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.
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. Read the testimony here.
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 communityhealth 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. Read the letter here.
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 attached testimony to 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 thess 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 REPORM
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 oppostion 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. Read the testimony here.
May 19, 2021 OPPOSING VOTER SUPPRESSION BILLS: SB 275, 276, 288, 296, 297, 298 and 299
President Christina Schlitt submitted testimony to the Sentate Elections and Ethics Committee concerning another group of bills that we consider to be voter suppression bills. Four bills concerning possible intimidation and harrassment of election workers and increased partisanship are highlighted in the testimony. Click here to view.
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. Read the testimony here.
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. View the testimony here.
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. See the full testimony here.
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 INDIVUALS 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. Read LWVMI's letter to the House Elections and Ethics Committee here.
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. Read the League's letter to the House Elections and Ethics Committee here. (See Feb. 24 entry).
December 17, 2020: WATER SHUTOFF PROTECTION ACT
The League supports SB 241 which bans water shutoffs in homes during the panedemic.
ACTION ALERT: November 23, 2020 STAND UP FOR FAIR ELECTIONS IN MICHIGAN
The Board of State Canvassers met on 11-23-2020 to certify Michigan's election results. League members were encouraged to contribute public comments to say that the election was fair, the results are accurate and it is time to move forward. In accordance with state law, audits are already scheduled to be conducted after certification. The League continues to empower voters and defend democracy and we demand the State Canvassers do their job and certify the results of the 83 Michigan counties that have already done so.
October 10, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS MASS CRIMINAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATION
LWVMI Board of Directors voted to support SB 1046-1051 that would implement task force recommendations designed to set the course for dismantling racism in Michigan’s criminal legal system by eliminating unnecessary jail time contributing to mass incarceration. UPDATE: On December 10, 2020, the League sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging support of these bills.
October 10, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS MATERNAL HEALTH CARE OF FEMALE PRISONERS
LWVMI Board of Directors voted to support SB 830 and 831 that would amend the Corrections Code to establish rights of incarcerated individuals who are pregnant, who are nursing infants, who think they might be pregnant or who have just given birth, and would create an Advisory Committee to monitor certain areas affecting female prisoners, including conditions of pregnancy.
October 10, 2020 LEAGUE OPPOSES ZONING CHANGES
LWVMI Board of Directors voted to oppose SB 431 that would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to severely restrict the powers of a local unit of government from making decisions about mining of natural resources in their community.
September 25, 2020 LEAGUE URGES INVESTIGATION OF "UNLOCK MICHIGAN"
LWVMI sent a letter to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, urging a formal criminal investigation into "Unlock Michigan"’s process of gathering petition signatures in an effort to repeal the emergency powers act being used by the governor during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Media reports allege Unlock Michigan has used deceptive and possibly illegal practices to collect signatures.
UPDATE: On Sept. 28, 2020, AG Dana Nessel announced an investigation.
September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS RECYLCING BILLS
LWVMI sent a letter to the Michigan House Ways & Means Committee urging passage of HBs 5812 to 5817 (neutral on HB 5814), the solid waste revisions that support more recycling in Michigan. The League supports increasing the recycling rate and reducing the solid waste going into landfills. Read the letter here.
ACTION ALERT: September 14, 2020 MAKE EVERY VOTE COUNT!
Members and LWV supporters are urged to tell the MI Senators and Representatives that they have the opportunity to improve the election process in Michigan by passing these bills: 1)Senate Bill 756 - allows poll workers on Absentee Ballot Counting Board to work in shifts. 2) Senate Bill 757 - allows election officials to begin processing Absentee Ballots before Election Day. 3) House Bill 5987 - requires ballots be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within the following 48 hours. 4) House Bill 5991 - requires clerks to contact voters if their signature on their absentee ballot doesn't match the signature on file so voters can fix the problem.
September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS ABSENT VOTE COUNTING BOARDS REFORMS
The League sent a letter to the members of the House Ways and means Committee urging passage of SB 756 that will allow more flexibility for workers on Absent Voter Counting Boards so they can work in shifts. The League believes that voting is a fundamental citizen right and supports legislation that ensures accuracy and security in all aspects of the election process. By allowing workers to work in shifts the process for counting ballots will be improved.
September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS ABSENTEE BALLOT BILLS
Urging passage as soon as possible of HB 5987 and HB 5991, LWVMI sent a letter to the House Elections and Ethics Committee. HB 5987 will allow absentee ballots postmarked by election day to be counted if they are received within 48 hours of election day. HB 5991 would require voters to be notified if the signature on the absentee ballot does not match the signature on file. These bills will assure that all citizens have the right to vote.
