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Local preemption legislation on the move, creates employment uncertainty

Advocacy News – Sept. 22, 2023

The Senate Labor Committee voted on party lines Thursday to advance legislation allowing local units of government to adopt their own patchwork scheme of complicated new mandates governing employers’ relations with their employees, including wages, benefits and more.

Why it matters: The legislation (Senate Bill 171) would give Michigan’s 1,800 local governments the green light to adopt, enforce and administer a patchwork mess of ordinances, policies and regulations governing private sector wages, paid or unpaid leave requirements, other fringe benefits, regulations on work stoppages or strikes, and the types of questions included on employment applications or during the job interview.

What’s next: The full Senate could vote on the measure as early as next week, but the MI Chamber is working to stop it. We believe state and federal governments should continue to have exclusive jurisdiction on matters governing private sector employers’ relations with their employees. These mandates can be costly and complex for businesses and significantly deter economic development in jurisdictions that choose to enact them and hurt our state’s overall competitiveness, especially given that 44 states have moved to preempt local labor laws, a trend that has picked up significantly since 2013.

Go deeper: View the coalition’s memo to see the full list of 31 organizations we are working with to oppose this legislation.