- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Latest on the Michigan Legislature’s postelection session (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

A proposal to provide up to $250 million in annual tax breaks to attract larger-scale business expansions in Michigan won’t be voted in the House before the term expires this month.

Rep. Lee Chatfield, who chairs the House Local Government Committee, cited Tuesday the recent budget ramifications of companies redeeming larger-than-expected tax credits awarded under Michigan’s previous, recession-era economic development program.

The Senate-passed legislation would have authorized the Michigan Strategic Fund to strike 10-year deals with companies so they could keep income tax withholdings if they create a minimum number of jobs.

Other Senate-approved business incentives continue to be debated. Legislation backed by Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert and others would let developers keep up to $50 million annually in taxes generated from developing future “transformational” projects on contaminated brownfield sites.

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2:25 p.m.

Michigan lawmakers are moving to lighten the penalty for underage drinking, making a first offense a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor crime.

The House on Tuesday voted for the change 105-1. The Senate, which passed the legislation previously, is expected to move it to Gov. Rick Snyder soon.

The maximum $100 fine would stay the same, and a minor could still be ordered to receive substance abuse services.

The bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Jones, says the minor-in-possession law is clogging up the courts and hurting young people’s ability to get into college or work.

In 2014, there were about 9,300 first-offense convictions for underage drinking.

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12:55 p.m.

Republicans who control the Michigan Senate won’t vote this year on legislation that would have closed the pension system to newly hired teachers.

The bill narrowly cleared a GOP-led committee last week but hit opposition in the full chamber. The legislation, which would have provided new school employees with solely a 401(k) in retirement, could be revived when a new Legislature starts a two-year term in January.

Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, said Tuesday that Republican senators want more time to study the issue, particularly to better understand the cost implications.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder opposed the bill.

Earlier Tuesday, House Republicans abandoned bills that would have made municipal retirees pay more for their health care and eliminated medical insurance in retirement for new hires.

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9:40 a.m.

Republicans who control the Michigan House are abandoning legislation to make municipal retirees pay more for their health care and eliminate medical insurance in retirement for new hires.

Rep. Lee Chatfield, chairman of the House Local Government Committee, said Tuesday the bills need more work and will be left to the next Legislature in 2017. His announcement came the same day police and firefighters protested at the Capitol.

Term-limited House Speaker Kevin Cotter, who sponsored a bill, says he is “proud” of legislators for “stepping up to offer a starting point.” He warns if nothing is done, many municipalities will go bankrupt.

The panel did pass one bill that would force municipalities whose retiree pension or health systems are less than 60 percent funded to detail steps to increase funding.


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