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New licensure mandates on engineers, architects, impose licensure on hair braiders

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Ohio earlier this year, and go to www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 236 Impose additional regulations on professional engineers: Passed 96 to 0 in the House on 1/26/2016

 

To require professional engineers to take classes in the ethics of engineering or surveying practices in order to renew their state mandated license.

 

House Bill 243 Expand the regulatory authority of boards that regulate architects and landscape architects: Passed 33 to 0 in the Senate on 2/10/2016

 

To give greater regulatory control to the architect’s board and the landscape architects board regarding continuing education requirements that are mandated for participation in those professions.

 

Senate Bill 213 Impose new regulations on the practice of hair braiding: Passed 32 to 0 in the Senate on 2/10/2016

 

To modify and expand the state regulation of cosmetology, to create new rules to regulate hair braiding and similar activities, and to further limit access to those professions through mandates governing licensing and education.

 

Final Debate Sets the Stage for Election Day

 

 

In keeping with their previous meetings, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had some memorable moments during the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. Moderator Chris Wallace seemed to steer the debate in a more controlled direction than was the case in the other two debates. However, the two candidates could not help interrupting each other and tossing a few barbs across the stage.

 

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the debate was when Trump refused to say that he would accept the result of the election if he lost. Instead, he said, “I will look at it at the time” and vowed to keep America in suspense. Clinton called this comment “horrifying.” In recent speeches, Trump has been accusing the election system of being “rigged” and talking about voter fraud. Clinton hit him for not having faith in the system, saying, “When you are whining before the game is even finished, it shows you that you aren’t up for the job.”

 

The first discussion of the debate revolved around the Supreme Court and how it would rule on issues like gun control and abortion. While Clinton said that she supports the Second Amendment, she also said she believes that there must be regulations such as comprehensive background checks. Trump said that he was “a very strong supporter of the Second Amendment” and that he was proud to have the National Rifle Association’s endorsement.

 

On abortion, Trump advocated for the states to have the ultimate say over whether abortion is legal, and re-affirmed his opposition to partial-birth abortion in graphic terms. Clinton gave a strong defense of Roe v. Wade and condemned Trump for using “scare rhetoric” about late-term abortions.

 

Familiar issues came up in the debate. Clinton attacked Trump for being too friendly with Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying that Putin “would rather have a puppet as a president.” Trump said he would welcome better relations with Russia, and accused Clinton of being upset that Putin had outsmarted her when she was secretary of state.

 

As was the case in the past, the two disagreed over immigration, but both competed to sound a tougher line on trade deals. Clinton reaffirmed her desire to raise taxes in those who earn higher incomes, while Trump promised personal and business tax cuts.

 

The continuing saga of sexual harassment accusation against Trump also came up, with Trump claiming that the stories about him assaulting women “have been largely debunked.” He also blamed these stories on the Clinton campaign. He asserted, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” Clinton claimed, “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger.”

 

One of the last issues to be discussed was entitlement reform, with moderator Wallace laying out the fiscal issues that are looming due to projected shortfalls in Medicare and Social Security. Neither candidate offered a plan that would deal with this issue. Clinton said she would raise payroll tax cap and put more money in Social Security trust fund, but she would not cut benefits. If fact, she called for enhancing benefits for women and low-income workers. Trump said that cutting taxes would grow the economy, which will help with the entitlement issue. He also called for a repeal of Obamacare.

 

Compared to debates in other presidential elections, the Clinton-Trump face-offs have featured far more personal attacks than we have seen in the past. While this has produced good TV, it is unclear if this series of debates changed the minds of many voters.

 

What do you think about the debates between these two candidates? Did anything they said affect how you are going to vote?

 

Criminalize renegade masseuses; birth control insurance mandate; more medical license mandates and midwife regulations

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Colorado earlier this year, and go to www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 1294 Require some health insurers to include contraceptive coverage at no cost: Passed 35 to 30 in the House on 3/29/2016

 

To require some insurance plans to include coverage for contraceptives, voluntary sterilization, and education about contraception. It would not apply to employer-sponsored plans, which are covered under the federal law known as ERISA, though it would apply to managed care plans in Medicaid, the state's health care program for low-income people.

 

House Bill 1160 Extend the professional regulation of surgical assistants and surgical technologists: Passed 21 to 12 in the Senate on 4/14/2016

 

To continue the professional regulation of surgical assistants and surgical technologists by the Department of Regulatory Affairs for another five years.

 

House Bill 1360 Extend and update the state regulation governing midwives: Passed 47 to 18 in the House on 4/11/2016

 

To extend the regulation of midwives by the Division of Professions and Occupations for seven years, and to make certain changes to their allowed practices.

