Key Bills at a Glance

Key bills are listed/grouped by category. Each category represents a Michigan Chamber legislative priority issue for 2015-2016. Click on the thumb icon next to each key bill to reveal additional information.

EMPLOYER RIGHTS

Ban Non-Compete Agreements With Employees

House Bill 4198

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Peter Lucido

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Bans non-compete agreements with employees except if in connection with the sale of a business.

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Non-compete agreements are a basic fairness issue, used to protect employer interests. Non-competes are used to protect intellectual property, customer relationships and client lists, to deter competitors from hiring away employees, to qualify for trade secret protection, and/or to enhance the value of a company for future sale. There is over 30 years of case law developed in this issue area and the courts have consistently penalized employers who develop overly broad non-compete agreements.  

Status:

Introduced in the House and referred to the House Commerce Committee.

Garnishment Reform

House Bills 4119 and 4120

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Michael McCready

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Reforms Michigan's garnishment system. 

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. House Bills 4119-20 address the most serious problems and financial risks for employers associated with the garnishment process while still ensuring the right of creditors to collect monies owed to them. It increases the fee paid to employers for processing garnishments from $6 to $35 and would essentially put an end to the practice of allowing creditors to pursue a default judgment against the full bad debt of an employee.

Status:

Both bills passed the House and Senate and have been signed into law as Public Acts 14 and 15 of 2015. 

Increase Employer-Financed Unemployment Benefits

Senate Bill 525

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Hood

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Senate Bill 525 would increase weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from $362/week to $471/week and increase the maximum state benefit period from 20 to 26 weeks. 

Chamber Position:

The Michigan Chamber is opposed to this legislation because it would rapidly deplete the employer-financed fund that pays claimants and would lead to increased payroll taxes on job providers for Michigan’s 100 percent employer-funded UI system.

Status:

Stalled in the Senate Commerce Committee. 

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Senate Bill 101
House Bill 4167

Job Killer

Sponsor(s):
Senator Jim Ananich, Rep. Stephanie Chang

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Requires all employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Employers would be required to offer one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Time would accrue in one hour increments of up to 40 hours per calendar year for businesses with less than 10 employees and 72 hours per calendar year for all other businesses. Leave could be used for illness, medical treatment, care for a family member or a newborn child.

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. This one-size-fits all paid leave mandate would have a significant impact on Michigan employers’ payroll costs and hiring decisions and would be felt most by workers, who will have to cover the work load for absent employees. It could also have an adverse impact on employers’ ability to offer the voluntary benefits that workers need and want, such as retirement, health insurance and other fringe benefits.  

Status:

Introduced in the House and Senate and referred to House Commerce and Senate Commerce Committees. 

Preempt Adoption of Local Labor Laws

House Bill 4052

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Earl Poleski

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Prohibit local units of government from adopting local laws and ordinances related to employee wages or benefits, such as local minimum wage ordinances, local prevailing wage ordinances, local paid or unpaid leave mandates, wage or fringe benefit mandates or scheduling mandates.

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Absent this legislation, Michigan’s 1,800-plus local units of government could each enact their own rules and regulations governing private employers’ relations with their employees, creating inconsistency, confusion and a bureaucratic and red tape nightmare for Michigan job providers.

Status:

The bill passed the House and Senate and has been signed into law as Public Act 105 of 2015.

Protect Franchise Business Model

Senate Bills 492 and 493

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Sen. Jack Brandenburg, Sen. John Proos

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Protects the franchisee-franchisor business model under Michigan law. The legislative package is important for the thousands of small business owners in Michigan operating individual franchisees. 

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. A recent federal ruling would allow franchisors to face liability for the HR decisions of franchisees -- even when they do not exercise control over the franchisee’s day-to-day operations or employment decisions. This legislation would prohibit state agencies and regulators from implementing this federal ruling at the state level by applying it to state labor laws.

Status:

The bills passed the House and Senate and have been signed into law as Public Acts 266 and 267 of 2015.

Repeal Prevailing Wage

Senate Bills 1, 2 and 3
House Bills 4001, 4002 and 4003

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Senator Arlan Meekhof, Senator Peter MacGregor, Senator David Robertson, Rep. Amanda Price, Rep. Aric Nesbitt, Rep. Bradford Jacobsen

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Repeals state's prevailing wage on state construction projects.

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. The state's prevailing wage artificially inflates the cost of taxpayer-funded construction projects by 10 percent or more, without any additional gain or return on investment.

Status:

The bills passed the Senate but have stalled in the House due to the threat of a gubernatorial veto.

ENERGY

Eliminate Electric Choice

House Bill 4298

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Eric Nesbitt

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Eliminates access to alternative electric providers.

Chamber Position:

NO POSITION. 

Status:

Introduced in the House and referred to the House Energy Committee. Several public committee hearings have been held.  

