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Lansing – A proposal to prohibit local governments from regulating job interview questions is heading toward Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk after the Republican-led state House approved it on Wednesday.

The legislation is a pre-emptive strike against the kind of local rules implemented or considered in San Francisco, Philadelphia and other out-of-state cities that ban employers from asking a prospective hire about how much he or she earned in prior jobs.

Democrats blasted the bill as an attack on local control and argued it could hinder community efforts to address pay gaps among women, minorities and other workers who have historically earned less than their peers.

“These issues of pay equity are real, tangible and affect all of our residents – the very people for who we work,” said Rep. Erika Geiss, D-Taylor.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and other business groups support the legislation, saying it is consistent with existing pre-emption laws in Michigan designed to create one set of rules for all businesses to comply with across the state.

A 2015 law already prohibits Michigan cities from adopting or enforcing various requirements on employers, including local minimum wages, mandatory paid sick days or job application questions.

“There is no distinction between interviewing for a job and applying for it,” Rep. Eric Leutheuser, R-Hillsdale, said before the 62-46 vote that was mostly along party lines. He noted the proposal would not prohibit prospective employees from proving they deserve to be paid more than they have been in the past.

“The interview process would be an excellent time for someone to say how they have special skills that are not reflected in their salary history,” Leutheuser said, “that they’ve had personal challenges that they’ve overcome or that they have values instilled that are of importance to the employer.”

joosting@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3662

Twitter: @jonathanoosting

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