procedures that ensure no person suffers discrimination due to their ability to pay, and requires consideration of community support services that may help with any pretrial risks.
November 10, 2021: ELIMINATE SOLAR ENERGY CAP
LWVMI sent a letter to the House Energy Committee urging them totake prompt action to approve HB 4326, a bi-partisan bill that will eliminate the 1% cap now in place restricting owners of rooftop solar systems from selling their excess power to utility companies. In addition, the bill will end restrictions on the number of participants in the program.
October 28, 2021: VETO VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS
LWVMI sent a letter to Gov. Whitmer urging her to veto SB 303-304 and HB 5007 which would make voting more difficult for many Michigan voters by eliminating the affidavit option if voting without a qualifying ID.
October 10, 2021: SUPPORT GOOD TIME CREDITS
SB 649 would allow for “Good Time Credits” for prisoners. Michigan is one of 6 states that don’t provide this credit. LWVMI supports this bill. On October 14, 2021, LWVMI sent a request to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging that a hearing be held on the bill.
October 10, 2021: REPEAL PA 325
The League supports the repeal of PA 325 via HB 5289. PA 325 is a 1931 law that bans abortion in Michigan. If Roe v Wade is overturned, this 1931 law would again be in effect if not repealed.
October 10, 2021: SUPPORT NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE BALLOT INITIATIVE
The LWVMI Board voted to support the ballot initiative being launched that, if supported by the voters, would designate the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide as the national popular vote winner, and would appoint the Electoral College members supporting the popular vote.
October 10, 2021: SUPPORT TAX-FREE FEMALE HYGIENE PRODUCTS
The League supports HB 4270 and HB 5267 that would eliminate sales and use taxes on female hygiene products.
September 30 2021: SUPPORT OF STANDARDIZING ELECTION RULES
The League submitted comments in support of the recent Election Rules promoted by the MI Secretary of State concerning online ballot applications, signature matching standards and codifying the best practices rules of disqualification from the ballot based upon the contents of an Affidavit of Identity.
September 13, 2021: ENABLE IMMIGRANTS TO HAVE ACCESS TO STATE IDS & DRIVER’S LICENSES
Testimony was submitted to the members of the House Rules and Competitiveness Committee on Sept. 13, 2021 at a hearing concerning HB 4375 and 4376. These bills would address the ongoing challenges by agricultural employers of recruiting and retaining skilled migrant/seasonal farm workers who need state IDs and driver’s licenses.
September 11, 2021: BEHAVIORAL HEALTH BILLS
LWVMI voted to oppose bills SB 587 and HB 4925 which would eliminate the existing network of 10 regional community health associations that manage mental health care and shift the managed care to private providers. Both bills would also shift the mental health care recommendations and oversight from the regional to the state level; additionally, SB 597 privatizes care through private insurance providers.
July 13, 2021: SUPPORT FOR REQUEST FOR DECLARATORY RULING/INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT UNDER MCL 169.215
The League sent a letter to the Bureau of Elections expressing our support of Robert S. Labrant’s 6-28-21 request for a ruling on the campaign finance issues associated with the MIGOP using administrative funds to pay for a petition drive that, if successful, would enable the Legislature to enact voter suppression bills. The administrative fund has no reporting obligations.
July 10, 2021: FIREARM BACKGROUND CHECKS
The LWVMI voted to support SB 454 and HB 4869, 4870 and 4871 which all deal with strengthening background checks of firearms in Michigan. The League also supports SB 455 and SB 456 which provide guidelines in sentencing and amend the penal code concerning falsification of documents necessary for a sale of firearms. .
ACTION ALERT: June 23, 2021 HOUSE VOTES ON SB 303 AND 304
These bills advanced to the House for a vote. Members were urged to contact their Representatives to vote no on these same bills for which an Action Alert was sent on June 2, 2021.
June 22, 2021: OPPOSE ANTI-VOTING BILLS SB 303 AND 304
The League submitted the testimony Michigan’s House of Representatives to state our opposition to SB 303 and 304, which would remove the option of an affidavit if a voter doesn’t have state ID (#303). #304 would only allow 6 days for a voter who voted by provisional ballot to come to the clerk’s office and verify his/her identity.
June 12, 2021: BIOLOGY AND HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The League voted to oppose SB 218 which provides that only biological males may compete for a position on and compete on a boys’ high school team in an interscholastic activity, and only biological females may compete for a position on and compete on a girls’ high school team in an interscholastic activity.
June 12, 2021: SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS
LWVMI opposes HB 4293 and SB 267 which would allow for certain school employees to be substitute teachers, including those without a teaching certificate, a college diploma or even college credits. LWVMI believes that teacher certification endorsements should be required for all subjects taught in middle school through high school.
June 12, 2021: BOTTLE BILLS
The League supports SB 167 and HB 4331 which will allow recycling of more items than the current law allows. Plastic water bottles and juice bottles are part of these bills which aim to keep more recyclable products out of landfills, nature and neighborhoods and into the hands of our burgeoning recycling industry. Our bottle deposit system has a clean, efficient stream that’s great for our recycling industry and companies looking to use recycled products.
June 12, 2021: GRAVEL MINING
LWVMI opposes SB 429, SB 430 and SB 431 that take away local control over sand and gravel mining. The League joins with many other groups, including the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in opposing these bills.
June 12, 2021: DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR IMMIGRANTS
LWVMI supports HB 4835, 4836 and SB 433 and 434 which would allow the state to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants in certain circumstances. The League’s position on Agricultural and Seasonal Workers calls for licenses to be issued to immigrants for safety and quality of life issues.