 

House Bill 1320 Criminalize the unlicensed practice of massage: Passed 52 to 1 in the House on 4/8/2016

 

To make changes to the regulation of massage therapists to include age restrictions, fines and penalties for indecent exposure.

 

Government pension spiking and double dipping; union time on taxpayer dime; Detroit pension bailout

 

 

Check out these key votes made by lawmakers during the 2015-16 Michigan Legislature, and go to www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how the people who represent you voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 279, Ban public school/union pension spiking scheme: Passed 25 to 12 in the Senate on November 10, 2015

To prohibit public school districts from adopting arrangements in which a school employee goes to work full time for a teachers union but remains a school employee for purposes of collecting a government pension. Recent presidents of the state’s largest teacher union have used this to ‘spike’ their government pension payouts to six-figure amounts.

The House has not voted on this bill.

 

Senate Bill 280: Ban schools and governments paying union officials to do union work: Passed 20 to 17 in the Senate on November 10, 2015

To prohibit the state and local governments including public schools from carrying union officials on their payroll for doing union work, on either a full time or part time basis. Under these so-called “release time” arrangements many public school districts pay a local union official a full time teacher's salary and benefits even though the individual does not teach or perform any other educational functions.

The House has not voted on this bill.

 

Senate Bill 86: Authorize more local “pension obligation bonds”: Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on March 4, 2015

To extend for one year the Dec. 31, 2015 sunset on a law passed in 2012 to allow local governments to borrow money to cover unfunded employee pension liabilities, which is allowed only if the local has closed its traditional “defined benefit” pension system to new employees.

The House passed this 109 to 1 in the House on May 20, 2015.

 

Senate Bill 738: Require more state pension fund disclosures: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on February 10, 2016

To require that state pension systems include an executive summary of the system’s unfunded liabilities in annual reports they are already required to produce.

The House also passed this bill with no opposing votes.

 

Senate Bill 801, Coleman Young Jr. amendment to give Detroit schools pension bailout: Failed 12 to 25 in the Senate on May 4, 2016

To give the Detroit school district an extra $157 million to cover its cover its delinquent commitments to the underfunded state-run school pension system.

 

Senate Bill 343, Prorate unfunded university pension “catch up” costs: Passed 32 to 5 in the Senate on June 18, 2015

To cap the percentage of payroll that state universities must pay to “catch up” on past underfunding in the school pension system run by the state. This would mean that the state (taxpayers) would be required to cover required catch-up cost contributions above this level, which has also been the case for public school districts since 2012. 

The House passed this 100 to 8 on May 12, 2016.

 

Senate Bill 12: Allow pension double-dipping by “retired” Attorney General employees: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on February 3, 2015

To allow a retired state employee to simultaneously collect pension benefits and a paycheck for work performed as an Attorney General consultant or expert witness.

The House passed this 82 to 28 on April 16, 2015, with three Republicans joining 25 Democrats in opposition. (The current Michigan Attorney General is a Republican.)

 

 

Let public see cop-cams, renewable energy subsidies, limit on state spending and taxes

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in North Carolina during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 972, Deny public access to police recordings: Passed 93 to 21 in the House on June 27, 2016, and 48 to 2 in the Senate on June 29, 2016

To prohibit the public from having access to recordings made by law enforcement, such as those made by body-worn cameras or dashboard cameras. These recordings shall only be disclosed to people who whose image or voice were on the recording, or to their representatives if deceased or a minor. The legislation also authorizes local governments and nonprofits to conduct limited needle exchange programs.

 

Amendment to House Bill 972, Allow release of police recordings in use of force incidents: Failed 42 to 72 in the House on June 27, 2016

To allow the release of a law enforcement recording if the recording was of a use of force incident that resulted in serious bodily injury or death.

 

Senate Bill 372, Extend tax breaks for renewable energy investment: Passed 37 to 7 in the House on April 1, 2015, and 87 to 28 in the House on April 21, 2015

To authorize a one-year extension of existing tax breaks on the cost of construction for proposed renewable energy projects. The bill requires a promise from those seeking an extension that the project will be “substantially completed” by January 1, 2016.

 

Amendment to House Bill 760, Limit renewable energy mandate: Passed 97 to 19 in the House on April 29, 2015

To limit the mandate that public utility companies must obtain a certain portion of their energy from renewable sources at 6%, instead of allowing the mandated amount to rise to 12.5% in 2021. This amendment also fixes the limit at 6% for other utility companies in the state, reduces the amount companies can charge customers to recover costs for renewable energy, and repeals the property tax exclusion for solar energy electric systems.

