Legislative Advocacy Includes:
- "To enhance the image of the practice of ophthalmology”
- "To provide public policy leadership that ensures continuing high standards of medical eye care in Michigan”
To accomplish these goals requires everyone’s active participation. This means getting involvement in the political system:
- Knowing and interacting with State Legislators
- Contribution to the
MiSEPS PAC Fund
- Educating patients about the issues
CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATORS
Finding Your State Legislators
To find out who your State Senator, Congressman or Legislator is, find a particular bill or law, or to find out which legislator(s) sponsored a particular bill or law, visit www.legislature.mi.gov. If you are not sure what Senate or House districts you reside in, you can find that information too. If you live in a populous area with zip code areas that are broken down into more than one district, search for your legislators at http://capwiz.com/aao/home/. At this site, you can narrow your search to the street address.
Health Policy Committees
Of particular interest to ophthalmologists are the members of the Senate and House Health Policy Committees, listed below.
House Health Policy Committee
Henry Vaupel (R) Chair, 47th District
Jim Tedder (R) Vice Chair, 43rd District
Julie Calley (R) 87th District
Diana Farrington (R) 30th District
Daniela Garcia (R) 90th District
Joseph Graves (R) 51st District
Roger Hauck (R) 99th District
Pamela Hornberger (R) 32nd District
Bronna Kahle (R) 57th District
Jeff Noble (R) 20th District
Jason Sheppard (R) 56th District
Winnie Brinks (D) Minority Vice Chair, 76th District
Abdullah Hammoud (D) 15th District
Kevin Hertel (D) 18th District
LaTanya Garrett (D) 7th District
Sheldon Neeley (D) 98th District
Andy Schor (D) 68th District
Senate Health Policy Committee
David Knezek (D) 5th District
Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D) 6th District
Jim Marleau (R) 12th District
David Robertson (R) 14th District
Mike Shirkey (R) Committee Chair, 16th District
Margaret O'Brien (R) 20th District
Joe Hune (R) Vice Chair, 22nd District
Curtis Hertel Jr. (D) Majority Vice-Chair, 23rd District
Rick Jones (R) 24th District
Jim Stamas (R) 36th District
Writing to Your Legislator
Letters and emails to State Senators should be addressed to:
The Honorable (full name)
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Letters and emails to State Representatives should be addressed to:
The Honorable (full name)
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Tips for writing to legislators
1. Always include your last name and address on the letter itself, printed or typed
2. Use your own words
3. Time Your letter's arrival for when the bill is still in-committee and the legislator still has time to take effective action.
4. Be knowledgeable about the bill and refer to it by number, not just the popular name for it
5. Be brief – a single page is sufficient.
6. Give reasons for your opinions and share any specialized knowledge you may have with your legislator.
7. Be constructive – offer alternative solutions, if possible.
8. Write a thank you letter to your legislator when you feel he or she has done an effective job.
While it is possible to see a legislator at the Capitol or in his or her office about a specific issue, make a point of getting to know your legislator on a personal basis before there is an issue. Legislators are often available for a breakfast or sometimes a dinner meeting. Do more than express your opinions on specific issues. Offer your expertise and make sure the legislator knows how to contact you.
HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW
Michigan has a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Briefly, this is how the system works.
Bills may be introduced in either the House or the Legislature. Senate bills are filed with the Secretary of the Senate and House bills with the Clerk of the House. Upon introduction, bills are assigned a number. At the beginning of each biennial session, House bills are numbered consecutively starting with House Bill # 4001 and Senate bills are numbered starting with Senate Bill # 1. In both houses, joint resolutions are assigned a letter.
Under the State Constitution, every bill must be read three times before it may be passed. The courts have held, however, that this requirement can be satisfied by reading the bill's title. Upon introduction, the bill's title is read a first and second time in the Senate and is read once in the House. The bill is then ordered to be printed. A bill cannot be passed or become law until it has been printed or reproduced and is in the possession of each house for at least five days.
Referral to Committee
Upon introduction, a bill is also referred to a standing committee in the Senate by the Majority Leader and in the House of Representatives by the Speaker of the House. All bills involving an appropriation must be referred either directly to the Appropriations Committee or to an appropriate standing committee and then to the Appropriations Committee.
Committee members consider a bill by discussing and debating the bill. The committee may also hold public hearings on the bill.
A standing committee may act on a bill in various ways. The committee may:
- Report the bill with favorable recommendation.
- Report the bill with amendments with favorable recommendation.
- Report a substitute bill in place of the original bill.
- Report the bill without recommendation.
- Report the bill with amendments but without recommendation.
- Report the bill with recommendation that the bill be referred to another committee.
- Take no action on a bill.
- Vote to report a bill out of committee.
In the cases of d and e, the bill, upon being reported from committee, is tabled on the floor (temporarily removed from consideration). A majority vote of the members present and voting in the house where the bill is tabled, is required to remove the bill from the table before it may be given further consideration.
In both houses, a majority vote of the members serving on a committee is necessary to report a bill. If a committee fails to report a bill, a motion to discharge the committee from consideration of the bill may be offered in the house having possession of the bill. If this motion is approved by a vote of a majority of the members elected and serving, the bill is then placed in position on the calendar for floor action. In the House, at least a one-day prior notice of the "motion to discharge" must be given to the Clerk of the House.
If a bill is reported from the committee favorably, with or without amendment, or in the form of a substitute bill -the committee report is printed in the journal under the order of business entitled "Reports of Standing Committees" in the House. Being reported favorably from the committee, the bill and recommended committee amendments (if any) are placed on the order of "General Orders" in the Senate. In the House, the bill and amendments are referred to the order of "Second Reading."
