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Election 2010

Dan Kildee has announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination for Governor.  Ever since the departure of Lt. Gov. John Cherry from the gubernatorial race in early January, potential candidates have been getting in and out of the race.

Kildee is the former Genesee County Treasurer and the nephew of Congressman Dale Kildee.  He had been weighing his decision since the Cherry announcement.  Kildee’s official entry into the race means that the Democratic field of candidates may be set.

The current field includes (since you’ve probably lost track) Kildee, State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.  House Speaker Andy Dillon has a campaign committee, but has not officially announced his candidacy as of yet.  However, it is expected that he will also join the fray.

Senate Joins House in Passing Lifetime Benefits Ban

Both the House and Senate have now passed a bill that would end the so-called lifetime health benefits that lawmakers currently receive. 

Currently if a lawmaker serves at least six years, they are eligible to receive retiree health benefits when they reach age 55.  The passage of HB 4194 would remove that benefit for future legislators, governors and other state elected officials.

The bill was amended in the Senate, so it must go back to the House to concur with the changes.  This measure is one of the reforms that Gov. Granholm called for in her State of the State address, so she is expected to sign it when it reaches her desk.

Bouchard Visits SBAM: Talks about Job Creation

This past Wednesday, Oakland County Sheriff and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Bouchard held a press conference at SBAM’s Lansing headquarters.  Bouchard presented his plans to make Michigan more competitive and to create jobs.

The press conference also featured SBAM board member David Rhoa.  Rhoa spoke of his frustrations with Michigan’s business environment when their company was looking to expand, calling it “…at the very least, difficult and at its very worst, openly hostile to business growth and expansion.”  See the video of Rhoa's presentation.

Bouchard’s plan aims to improve the regulatory environment that Michigan businesses must adhere to, change the economic development strategy of the state by helping existing businesses grow and prosper, and to assist start-ups.  Specifics include:
  • Freeze all pending (new) regulatory rules until a review of existing regulations has been completed
  • Require a detailed cost-benefit analysis of regulatory legislation so the public knows its true fiscal and economic impact should it become law
  • Mandate that environmental and regulatory standards be based on sound science and reasoning
  • Streamline and expedite the permitting process, setting clear requirements and timelines that businesses can depend on in their planning
  • Transform the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) into a state agency subject to state policies and transparency rules
  • Consolidate 300 pages of economic development laws in the state into a single, coherent Michigan Economic Development Code
  • Shift resources and funds from helping favored businesses and industries to helping create an environment for many businesses to flourish
  • Assemble a team of “economic development account executives” that will help businesses cut through red tape and successfully navigate government requirements
  • Grow jobs quicker by focusing government efforts and incentives on top job creators:  startup businesses and Michigan companies that are expanding

Unionization of Business Owners?

This week bills have been introduced in the State Senate that would make clear that day care and home health care providers cannot be forced to join a union.

The bills stem from an issue that has been getting a great deal of state and national media coverage in recent weeks.

In December of 2008, approximately 40,000 in-home day care owners were notified by mail that they were now members of a newly formed union. 

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Human Services (DHS) began withholding union dues from the subsidy checks that these day care providers receive from the state.  The state provides the subsidy checks to assist low-income parents with the costs of child care.  It is estimated that the amount of money being withheld is $3.7 million.

A class action suit was filed on behalf of the day care providers against the DHS in 2009.  In December of 2009 the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the case.  The dismissal is being appealed.

SBAM has been closely following this issue since the court dismissal late last year.  The bills introduced in the Senate would make it so that day care and home health care providers (home health care providers have been unionized in other states) could not be forced to join a union.  The bills would also dissolve the union that was formed to represent these business owners.

One of the bill sponsors State Senator Nancy Cassis correctly points out that, “Child day care providers and home health care workers are private employers, not public employees.  Labeling them as state employees because they receive state aid is outrageous.”

For more details and background on this story click here

We will keep you posted on the progress of these bills.
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