$12 Minimum wage and paid leave proposals submit signatures
Two troubling potential ballot proposals MRA has been watching closely are one step closer to getting on the ballot in November. Groups pushing for a $12 minimum wage by 2022 and an extremely onerous paid leave mandate on employers each turned in over 370,000 signatures ahead of the May 31 deadline. An initiative petition requires 252,523 valid signatures to be certified which means both proposals have over 120,000 signature buffers. Initiated laws, if approved by voters require a three quarters super majority in each chamber to amend in the future.
The Bureau of Elections will begin the certification process for both proposals to ensure each has gathered sufficient valid signatures. The Bureau of Elections staff will review the signatures, and if found sufficient by the Board of State Canvassers, the measure will go before the Legislature, which would have 40 days to adopt the proposal or decide if it goes to the ballot.
Regional property tax assessing proposal introduced
Legislation recently introduced as HB 6049 and SB 1025 seek to improve the assessing standards and create some uniformity to the process currently handled at the local level. The bills are supported by state Treasurer Nick Khouri. There have been many examples of troubling assessing practices throughout the state, especially in smaller communities that don’t have the same resources as larger communities. It is uncertain whether these bills would help address the issues of over-assessment currently facing commercial property tax assessments. The bills would require local governments meet higher standards to continue assessing property locally. Alternatively, local communities could share assessors or use county assessment services. MRA plans to meet with the Treasurer and bill sponsors to discuss the bills in more depth. Next step: House Tax Policy Committee/Senate Finance Committee. | MRA Position: Under review.
ORR and legislature recommend removing various reporting requirements
The Office of Regulatory Reinvention has made several more recommendations to repeal various reports required of state departments that the legislature has introduced bills to address. Many of the reporting requirements were put in place by previous legislatures and may have initially served a purpose but are no longer providing valuable or important information. Among the suggested reports to eliminate the following may be more relevant to retailers.
- Fireworks: HB 6000 and 6002 would repeal a section of the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act that required the fire marshal to provide a report to the Legislature by October 1, 2013 outlining the costs of inspections of retail locations selling fireworks for the purpose of establishing a consumer fireworks certificate fee.
- Food law: HB 5996, SB 1003, 1005, and 1007 would amend the Manufacturing Milk Law (which regulates pet stores and animal shelters) and the Food Law to eliminate annual reports on the number of applicants for various licenses and whether or not the licenses were granted.
- Fuel: HB 6003 would amend the Motor Fuels Quality Act to delete the requirement that MDARD submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding the number of initial and renewal applications submitted for licensure for a distributor or retail dealer of gasoline, diesel fuel, biodiesel or hydrogen fuel.
- Food stamps: HB 6001 would amend the State Food Stamp Distribution Act to repeal Section 15, which requires the state to conduct a quarterly report of number of food stamp coupons. Food stamp coupons were replaced by the Bridge Card so the report is unnecessary.
The legislature has moved many of these quickly through the first chamber and is now reviewing the other chamber’s proposals. Next step: HB 5996, 6000-6003 Senate Oversight Committee. SB 1003, 1005, and 1007 House Oversight Committee. | MRA Position: No position.
Gov. Snyder approves new Michigan Craft Beverage Council
Gov. Snyder recently signed two bills into law that expand membership on the newly renamed Michigan Craft Beverage Council (formerly known as the Grape and Wine Council) and the duties of the council. HB 4667 and SB 440, now Public Acts 154-155 of 2018, update references to the council throughout statute and expand the council to include brewers and distillers. The Council includes a seat for a retailer and MRA has been invited to the initial meeting to discuss appointments to the council. Any members interested should contact Amy Drumm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-327-8919. Next step: None. | MRA Position: Neutral.
Other important items to note:
- Alcohol distribution: Legislation that seeks to clarify and codify current rules on special licensees for events and address issues with product in high demand reached the governor’s desk last week. HB 5768 states a beer and wine wholesaler could skip the required hold period for products in high demand. This would get beer and wine in high demand that frequently sells out quickly back in stock and on the shelves for retailers or for a special event. HB 5767 would allow retailers to provide wine dispensing equipment for special event licensees. Next step: Governor’s signature. | MRA Position: Support.