 

Senate Bill 607, Limit state spending and taxes: Passed 31 to 14 in the Senate on August 12, 2015

To allow voters to approve or reject a constitutional amendment that would limit state spending increases to the average inflation rate plus the population growth rate. However, two-thirds of the legislature could vote to authorize higher spending. This amendment would also limit the state’s income tax to five percent and establish an emergency saving reserve fund.

 

Abortion ban, Christmas trees in the capitol, drug testing for unemployment & job training programs, right to work

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 179, Ban abortion after 20 weeks: Passed 19 to 14 in the Senate on June 9, 2015, and 61 to 34 in the Assembly on July 8, 2015

To prohibit abortion in cases where a doctor determines that 20 or more weeks have passed since fertilization, with exceptions for medical emergencies.

 

Senate Bill 44, Adopt a Wisconsin a "right to work" law: Passed 17 to 15 in the Senate on February 25, 2015, and 62 to 35 in the Assembly on March 5, 2016

To prohibit employers from requiring employees to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

 

Assembly Bill 192, Require unemployment insurance claimants to take drug tests: Passed 63 to 32 in the Assembly on May 13, 2015

To require drug testing of unemployment insurance claimants as a potential condition of receiving benefits.

 

Assembly Bill 191, Require drug testing for job training applicants: Passed 62 to 33 in the Assembly on May 13, 2015

To require applicants to government job training programs take a drug test and enter a treatment program if the results are positive. The treatment programs are provided by the state Department of Children and Families.

 

Assembly Bill 648, Allow Christmas trees in state capitol and churches: Passed 25 to 7 in the Senate on March 15, 2016

To prohibit a state agency or local government from enacting a fire safety ordinance that would ban placing a Christmas tree in the rotunda of the state capitol or in churches.

No money for Planned Parenthood; Juries must reach unanimous verdicts to impose death penalty; Give property tax exemption to some disabled first responders

  

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Florida during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

House Bill 1411. To prohibit the state and local governments from giving money to Planned Parenthood. Passed 74 to 44 in the House on March 3, 2016 and 25 to 15 in the Senate on March 9, 2016.

To prohibit government in Florida from entering into contracts with Planned Parenthood. It also imposes bans the sale or donation of body parts of fetuses and several other restrictions on how abortion clinics operate. Several months after Gov. Scott signed the measure into law, a federal court said the law was unconstitutional. The governor has said he will not appeal the ruling.

 

House Bill 7101. To require a unanimous verdict in death penalty cases. Passed 93 to 20 in the House on February 18, 2016 and 35 to 5 in the Senate on March 3, 2016.

To change Florida state law to comply with a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. If a jury recommends the death penalty, it must now do so by a unanimous vote rather than a majority vote. If the vote is not unanimous, the jury may recommend life imprisonment without parole.

 

House Bill 287. To give school principals more independence in hiring teachers. Passed 97 to 17 in the House on February 28, 2017, and 36 to 4 in the Senate on March 11, 2016.

To give school principals more independence over staffing and financial decisions, including the power to veto the incoming transfer of a teacher. The law creates a pilot program that is limited to three years and districts in seven counties, including Broward, Duvall, and Pinellas. Participating principals must first complete a training program.

 

House Bill 7015. To give school principals more independence in hiring teachers. Passed 97 to 17 in the House on February 28, 2017, and 36 to 4 in the Senate on March 11, 2016.

To give school principals more independence over staffing and financial decisions, including the power to veto the incoming transfer of a teacher. The law creates a pilot program that is limited to three years and districts in seven counties, including Broward, Duvall, and Pinellas. Participating principals must first complete a training program.

 

House Joint Resolution 1009. To exempt disabled first responders from property taxes. Passed 114 to 0 in the House on February 11, 2016 and 39 to 0 in the Senate on March 9, 2016.

To change the Florida Constitution to exempt permanently and totally disabled first responders from property taxes. Voters must approve this constitutional amendment for it to take effect.

 

Senate Bill 218. To punish fraudulent uses of food stamp benefits. Passed 86 to 31 in the House on March 10, 2016, and 39 to 0 in the Senate on March 10, 2016.

To define “traffic” in existing law covering food stamps (officially, “electronic benefit transfers”) to prohibit their use to purchase guns, ammunition, or controlled substances (drugs). Also prohibits reselling for cash items purchased with food stamps and directs courts that use “community service” as a sentence to send violators to local food banks to work.

 

A Must-Watch Final Debate

 

 

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have faced off in two debates. At times these debates have turned very personal, and at times there has been some good discussion of policy. What will their third meeting bring?

