Republican Greg Markkanen is seeking re-election to his seat in the Michigan House of Representatives against Democrat Janet Metsa. During his last term, Markkanen introduced 36 bills and resolutions and missed 117 votes. Here is a summary of his brief, compiled from michiganvotes.org, a news site run by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, non-partisan and non-profit, and by legislature.mi.gov, the official website of Michigan Legislature.
To date, Markkanen has presented a total of 36 bills and resolutions, although many of them have been referred to committee and not voted on.
In 2019, he introduced House Bill 4028 with Representative Beau LaFave, which was part of a package of bills removing the permit required to carry a concealed pistol. It was referred to committee and was not voted on. Bills to reduce the cost of purchasing used equipment from the state by local governments, reduce impaired driving penalties, revise funding for snow removal on county roads, eliminate net count caps, create the Upper Peninsula Natural Resources Commission, introduce term limits for village officers, and several others have yet to be voted on.
Markkanen also introduced House Bill 4120, which would have extended the qualifying loan period for road commissions.
“This extended payout period will help rural counties gain access to funding that would otherwise be too expensive if funded over a 15-year period,” Said Markkanen. “This will allow the Keweenaw County Road Commission to make much-needed improvements to their maintenance barn while continuing to invest more in repairing our roads.
This bill was passed in the House, amended to apply only to counties under 100,000, passed by the Senate and then vetoed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer said the Senate amendment was unfairly biased.
The bill was reintroduced in 2020, but saw no movement.
Whitmer signed the legislation that Markkanen introduced to increase the weight limit of a “Heavy truck” at least 14,000 pounds, allowing normal mechanics to work on larger modern pickup trucks.
“If a small workshop does not have a specialist mechanic on duty, it must refuse anyone who shows up in a van, even if the customer only wanted basic braking work”, Markkanen said in a press release. “Certified heavy-duty mechanics in a larger shop may be removed from a job on a legitimate heavy truck to perform a routine repair on a pickup truck.”
Markkanen introduced a law that would allow vets to consult with a pet owner about the use of marijuana or CBD for the pet.
“There is a growing body of research into the uses of CBD oil and marijuana products for patient care and pain control – in humans as well as in pets,” Markkanen said in a press release. “We need to make sure our vets are able to have open and honest conversations about the products, so Michigan pet owners can make informed decisions about what’s best for their pets.”
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Markkanen introduced a bill that allows public school students to take more classes online during the 2020-2021 school year, and pay taxes to pay for classes in charter schools or universities. This bill was passed in the House primarily on party principles. He also introduced a widely supported bill that extended the deadlines for submitting county equalization files to the state. Both bills have been signed.
The House adopted several resolutions presented by Markkanen. Resolutions do not have the force of law, but signal the feelings or intent of the legislative body. More recently, Markkanen presented a resolution supporting the timely authorization of the Line 5 tunnel project. It has been reduced from 80 to 28.
“It will protect the Great Lakes from the threat of a spill while ensuring that families on the Upper Peninsula still have access to the energy they need to heat their homes each winter.” As a bonus, the construction project will create hundreds of jobs for Michigan workers ”. Markkanen said in a press release.
He successfully introduced a resolution calling for the removal of the gray wolf from federal lists of endangered and threatened species in May 2019.
“It’s time to move from federal to state control and allow the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to control the population of this predator,” Markkanen said in a press release shortly before the October 2019 vote.
Other resolutions that were passed declared Michigan Clean Energy Week, commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and declared Greece’s Independence Day. The only resolution he presented that was not passed, or even received a vote, opposed the request for the treatment of the Indian community of Keweenaw Bay as a state under the clean water and clean air laws.
Markkanen presented four amendments to existing bills, three of which were passed. One expanded the use of foster care grants and another expanded the membership of the Suicide Prevention Commission.
The other two amendments both concerned the closure of the Ojibway Correctional Facility. The first, which failed, would have allocated $ 250,000 to transform the prison into a school for training correctional officers. The second, which passed, simply added the facility to a study of possible locations for such an academy.
Breaks with party
Markkanen has broken with the Republican Party on nine votes in the past two years.
In May 2019, he was one of only ten representatives to vote against child resistant container requirements for “Electronic nicotine delivery systems”, commonly referred to as vape pens or vapes, and requiring them to be kept behind a counter. He voted in favor of a ban on same-day sales to minors and in favor of a ban on products containing vitamin E.
Later that year, when Governor Whitmer issued an emergency order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products for six months, Markkanen issued a statement in protest.
“We can all agree that vaping products should be kept out of the reach of children. This is why I voted earlier this year in favor of legislation banning the sale and possession of all vaping products to minors ”. Markkanen said in a press release. “This time around, the governor has decided to forgo the traditional legislative process and make the decision on his own – without holding committee meetings or public testimony. People deserve the chance to be heard. “
He voted against mandatory dental screening and testing for children entering kindergarten or first grade. He voted against increasing restrictions on phone use while driving, especially for those under the age of 18. He voted against three bills that amend the commercial fishing law that, among other things, would require the location of anchored commercial nets to be reported to state authorities via GPS. He voted against two bills that prohibit the use of open file requests at the Department of Natural Resources to locate huntable game. He also voted against a study on adding tolls to certain highways.
In each case, the bills were still passed by the House.
Markkanen has missed a total of 117 votes during the term so far. The average for other UP lawmakers over the same period is around 16 missed votes.
It would not have been a decisive or decision-making vote in any of the cases. The closest had a margin of at least five votes.