Rep. Ann Bollin

State Rep. Ann Bollin, chair of the House Elections and Ethics Committee, speaks in support of a bipartisan agreement to strengthen the integrity of Michigan elections.

(The Center Square) – Here is what is going on in Lansing.

Election changes

House Elections and Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton Twp, said the GOP-dominated Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer struck a deal to improve Michigan election law.

Bollin said the plan via House Bills 4491, 6071, and Senate Bills 311 and 8 is a win for legislators.

“Election integrity should not be politicized,” Bollin said in a statement. “We can all agree that the people of Michigan must be able to vote freely and securely. And we all want our local clerks to have the tools they need to run smooth elections with results our citizens can trust.”

The plan aims to

  • Require the Secretary of State and county election clerks to clean up official voter rolls monthly, removing dead voters from the lists and decreasing the chances of fraud.
  • Create a chain of custody for dropbox ballots, including better tracking of ballots retrieved from drop boxes.
  • Allow electronic return of ballots for active-duty military members stationed overseas.
  • Allow preprocessing of absentee ballots for two days before Election Day.
  • Expand options for communities’ polling locations. This would allow privately owned buildings to host elections, such as banquet centers, as long as the building isn’t owned by a candidate for office or someone who runs a political action committee.

Whitmer is expected to sign the deal. 

Senate OKs bill to cut sales and use tax on vehicle rebates

The Michigan Senate approved House Bills 4939 and 4940, which aim to eliminate sales and use taxes on vehicle rebates offered by manufacturers.

Currently, the value of an automobile manufacturer’s rebate doesn't lower the vehicle price used to determine sales and use taxes in Michigan.

Rep. John Damoose, R-Harbor Springs, and Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, sponsored the plan to exempt vehicle manufacturer rebates from sales and use taxes.

“When an auto manufacturer reduces the price of a car or truck by providing a rebate, the state government should collect less in taxes,” Damoose said in a statement. “Our bipartisan plan to end sales and use taxes on the vehicle rebates will achieve that goal — reducing the burden of government on Michigan drivers and saving them money.”

The bills would ensure the tax change wouldn't reduce revenue to the School Aid Fund.

The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency estimated that, if enacted into law, the bills would cut state revenue by an average of about $25.5 million to $31.2 million annually.

The package returns to the House.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.