 

Date: Wednesday October 19

Time: 9:00 p.m. EDT

Where: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Moderator: Chris Wallace from Fox News

 

Since the last debate on October 9, Trump has faced a variety of accusations from women claiming he assaulted them. Moderator Chris Wallace will almost certainly raise this issue, but it’s unclear how Clinton will handle it. Will she press it, or will she simply let the accusations speak for themselves? Trump is likely to try to use the recently-released information by WikiLeaks to attack Clinton, and it will be interesting to see how she responds to this.

There will be a balancing act at this debate, just as at the others, between discussing the issues of character. How much policy will be discussed? How much time will be devoted to issues of sexual harassment?

With the previous two debates drawing high ratings, it is likely that their final face-off will be watched by tens of millions of views.

Will you be watching? If so, what do you want to see the candidates discuss?

 

What’s the Most Contentious Election?

 

While the presidential race may divide us, we can all agree that it’s been an interesting election year. The 2016 presidential race has exposed a deep divide in our nation. Trump supporters and Clinton supporters seem to have little common ground. The race is increasingly nasty, with name-calling and personal attacks overshadowing discussions of the issues.

 

By any measure, this year is a very contentious election year. But how does it measure up to other years where the U.S. has had divisive elections?

 

1824 – As the only presidential election decided by the House of Representatives, this race is one of the most contentious in our nation’s history. The four candidates running each had strong bases of support in different sections of the country, but none was able to appeal to the entire nation. As a result, no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes. That left it to the House of Representatives to choose the president from the top-three vote-getters: Senator Andrew Jackson, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford. The fourth candidate, House Speaker Henry Clay, threw his support behind Adams, which led to the House electing Adams as president. Andrew Jackson, who received more popular and electoral votes, claimed that Adams and Clay entered into a “corrupt bargain” to steal the election from him. Jackson challenged Adams for the presidency in 1828 and won.

 

1860 – How contentious was this election? It led to a Civil War, so that probably puts it at the top of our list. Like in 1824, multiple candidates ran in this race, each appealing to a certain section of the country. Unlike in 1824, however, Republican Abraham Lincoln won a majority of the electoral votes. Vowing that they could not live with a president who opposed the expansion of slavery, seven southern states seceded before his inauguration. Four more states seceded after Lincoln assumed office, leading to a war that lasted until 1865.

 

1968 – In the middle of the civil rights movement, the 1968 election also featured multiple candidates. Along with Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey, segregationist Democrat George Wallace ran, too. He appealed to blue collar voters who increasingly felt left behind by the Democratic Party’s liberalism, as well as southern voters who opposed civil rights. Humphrey’s campaign was not helped by rioting that occurred during the Chicago convention that nominated him. Ultimately, Nixon prevailed, but Wallace won 46 electoral votes.

 

2000 – The Supreme Court had to decide the extremely close race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, which makes the 2000 election unique. Bush lost the popular vote, but the electoral vote hinged on which candidate won Florida. After weeks of uncertainty, the Supreme Court stepped in and essentially ruled that Bush was the winner. Many Democrats still consider Bush’s win tainted.

 

2016 – While the result is unknown, the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has become increasingly contentious as Election Day draws closer. We have seen one candidate accused of sexual assault and the other candidate accused of breaking federal law regarding classified information. With strong polling by third-party candidates, there is even the possibility this race could end up in the House of Representatives if no one receives a majority of electoral votes.

Today's presidential races seem to divide the country just as they did in the past. The difference between this year's contentious election and previous contentious elections is the presence of social media, which provides voters and candidates alike with easy access to large audiences of opinion makers. It is interesting to consider how differently those previous campaigns might have played out if the candidates had access to the media and communication tools available today. 

How do you think this year's election compares to the past?

 

Restrict vs. permit Uber; licensure mandates on analysts, scooter dealers, stair lifts, yoga schools

 

Check out these key votes made by lawmakers during the 2015-16 Michigan Legislature, and go to www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how the people who represent you voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

2015 House Bill 4637: Regulate Uber, Lyft, etc.; preempt local bans: Passed 71 to 39 in the House on June 17, 2015.

To establish a detailed but generally permissive regulatory framework that would enable “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft to operate in this state, including preemption on local government regulations or bans. The bill would require permits, specified insurance, background checks, vehicle inspections, prescribed customer disclosures and more. The Senate has not voted on this bill, and bills introduced there would be more restrictive and potentially let local government pass their own regulations and restrictions.

 

Senate Bill 1015, Impose licensure on practitioners of “applied behavioral analysis": Passed 34 to 1 in the Senate on September 21, 2016.

