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.

ELECTION REFORM

Protect Integrity of Petition Signature Gathering Process

Senate Bill 776

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Senator Robertson

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

SB 776 would amend Michigan Election Law to provide that a signature on a petition to amend the state constitution or initiate legislation could not be counted if the signature was made more than 180 days before the petition was filed with the Secretary of State.

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Integrity in elections is vital. SB 776, as passedby the Senate, ensures the ability of citizens to exercise their right to initiative and referendum without allowing for a process that extends signature gathering beyond a reasonable amount of time.

Status:

Passed by the Senate. Passed both the House and Senate. Awaiting action on the Governor's desk. 

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 will 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 have each enacted 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

Cap the Co-Pay on Certain RX Drugs

Senate Bill 625

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Senator Hansen

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

SB 625 would mandate "cost parity" for chemotherapy treatments and place a $100 cap on out-of-pocket expenses for high-cost, specialty drugs. Although we are sympathetic to those with challenging medical conditions, including cancer, this legislation will result in higher health insurance premiums for employers.  

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. The Michigan Chamber has long opposed health insurance mandates. SB 625 is a clear example of government price controls. If the Legislature sets an arbitrary, 30-day, $100 out-of-pocket limit on the patient’s portion of these costs and does nothing to change the underlying price of a drug (i.e., some cost tens of thousands of dollars for a 30-day supply), it simply shifts the remaining costs to the employer in the form of higher premiums. As a result, many job providers may be forced to increase co-pays and deductibles – or stop offering health insurance coverage altogether.  

Status:

Passed by the Senate by a vote of 36-1. The bill was referred to the House Insurance Committee. 

Increase Taxes on Health Insurance Claims

House Bill 5105

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, from 2017 to 2020.  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.

Chamber Position:

As introduced, the bill would have extended the sunset by nearly eight years, amounting to a $1.98 billion tax increase on individuals and businesses who purchase health insurance. The Michigan Chamber brokered a compromise with the Senate on this issue, agreeing to a plan that will allow the state to eventually repeal this punitive tax on individuals and businesses who purchase health insurance.

Status:

A compromise bill was passed by the Senate and House that will allow the state to eventually repeal this punitive tax. The compromise bill was signed into law as Public Act 50 of 2016.

Repeal Tax on Health Insurance Claims

Senate Bills 987-990

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Senators Horn, Stamas, MacGregor, Shirkey

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

SBs 987-90 would repeal Michigan’s unique and uncompetitive Health Insurance Claims Assessment, or “HICA Tax,” a 0.75% tax on paid health insurance claims.  

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. Repeal of the HICA Tax has long been a top priority of the Michigan Chamber because the HICA Tax makes it more costly and difficult for employers to purchase health insurance for their employees. Senate Bills 987-90 will have a real and positive impact on health insurance premiums in Michigan.

Status:

Passed by the Senate Competitiveness Committee. Awaiting action on the Senate floor. 

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, would 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.

REGULATORY REFORM

Create Oversight Committee for Environmental Rules

SB 827

Pro Jobs

Sponsor(s):
Sen. Tom Casperson

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Provides stakeholders with a vote on whether a proposed environmental rule should move forward.  

Chamber Position:

SUPPORT. This legislation will ensure stakeholders are part of the rulemaking process and help reduce the pendulum swing between administrations.  

Status:

Introduced in the Senate and referred to the Elections & Government Reform Committee. 

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 Car Insurance Tax Hike

HB 5458
HB 5457

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Earl Poleski (HB 5458), Rep. Jon Bumstead (HB 5457)

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Certain Michigan House Republicans and the Snyder Administration want to repeal insurance provisions that will result in a $40/car tax hike. 

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Michigan’s auto-no fault system is already some of the most expensive car insurance in the nation. Lawmakers should look to reform our no-fault system, not make it more expensive.  

Status:

Introduced in the Michigan House and referred to the Government Operations Committee.

Stop Local Gov't Scheme to Increase Real Property Taxes

House Bill 5788

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. David Maturen

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Following numerous court losses, Michigan’s local governments are trying to do indirectly what they can’t do directly -- dramatically change assessment practices in order to increase Real Property taxes on Michigan job providers.

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Numerous Michigan businesses were over-assessed taxes, challenged and won. Now local governments want to change the rules of the game in order to reap huge tax increases off of large employers.

Status:

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

Stop Trial Lawyer Legislation to Expand Frivolous Lawsuits

House Bill 4494

Jobs Killer

Sponsor(s):
Rep. Kurt Heise

Summary of Bill & What it Means to You:

Trial lawyers want to create a new “false claims” act that would allow anyone, including disgruntled employees who steal confidential information, to make a claim that companies have submitted inaccurate payments to the state – even in the case of highly disputed tax law! 

Chamber Position:

OPPOSE. Creating a new statute tailored to trial attorneys who want to incentivize meritless claims against job providers would send a chilling message about doing business in Michigan.  

Status:

HB 4494 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

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.