General Orders or Second Reading
For the purpose of considering the standing committee recommendations on a bill, the Senate resolves itself into the Committee of the Whole, and the House assumes the order of Second Reading. Amendments to the bill may be offered by any member when the bill is being considered at this stage of the legislative process. In the Senate, a simple majority of members present and voting may recommend adoption of amendments to the bill and recommend a bill be advanced to Third Reading. In the House, amendments may be adopted by a majority serving, and a majority voting may advance the bill to Third Reading. In the House, a bill may be placed on Third Reading for a specified date.
While there are provisions in the House and Senate Rules for reading bills unless exception is made, in practice, bills are not read in full in either chamber. In both houses, amendments must be approved by a majority vote of the members serving and the previous question may be moved and debate cut-off by a vote of a majority of the members present and voting. At the conclusion of the Third Reading, the bill is either passed or defeated by a roll call vote of the majority of the members elected and serving (pursuant to the State Constitution-approval of certain measures require a "super majority" of a two-thirds or three-fourths vote) or one of the following four options is exercised to delay final action on the bill: (a) The bill is returned to the Committee for further consideration; (b) Consideration of the bill is postponed indefinitely; (c) Consideration is postponed until a certain date; or (d) The bill is tabled.
Following either passage or defeat of a bill, a legislator may move for reconsideration of the vote by which the bill was passed or defeated (a motion to reconsider can be made for any question). In the Senate, the motion for reconsideration must be made within the following two session days; in the House, the motion must be made within the next succeeding session day.
No bill can become law at any regular session of the Legislature until it has been printed and reproduced and is in the possession of each house for at least five days. (Constitution, Art. IV, Sec. 26.)
No act shall take effect until the expiration of 90 days from the end of the session at which the measure was enacted. The Legislature may give immediate effect to an act by a two-thirds vote of the members elected and serving in each house. (Constitution, Art. IV, Sec. 27.)
Enactment by the Legislature
If a bill passes, it is sent to the other house of the Legislature where the bill follows the procedure outlined above, resulting in defeat or passage.
If a bill is passed by both houses in identical form, the bill is ordered enrolled by the House in which the bill originated. Following enrollment and printing, the bill is sent to the Governor.
If a bill is passed in a different form by the second House, the bill must be returned to the House of origin and one of the following occurs:
a. If the amendment(s) or substitute bill of the second House is accepted in the House of origin, the bill is enrolled, printed, and sent to the Governor. It should also be noted that either House may amend an amendment made by the other to a bill or joint resolution. At any time while in possession of the bill, either House may recede from its position in whole or in part, and the bill may be returned to the other House for this purpose. If this further action is agreed to by both Houses, the bill is ordered enrolled.
b. If the amendment(s) or substitute proposal of the second House is rejected in the House of origin, the bill is then sent to a conference committee (a special committee composed of three legislators from each House) which attempts to compromise differences between the two versions of the bill. The conference committee can consider only issues in the bill upon which there is disagreement between the two Houses. However, when the agreement arrived at, by the conferees, is such that it affects other parts of the bill, (such as in an appropriations measure) the conferees may recommend further amendments to conform with the agreement. The conferees may also recommend corrections to any errors in the bill. The conference committee may reach a compromise approved by at least a majority of the conferees from each house, and submit a report to the house of origin. If adopted, the report and bill are transmitted to the second House. If the conference committee report is approved in the second House, the bill is then enrolled, printed, and sent to the Governor. A conference report may not be amended by either House. If the conference committee is notable to agree, or if the report is rejected by either House, a second conference committee is appointed. When a second conference has met and the two Houses are still unable to agree, no further conference is in order.
Approval by Governor
Upon receipt of an enrolled bill, the Governor has 14 days to consider the bill. The Governor may:
- Sign the bill, which then either becomes law at the expiration of ninety days after the Legislature adjourns sine die, or on a date beyond the ninetieth day specified in the bill. If the bill has been given immediate effect by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to, and serving in each house, the bill will become law after the Governor signs the bill and files it with the Secretary of State, or on a day specified in the bill.
- Veto the bill and return it to the House of origin with a message stating the Governor's objections.
- Choose not to sign or veto the bill. If the bill is neither signed nor vetoed, the bill becomes law fourteen days after having reached the Governor's desk if the Legislature is in session or in recess. If the Legislature should adjourn sine die before the end of the fourteen days, the unsigned bill does not become law. If the Legislature has adjourned by the time the bill reaches the Governor, he or she has fourteen days to consider the bill. If the Governor fails to approve the bill, it does not become law.
Legislative Veto Response
If the Governor vetoes a bill while the Legislature is in session or recess, one of the following actions may occur:
- The Legislature may override the veto by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to and serving in each house. The bill then becomes law.
- The bill may not receive the necessary two-thirds vote and thus the attempt to override the veto will fail.
- The bill may be tabled.
- The bill may be re-referred to a committee.
The Legislative Calendar lists bills and resolutions coming before the House or the Senate as well as dates of future committee meetings and hearings. It can be accessed at www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.asp?page=Calendars. Or, you can sign up for daily updates on legislation at www.legislature.mi.gov/ and select the "Notify” option.You’ll be asked for your email address and a password. From there, you can select topic areas of interest.You’ll receive an email notification any time there is a change in legislation in your interest areas. Changes can include moving from one chamber to another, in and out of committee, to the Governor, or could be as simple as a spelling correction.