Michigan Legislature Lame-Duck Issue Overview 2018

Lame-duck Session
A lame-duck session is the period of time in the legislature after an election, but before the newly elected officials take their positions. Some of the most terrible bills get introduced and voted on during lame-duck sessions because legislators who will no longer be in office can act without fearing consequences from their constituents.

With Democrats having won all of the statewide offices this year and Republicans maintaining majorities in both chambers of the legislature, the Republicans are attempting to use this lame-duck session to weaken the power of our incoming Democratic elected officials. On top of a variety of dangerous bills, they have also introduced bills that would interfere with all three of the statewide ballot initiatives that were passed by Michigan voters.

One Fair Wage
The Republican-controlled legislature voted to approve the One Fair Wage ballot initiative, which increased the minimum wage to $12/hour, including tipped workers, with the intention of eliminating the changes during the lame-duck session. Currently, the House is considering a vote on legislation proposed by the Senate that would not implement this $12/hour wage until 2030, cap the minimum wage at $4/hour for tipped workers (also in 2030), require that tips be collected by the employer (not employee) and eliminate the current indexing-to-inflation of the minimum wage.

Time to Care (Paid Sick Time)
Similarly to One Fair Wage, the Republican-controlled legislature voted to approve the Time to Care ballot initiative, which created paid leave time for all Michigan workers. Under the ballot proposal (now law), all workers, regardless of the size of business they are employed at, would be eligible to earn 1 hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked. Currently, the House is considering a vote on legislation proposed by the Senate that would change this to 1 hour for every 40 hours worked, cap the potential to earn sick time at 1 hour per week (regardless of total hours worked), and not apply any paid sick time requirements to any businesses with 50 or fewer employees who reside within 75 miles of the business. This final change essentially eliminates the requirement as it applies to 40% of Michigan workers.

Statewide Ballot Proposals & Weakening of State Officials
The three statewide ballot proposals that were passed by Michigan voters are under attack by the Republicans. These proposals include: legalization of recreational marijuana, the creation of a non-partisan redistricting commission, and a voter’s bill of rights. Click here for more information about each of the proposals. Further, in an effort to limit the authority of our incoming Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, Michigan Republicans have introduced bills that would allow the legislature to intervene and interfere in work that is outside of their scope. This is a blatant attempt to grab power because the election did not go their way.

  1. Proposal 1 (Marijuana): The Senate Majority Leader has proposed legislation that would eliminate the portion of the law that allows for any self-growing of marijuana.
  2. Proposal 2 (Voters Not Politicians): Senator David Robertson has proposed legislation that would remove the regulation of campaign finance laws and oversight over the independent redistricting commission from the Secretary of State and place them in the hands of a politically-appointed board.
  3. Proposal 3 (Voter’s Bill of Rights): There are 5 bills — Senate Bills 1237-1242 (Kowall) that have been introduced in the Senate that would alter provisions in Proposal 3. We are currently unsure of what these changes are, but will provide information soon.

Public Employees – SB 796 & HB 6474/HB 5368
Michigan Republicans have introduced bills that would prevent most public employees from being paid while representing union members during the grievance process and not allow union work time to count towards retirement accrual. This is part of Michigan Republicans’ continued assault on our public schools, teachers, nurses, and all unions. They carefully selected specific union groups to exclude from this bill to minimize backlash while still attacking some of our hardest working and lowest paid residents, particularly state employees, teachers and nurses.

Line 5 – SB 1197
This bill would put the Mackinac Bridge Authority in control of a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac that would eventually replace Enbridge Line 5. It would also interfere with Governor-elect Whitmer and Attorney General-elect Nessel in shutting down the environmentally hazardous pipeline and also transfer liability from Enbridge to taxpayers in the event of a spill.

Puppy Mills – HBs 5916 & 5917
These bills would dramatically change how pet stores operate and are able to acquire puppies. These changes would make it harder for local governments to regulate pet stores, potentially putting animals at risk. These bills have passed the House and are headed to the Senate.

Wetlands – SB 1211
This bill would reduce the number of wetlands protected by the state by about 70,000, which is about half a million acres of land. In addition to the environmental and biodiversity impact, this bill could interfere with the state’s ability to administer the federal Clean Water Act and remove control of local governments to aid in wetland protection.

Take Action
We cannot sit by while our environment, public employees and so many of the issues that we care about are under attack. Take action now to show Michigan Republicans that we will not allow them to continue assaulting our democracy or overturn the will of the voters.

The most impactful thing that you can do is to call AND send a handwritten letter to Governor Snyder to kindly tell him to stand up for our democracy and to respect the will of the voters by vetoing these bills if they come to his desk. Describe why these issues are important to you and the impact that they will have on your life. Please be specific to each piece of legislation.

Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909

You can reach Governor Rick Snyder by telephone at: 517-373-3400.

There are also a group of key legislators that you can call who might make the difference between these bills passing or failing:

Representative Afendoulis: 517-373-0218
Representative Calley: 517-373-0842
Representative Crawford: 517-373-0827
Representative Daniela Garcia: 517-373-0830
Representative Inman: 517-373-1766
Representative Lilly: 517-373-0838
Representative Maturen 517-373-1787
Representative McCready: 517-373-8670
Representative Pagel: 517-373-1796
Representative Roberts: 517-373-1775
Representative Sheppard: 517-373-2617
Representative VanSingel: 517-373-7317