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Legislative Session Review:  Michigan

By Lauren Doroghazi | January 7, 2019

MI Leg Session

Michigan adjourned its 2018 legislative session sine die on December 21, and Governor Rick Snyder (R) finished acting on the bills sent to his desk on December 28. After a slow start to the year, 2018 will be remembered for a controversial lame-duck session where the Republican-controlled legislature attempted to reduce the power of the attorney general and Secretary of State following Democratic victories for statewide offices on Election Day.

Republicans were successful in strengthening signature requirements for ballot measures in a year that saw a lot of ballot activity, but Snyder vetoed measures to reduce the power of the state attorney general, allow nonprofits to keep their donors secret, and authorize online gambling, including sports betting through the state’s casinos.

Legislative Highlights

  • During December’s lame duck session, lawmakers approved legislation (MI HB 6595) to strengthen signature requirements to place an issue on the ballot. Under the new law, no more than 15 percent of signatures may come from any one congressional district.
  • Snyder signed legislation (MI SB 1197) creating the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, amending the Mackinac Bridge Authority’s oversight of a proposed tunnel to replace a 65-year-old oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac with a tunnel, to be paid for by Canadian energy company Enbridge. Meanwhile, Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) took office two days ago and has already taken steps to block the Enbridge Line 5 Tunnel.  
  • In September, the legislature voted to enact the proposed “Michigan One Fair Wage” initiative, increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour, and the “MI Time to Care” initiative, mandating that employers provide employees with paid sick leave. The legislature then diluted the measures in the lame duck session. The minimum wage will now rise to $12.05 per hour in 2030 versus $12 per hour in 2022 (MI SB 1171), and the amount of paid sick leave provided to workers decreased from 72 hours per year to 40 (MI SB 1175).
  • In June, the legislature voted to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law without needing a signature from Snyder (R). The measure was placed before the legislature by voters, who decided to take up the measure rather than place it on the ballot. This also allowed the legislature to avoid the threat of a veto from Snyder.
  • Snyder also signed Medicaid work requirements into law in June (MI SB 897).
  • In February, the legislature passed a $4,900 personal tax exemption with bipartisan support (MI SB 748).

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