Advocacy

In Support of Small Business

You have a business to run, so the team at SBAM constantly monitors issues affecting small business so you don’t have to.  SBAM also helps to give you and other small business owners a voice in the democratic process by connecting members with influential policymakers.

You can help protect your small business and help bolster Michigan’s entrepreneurs by getting involved today.

SBAM has an easy way for you to contact your elected officials. Take action now and voice your support for small business by:

  • Contacting your legislators
  • Examining voting records   
  • Locating your elected officials
  • Tracking key issues
  • Learning about elections

Policy Agenda

SBAM recently released its Small Business Policy Agenda. Download your copy here.

 

Latest Legislative News

The state House debates Blue Cross Blue Shield legislation. Learn about the implications for small business on today’s Business Next.

Tune in at 10am (repeats at 3pm and 8pm) on the Michigan Business Network.

Today on Business Next, the week's legislative update with Small Business Association of Michigan Director of Government Relations Dave Jessup, a profile of an entrant in the 2013 Innovation Awards -- Cheryl Johnson, owner of Nisely Done and producer of Messy Dave's gourmet sloppy joe mix; from the Detroit Camper and RV show, an interview with Gary Becker, president of Indigo Bluffs RV Retreat in Empire; an interview from the ACE ’13 conference with Susan Burke, co-founder and CEO of Social 2Step; another interview with a company that entered the 2013 Innovation Awards contest -- Judy Foley, president and CEO of Balance Concierge; and Michigan author Rod Kackley talks about his new e-books on Michigan manufacturing.

SBAM joins Gov. Snyder in supporting expansion of Medicaid. Today on Business Next.

Tune in at 10am (repeats at 3pm and 8pm) on the Michigan Business Network.

Today on Business Next, excerpts of a Lansing press conference where Gov. Snyder and SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler announce their support for expanding Michigan’s Medicaid program. Also on today’s show, more interviews from the ACE ’13, an interview with a company that entered the 2013 Innovation Awards contest -- Judy Foley, president and CEO of Balance Concierge – and Michigan author Rod Kackley talks about his new e-books on Michigan manufacturing.

The Small Business Association of Michigan endorses the expansion of Medicaid

SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler appeared with Gov. Snyder at a Lansing press conference Wednesday to announce SBAM’s support for expansion of the Medicaid program so the state can realize the financial savings and physical and mental health benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

Fowler said Medicaid expansion will reduce the amount of uncompensated health care costs that ultimately get passed along to small business owners.

“I consider it a kind of organizational epiphany about a decade ago when we came to realize that the uninsured really matter to business,” said Fowler. “People go to our health care system and they get care, and if they can’t afford it, they still get care but it’s uncompensated care. Uncompensated care actually gets passed along to those who can pay. It’s called cost shifting and it’s been happening for a very long time. It’s found its way into the base rates of health insurance for small businesses all across the state. And I would say it’s a terrible business model, that we take a growing burden of people who come without compensation and we shift it to a shrinking group of people (small business owners) who struggle to pay for health insurance. We support (expansion of Medicaid) because we believe it ultimately can reduce the sort of piling on effect that’s been happening to paying customers for many years.”

Currently, Michigan hospitals end up providing more than $880 million a year in uncompensated care to patients that are unable to pay, costs that end up being shifted to people who have insurance, employers who pay for it for their workers, and taxpayers.

A review of the small business legislative accomplishments of 2012 and a look forward at the challenges facing entrepreneurs in 2013. Today on Business Next!

Today on Business Next, a review of the small business legislative accomplishments of 2012 and a look forward at the challenges facing entrepreneurs in 2013. With Small Business Association of Michigan Director of Government Relations Dave Jessup. Also on today’s program, suggestions and small business success insights from Preh Inc., a firm named to the Crain’s Detroit Business list of “Cool Places to Work in Michigan.” And, Linda Daichendt, Executive Director/President, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan; and Tony Merlo, President of Smarter Phones, a Michigan-based Smartphone training firm for businesses and individuals, talk about the smartphone landscape for 2013 and what is means to your small business success.