HEALTH CARE

Increase Taxes on Health Insurance Claims

House Bill 5105

Job Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Al Pscholka

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Extends the sunset of Michigan’s Health Insurance Claims Assessment, or HICA tax, by nearly eight years, amounting to a $1.98 billion tax increase on individuals and businesses who purchase health insurance.

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Since its inception in 2011, Michigan's HICA tax has added nearly $1 billion to the already high cost of purchasing health insurance in Michigan. This tax is unwise and unfair and should be repealed and/or replaced. No other state in the country imposes such a penalty tax.

Status:

Passed by the House but stalled in the Senate.    

LEGAL REFORM

Reform Michigan's Auto No-Fault Insurance System

Senate Bill 248

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Senator Joe Hune

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Addresses many of the cost-drivers of Michigan’s no-fault system, while continuing to offer unlimited life-long medical benefits in exchange for strict limitations on the right to sue an at-fault party for non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering).

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Michigan ranked as the seventh highest state for auto insurance premiums in 2012, with Detroit ranking as the most expensive city for auto insurance rates, making this a key general business and competitiveness issue for Michigan. Reforming Auto No-Fault will make rates more competitive and affordable for consumers, including job providers who purchase coverage for autos used in the course of business. 

Status:

Passed by the Senate but stalled in the House. 

Decriminalize Minor Regulatory Offenses

House Bill 4713

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Ed McBroom

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Decriminalizes minor regulatory mistakes. The legislation specifies that individuals cannot be criminally liable for committing that act if the person did not mean to break any laws or was aware a law was being broken, giving individuals and business owners the ability to admit to an unwitting violation of the law without fear of criminal prosecution. 

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Under Michigan law, many unsuspecting people, including those operating in the course of business, have been caught up in criminal dragnets, facing penalties and even imprisonment for minor regulatory mistakes. Under this legislation, a person who did a prohibited act, but did not do so knowingly or intentionally, could be protected from criminal prosecution.

Status:

The bill passed the House and Senate and has been signed into law as Public Act 250 or 2015.

TAX POLICY

Eliminate "Pay-to-Play" to Use Michigan Court of Claims

Senate Bill 100

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Senator Jack Brandenburg

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Michigan’s requirement that taxpayers must pre-pay disputed state tax assessments during their first appeal to the Court of Claims created a barrier to entry for many taxpayers.

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Eliminating Michigan’s “pay-to-play” system would improve the administration of taxes and help to remove the incentive for issuing inflated assessments on taxpayers.  

Status:

The bill passed the House and Senate and has been signed into law as Public Act 79 of 2015.

Eliminate Michigan's Ineffective Film Subsidy

House Bill 4122

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Dan Lauwers

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Michigan’s costly film subsidy has failed to produce a meaningful return on investment or substantial, full-time permanent jobs and comes at the expense of other state priorities. 

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Michigan’s experiment with spending $500 million has failed abysmally. Michigan taxpayers should not have to fund a program that primarily benefits out-of-state producers with minimal benefit to Michigan residents. 

Status:

The bill passed the House and Senate and has been signed into law as Public Act 4122 of 2015.

Impose a Graduated Income Tax

House Joint Resolution K
House Bill 4341

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Jim Townsend

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Michigan’s constitutionally protected flat Income Tax makes Michigan more competitive for our families and job providers.  

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Stripping Michigan’s constitutional protections against a graduated income tax would send a chilling message to Michigan residents and entrepreneurs by punishing success. It would likely open the door to a graduated corporate income tax.

Status:

Introduced in the Michigan House and referred to Committee on Tax Policy. 

Reform Michigan's Unclaimed Property Audit Procedures

Senate Bill 538

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Sen. Jack Brandenburg

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Michigan job providers should not be subjected to endless unclaimed property audits that rely on questionable methodology used by third-party auditors.

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Michigan must reform its audit approach of job providers if the state wants to engender trust and confidence from holders of potentially unclaimed property.

 

Status:

The bill passed the House and Senate and have been signed into law as Public Act 242 of 2015.

Stop Union-Led Effort to Hike CIT by 83%

Petition drive for a statutory initiative

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Four construction trade unions began collecting signatures to place an 83% increase in the Corporate Income tax on the November 2016 statewide ballot. 

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Imposing a crushing tax increase on job providers would deal an economic blow to job creation and dampen Michigan’s economic revival.

Status:

The union-led effort dissolved and dismantled in December of 2015!

Stop Unlawful Taxation of Software Services

Senate Bills 82 and 83
House Bills 4018 and 4019

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Senator Peter MacGregor, Senator John Proos, Rep. Jeff Farrington

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

The Michigan Department of Treasury must stop illegally assessing taxpayers for accessing software services.

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Michigan’s continued pursuit of assessing taxpayers despite the law and court decisions is wasting precious state resources and sends a bad message to taxpayers about how the State administers tax law. 

Status:

In October, 2015 the Michigan Court of Appeals resoundingly rejected the State’s treatment of taxpayers on this issue and the state has begun retroactively issuing refunds to affected taxpayers.