- Alcohol and pregnancy posting requirement: HB 6086, introduced last week would require retailers selling alcohol to post a warning of the potential problems of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The bill was introduced to raise awareness of fetal alcohol syndrome by the chair of the House Health Policy Committee. Next step: House Regulatory Reform Committee. | MRA Position: Likely opposed (MRA routinely opposes new posting requirements).
- Beer and wine license quotas in rural areas: The House recently approved a bill which seeks to address what is considered an oversight in current law. Currently businesses in cities, villages and townships with less than 1,000 residents cannot obtain a SDM license to sell beer and wine. HB 5719 would add a quota of one license per small town. Next step: Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. | MRA Position: Support.
- Cough syrup sales to minors: Legislation recently introduced as HB 6057 would prohibit sales of cough syrup or other products containing dextromethorphan to minors. The bill prohibits local ordinances or policies that seek to set more stringent regulations. The bill includes penalties for selling to minors that range from a warning letter for a first offense to a $100 civil fine for a third or subsequent offense. Next step: House Health Policy Committee. | MRA Position: Neutral.
- Marijuana-infused alcohol: SB 969,a bill that would ban the sale of marijuana-infused alcohol was recently approved by the Senate. Next step: House Regulatory Reform Committee. | MRA Position: No position.
- Modernizing substitution pricing: Legislation MRA requested to modernize archaic statutory language related to prescription pricing when a substitution occurs was approved by the House in mid-May. HB 5805 is scheduled for a hearing and vote in the Senate Health Policy Committee today. Next step: Senate Health Policy Committee. | MRA Position: Support.
- Data security: The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee heard additional testimony in May on data security legislation that MRA staunchly opposes. MRA testified in opposition to SB 632–633 at the second hearing regarding our concerns on the troubling and nearly impossible requirements proposed for any entity that has a data breach. The chairman of the committee and bill sponsor indicated a workgroup would be formed to discuss reforms that both the financial institutions and business community could support. Next step: Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. | MRA Position: Oppose.
- Electric skateboards: The Senate Transportation Committee recently reported HB 5391, a bill that would regulate the use of electric skateboards. The bill would allow the use of electric skateboards of Michigan roads with speed limits under 25 mph. Kids under 12 wouldn’t be allowed to ride electric skateboards and kids between ages 12-18 must wear a helmet. Next step: Senate floor. | MRA Position: No position.
- Monthly payday wages: Over the weekend, Gov. Snyder signed HB 5235 into law as Public Act 170 of 2018. The new law was given immediate effect and modifies the statutory requirement for the date of the month by which employers must pay employees who receive a monthly wage. Instead of requiring payment be received on the first day of the month, the new law pushes that back to within 16 days after the end of a monthly pay period to help keep businesses in compliance with the law. Next step: None. | MRA Position: Support.
- Nonalcoholic sales at wineries: Legislation that would clarify a winery, brewery or distillery may sell nonalcoholic beverages including water or pop on site was unanimously approved by the House last week. HB 5606 clarifies some apparent local confusion regarding whether or not a business with a sales tax license can sell water or pop. Next step: Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. | MRA Position: Neutral.
- Pet sales: The House Agriculture Committee recently reported two bills, HB 5916–5917, that would set stricter standards for pet shops selling dogs while prohibiting local bans on the sale of dogs that drive pet sales underground. MRA is seeking an amendment to clarify how pet adoptions that occur at pet stores will be handled. Next step: House floor. | MRA Position: Support.
- Pyramid schemes/direct selling entities: The Senate approved legislation last week that clarifies what is and what is not considered a pyramid scheme. HB 5726–5729 strengthen state law to stop bad actors and will help clear up public confusion over which direct selling companies are legitimate. Next step: Governor’s desk. | MRA Position: Support.