September 14, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS REMOVAL OF FOIA EXEMPTION
LWVMI supports passage of HBs 4007 through 4016 that remove the current exemption from the Freedom of Information Act for the Michigan Legislature, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and executive office employees. A letter was sent to the members of the Senate Oversight Committee stating that the League believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation at all levels of government. The League further believes that governmental bodies must protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings, and making public records accessible.
September 12, 2020 LEAGUE OPPOSES "BROKEN BOTTLE BILL"
LWVMI opposes HB 5423, a bill that would divert money from cleanup of contaminated sites, including potentially threatening drinking water, via Michigan's bottle deposit program. “At a time when we have more reported contamination issues than ever before, House Bill 5423 will result in a net loss for funding that goes directly to cleanup of contaminated sites that threaten the health of our communities,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “The majority of contaminated sites in Michigan do not have an entity that can be held responsible for cleanup. Lawmakers who are pushing for stronger accountability for polluters shouldn’t support the stripping of funding that goes to contaminated sites."
September 12, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS BILL PROHIBITING PFAs IN FOOD
LWVMI supports SB 1072, a bill to prohibit using PFAs in packaging of foods. This bill would amend 2000PA92, ("Food Law" -MCL289.1101 to 289.8111) which governs the processing, manufacturing, production, packing, etc. of food or drink for consumption. Senate Bill 1072 would prohibit a person to "knowingly manufacture, sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, or distribute for use in this state food packaging to which PFAS, bispenols or phthalates have been intentionally added in any amount beginning January 2,2022 assuming a safe substitute packaging is verified by the State.
September 12, 2020 LEAGUE SUPPORTS ABSENTEE BALLOT BILLS
LWVMI supports HB 5987 and 5991 which would allow absentee ballots to be counted if postmarked by Election day. It would also require that a voter be contacted if their signature on their absentee ballot doesn’t match the signature on file at the Secretary of State's office.
August 8, 2020: LWVMI SUPPORTS TWO BALLOT PROPOSALS
The Board of Directors of LWVMI voted to support two proposals that will be on the Novembrer 3, 2020 election ballot:
Michigan Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment
The ballot measure would add language to the Michigan State Constitution that requires a search warrant to access electronic data or electronic communications. The ballot measure would also state that electronic data and electronic communications are secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Michigan Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment
The ballot measure would make changes to how revenue in the state's park-related funds can be spent. As of 2018, the funds received revenue from mineral, oil, and gas leases and royalties. The ballot measure would affect the following funds: the Natural Resources Trust Fund that provides grants to local governments for acquiring land for recreational use, environmental conservation, and scenic importance and for developing recreational facilities and the State Parks Endowment Fund that provides funding for the state park system.
ACTION ALERT: July 31, 2020 LAST MINUTE VOTING TIPS
The League reminded Michigan constituents that they can still register to vote, even though the election is 4 days away. Tips for voter registration, voting in person and voting absentee were all included in an Alert to members and friends of the League. Additionally, voters were encouraged to visit VOTE411.org for ballot and candidate information.
ACTION ALERT: July 29, 2020 ABSENTEE BALLOTS SHOULD BE RETURNED IMMEDIATELY
With one week remaining before the August 4 statewide primary, voters with absentee ballots were urged to drop them off at their local drop box or clerk’s office as soon as possible. Michigan law states all ballots must be received by the clerk by 8 p.m. on August 4 in order to be counted. A list of ballot drop boxes is available online. Voters may only return their ballot to the drop box of their city or township. “Voters should get their absentee ballots returned as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “This close to the primary, Michiganders should return their absentee ballots to their clerk’s office directly, or submit them via their local ballot drop box, in order to ensure their vote is counted.”
ACTION ALERT: July 24, 2020 POLL WORKERS NEEDED FOR AUGUST PRIMARY
In partnership with the Election Protection Program, the League is asking for everyone’s help recruiting poll workers for the August 4th primary. Without an adequate number of poll workers, voters will be at risk of being disenfranchised. As of July 24, the following cities are still in need of poll workers for the August primary: Flint, Detroit, Dearborn Heights, Pontiac, Southfield, Ypsilanti (City), Burton City, Portage City, and Comstock Township.
