LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A flurry of activity for lawmakers in Lansing, passing a number of bills on their last working day of 2013. The Michigan Legislature has now adjourned for the year and lawmakers are beginning their holiday break.
Among the bills gaining approval, lawmakers moved to raise maximum contributions to candidates for the first time in decades and keep intact rules so donors behind certain political ads can stay anonymous. WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says that was over the wishes of Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who wanted full disclosure.
“They adopted a campaign spending proposal that allows people to double the contributions they make to “issue” ads, but they made sure the legislation did not have any disclosure as to who those people are. That is in direct opposition to the Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson who wanted that disclosure in the bill. She did not get it,” says Skubick.
As for other activity during the Thursday night session, Skubick says, “They did not act on what to do with failing schools. The governor wanted that, he’ll put that on the to-do list for next year. They did pass in the state Senate a breast-feeding bill. They did discuss a variety of issues, including the land line bill and that one will be unresolved. And so basically, the governor called this a good year.”
Skubick says transportation did not get done, but may be on the agenda for 2014. Medical marijuana measures moved forward in the state House, including one that would allow pharmacy sales of the drug, pending federal approval. The pharmacy bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. Other medical marijuana bills passed the House, but need Senate consideration next year. One would let local governments allow or prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, or “provisioning centers” in their communities. The other would clarify that patients can use non-smokeable forms of medical marijuana, such as oils, food items and pills.
Also regarding medical marijuana, Skubick says, “The Senate also sent a bill over to the House that will likely be dealt with next year, but it would give a welfare case worker the right, on the basis of a suspicion, to order a drug test for a welfare recipient. And if the recipient said no, benefits are cut off. If the recipient says yes and test positive, the benefits are cut off. The sponsor says this is just the right thing to do to make sure that welfare dollars are going to help feed welfare families and not just their drug habits.”
The state House also passed a bill to require Michigan insurers to give annual estimates of the federal health care law’s impact on customers’ premiums.
Lawmakers will return to work in the middle of January.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press contributed to this report.)