The House and Senate acted swiftly on Tuesday to send a pair of bills that would codify and expand on the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature.
Senate bills 335 and 336 define and allow for independent expenditure committees like Super PACs. They allow candidates to solicit unlimited contributions to Super PACs and allow candidates to use the same vendors as Super PACs, but prohibit coordination between the two.
After passing out of the House Elections and Ethics Committee just before 10 a.m. this morning, the House pushed the legislation through around 3 p.m. The Senate came back into session at 4 p.m. and gave the bills immediate effect before ordering them enrolled and presented to the governor for signature.
The House of Representatives passed the legislation 62 to 45, with Republicans supporting and mostly Democrats opposing. The only lawmaker to cross party lines was Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, who voted with Democrats against the bill.
House Democrats offered a series of amendments to the bills, from one that would have prohibited recipients of "good jobs" tax credits from recycling savings into politicians to one that would have limited campaign contributions to $1.
The Democrats opposed the bill in floor speeches leading up to the vote.
Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, said the main bill muted the voices of constituents and amplified the voices of those who have corporate dollars.
Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, said there was misinformation going around about the bill. If he had a dollar for every time he'd heard this was just codifying current law, he said, "I'd have enough money to start the Jeremy Moss Super PAC. If you've been told that, you've been deceived."
Rep. Darrin Camilleri, D-Brownstown Twp., characterized the bills as "surrendering to corporate interests and big-pocketed donors."
Rep. Aaron Miller, R-Sturgis, chairman of the House Elections and Ethics Committee, spoke in support of the bills. He said Democratic characterization of the bills as being rushed through was not correct, as they'd gone through the normal committee process.
He also disagreed with Democrats saying the bills would lead to "dark money," as the donations would be reported through the Secretary of State's office.
"This bill, SB 335, is quite the opposite of a dark money concept. This bill is a light money concept," Miller said.
In the end, a majority of House members approved the bill. The Senate gave the bills immediate effect, and they're now on their way to Snyder.