The Senate passed legislation (SB 335 and SB 336) that would allow Super PACS to exist under state law. Super PACS are independent committees able to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions and other entities; A bipartisan coalition of 15 House members claim the “Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Package” will reduce auto insurance rates 20 to 30 percent without reducing benefits; After Dec. 15, 2017, medical marijuana dispensaries still operating could have trouble getting licensed, according to the emergency rules the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs plans to push forward; and Democrats have introduced a seven-bill package to create a plan to test water and air quality annually in Michigan schools and create an environmental task force. Click here for the September 2017 Karoub Report featuring more information on these and other legislative issues .

 

With the Senate scheduled to return for the fall session Sept. 5 and the House on Sept. 6, 2017, topics expected to be addressed include: municipal pension reform, corrections reform, career technical training and streamlining the mental health system; Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law the “Good Jobs” package of legislation (SBs 242 through 244), which would allow a company seeking to relocate in Michigan to collect 100 percent of the state income tax withholdings for new employees for 10 years if it creates a minimum of 3,000 jobs at the average salary level for the local prosperity region; the state employment rate has dropped again; Gov. Snyder vetoed legislation that would phase out the sales tax on used car trade-ins, but there is talk of a possible override attempt on that or the Choose Life license plate he also vetoed; and Snyder signed an executive directive creating a Council on Opioid and Prescription Drug Enforcement (COPE) that will be headed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. For more information on these and other legislative issues, click here for the August 2017 Karoub Report.

The teacher pension reform bill (SB 401), which will close the current “hybrid” plan in the Michigan Public Schools Employee Retirement System (MPSERS) to new enrollees, has been signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder. "A travesty” is how the Michigan Education Association described the new law; the Senate has put aside four bills (HBs 4416-4419) that would eliminate the need to get a special license to carry a concealed firearm for later review; Snyder vetoed $6.37 million in line items before signing the $56.5 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018; the “Good Jobs” tax package passed the Senate and House; the Department of Environmental Quality is suing the City of Flint in an effort to force the city to remain with the Great Lakes Water Authority, aka Detroit’s water system;  former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young, Jr. announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Debbie Stabenow (D-Delta Township) and Saginaw’s Dr. Jim Hines is seeking the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018. These issues and many more are discussed in the July 2017 Karoub Report.

Lawmakers are expected to have $292.2 million less in the General Fund to spend this year and on next year’s (FY) 2018 budget that starts Oct. 1, but $340.3 million more in the School Aid Fund (SAF) than expected; House Bill 466 would make it illegal to hold, talk or otherwise use a “portable electronic device” while driving, except for hands-free or voice-activated devices; the House has introduced legislation to ease gun registration and concealed carrying; the Senate passed legislation making Flint Michigan’s 11th Promise Zone to pool resources and use tax increment finances to help its students afford a college education; Gov. Rick Snyder signed a massive criminal justice reform package into law that supporters say will keep criminals from reoffending; and Geoffrey Fieger considers another run for Governor. These topics and more are highlighted in the May 18, 2017 Karoub Report.

U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME)  introduced bipartisan legislation to help local fire departments across the country save money hiring and promoting trained first responders.

The Firefighters Retention Act of 2017 would give fire departments flexibility to use Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants to transition part-time or paid-on-call personnel to full-time status. Under current law, SAFER Grants can be used to hire and train new personnel, but cannot be used to promote part-time or paid-on-call fire fighters, who are already trained and equipped to respond to emergencies.

For more on the The Firefighters Retention Act of 2017, please click here for the release from Senator Peters office.

State income taxes are not expected to be rolled back anytime soon; the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is seeking changes to the state's marijuana law; a battle appears to be looming over whether a $2.5 million state appropriation to private schools is constitutional; high school graduation requirement changes are approved by House; and criminal justice reform bills are signed into law. These topics and more are highlighted in the April 2017 Karoub Report.

Governor Rick Snyder has formed a task force to tackle local government retirement reforms; he expressed serious concerns about the proposed income tax rollback going before the House; with state revenues on the rise, he proposed a 2018 budget; and he appointed a Chief of Staff and Lottery Commissioner. These topics and more legislative issues are featured in the February 2017 Karoub Report.

House Republicans are proposing a roll back of the state’s 4.25 percent state income tax to 3.9 percent in 2018 and eventually eliminating the income tax completely; the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously elected Justice Stephen Markman as its new chief justice; and Gov. Rick Snyder has now appointed three of the four-members of the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) - including former House Speaker Jase Bolger, the leading legislator behind the enactment of Right to Work in 2012. Click on the January 2017 Karoub Report for more information on these and other legislative topics.

Public safety employees stop bill that would've ended future retiree health benefits

House Bill 6074, which drew protest from public employees in Michigan and a barrage of calls to State Legislators will not be moved out of the House as part of a package of bills.

Early this morning, the House Local Government Committee reported that the only bill in this package that will be moved is House Bill 6075, which creates reporting requirements between public employers and Michigan Department of Treasury. This bill has no effect on retiree health care.

MAFF Executive Director Fred Timpner wanted to thank MAFF members for their support! MAFF members participated in the MAPO effort, contacting State Legislators to make this victory possible.

However, Timpner also wanted to alert members that is this a temporary win and MAFF members may be called on again soon. Republicans are expected to introduce bills as early as January 2017, after new legislators have been sworn into office, that would negatively impact public employee healthcare and pensions.

In the meantime, Legislators were clearly swayed by the overwhelming involvement of MAPO members.

CLICK HERE TO READ MAPO TESTIMONY