Michigan Legislature finalizes bill prohibiting local wage agreements
Lansing — Local governments in Michigan would be prohibited from setting minimum wages or other employer requirements under a bill sent Wednesday to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
The Senate gave final approval to the House’s changes, which were aimed at making sure the legislation would not impact projects led by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and would not override local ordinances adopted before 2015.
The Republican-led Legislature failed to gain support from Democrats in either chamber. Democrats, several Republicans in the House and Senate, and other opponents say local governments are in the best position to set employment laws that fit the needs of their communities.
Supporters say the measure will prevent a patchwork of local regulations that could make it challenging for businesses to locate or expand in Michigan. Bill sponsor Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, has pointed to new laws setting minimum wages in cities such as Los Angeles as an example of what he wants to prevent in Michigan.
The bill is supported by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and several other business groups but opposed by groups including the left-leaning advocacy group Progress Michigan and local government associations.
Democrats in the House and Senate failed to win amendments that would have allowed measures approved by local voters to stand barring any other state legislation, a concern that was addressed for ordinances adopted before 2015 but not ones after.
Republicans did change the bill early in the process to address some opponents’ concerns that it would have prohibited local non-discrimination ordinances. Other changes addressed concerns that the bill could have prevented local governments from setting the hours that businesses, such as bars, may operate.
Opponents have said parts of the bill are still too broad and could have many unintended consequences, such as preventing local regulation of adult entertainment.
Snyder told The Associated Press he hadn’t analyzed the entire bill but was pleased to see that recent changes were made, saying Wednesday they “make me more inclined to be positive about” the legislation. He cited a removed catch-all provision that would have caused problems for local governments and the fact that the bill is no longer retroactive.
“I thought it appropriate that they don’t retroactively eliminate ordinances that were already on the books … with respect to, say, prevailing wage,” Snyder said, referring to a pending Michigan Supreme Court case that could affect local prevailing wage measures.
Associated Press Staff Writer David Eggert contributed.
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