June 30, 2020 UPDATE: MERITLESS VOTER PURGE LAWSUIT DROPPED
Known for bringing multiple, voter-purge lawsuits against cities and counties across the country, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) asked a judge to dismiss its lawsuit against the City of Detroit on June 30, 2020. “This is a victory for the voters of Michigan,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, which joined the case on the city’s side in May. “The League of Women Voters has worked hard to register and educate eligible voters in the state, and PILF was trying to undo that work. The League stepped in to push back against PILF’s bullying tactics, and we won.” “From the start, we’ve said this lawsuit is without merit,” said Eliza Sweren-Becker, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “When pressed for evidence to support their allegations, PILF withdrew its case rather than try to prove it. It’s shameful that PILF made the City of Detroit spend time and money to defend against a case that should never have been brought in the first place.” Read the complete LWV statement HERE.
June 21, 2020 VOTERS DESERVE EXPANSION OF ABSENTEE VOTING
Responding to an article in the Detroit News concerning the pitfalls of voting by mail-in ballots, LWVMI President Christina Schlitt wrote that, "Michigan has systems in place to deter and detect irregularities in the voting process, both by mail and in person.
There is no record of massive or serious election manipulation via mail-in-voting. Even Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has attested to this. Further, Americans want to be able to vote by mail, especially during a life-threatening pandemic. A poll released by the Pew Research Center this year showed almost three out of every four Americans favor universal access to mail voting." Read the entire letter here.
June 19, 2020 NUCLEAR POWER SAFETY CONCERNS IN MICHIGAN AMIDST THE PANDEMIC
A coalition of environmental and public interest groups, including LWVMI, warned Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist about its concerns regarding increased risks at Michigan's nuclear power plants, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was cc'd to numerous additional MI state, county, and local officials, as well as to MI's U.S. congressional delegation, given their overlapping responsibilities to protect public health, safety, security, and the environment from nuclear risks. See the letter here.
ACTION ALERT: June 18, 2020 TELL MI SENATORS TO SUPPORT IMPROVING THE ELECTION PROCESS
LWVMI is concerned about the need to improve the processes for counting absentee ballots prior to the August Primary and November General Election. According to Secretary of State Benson, nearly 1 million absentee ballots were submitted in the presidential primary. This was nearly twice as many ballots as were cast in the 2016 presidential primary. This number could be even higher in the primary and general election. Michigan's state senators were contacted urging their support of SB 757 that was introduced to improve the process of counting absentee ballots.
June 13, 2020 EXPANSION OF GUN FREE ZONES
Introduced 5/19/2020, HB 5783, tie barred with HB 5784 will expand gun free zones to include: “A building owned or leased by this state or part of a building owned or leased by this state.” (This bill does not apply to persons providing security for that entity.) HB 5784 restricts those with concealed pistol licenses from carrying the pistol on the premises of gun free zones i.e. school property, day care sports arena,tavern, chuch, hospital, dormitory AND a building owned or leased by this state.
June 13, 2020 SOLID WASTE CHANGES
The League supports HB 5812-17 which, when passed with HB 5814 (the League is neutral on #5814) would amend Part 115 (Solid Waste Management) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to revise, rewrite, and reorganize the laws regulating solid waste, including coal ash and recyclables, in Michigan.
June 13, 2020 AMEND LAW ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS ACT
The League supports HB 5836 and SB 945 that would amend the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act to change its training to include standards of de-escalation techniques, implicit bias training, procedural justice training and mental health resources for offcers. New and current officers would be required to complete the training and take annual continuing education of subjects relating to law enforcement.
June 13, 2020 BAN 3-D FIREARMS IN MICHIGAN
The League supports HB 5190, which would amend the MI penal code to prohibit the printing of a 3-D printed firearm. The manufacturing, sale, or possession of a 3-D printed firearm or a part intended for use in assembling or fabricating a silencer would be unlawful.
May 29, 2020: LEAGUE INTERVENES IN LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF DETROIT
A federal judge granted a motion to intervene to the League of Women Voters of Michigan and Detroit in Public Interest Legal Foundation v Winfrey, which seeks to force the City of Detroit to conduct an aggressive purge, based on questionable and unsubstantiated data, that would likely result in eligible voters being thrown off the City’s voter registration rolls. Read the press release here.
May 22, 2020: LWVMI JOINS LAWSUIT URGING ENFORCEMENT OF PROPOSAL 3
LWVMI and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding that she enforce laws put in place by the passage of Proposal 3 in the 2018 election. The lawsuit argues that statute governing absentee voting has not yet been updated to comply with the changes made under the 2018 law. It also calls for following updated law that requires counting of votes if postmarked on or before Election Day, requiring clerks to immediately process absentee ballot requests and having local clerks pay for postage for returning absentee ballots. Read the press release here.