June 12, 2021: CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
LWVMI supports SB 473-484 which would help to reform policing. The bills would include a requirement to create investigation guidelines for officer-involved deaths, maintenance of use-of-force records, standards for officer license revocation, collective bargaining reforms, modification of search warrants, and improved training requirements.
ACTION ALERT: June 2, 2021 OPPOSE ANTI-VOTING BILLS 285, 303 AND 304
The League urges NO votes on these bills that will make voting more difficult. SB 285 requires copies of ID for those who apply for an absentee ballot – even though the ID was already furnished when the voter registered to vote. SB 303 removes the option of using an identity affidavit if a voter doesn’t have suitable ID when he votes in person on election day. If SBs 285 and 303 are passed, SB 304 will only allow 6 days for a voter to furnish correct ID for his vote to be counted. Requiring a provisional ballot causes the voter to have to go through the voting process twice. These bills will lead to voter disenfranchisement for voters who cannot easily copy ID materials with absentee ballot applications, ignore Michigan’s voter ID laws that are already on the books, and will make voting more difficult for those who forgot their ID on election day.
May 26, 2021 OPPOSING VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS: SB 284, 285, 289, 303, 304, 307 and 310
The League submitted testimony to the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee in this latest round of hearings on the voter suppression bills. Our opposition to these bills reflects our concerns regarding the limits of federal funding and prohibition of local contributions to run elections, the provisional ballot that will be in place for an absentee voter who does not turn in the newly-required ID, the elimination of the use of an identify affidavit in place of state ID when voting in person on election day, the requirement to include the text of an entire proposal on each ballot, and the elimination of an absentee ballot application link on the Secretary of State’s website.
May 19, 2021 OPPOSING VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS: SB 275, 276, 288, 296, 297, 298 and 299
President Christina Schlitt submitted testimony to the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee concerning another group of bills that we consider to be voter suppression bills. Four bills concerning possible intimidation and harassment of election workers and increased partisanship are highlighted in the testimony.
May 12, 2021 OPPOSING VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS: SB 300, 301, 279, 290-295 and 309
LWVMI President Christina Schlitt testified before the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee concerning bills dealing with early voting, poll challengers and election inspector rations.
May 5, 2021 OPPOSING VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS: SB 273, 278, 286, 311 and 334
President Christina Schlitt testified in front of the Senate Elections Committee concerning the League’s opposition to Senate bills 273, 278, 286, 311 and 334. These bills create unnecessary, expensive, and cumbersome rules for the delivery, transport and counting of absentee ballots. All the proposed rules create barriers for citizens wishing to vote by absentee ballot.
April 28, 2021 OPPOSING VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS: SB 287, 273 and 307
Former LWVMI President Judy Karandjeff submitted testimony to the Senate Elections Committee concerning SB 287 and SB 273 and SB 307, which will add the following barriers to voting: clerks will be prohibited from providing postage-paid return envelopes for absentee ballots, the number of dropboxes for absentee ballots will be reduced or eliminated, and ballots will be encumbered by the full text of ballot proposals printed on ballots.
March 13, 2021 EXPANDING TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT
The League supports HB 4383, HB 4384, HB 4385, HB 4386, HB 4387, HB 4388, HB 4389, HB 4390, HB 4391 and HB 4392. Taken together, House Bills 4383 through 4392 would add Part 2 to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to implement a new Legislative Open Records Act that would serve to bring the legislature under FOIA. The bills would also remove the current exemption from FOIA for the governor, lieutenant governor, and executive office employees. The bills would change the name of FOIA to the Freedom of Information and Legislative Open Records Act. The bills would take effect January 1, 2022.
March 13, 2021 SEXUAL ORIENTATION ADDITION TO CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
The League supports HB 4297 and identical SB 208, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as a protected category in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
March 13, 2021 COUNTING INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS IN THE CENSUS
The League supports HB 4276 which would require that the Department of Corrections report the pre-incarceration address of incarcerated individuals for voting district population counts.
March 13, 2021 REMOVE CAP ON ROOFTOP SOLAR
The League supports HB 4236, which would eliminate the outdated and arbitrary cap on rooftop solar with reference to the reimbursement for the excess electricity they generate that flows back to the electric grid.
February 24, 2021: SUBSTITUTE BILLS FOR #4127 AND #4128 DEFEAT THE INTENT
After the House Elections & Ethics Committee adopted substitutes to HB 4127 and HB 4128, LWVMI Board rescinded their support (see Feb. 13th entry) and now OPPOSES these bills. The substitute bills make the process for getting inactive voters out of the Qualified Voter File more expensive, time consuming and discourages voters from responding.
February 13, 2021: FIREARMS AT THE STATE CAPITOL
LWVMI supports both SB 34 and 35 introduced in January, 2021, which would prohibit anyone from carrying firearms and concealed pistols into the state Capitol. The League also supports HB 4023 and 4024 which would extend the firearm prohibition to the Binsfeld Senate Building and the Anderson House Building as well as Capitol grounds.
February 13, 2021: VOTER SUPPRESSION
LWVMI voted to oppose HB 4132 and 4133, which calls for stricter incarceration penalties for a person who fills out an AV ballot application using another person’s ID. This action is already a penalty. HB 4134, also opposed by LWVMI, would expand the number of electors per precinct, thereby reducing the number of precincts available in a community. Both of these bills are types of voter suppression.
February 13, 2021: QUALIFIED VOTER FILE UPDATES AND TRAINING
LWVMI supports HB 4127 and 4128 which would allow the Michigan Secretary of State to remove voters who have “placeholder” birthdates or have not voted since the 2000 election if t hey fail to respond to a mailing. The League also supports HB 4129 which would require the Secretary of State to post the names of Michigan clerks in odd-numbered years who have not completed the QVF training.