State legislators and Gov. Rick Snyder are working on measures to make schools safer following the most recent mass shooting at a school in Florida. Gov. Snyder advised Budget Director John Walsh to set aside some state funds for school safety as his office does an “extensive review” of what other states are proposing on the issue; Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said he would like the state to spend as much as a “majority” of the projected $889 million in the state’s rainy day fund for a school safety initiative; Senate Democrats Spokesperson Rosie Jones said legislation will be coming soon on the topic of school safety; The Legislature sent the Governor $175 million in leftover General Fund money from last year in additional dollars for state and local transportation departments to fix roads; House Democrats are proposing community college be “tuition free” for all state residents; and House and Senate Election committees appear to be moving forward on legislation to create a system which would allow Michigan residents to register to vote online through the Secretary of State’s These and other legislative initiatives are featured in the March 2018 Karoub Report.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and a bipartisan group of senators recently introduced legislation to help protect children’s identities from “synthetic ID fraud,” a form of identity theft in which stolen Social Security Numbers (SSN) are paired with fake names and birth dates. A recent study found that one in every 10 children had their SSN used by identity thieves to fraudulently open bank or credit card accounts, negatively impacting a child’s credit before they even become adults. Click here for more information on this bill to prevent chiild identity theft.

As the reforming of no-fault auto insurance continues to linger in the Legislature, some have now moved to repeal it in completely; The State House and Senate reached a compromise with Gov. Rick Snyder that will give Michiganders a tax break and speed-up elimination of costly driver responsibility fees. The current $4,000 personal tax exemption will increase to $4,900 per person by 2021. Gov. Snyder had proposed an increase in the exemption to $4,500 over three years; House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) wants to accelerate Gov. Snyder’s FY 2019 road funding proposal into this year’s budget; With the recent conviction of MSU Dr. Larry Nassar, members of the Progressive Women’s Caucus (PWC) will be introducing legislation in the coming weeks or month that will reflect its principles – prevention, protection and accountability – to address the problem of sexual assault on college campuses; Democrats in the Senate have introduced a 22-bill package of legislation they say is designed to prepare the best, attract the brightest and retain the finest Michigan educators. Click here for the February 2018 Karoub Report which highlights these and other legislative issues.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a provision based on bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) that would create a National Criminal Justice Commission.

The provision creates the bipartisan commission to conduct an 18-month, comprehensive review of America’s criminal justice system, proposing recommendations to address the most pressing issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system. The provision passed as part of broader sentencing reform legislation.

“It’s been more than 50 years since we last conducted a comprehensive review of our criminal justice system, and this commission is long overdue,” said Senator Peters. “Every American should trust that they will be treated equally under the law, but numerous incidents in cities across the country have eroded faith in America’s in the system. It’s clear we need to address these serious concerns, including police and community relationships, our growing prison population and the cycle of recidivism. I’m pleased the Judiciary Committee approved this bipartisan provision that will help us identify solutions to ensure we are administering justice in a fair, equitable and effective way for every American.”

Click here for more information on the National Criminal Justice Commission provision.

The Republican-led Senate passed an expanded personal income tax credit that is likely being eliminated due to a quirk in the new federal tax reform law. Senate Bill 748 S-1 preserves Michigan’s $4,000 personal exemption on its income tax, but increases it to $5,000 by 2021- a $200 increase over the $4,800 exemption level of the SB 748 version; Able-bodied Medicaid recipients would have to work, go through job training or perform community service in order to keep their benefits under House Bill 5317; In the state’s first gubernatorial override in 16 years, the House and Senate pushed into law an accelerated sales tax phase out on used car trade-ins that Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed in July 2017; A Special House Task Force report found 42 areas where mental health services could be improved in the state; Charter schools would receive a share of “regional improvement” property taxes on a per-pupil basis that now go only to traditional schools if legislation (SB 574) approved by the House becomes law; and analysts for the House and Senate fiscal agencies are projecting continued slow and steady growth for Michigan economy through 2020, which means the state’s $10 billon General Fund isn’t likely to keep up with inflation over the next three years and the School Aid Fund, when adjusted for inflation, should remain smaller than it was 10 years ago. These and other legislative initiatives are featured in the January 2018 Karoub Report.