Updated Dec. 1, 2020
During the Lame Duck session, advocacy is more important than ever. While it is important for people to speak out against bad policies that may arise, it is equally important to help push good proposals over the finish line. Any legislation that is not fully passed by both the House and Senate by the end of 2020 has to start the process all over in the next session, undoing months, and in many cases, years of work. Here are some of the biggest policy issues we’ll be pushing for in the coming weeks.
COVID-19 Related Legislation:
Statewide Mask Mandate: The League continues to advocate for a statewide mask mandate to better protect our state’s physical and economic health, and as COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise around the state, we hope the Legislature will consider establishing a statewide mask mandate. A mask mandate and public health and safety do not have to be partisan issues, as Republican State Rep. Tommy Brann recently showed.
Unemployment Benefits Extension: The League opposed the Michigan Legislature’s move in 2011 to reduce its unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20, and have supported both the governor and the Legislature’s efforts to extend unemployment benefits six extra weeks during the COVID-19 crisis. The current extension expires in December, but House Bill 5725 would renew it for as long as the state is in a declared emergency.
Water Shutoffs Moratorium: We continue to advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 241, which would establish a moratorium on water shutoffs during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 300,000 residents around the state are behind on their water bills and at risk of having their water shut off. This proposal has broad support outside of the Capitol and bipartisan support, but it’s still important for your lawmakers to hear from you.
Criminal Justice Reforms: There has been a lot of positive, bipartisan momentum in the Legislature for a number of criminal justice reforms this session, but several big issues are still only partway through the legislative process and we need to keep up our advocacy efforts. These are some of our top criminal justice priorities.
- Eliminate the Lifetime SNAP Food Assistance Ban for Certain Drug Felons: Senate Bill 1006 to, which was passed by the House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors today and is now awaiting a vote by the full House.
- Juvenile Record Expungement: Senate Bills 681 and 682 would make it easier to keep juvenile records confidential and to get a juvenile record expunged. The bills have passed the full Senate and were passed by the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 1.
- Reforms to Driver’s License Suspensions: This package of bills has passed the full House and Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting action on the Senate floor.
- Expanded Access to Occupational Licenses: These bills have passed the full House and Senate Regulatory Reform Committee and are awaiting action on the Senate floor.