Three bills were signed into law this week improving conditions for public union employees throughout the state.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 169, House Bill 4230 and House Bill 4234 on Nov. 29, 2023, removing barriers for Unions representing public employees in Michigan.
“Since taking office, we have made real progress improving the efficiency of state government and making Michigan the best place to live, work, invest, and raise a family,” Whitmer said of these and several other bills she signed Nov. 29. “Today’s bills take important steps to cut unnecessary red tape … and advocate for better working conditions … among other things.”
Senate Bill 169, which was sponsored by state Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint), requires public employers to provide collective bargaining representatives with their employees’ employment and contact information.
Karoub Associates released the November 2023 Karoub Report detailing the passage of legislation before the Michigan Legislature adjourned for the year.
This week, the Legislature approved a package of energy bills that align with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan. After the Governor signs SB 271, SB 273, SB 502, SB 519 and SB 277, Michigan will require 60 percent of utility electricity generation come from renewable sources by 2035 and 100 percent of utility electricity generation meet an overall comprehensive clean energy standard by 2040. Once signed by the Whitmer, HB 5210 and HB 5122 would transfer some sitting authority over large solar and wind projects from local government to the Michigan Public Service Commission.
“With passage of these game-changing bills, Michigan will become a national leader on clean energy. These bills will help us make more clean, reliable energy right here in Michigan, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, and lowering utility costs for every Michigander by an average of $145 a year," Whitmer said. "Getting this done will also reduce our reliance on foreign fuel sources, while protecting our air, water, and public health. Today we are protecting everything we know and love about pure Michigan.”
By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor
Binding arbitration rights would be extended to firefighters and police employed by an authority, county corrections officers, and university and community college police officers under bills approved by the Michigan Senate.
Both bills are being sent back to the State House for a concurrence vote before the legislation is expected to reach the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her What’s Next Address to state legislators and leaders, outlining priorities for the fall.
Her address focused on public safety, strong unions, health care, economic growth with new businesses and jobs, environmental protections, clean energy, safe roads, affordable housing, paid family and medical leave, election security and streamlining the permitting process for advanced manufacturing, housing and more.
Since taking office, the Governor and legislature have provided strong economic growth to help anyone ‘make it’ in Michigan. Michigan has added 63,000 jobs year over year; the unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, the lowest rate in 23 years; and the state has won 16,000 jobs and secured $16 billion of investment with economic development tools that bring manufacturing and supply chains home from China. Whitmer is focused on continuing to grow the economy and create jobs to make Michigan more competitive, improve energy efficiency, expand opportunity, and protect people’s fundamental rights.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an $81.7 billion Fiscal Year 2024 budget with a focus on funding public safety and healthcare programs, rebuilding infrastructure and creating good-paying jobs through economic development programs.
The budget includes $26.7 million to provide a 5 percent increase (4 percent ongoing and another 1 percent ongoing to communities that obligate all available American Rescue Plan dollars) in statutory revenue sharing to help counties, cities, villages, and townships; and new dedicated statutory revenue sharing funds, 2 percent one-time for public safety initiatives; plus, an additional $64 million over current year funding in constitutional revenue sharing payments.
To ensure police officers and first responders have the funding and resources needed to keep Michigan residents safe, FY24 funding includes:
- $171.5 million in public safety grants.
- $34.2 million to enact recommendations from the Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform, including creating a Juvenile Justice Services Division within the State Court Administrative Office and expanding the scope of the Office of the Children’s Advocate.
- $18.2 million for in-service training to licensed law enforcement officers.
- $14.4 million to improve safety and accountability in correctional facilities, including $7 million to outfit corrections officers with body cameras.
- $10.5 million in new statutory revenue sharing (2 percent one-time) dedicated specifically for public safety, including employee recruitment, retention, training, and equipment for first responders.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bipartisan bills into law assisting first responders by enabling them to better protect the public. SB 125 and HB 4153 address rail grade separation by providing communities an opportunity to obtain grant funding to build overpasses and underpasses to go around railroad crossings and SB 59 expands the peace officer definition to include DNR conservation officers.