To impose licensure on practitioners of “applied behavioral analysis," with $90 annual license fees and other fees, regulations, scope of practice restrictions, education and experience requirements, and more. Senate Bill 1015 creates the mandate and this bill would create a state board comprised of officials and individuals who are already in this or related careers to devise specific rules, requirements and restrictions for new entrants.

 

2016 House Bill 5577: Impose licensure mandate on “mobility vehicle” dealers: Passed 96 to 12 in the House on June 2, 2016

To impose a new licensure and training mandate and associated regulations on new dealers of vehicles modified for use by disabled individuals (“mobility vehicles”).

 

2016 Senate Bill 818: Exempt yoga instruction schools from licensure mandate, Passed 35 to 0 in the Senate on April 13, 2016 and 2 to 17 in the House on May 17, 2016

To exempt yoga teacher training schools from a state licensure mandate imposed on private trade-schools (“proprietary schools”). A bill analysis notes that many people take yoga teaching classes just for the experience, and “the regulations reportedly have created a business environment that deters...offering or expanding instruction programs".

Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on June 6, 2016

 

2015 House Bill 4163: Remove some licensure restrictions on residential lift installers: Passed 62 to 47 in the House on March 11, 2015 and 27 to 10 in the Senate on May 13, 2015

To permit a licensed residential home builder to install residential stairway lifts without being subjected to the much more rigorous licensure provisions that apply to elevator contractors.

Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on May 21, 2015

 

2015 House Bill 4344: New regulations on auto repair shops:

Passed 86 to 23 in the House on May 31, 2016, and 33 to 3 in the Senate on June 1, 2016

To codify into law the comprehensive regulatory regime currently imposed on vehicle repair facilities by rule, including a state registration mandate. An amendment was added and then modified to prohibit shops from replacing a major part on a newer vehicle with one not made by the vehicle's “original equipment manufacturer.” This was criticized as protectionism for automakers, and the final version of the bill appears to allow non-OEM parts if a customer authorizes this in writing.

 

Sales tax holiday; make digital ads tax-free; authorize port tax; more state and local corporate and developer subsidies

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Ohio earlier this year, and go to www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 264 Create a 'back to school' sales tax holiday: Passed 94 to 1 in the House on 4/27/2016

 

To provide for a three-day sales tax "holiday" in August 2016 during which sales of clothing and school supplies are exempt from sales and use taxes.

 

House Bill 466 Eliminate taxes for web advertising: Passed 95 to 0 in the House on 5/4/2016

 

To exempt digital advertising services from sales and use tax.

 

House Bill 182 Clarify the process for creating new layers of local government and taxation: Passed 94 to 0 in the House on 2/10/2016

 

To amend the law governing the creation and operation of joint economic development districts (JEDDs) and enterprise zones.

 

House Bill 233 Allows certain municipalities to give special tax breaks and subsidized loans and grants to developers and other businesses, and to impose new lodging taxes: Passed 33 to 0 in the Senate on 4/13/2016

 

To authorize local governments to give certain types of businesses grants, loans, and tax breaks if they are within a limited downtown redevelopment /innovation district; and to impose a new lodging tax in certain counties for a taxpayer-funded port facility.

 

Remove a statue of a Confederate general; welfare-work requirements penalties; local voters tax themselves

 

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Florida during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 310. Remove a statue of a Florida Confederate general from the U.S. Capitol. Passed 83 to 32 in the House on February 24, 2016 and 33 to 7 in the Senate on February 11, 2016.

 

To remove the statute of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, a Confederate general, from the U.S. Capitol. This is one of two statutes there representing Florida.

 

House Bill 563. Increase penalties for not complying with cash welfare work requirements. Passed 82 to 33 in the House and 33 to 0 in the Senate on March 7, 2016. (The House and Senate could not agree on a single version of the bill, so it was not enacted.)

 

To increase the sanctions for not complying with the work requirements of a welfare program that pays cash benefits. The sanction for a first offense would increase from losing benefits for 10 days to losing them for one month. The bill would also increase the sanction for losing a benefits debit card more four times during a year.

 

House Bill 1297. Impose higher sales tax to cover government pension underfunding. Passed 86 to 23 in the House on February 24, 2016 and 35 to 1 in the Senate on March 9, 2016.

 

To let counties impose a 0.5 sales tax surcharge to cover the unfunded liabilities of government employee pension plans that are no longer open to new employees. A vote of the people in the county would be required.

 

House Bill 669. Require public schools to accept out-of-district students if space is available. Passed 79 to 34 in the House on February 18, 2016 but died in the Senate education committee.

 

To require public school districts to accept out-of-district students if space is available. The bill would also require districts to publish on their websites procedures for enrolling and list schools that still have space. The district could give preferences to siblings of students already enrolled as well as to children of military personnel.

