The grand-daddy of local preemption bills, House Bill 4052, was bounced back and forth between the House and Senate last week as the Governor’s office weighed in on the arguments that the League and other local government organizations were raising about the broad, negative impacts the bill would have state-wide. As previously reported, this bill was originally introduced and amended in the House to purportedly only deal with a local government establishing community-wide wage or benefit regulations. Examples of $15 minimum wages being passed in Seattle and New York City or requiring that all employers provide paid sick leave were mentioned as the rationale for the bill. Legislators were sold by business organizations on the need to protect Michigan’s economy from a “patchwork” of confusing wage and benefit requirements being adopted by local governments, all without any examples from communities in Michigan. Beyond those issues, though, the bill included language that focused on preempting anything that could be construed as impacting the “relationship” between an employer and their employees, without a definition of what constitutes that “relationship”. The League lobbied aggressively against this broad over-reach, pointing out the unintended consequences of such loose language. Local operating licenses for businesses, training requirements for vendors contracting with a city, and special land use permits restricting a business’s hours of operation were just a few examples of interactions being swept into the preemption contemplated by the bill. After close votes in both the House and Senate, the bill was nearly on its way to the Governor’s desk before the unintended consequences side of the proposal was addressed and the broad “relationship” language was removed. The preemption language that remains in the bill precludes any policy or ordinance that directs wage or benefit requirements (beyond state or federal law) from a community’s procurement or economic development process. The significant changes that were made to the bill, though, will allow local governments to evaluate the actual impact of the bill and avoided invalidating every day, common interactions between community’s and their businesses.
Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and [email protected].