Join Rep. Reilly, Speaker Leonard for fundraising dinner

Wednesday, January 17, Rep. Reilly will host a fundraising dinner with House Speaker Tom Leonard at King's Court Castle in Canterbury Village in Lake Orion.  Click here for more information.

MIRS News acknowledges Rep. Reilly's most conservative voting record

MIRS News, a daily publication focused on the actions of Michigan state government, has named Representative John Reilly (R-Oakland) as among the most conservative members of the House Republican caucus.

Out of 63 House Republicans and 47 Democrats, MIRS ranked Representative Reilly as having the third most conservative voting record of his colleagues, citing his vote on 50 pieces of legislation.  

Rep. Reilly voted against all tax and fee increases, all new occupational licensing restrictions, and all corporate welfare deals, while voting for cutting the state income tax and eliminating various outdated restrictions on businesses.

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Rep. Reilly posts perfect attendance record for first year in office

Rep. Reilly concluded his first year in office with a perfect attendance record, having never missed a vote or committee hearing in his first year in office. 

"I thank God for keeping me in good health, that I never missed a vote," Rep. Reilly posted to Facebook. "I wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy new year."

Rep. Reilly shares complete voting record

State Rep. John Reilly of Oakland Township is offering a measurable track record of results by posting each of his votes on a single web page along with an explanation for each vote.

This is a unique effort among state legislators. While all votes are public, few take the time to assemble all their votes in one place and provide a reason for every vote.

“I stand by my voting record, and I strongly believe it’s important for constituents to see exactly how I represent them on the legislative questions put before me,” Rep. Reilly said. “I hope people find it informative as a snapshot of the work the House of Representatives is doing.”

Residents can go to and click the “Vote Explanations” button to see a list of bills, vote date, how Rep. Reilly voted (yes or no) and a detailed reason for the vote. The website will be updated monthly when the House of Representatives is in session.

Rep. Reilly urges Senate to pass 'right to carry' legislation

State Rep. John Reilly, of Oakland Township, today announced he has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof imploring him to work with his colleagues to pass legislation to restore and expand the rights of law-abiding citizens to be armed and protected.

The four-bill legislative package passed by the House earlier this month would allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed pistols without a permit in Michigan.

“The recent events near Washington illustrate just how important it is to give legal gun owners back the right to carry a firearm without a government-issued permit,” Reilly said. “The concealed pistol licensing requirement does not prevent crime; it only places unfair restrictions on law-abiding citizens. Our communities will be safer once lawful men and women have more freedom to carry a concealed firearm to defend themselves against criminals if necessary.”

The letter, signed by Reilly and 14 other Michigan House legislators, addresses the June 14 attack in Virginia in which U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, former staffer Matt Mika, staffer Zachary Barth, Special Agent Crystal Griner and Special Agent David Bailey were shot during a morning baseball practice.

“We abhor the idea of politicizing a tragedy. But this incident itself was a political act, and one that bears on us directly as lawmakers,” the letter reads. “It was an attempted mass assassination of Republican elected representatives. It was an attack on innocent people. It was an attack on our party. It was an attack on the Congress of the United States. It was an attack on our nation and its lawful governance. And it was only thwarted because one representative with armed security happened to be there.”

House Bills 4416-19, approved by the House on June 7, were referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Rep. Reilly defends privacy for homeschool students

State Rep. John Reilly has introduced legislation to protect homeschooling families from a planned requirement that they submit Educational Development Plans to a local school district.

Education Development Plans are academic and career evaluations, which are mandated by the state’s Department of Education for all public school students starting in the seventh grade.

“Credible sources have reported to my office that the state Department of Education will seek a regulation to require all homeschool students taking more than two courses at a virtual academy to submit an Education Development Plan,” said Reilly, a member of the House Education Reform Committee. “We have thousands of homeschoolers across the state of Michigan that are thriving in virtual academies thanks to growing cooperation between homeschooling parents and local school districts. Maintaining student privacy has been integral in forging these new great relationships.”