 

House Bill 191. Permit and regulate fracking. Passed 73 to 45 in the House on January 27 but died in the Senate environmental policy committee.

 

To allow hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for oil and natural gas, and regulate it at the state rather than local level.

 

Restrictions on private property, concealed firearms, and taxpayer dollars for Milwaukee trolley

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Assembly Bill 568, Limit local government power to regulate homes: Passed 60 to 31 in the Assembly on February 11, 2016, and 19 to 13 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

This bill prohibits local governments from designating a house as a historic landmark without the owner’s consent, as well as limiting local government authority to impose restrictions on rental property. The bill also makes changes to the state’s rental law.

 

Assembly Bill 582, Limit local government authority to curtail property rights: Passed 56 to 39 in the Assembly on February 9, 2016, and 19 to 13 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

To put limits on local governments’ power to enact ordinances that would curtail property rights. Under this bill, local government units could not impose certain restrictions on the sale, purchase, development, or occupancy of property. Shoreland zoning restriction would also be limited.

 

Assembly Bill 75, Allow concealed carry permits for non-resident armed forces members: Passed 91 to 8 in the Assembly on June 9, 2015

To allow concealed carry permits for non-Wisconsin residents if they are stationed on military active duty in the state for at least one year, assuming they meet all other requirements.

 

Senate Bill 666, Reinstate government employee collective bargaining: Failed 13 to 19 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

To allow state and local government employees to collectively bargain for wages, hours, and conditions. This bill would overturn efforts led by Governor Walker that eliminated the ability to collectively bargain for many government employees. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Senate to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 562, Ban state funding for Milwaukee trolley: Passed 59 to 36 in the Assembly on February 18, 2016

To ban the state from incurring any expenses for building a trolley in the city of Milwaukee unless Milwaukee will fully reimburse the state for those expenses.

 

Going Up: Higher property taxes, cell phone and airborne ambulance taxes; higher utility expenses; higher DMV fees

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Colorado earlier this year, and go to www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 1414 Impose a new tax on cell phones: Passed 28 to 7 in the Senate on 4/7/2016

To raise $2.2 million in new tax revenues annually through a new monthly surcharge on cellphone contracts.

 

House Bill 1415 Increase fees at the DMV: Passed 35 to 30 in the House on 4/1/2016

 

To increase fees at the Division of Motor Vehicles to more fully cover the expenses of that agency.

 

House Bill 1354, Let school districts add a property tax for buildings: Passed 53 to 12 in the House on 4/1/2016

 

To allow a school district to impose an additional property tax to fund its construction and maintenance needs without borrowing money.

 

Senate Bill 16-061 Shift the costs of complying with federal environmental rules utility customers to taxpayers: Passed 18 to 17 in the Senate on 4/6/2016

 

To allow utilities to avoid the costs of certain federal environmental rules that cover fossil-fuel electric plants and instead create a new taxpayer-funded state program to offset these costs.

 

House Bill 1280 Impose a new tax for air ambulances: Passed 35 to 0 in the Senate on 4/14/2016

 

To create a new state level regulatory framework and impose new taxes on those providing air ambulance services.

 

Carbon restrictions, water rules, fossil fuel speech, offshore drilling, and cutting the EPA budget

 

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Congress during the current legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 2042, Delay EPA carbon dioxide emission regulations: Passed 247 to 180 in the House on June 24, 2015

To extend the deadline for states to comply with new restrictions imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency on carbon dioxide releases from existing power plants, and let state governors refuse to comply if the regulations would significantly raise electricity rates or reduce reliability.

 

Senate Joint Resolution 22, Reject expanded regulation of U.S. waters: Passed 53 to 44 in the Senate on November 4, 2015, and 253 to 166 in the House on January 13, 2016. Vetoed by the president on January 20, 2016.

To reject the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States rule that would expand the authority of the federal government to regulate all rivers, streams, and creeks regardless of whether they are navigable.

 

Amendment to Senate Bill 2012, Impose political speech restrictions on persons connected to fossil fuels: Failed 43 to 52 in the Senate on February 2, 2016

To prohibit any person or entity that earns or receives more than $1 million from “fossil fuel activities” from spending more than $10,000 communicating information or viewpoints on this issue to the public, unless the person files a special report with the federal government explaining their activity. This amendment required 60 votes for passage.

 

Amendment to House Bill 5538, Prevent oil exploration in the Atlantic: Failed 192 to 236 in the House on July 13, 2016

To prevent the federal government from spending funds to conduct geological activities that would support oil and natural gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Amendment to House Bill 5538, Reduce EPA budget by 17%: Failed 188 to 239 in the House on July 13, 2016

To reduce the amount of money appropriated for the Environmental Protection Agency by 17%.

