Final Update of the 2016 Michigan Legislative Session

Date: December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016

Lame duck session is over and the 2016 legislative session is over. Here is a final update on the issues we were working on for small business. Keep in mind that legislation that has passed and made it through the legislature before the end of session still has to be signed by the Governor before it becomes law. We will keep you informed on the status of these bills.

 

Final Lame Duck Update of the 2016 Michigan Legislative Session:

 

Oppose -Changes to Term Limits: NFIB is the only business organization in Michigan to formally oppose efforts to change or repeal the state’s term limits law. NFIB testified as such before the Elections Committee on November 10th. Read the story HERE, or view our testimony at the 1:06:21 mark on the video  HERE.

Assessment: Victory! Dead for this session.

 

Oppose – Local Income Tax Mandates on Employers: NFIB testified against Senate Bill 1127 before the Government Operations Committee on November 9th.  This legislation puts the liability on the employer to determine if an employee is liable for local income tax – even if the company in question is located nowhere near the city in question. Then it allows any city with an income tax (22 of them) to come into any employer’s place of business (located anywhere in the state) and demand to see payroll records and conduct an audit. If an employee did not pay their city income tax, then the employer is responsible for the tax plus penalties and interest. You can read more about the issue HERE, or view our testimony at the 00:45:00 mark on the video HERE. On Monday, November 28, NFIB joined with other business organizations and held a press conference to announce a unified opposition to both Senate Bill 1127 and House Bill 4829. Read the story HERE, or you can view a video of NFIB’s comments at the press conference HERE.

Assessment: Victory! Dead for this session.

 

Support – Prohibition on Local Plastic Bag Bans:   Senate Bill 853 will halt attempts by local governments to ban, tax or otherwise regulate disposable packaging. It has passed the Senate and the House and is on the Governor’s desk awaiting final approval. If you need a refresher on what this issue is about you can view the story HERE.

Assessment: PASSED! While we have worked this issue hard to get it this far, there is concern that the Governor might veto the bill. We continue to push for his approval of the legislation and you can help by going HERE.

 

Support – Repeal of Civil Forfeiture Bond Requirement: House Bill 4629 furthers NFIB efforts to reform civil forfeiture laws by repealing a requirement for a property owner to provide a cash bond before they could contest a civil forfeiture seizure of their property. The bill has passed the House and is currently on the Senate floor awaiting further action.

Assessment: PASSED!  The bill has passed the Senate and the House and is on the Governor’s desk awaiting final approval. The legislation has strong bipartisan support and the governor is expected to sign the bill.

 

Support – “No Stricter Regs” Bill: House Bill 5613 sponsored by Representative Triston Cole would limit the promulgation of rules in Michigan to a standard of “no stricter than federal rules”. The bill has passed the House and is in the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Assessment: The bill didn’t make it through. We will work on passage in the next session.

 

Support – Legislative Oversight of Agency Rules: Senate Bill 962 would provide more opportunity for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to propose changes to a proposed rule and require a state agency to respond to those suggested revisions.  The bill has passed the Senate and is came out of the House Oversight Committee this week. It is currently on second reading in the House.

Assessment: PASSED! There is concern that the Governor might veto the bill, however, changes were made late in the process that might meet his approval.

 

Support – Require State Agencies to Pay Court Costs: Senate bills 189 and 190 would require a state agency to pay the legal costs of the prevailing party when that state agency loses a lawsuit involving a regulatory issue. If you need a refresher on what this issue is about you can view the story HERE. The bills have passed the Senate and are now in the House Judiciary Committee. We are working with the Committee Chair to try and get a hearing on the bills and get them to the House floor for passage, however, we are not optimistic that this will happen.

Assessment: The bill didn’t make it through. We will work on passage in the next session.

 

Support – Government Employee Pension Reforms: Legislation to move newly hired teachers to defined contribution – 401K type plans started strong but quickly lost momentum. With the election results ensuring that this issue could be pursued next session and the Governor coming out officially opposed to the legislation, any enthusiasm for brawling with the teacher’s union in the last weeks of session has seriously diminished.

Assessment: Dead for this session. We will work on passage in the next session.

 

Support – Local Government Retiree Healthcare Reforms: There were rumors that this might move in lame duck and they proved to be true with bills being introduced at the last minute (11-30) and a committee hearing being quickly scheduled. We have a member position that supports reform in this area and we support this legislation. However, just as with the pension reform efforts previously mentioned, this issue has lost momentum with strong lobbying by police and fire fighter unions. Again, with the election results ensuring that this issue could be pursued next session, any enthusiasm for brawling with the police and fire fighter unions in the last weeks of session has also seriously diminished.

Assessment: Dead for this session. We will work on passage in the next session.

 

Support – Stronger Remedies Against Labor Union Strikes: This is an old issue that we have been working on since 2013 that has suddenly gotten some legs (classic lame duck phenomenon) – for a reminder of the issue go HERE for an article on it from September 2013. In a nutshell the two bills (HB 4630 & 4643 ) would allow employers to seek a court injunction against strike picketers that are obstructing their business and also let employers advertise for replacement workers in a strike without being required to disclose that there is a strike in progress.

Assessment: The bill didn’t make it through. We will work on passage in the next session.

 

Support – End taxpayer financed union activity: SB 279 & 280 are on second reading in the House. The bills would prohibit most state and local government workers from conducting union business during work hours and end the practice of attributing leave of absence time toward pension credit also known as “pension spiking”. On second reading in the House.

Assessment: The bill didn’t make it through. We will work on passage in the next session.

 

Support – Eliminate sales tax on core charge for auto parts: HB 5928 and SB 991 would end the practice of charging sales tax on the core charge – deposit or swap fee – on auto parts. Since the sales tax is not refunded when the core charge is refunded this amounts to another case of Treasury expanding the sales tax to an intangible service. HB 5928 has passed the House and was discharged to the Senate floor where it is on third reading. SB 991 has passed the Senate and is on second reading in the House.

Assessment: PASSED! The bills have passed the Senate and the House, however, Treasury opposes the bills due to the loss of revenue so there is a chance the Governor could veto the bill.

 

Check back on our website for any further developments, and may you and your family have a blessed holiday season!

 

 

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