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Legislative Update: Top Six Proposals the Chamber is Pushing Before End of the Year

The midterm elections are over, but Lansing is still buzzing as legislators work on key issues before the end of the year. The Detroit Regional Chamber is actively engaging on pro-business legislation and is working with bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate to educate them on how the bills may impact Southeast Michigan’s economy.

Regulatory Climate

  • Minimum wage and paid sick leave: During summer session, the Legislature adopted two ballot proposals to increase the minimum wage and require businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees. These bills are expected to be amended during this year’s lame duck session to address concerns raised by the business community. The Chamber is engaging as part of a broad coalition of stakeholders to make recommendations on how the state can best enact these proposals without unduly burdening Michigan’s businesses and embracing national best practices.
  • Small cells: The Chamber is supporting legislation (SB 637) that would create a new, standardized regulatory scheme for small cell wireless facilities in both urban and rural communities. These new facilities would improve wireless connections throughout dense urban areas where cell towers struggle to keep up with the increasing need for fast, wireless connectivity. Additionally, rural communities would benefit as small cell technology would keep businesses in these communities competitive. The legislation has been introduced in the Senate and is expected to be scheduled for a committee hearing in the coming weeks.

Tax Environment

  • Federal and state tax decoupling: Michigan’s taxable state income is defined by reference under federal law. The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the amount of interest expenses that may be deducted from corporate income, unintentionally raising state income tax liabilities for Michigan businesses. To counteract this increase, the Chamber is supporting legislation (SB 1097) that will decouple the state’s definition of taxable income from the Internal Revenue Code and revert to the definition prior to the passage of the new federal statute.

Education

  • A-F Grading in Schools: The Chamber has been longstanding supporter of letter grades for school buildings. Recently introduced legislation (HB 5526) provides multiple letter grades in the following areas: proficiency, growth, growth of ESL students, graduation rate, absenteeism and participation. This much-needed reform provides transparency and clarity for parents and the community about the performance of local schools. The Chamber is working to get this legislation passed out of the state House and into the Senate.

Health Care

  • Prescription drug pricing transparency: The Chamber supports legislation (HB 5223) introduced in the House that requires reporting on costs associated with certain prescription drugs. This pricing clarity helps customers make informed decisions and helps lower costs for employers and purchasers.

Corrections

  • Raise the Age: The Chamber supports a package of bills (HB 4607, 4653, 4662, 4664, 4676, 4659, 4685) that will raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18. Under these changes, 17 year olds would be subject to the juvenile justice system instead of state prisons. This proposed legislation changes Michigan statute so that minors currently entrapped in the penal system can instead receive age appropriate rehabilitation and then participate in Michigan’s workforce without the disadvantage of a criminal record.

For updates on the Chamber’s advocacy work, visit www.detroitchamber.com/advocacy.