McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Legislation

Senate Votes to Move Michigan’s Presidential Primary

Update: Nov 14-Dec 9, 2022

On Tuesday, November 29, the Michigan State Senate approved, by a vote of 34 to 1, legislation that would move the 2024 presidential primary a month earlier. Senate Bill 1207, sponsored by Sen. Wayne A. Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse), would change Michigan’s presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February.

Earlier this year, a panel of Democratic National Committee (DNC) members voted to eliminate Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status for presidential primaries. On December 2, the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee approved moving South Carolina’s primary to February 3, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire three days later. Georgia and Michigan would vote thereafter.

SB 1207 did not pass the Michigan House of Representatives prior to adjournment for the year. If passed out of both chambers in the new legislative session, it will need sign-off from both national parties.

Albert Resigns as Appropriations Chair, Elections Deal Struck

Update: Sep 19-30, 2022

On September 28, one of the final session days ahead of the November 8 election, the Michigan State Legislature finalized a $1 billion supplemental appropriation bill, most of which would additional funding to the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund for various economic development projects.

In light of the negotiations, Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) announced during the House Appropriations committee meeting that he would be resigning as chair due to his concerns with approving additional spending. Albert, who again addressed the chamber during his no-vote explanation, said he could not support the spending during a “period of economic uncertainty”. Representative Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) will serve as the Appropriations Chair for the remainder of the 2021-22 legislative session.

Following an agreement struck between the Whitmer administration, local clerks and lawmakers, the Michigan State Legislature also took up a package of bills related to election security and preprocessing of absentee ballots. All bills in the package passed out of both chambers and now head to the desk of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. House Bill 4491 would allow county clerks to remove deceased individuals from the qualified voter file as well as allow absentee ballot preprocessing up to two days before the election. Currently, Michigan only allows preprocessing 24 hours prior to an election and only in municipalities of at least 1,500 voters. House Bill 6071 would increase access to polling locations. Senate Bill 8 defines “verified electronic signature” for military personnel, while SB 311 allows the electronic return of ballots for military voters.

The legislation is expected to be signed into law and be in effect for the upcoming November general election.

Court of Claims Ruling Restores Original 2018 Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Time Laws

Update: Jul 11-22, 2022

On July 19, Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro ruled in Mothering Justice vs. Dana Nessel that the Legislature violated the Michigan Constitution when, in 2018, it amended two citizen initiatives. One initiative would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour over a period of years with an inflation adjustment in place once the maximum was reached. It would also eliminate the lower tipped minimum wage. A separate initiative would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 72 hours per year.

Prior to the 2018 election, the Republican-led legislature took up and passed the two ballot proposals, thus preventing them from going before voters. After the election, the Legislature then voted to amend the ballot proposals, effectively limiting the pool of employers subject to the law to those with 50 or more employees and reducing the sick time hours that could be earned.

The judge ruled that nothing in the Michigan Constitution empowers the Legislature to adopt and amend an initiative petition in the same legislative session, and that doing so effectively undermines the ability of voters to decide.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other groups like the AFL-CIO praised the order. While several groups from the business community, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association, warned the ruling could have a crippling effect on employers and employees.

A stay is expected to be filed. Business groups may also choose to appeal.