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Legislative Update: Business Issues On the Chamber’s Lame Duck Agenda

As the state Legislature wraps up a whirlwind session before the holidays, take a look at some of the bills moving quickly supported by the Detroit Regional Chamber and that impact businesses in the Detroit region.

Regulatory Climate
Minimum wage and paid medical leave:
Last week, the state Legislature adopted two bills revising the previously adopted minimum wage and paid medical leave citizen initiatives. The revisions to the minimum wage will require the wage to reach $12.05 until 2030, compared to $12 by 2022 as originally adopted, and eliminates the new language regarding tipped employees. Revisions to paid medical leave include a small business exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees and an amendment to the amount of annual paid medical leave required by qualifying businesses to 40 hours versus the 72 hours originally adopted. The Chamber supports the amendments to these initiatives in order to maintain Michigan’s competitive business environment.

Small cell digital communication: Chamber-supported legislation (SB 637 and SB 894) seeking to create a new, standardized regulatory scheme for small cell wireless facilities in both urban and rural communities passed the Legislature and were sent to Gov. Snyder. This new regulatory framework will incentivize infrastructure investment, build out the state’s broadband connectivity, and address needs for emerging next-generation mobility technology.

Tax Environment
Federal and state tax decoupling
: The Chamber is in support of 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. This legislation passed the Senate and is currently being considered by the House of Representatives.

Detroit city income tax bills – Legislation to modify the City Income Tax Act (HB 4618) and the Revenue Act (HB 5025) to provide new city income tax collection procedures for the City of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Treasury are moving through the Legislature. HB 4618 was sent to the Governor and HB 5025 is currently being considered in the Senate after passing the House of Representatives. Both bills will assist in increasing the collection of city income tax revenue in Detroit.

Tax on pass-through businesses – The Chamber supports legislation permitting business entities to elect into a pass-through entity tax which would shift state tax liabilities from individuals to the business entity (SB 1170). This would allowfor full deduction of state and local taxes at the federal level. This legislation has unanimously passed the Senate and is currently being considered by the House of Representatives.

Education
Teacher preparation: Legislation aimed at improving teacher training in Michigan (HB 5598560256035604 and 5605) passed the House last week and is awaiting action in the Senate. This package of bills is aimed at teacher preparation including teaching college reform, the creation of a master teacher corps., and the requirement that student teaching hours include time spent in schools with high poverty, ESL learners and individuals with disabilities. The Chamber was a key supporter of this legislation earlier this year.

A-F 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. This legislation was recently passed in the House and the Chamber is working with the Senate to get it to the governor’s desk before Christmas.