House Bill 4805 was introduced today and has been assigned to the Education Reform Committee.

“We cannot jeopardize the educational progress and freedom for approximately 50,000 homeschool students in Michigan,” Reilly said. “They are doing well, so we have to make sure this co-operative relationship can continue without any limitations or invasions of privacy.”

Rep. Reilly column on education funding reform

Originally published in The Detroit News, 06/13/2017

Column: Current pensions a fiscal cancer

By: John Reilly

It shouldn’t be controversial to fix one of the worst policy blunders facing our state: the government being liable for tens of billions of dollars it doesn’t have, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in interest every year.

Michigan’s public school employee pension system has a $29 billion unfunded liability: $2,900 for every man, woman, and child in Michigan.

Michigan families did nothing to deserve this debt foisted upon them, but pension plans demand discipline and long-term thinking of employers. Politicians and bureaucrats have neither.

Surprise, surprise: the state over-promised the return on pension investments and kept quiet as the unfunded liability grew from $0 to $29 billion over the past sixteen years.

Imagine how it must have sounded when the government originally pitched the pension concept: “Instead of paying employees more money to allow them to invest in their own retirement, we’re going to give them a fixed amount, which most will forfeit when they change jobs. We’re going to invest their money for them, and if the investments don’t earn what we hope, the taxpayers will pay the difference — someday.”

The first mistake was using a system that put taxpayers at risk for investment performance. The second mistake was gambling on a high assumption of return. The third was not fully funding the pensions each year and allowing them to sink into a mire of debt.

The solution is simple: Stop the fiscal bleeding by giving new employees a 401(k) plan instead of a pension, and pay the debt.

The proposed 401(k) plan is better than a pension. Most employees forfeit their pensions because they change jobs before becoming eligible to collect retirement pay. A 401(k) is fully portable and employees keep their own money whether or not they make a decade-long commitment to the same job. A pension’s benefit is fixed, but in a 401(k) employees choose how to invest their savings. The proposed 401(k) plan is the same as all state employees have enjoyed for the past 20 years, and better than the one school employees can currently take.

So, why is anyone opposing that we treat this fiscal cancer? It must be political, because the opposing policy argument is ridiculous.

Besides the just-debunked notion that the proposed employee-owned 401(k) would be less desirable to teachers than the shackles of a pension, opponents claim it would cost billions in “transition cost.”

The “transition cost” is actually just the cost of paying down the unfunded liability over a 40-year period.

Yes, we’ll have to pay up for the pensions being cashed out as the system closes. That’s the nature of paying down debt. But the longer we keep kicking the can down the road, the more expensive it will be to ultimately get out of this mess.

Right now, schools have about $1,600 per pupil less to spend each year because of how much we spend just to pay down our unfunded liability. The sooner it’s paid, the sooner we can move on.

The cost, by the way, is not even very much. It’s less than 1 percent of the state budget. It’s a small price to pay our debt and have a system with long-term stability. Every year we postpone making the change, we waste more money.

It’s long overdue that we empower our public school teachers to control their own retirement funds, instead of using fixed plans that force taxpayers to pay the price of bureaucrats’ failure as investors.

It is our moral obligation to balance our budgets and provide employees with a stable retirement and treat this fiscal cancer once and for all.

State Rep. John Reilly, R-Oakland, represents Michigan’s 46th district.

Rep. Reilly: Help schools save money through choice in electricity market

Schools and colleges across Michigan would save money on their electricity bills through legislation introduced today by state Rep. John Reilly of Oakland.

Reilly’s bill would allow K-12 schools, universities, colleges and community colleges – public and private – to buy electricity from any provider they choose. The goal is to help educational institutions save money on what is often their second-highest cost of doing business, behind only personnel.

Currently, many educational institutions do not have the option to capitalize on potential savings through alternative providers because Michigan law caps access to alternative energy suppliers at 10 percent of the market, and the cap has been reached.

