LANSING, MI — It’s the end of the road for the Michigan Legislature’s 2013-14 legislative session, which is set to conclude with final House and Senate meetings on Thursday.
Any bills not approved by the end of the day — or perhaps the wee hours of Friday morning — will end up on the ash heaps of history. Or they’ll be resurrected next year.
Here’s a look at a number of high-profile bills that could live or die in the final hours of the lame-duck session.
Roads: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder emerged from a Wednesday evening meeting with “quadrant” leaders suggesting a long-term road funding deal could be in the works. But it’s wasn’t done yet. Snyder and legislative leaders will meet first thing Thursday morning to try again. All sides agree on the need for $1.2 billion a year in extra road funding. We’ll see if they can get there, and if they’ll ask voters to finish the deal via a ballot proposal. More >>
Term limits: Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, considered calling for a vote Wednesday night on his resolution that would provide a term limit extension option for Michigan lawmakers. He held off but told reporters he wants a vote on Thursday. Any constitutional amendment would require supermajority support in both chambers and a vote of the people. More >>
Medical marijuana: There’s some medical marijuana drama brewing in the Senate, where Richardville has been working to fine tune House-approved bills that would allow for the return of regulated dispensaries and edibles. Two law enforcement groups spoke out against the bills Wednesday morning, but Richardville said action is still possible on Thursday. More >>
Education reforms: Two significant education-related packages remain up in the air. Teacher evaluation legislation approved by wide margins in the House back in May has languished in the Senate Education Committee, whose chairman said there’s still work to do. Meanwhile, legislation promoted as an early warning system for financially struggling school distrusts appears to have a stronger shot of getting done. The Senate-approved bills are sitting on the House floor for potential action. More >>
RFRA: The House-approved Religious Freedom Restoration Act appears to be dead in the Senate, although supporters made one last push this week. A group of senators sent Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, a letter urging him to put the bill up for a vote, but he remained noncommittal Wednesday night. Gov. Rick Snyder, noting the measure was introduced alongside a non-discrimination proposal that stalled, said he would have a “much greater degree of concern and higher level of scrutiny to the extent they’re separated, as opposed to being a package.” More >>
Amazon Tax: “Main Street Fairness” legislation approved by the Senate last week still has a shot in the House, where action could be linked to the road funding debate. The pair of bills aims to help the state collect sales and use taxes from out-of-state online retailers like Amazon. Michigan consumers are supposed to voluntarily report untaxed online spending and remit the appropriate use tax, but… More >>
Jonathan Oosting is a Capitol reporter for MLive Media Group. Email him, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.
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