Under a scaled back 11-bill package of legislation passed by the House and Senate last week, local governments would need to submit a state approved plan on how to cover their employees’ and retirees’ pension and health care costs; Democrats in the state Senate have introduced legislation (SB 724-725) to reverse Michigan’s five-year old controversial right-to-work laws. The measures would allow a union to charge an agency fee for nonunion members who work in a public or private union; Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation that would allow the Department of Corrections to hire a former felon to work in a state prison – if the hiring goes through an investigative process. The bill (HB 4065) is designed to create opportunities for previous offenders looking to become productive members of society; In an effort to address a growing opioid epidemic in Michigan, the House and Senate passed the last of two packages of bills; As contract negotiations with state employee unions are set to begin next year, Gov. Rick Snyder has named Cheryl Schmittdiel the new director of the Office of State Employer to replace Marie Waalkes who is leaving state government with plans to retire. Schmittdiel has worked both sides of the bargaining table. For more details on these and other end of 2017 legislative issues, see the December 2017 Karoub Report.

A package of bills (SB 584 – 586) passed the Senate that would allow adults with a proper license to carry a concealed weapon through almost all “gun free zones”; The Board of State Canvassers is tentatively planning to meet Jan. 10, 2018 for consideration of the Protecting Michigan Taxpayer’s prevailing wage repeal petition; A no-fault auto insurance reform bill falls 10 votes short of passage in the House; Gov. Rick Snyder appointed his chief legal advisor Elizabeth Clement to the Michigan Supreme Court. Clement is the Governor’s fifth appointment; For the second time, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission was unable to issue an interpretation of state law to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited forms of sex discrimination. For more on these and other legislative issues, click November 2017 Karoub Report.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) says he is determined to pass legislation to allow private police forces with the authority to make arrests at colleges, hospitals, and malls under SB 594 and SB 595; A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has introduced an 11-bill alternative to no-fault auto insurance package that would reduce rates by 20 to 30 percent without cutting benefits; A House resolution has been introduced that would eliminate the State Board of Education and give the governor power to appoint the state superintendent, who would oversee the Department of Education; The Senate passed its version of Driver Responsibility Fee (DRF) elimination bills which frees drivers with an unpaid DRF of six or more years; Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s top medical director, is facing two more charges - involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office - in connection with the Flint water crisis. Click here for the October 2017 Karoub Report which highlights these and other legislative issues.

mapoThe Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) sent a letter to State Senators urging them to Vote NO on two bills that would permit private police forces in Michigan. On behalf of more than 17,000 members, including Michigan Association of Police (MAP), MAPO highlighted several reasons why Senate Bills 594 and 595 would have a negative impact on Michigan citizens and law enforcement.

Please click here for the MAPO letter to the Michigan Senate.

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.