 

Hemp farming and use, partisan judicial races, and government seizing or buying property

 

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in North Carolina during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 313, Establish industrial hemp pilot program: Passed 101 to 7 in the House on September 28, 2015, and 42 to 2 in the Senate on September 29, 2015

To establish a program to grow industrial hemp, as long as such a program is consistent with federal rules and regulations.

 

House Bill 766, Expand allowable use of hemp extract: Passed 47 to 0 in the Senate on July 1, 2015, and 112 to 2 on July 14, 2015

To allow the use of hemp extract that contains a high amount of cannabidiol but a low amount of THC in order to treat intractable epilepsy. Previously, this treatment was only available to those participating in a pilot program.

 

House Bill 8, Make some judicial races partisan: Passed 69 to 48 in the House on April 20, 2015, and 32 to 12 in the Senate on September 24, 2015

To require party designations for candidates running for Judge of the Court of Appeals.

 

House Bill 3, Curtail eminent domain: Passed 113 to 5 in the House on February 10, 2015, and 31 to 18 in the Senate on June 28, 2016

To place a constitutional amendment before the voters that would prohibit state and local governments from using eminent domain for the benefit of private parties, although using eminent domain for public purposes would remain lawful.

 

House Bill 108, Establish loan fund for local government property purchases: Passed 90 to 25 in the House on April 15, 2015

To establish a fund that would provide loans for local governments or other agencies to acquire and develop business facilities.

 

Gun bans in state buildings, gun show background checks, out-of-state gun permits, and concealed carry with a protective order

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Virginia during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 1096, Prohibit gun bans in state buildings: Passed 63 to 35 in the House on February 11, 2016, and 21 to 17 in the Senate on February 29, 2016

To prohibit state agencies from enacting regulations on carrying or possessing firearms or ammunition. This bill would reverse Governor McAuliffe’s executive order that banned guns in state buildings.

 

Override veto of House Bill 1096, the prohibition of gun bans in state buildings: Failed 66 to 34 in the House on April 20, 2016

To prohibit state agencies from enacting regulations on carrying or possessing firearms or ammunition. This bill would reverse Governor McAuliffe’s executive order that banned guns in state buildings. This was a vote to override the governor's veto, which requires 67 votes in the affirmative.

 

Senate Bill 626, Allow concealed carry with protective order: Passed 32 to 8 in the Senate on February 9, 2016, and 69 to 31 in the House on February 23, 2016

To allow anyone who is protected by a protective order to carry a concealed weapon without a permit for 45 days after the protective order is issued. Only Virginians eligible under state law to carry a concealed weapon would be permitted to do this.

 

Senate Bill 610 Recognize out-of-state concealed handgun permits: Passed 27 to 13 in the Senate on February 4, 2016, and 69 to 29 in the House on February 19, 2016

Allows someone with a concealed handgun permit issued by any state who is at least 21 years of age to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia. This bill requires the Attorney General to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states to do this.

 

Senate Bill 715, Provide police for gun show background checks: Passed 34 to 5 in the Senate on February 5, 2016, and 95 to 3 in the House on February 19, 2016

To require that state police be available to perform background checks for non-dealer sales at gun shows.

 

Making it easier for Pennsylvanians to buy alcohol and gamble

 

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Pennsylvania during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 1196, Expand alcohol sales: Passed 50 to 0 in the Senate on May 18, 2016, and 157 to 41 in the House on July 1, 2016

To create a special alcohol license for the Democratic Convention allowing longer hours for alcohol sales, remove the requirement that wine sales take place at different store registers than beer and food sales, permit Sunday alcohol sales starting at 9 a.m., allow alcohol sales at locations where casinos have slot machines, and decriminalize bringing alcohol purchased out-of-state into Pennsylvania.

 

House Bill 1690, Expand alcohol sales: Passed 29 to 21 in the Senate on December 10, 2015, and 157 to 31 in the House on June 7, 2016

To allow more businesses to sell wine, to permit state liquor stores to open on holidays and be open more hours on Sundays, to allow these stores to sell discounted items and lottery tickets, and to permit casinos to sell alcohol at all times of the day.

 

House Bill 770, Allow liquor licensees to offer discounts to patrons who are part of a “mug club”: Passed 184 to 10 in the House on May 15, 2015

To allow liquor licensees to offer discounts on food and malt or brewed beverages to patrons who are part of a club or group program that the licensee offers, often known as “mug clubs.”

 

House Resolution 619, Urge Congress to legalize sports betting: Passed 140 to 59 in the House on June 29, 2016

To urge the U.S. Congress to lift the federal ban on sports betting and allow states to legalize this type of gambling.