“Rail grade separation will keep drivers safe on local roads and alleviate backed up traffic at rail crossings, especially in the Downriver area,” Gov. Whitmer said. “… Offering conservation officers the same authority as other law enforcement will help them keep people facing mental health crises safe and protect our parks.”
Senate Bill 125, sponsored by state Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton), and House Bill 4153, sponsored by state Rep. Jaime Churches (D-Wyandotte), authorizes the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to create a local grade separation grant program and fund. The fund can be used by local communities to build overpasses and underpasses, separating vehicle traffic from railroad traffic. Delays caused by trains can slow down the flow of traffic and represent a safety hazard for cars and pedestrians. This legislation offers communities with rail crossings resources to improve traffic flow, reduce delays, and save lives.
“Grade separations are critical to public safety,” said Woodhaven Mayor Patricia Odette. “The City of Woodhaven has experienced first-hand the impact blocked railroad crossings have to the safety of our residents. When fire and police are detoured, those lost minutes are critical to the outcome for the person waiting on the other side of the train. We appreciate Governor Whitmer, Senator Darrin Camilleri, Representative Jamie Thompson and all the legislators that made this grade separation grant fund possible.”
“I’ve been talking about Downriver’s train problem to anyone who would listen since I first took office, and it’s because I knew we could do more to solve it,” said Camilleri, who first introduced his statewide grade separation program legislation in 2017. “With this historic legislation, we will have a pathway to building more bridges at the most problematic rail crossings across our state and address some of our most critical transportation, public safety, and economic development issues.”
U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced Fire Grants and Safety Act (S.559), which would extend federal programs that help support local fire departments across the country.
The bill would reauthorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, and the United States Fire Administration (USFA). The programs are set to expire in the coming years and are used by local fire departments to address staffing needs, purchase equipment, develop fire training and education programs, and improve emergency medical services.
In 2021, Michigan fire departments received more than $10.8 million from the AFG program and more than $8 million from the SAFER grant program. Peters introduced similar legislation that advanced in the Senate last Congress.
“Brave and courageous firefighters depend on critical federal programs to safeguard Michiganders and people across the nation from fires and other emergencies,” said Senator Peters. “By extending these important programs, this bipartisan legislation will help the federal government ensure dedicated first responders have the resources they need to safely fight fires and effectively protect communities.”
The Fire Grants and Safety Act reauthorizes SAFER, AFG, and the USFA until 2030. It authorizes $95 million for USFA – a nearly $20 million increase from current levels, and maintains currently authorized levels of funding for the SAFER and AFG programs.
Applications are closing soon for current FEMA fire department grants:
Apply by March 17, 2023 for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants.
Apply by March 31, 2023 for Fire Prevention and Safety Grants
Click here to request a Grant Letter of Support from Senator Gary Peters. Local departments are encouraged to contact Eric Keller at Senator Peters' office for assistance in the grant application process at
Karoub Associates released the Michigan Government Directory for the 102nd Legislature (2023-2024), which features contact information for the Governor's office, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Legislature and State Department Directors. The directory also lists legislative committee members and subcommitee members.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed several bipartisan bills including legislation to protect public safety and municipal retirees, improve mental health standards, increase polling locations, and explore further clean energy production.
“These bipartisan bills deliver on a range of kitchen-table issues and are proof of what’s possible when we work across the aisle to put Michiganders first,” Whitmer said. “Together, we are increasing the number of corrections officers, immediately establishing stronger standards for mental health transport for involuntary hospitalizations, increasing the number of polling places available to voters, and conducting a study to determine the feasibility of nuclear energy in Michigan. Let’s keep getting it done and move Michigan forward.”
Bills signed into law which impact public safety and municipal employees include:
- HB 5765: Allows retired corrections officers to work as needed under certain circumstances without losing retirement allowance.
- HB 4414: Relieves the burden on counties and sheriffs by immediately allowing them to contract with a private entity to transport a person taken into protective custody by an officer to get a mental health screening or treatment.
- SB 1041: Updates the administrative procedures act to ensure it does not conflict with the municipal employees retirement act.
- SB 1042: Provides retirees the option for a hearing to address a grievance in Municipal Employees Retirement System.