Majority of states opt for federal health exchanges

Article courtesy of NSBA, by David Burton

The deadline for states to declare to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whether they intend to run their own health insurance exchange passed last week with 26 states, including Michigan, declining to establish their own exchange, thereby allowing the federal government to run the exchange in their state.

Health insurance exchanges will be, essentially, a structured marketplace where relatively standardized health insurance policies are offered by insurance companies and complete information disclosure is required in a standardized format. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires that states establish an “American Health Benefit Exchange” that meets approximately 10 criteria.  If they do not, then the federal government will establish a federal health insurance exchange in the state.

NSBA supports state level health insurance exchanges, provided that participation in the exchange is voluntary, as a reasonable step designed to improve the competitiveness of the health insurance market, to increase the information available to health insurance purchasers (whether individual consumers or small businesses) and to constrain health insurance costs.

The deadline for states to declare to HHS whether they intend to run their own health insurance exchange was December 14.  18 states (including California and New York) and the District of Columbia have elected to establish state run health insurance exchanges.  Six states (including Illinois and Michigan) have elected to establish partnership exchanges with the federal government.  26 states (including Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio) have declined to establish exchanges.  Therefore, the federal government will operate exchanges in those states.

To see a map of which states have decided to establish state or partnership exchanges and which states have declined to establish exchanges, click here.

NSBA testifies on criminal background screening

Article courtesy of NSBA, by David Burton

Recently, NSBA President Todd McCracken testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding criminal background screening.  He criticized the recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “guidance” regarding criminal background screening.

“I can assure you that virtually no small-business owner is going to be able to read, absorb and apply the 55 page, 167 footnote “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” issued by the EEOC on April 25, 2012.  More importantly, we have had many discussions with sophisticated attorneys who grapple with these issues for a living , including those that work for large law firms advising large corporations. They do not know how to advise their clients either.  If they are at a loss, then small firms and their generalist attorneys will fare no better,” said McCracken.

The EEOC has not clearly stated what it expects from the small-business community. All the EEOC has done is indicate that it expects small firms to conduct a complex individualized assessment weighing numerous factors regarding the use of conviction records in each hiring decision. How that is to be done in practice is anybody’s guess.

“Employers want to provide a safe place for their employees to work and to do their best to prevent workplace crime. They want to do their best to ensure that the employees that they send to customers’ homes as technicians, repair people or salespeople do not inflict harm on their customers. They need to take steps to prevent theft, fraud and embezzlement. Criminal background screening is an important tool – very nearly the only tool – that employers have to protect their customers, their employees and themselves from criminal behavior,” he said.

McCracken went on to state: “Small businesses are willing to comply with reasonable rules designed to ensure that criminal background screening is not having a disproportionate impact on minorities provided that those rules do not endanger their employees or customers, do not substantially increase their risk of being victims of property crimes or do not increase their risk of being found liable for the tort of negligent hiring.

“Government, however, has an obligation to articulate rules that are comprehensible and can actually be implemented.  It is fundamentally unfair and, in practice, counterproductive for the rules to be so opaque that nobody can understand them.  It leads to a situation where enforcement is starkly arbitrary and the rules, since they cannot be understood, are effectively ignored.”

State and federal courts will allow potentially devastating tort lawsuits against businesses that hire felons who commit crimes at the workplace or in customers’ homes.  Yet the EEOC is threatening to launch lawsuits if they do not hire those same felons.

Small businesses want to know what the rules are so they can comply with those rules and get on with running their businesses.  They want the state and federal governments, including the courts, the legislative branch and the executive branch to set forth consistent and comprehensible rules.  Small businesses should not be at substantial legal risk no matter what they do.

If you have any questions, utilize SBAM's FREE Ask An Expert service.
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