“We need to end the unreasonable prohibition on schools buying electricity from alternative suppliers,” Reilly said after introducing his legislation. “It can only lead to more savings for more schools than under current law.”

Reilly noted that some Michigan schools already are saving money because they were able to get into the choice market before the cap was reached.

According to a 2015 press release from the Michigan Association of School Boards, the 325 school districts participating in the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative saved a total of $14.7 million on their electric bills in the previous year.

“It’s common sense that other schools should have the same opportunity to save money,” Reilly said.

Reilly bill would require colleges uphold First Amendment

Representative John Reilly, R-Oakland, has introduced legislation to strengthen First Amendment protections for citizens attending public colleges and universities.

Rep. Reilly noted that numerous free speech court cases against universities in Michigan have either been settled out of court or ruled against the universities.

“The Legislature has not only the authority, but a compelling duty to protect the free speech rights of its citizens and to shield its taxpaying citizens from unnecessary financial liability arising from ambiguity in existing policies,” he said.

Reilly noted a pending case against Kellogg Community College in which a student was handcuffed and jailed for circulating copies of the U.S. Constitution.  He also pointed to recently settled cases against Grand Valley State UniversityWestern Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University.  In addition, he noted a ruling in Doe v. Michigan in which the court found a University of Michigan policy forbidding the “stigmatizing or victimizing” of individuals or groups a violation of protected speech rights under the First Amendment.

“It shouldn’t be necessary to codify the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and corresponding speech protections in our state Constitution, but sadly, these ongoing, pervasive problems prove that we do,” Rep. Reilly said. “These cases simply codify the court rulings that have consistently upheld the right to free speech on public campuses.”

House Bill 4656, cosponsored by Reps. Hoitenga, Hornberger, Iden, Johnson, Kelly, Lilly, Lucido, Noble, Robinson, Runestad and Victory, would require Michigan’s 43 public colleges and universities to adopt free speech policies that include:

  • An affirmation that the school strives to ensure the greatest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression.
  • An affirmation of the right to free speech.
  • An affirmation of the right to assembly.
  • An affirmation of the right to protest, provided it does not infringe on the rights of others to engage in or listen to others.
  • An affirmation that the campus is open to any speaker whom students, student groups or faculty invite.
  • An affirmation that the public areas of campuses are traditional public forums, open on the same terms to any speaker.
  • An affirmation to prohibit discrimination against belief-based student groups.
  • An affirmation that this policy supersedes any previous policy.

It would further require the schools to make this policy known to students, professors, administrators, campus police and residence life officials.

House Bill 4656 was referred to the House Oversight Committee.

Rep. Reilly proposes abortion reporting law upgrades

State Rep. John Reilly, of Oakland, introduced legislation to upgrade a 1999 Michigan law designed to track injuries and deaths caused by abortion.

“The tragic death of a young woman in Battle Creek in 2016 that resulted from a failed abortion revealed a weakness in the current reporting law,” Reilly said. “Because Cree Erwin died at home, and not under immediate care of a physician, no one was technically required to report her death as a complication from abortion. This bill would update the 1999 abortion injury reporting law to require a medical examiner to report a death caused by abortion.”

Reilly cited two other factors for introducing the Citizen Accountability Act, which would allow citizens who are aware of an abortion injury to notify health providers and the state health department that an injury report should be filed.

“Compliance with the reporting law is functionally non-existent, with very few injuries ever reported,” Reilly said. “The bill will allow the triggering of injury reports without investigative efforts by the state. Citizens can prompt accountability.”

The representative further noted a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court case striking down a Texas law regulating abortion clinics, ruling that abortion injuries are so rare that the regulations were unnecessary.

“Given that Michigan’s reported abortion complications total only one-tenth of one percent of all abortions, it is clear that complications are grossly under-reported. No medical procedure has a complication rate that low.

“Abortion comes with real risks and that reality has been hidden from sight. Women deserve to know the truth about those risks,” he concluded.

House Bill 4592 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee.

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