 

House Bill 2150, Expand legal gambling: Passed 114 to 85 in the House on June 28, 2016

To allow casinos to expand the games they currently offer as well as to allow slot machines at locations outside of casinos and at airports. In addition, the bill legalizes online casino games, such as poker. The bill also permits daily fantasy sports betting, with companies running these games paying a maximum $50,000 fee and a 5% tax.

 

 

The Big Surprise in the Second Debate – Focus on Policy

 

In a somewhat surprising twist, the second debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton focused more on policy than personality than the first. With a more measured performance than in their previous meeting, Trump may have given his campaign a lifeline.

With the revelation on Friday of a 2005 tape where Trump is heard making crude comments about women, many expected that this debate would devolve into name-calling and not much else. The debate started out that way, with a focus on the Trump tape and his comments. Trump characterized his remarks as “locker room talk” and said he was “not proud of it,” but then pivoted and said he’ll “knock the hell out of ISIS” and that we should be focusing on much more important things. He also brought up Paula Jones and other women allegedly victimized by Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton said that Trump isn’t fit to be president, and that his remarks on the tape “represents exactly who he is.”

The beginning of the debate also got into the issue of Clinton’s private e-mail server, with Trump pledging to appoint a special prosecutor for to look into her actions. After Clinton remarked that she was happy someone with his temperament wasn’t directing the Justice Department, Trump said that was because “you’d be in jail.” After these discussions, however, the debate questions began to focus on more policy issues. Both candidates laid out their ideas on how to deal with things like taxes, terrorism, health care, and energy policy.

On the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Clinton acknowledged problems with the law and vowed to fix them. She said that if it is repealed, as Trump advocates, then all the benefits of Obamacare are lost to everyone. Trump retorted that “Obamacare is a disaster.” He then vowed to replace it with “something that works” by allowing interstate sales of health insurance. He said that will create enough competition to lower prices dramatically.

The candidates also differed on taxes, with Trump advocating eliminating the carried interest deduction and cutting corporate tax rates. Clinton said that Trump’s tax plan is a massive gift for the wealthy and that it would raise taxes on middle class families. They also touched on Trump’s tax returns, with him saying that he used tax deductions that Clinton condemns. However, he claimed, Clinton’s friends like George Soros and Warren Buffet do the same thing.

Clinton took a hard line on Syria, supporting a no fly zone and advocating that the U.S. be more closely involved with allies on the ground. She said the real issue there was Russia, and that Russia wants Trump as president. Trump countered that “almost everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake and a disaster.” He also said that he disagrees with his running mate, Mike Pence, on confronting Russian provocation.

The Supreme Court also came up, with Clinton condemning Citizens United and saying that she wants a court that understands the problems with voting rights. She also pledged to nominate justices that will continue to support legal abortion and gay marriage. Trump said he would appoint judges in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia.

The candidates also discussed energy issues, with Trump contending that energy is under siege by the Obama Administration and that the EPA is putting energy companies out of business. He said that Clinton wants to put miners out of work, while Clinton said the nation should move towards more clean, renewable energy.

The final question from the audience asked the candidates to name one thing they respected about each other. Clinton said that she respects his children while Trump said that he respects that she is a fighter that doesn’t give up.

The next presidential debate will be Wednesday, October 19, in Las Vegas.

 

Presidential Town Hall Debate

 

After a memorable first debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are scheduled to meet again this weekend. A record number of viewers tuned into the first debate, and interest in their second meeting is likely to be just as high. Here are the event details:

 

Time: 9:00 p.m. EDT

Location: Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Moderator: Martha Raddatz from ABC News and Anderson Cooper from CNN

Unlike their first debate where the two candidates faced each other on stage, Sunday’s event will take place in a town hall format. They will take questions from the audience and moderators with two minutes to give their answers.

With questions coming from the audience, any number of subjects could come up for the candidates to address. While we don’t know for sure what will be discussed, there are some things that we are likely to hear about. Donald Trump’s tax returns were an area of controversy in the presidential and vice presidential debates that have already occurred, so they are almost certain to surface in this debate, too. It is likely that there will be discussions of the two candidates’ tax plans, as well as their differing views on foreign policy. Donald Trump has publicly mulled over bringing up issues surrounding Bill Clinton’s infidelities, and this would be an opportunity to see how Hillary responds.

There is also the matter of temperament and how candidates will perform. With many giving Clinton the edge in their first debate, Sunday night could be the place where Trump demonstrates whether his previous performance was a fluke or not.

Will you be tuning into the second debate? What are your expectations?

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