State Employee Pay Raise to Go Through

The scheduled 3% pay raise for the state’s unionized employees will take effect this fall.  The state Senate tried unsuccessfully for a third time to overturn the raise.

The third vote was the same as the second, 23-15 in favor of rescinding the raise.  However, the vote requires a two-thirds majority to pass (26 “yes” votes).  The state House never took up the measure. 

The vote to obtain the majority needs to happen before April 11, and neither chamber is scheduled to be in session until April 13.  Therefore, the raise will go through as scheduled.

Recall that as part of the governor’s budget non-unionized employees had their 3% raises rescinded.  The measure would have saved the state $83 million. 

Governor’s Early Retirement Bills on Hold

As part of Gov. Granholm’s budget plan, she proposed an early retirement proposal for teachers and state employees.  It is estimated that the measure would save more than $300 million.

The Governor hopes to see the measures pass soon so that retirees and schools can plan accordingly for the upcoming year.  A Senate committee reported their version of the legislation to the full Senate.  However, the votes weren’t there to pass it, so no vote was taken.

Over in the House, testimony has been taken on the bills, but it has not yet moved out of committee.

The legislature adjourned for a two-week break and is not due back until next week.  Gov. Granholm and legislative leaders have been discussing the measure over the break and hope to move something upon their return.  We will keep you updated on the progress of the bills.

SBAM Expresses Opposition to Bill Banning Credit Checks for Hiring Decisions

A bill that would prohibit businesses from using credit checks with regard to employment decisions was taken up before the House Labor Committee.

Proponents of the bill argue that it is unfair to look at a prospective or current employees’ credit history when making employment decisions.

SBAM argues that the bill is an intrusion on the employee-employer relationship and the government should play no role. 

While many businesses do not use this tool in making employment decisions, others do.  Credit checks allow businesses to verify employment histories and provide other useful information to the employer.

There was no vote taken on the bill.  We will keep you updated on its progress.

SBAM seeks nominations for board of directors

Article V – COMMITTEES, Section 3 of the Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM’S) Policies and Procedures Manual provides, in part, that the Nominating Committee shall call for nominations for Directors from all members not less than seventy-five (75) days prior to the annual meeting.  This information is to be made available using SBAM publications and electronic means. 

If a Member would like to nominate a Member for Director, candidate names, along with a resume, should be submitted to the Chair of the Board Development Committee by Friday, May 14, 2010 at the following address:

SBAM Board Development Committee Chair
Small Business Association of Michigan
P. O. Box 16158
Lansing MI 48901-6158


Impact of health care reform law: download presentation here

On March 31, Rob Fowler, SBAM’s President and CEO, and Scott Lyon, SBAM’s health insurance expert, were online in a Webinar explaining what you need to know right now and in the future about the new health insurance law.


You may find it especially helpful to read their time line of what goes into effect and when.

Click here to download their PowerPoint presentation (in PDF format.)

Technical problems by the Webinar company have prevented us from making available the audio recording of Rob and Scott’s presentation. Check back for updates.


 (SBAM wants to know how the new law will affect your small business! Tell us in the comment section at the end of this story -- or contribute your views to our Forum.)

What the new health care reform law means to your small business: SBAM audio/video webinar March 31

Get the facts on what the new health care reform law means to your small business: Free SBAM audio/video Webinar Wed. March 31, 2 p.m.

Puzzled, confused, apprehensive about the new health care reform law? It’s no wonder, because there’s lots of misinformation out there about the impact on small businesses. But SBAM has dug into the details of the new law and we’ve got the facts that will help you prepare for the impact of the new insurance coverage regulations.

Join us for a free interactive audio/video Webinar at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Rob Fowler, SBAM’s President and CEO, and Scott Lyon, SBAM’s health insurance expert and Vice President Small Business Services, will be online to tell you what you need to know right now and in the future about the new health insurance law. You’ll have the opportunity to text in your questions during the Webinar and get them answered by our experts.

To register for the March 31 Webinar, enter your email address below. There is no charge to participate. Tell your friends and business colleagues so they can join in, too!

Questions? Email Vice President Communications Michael Rogers at

Election 2010

A recent poll shows that the race for the Republican nomination for governor is tightening up, and that House Speaker Andy Dillon has the early lead on the Democratic side.

Marketing Resource Group did a poll of Michigan voters between March 10 and March 15.  

The results show that Attorney General Mike Cox, Congressman Pete Hoekstra and business executive Rick Snyder are in a virtual dead heat.  Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard is in 4th, and State Senator Tom George is barely registering.  

Cox         21%
Hoekstra    21%
Snyder        20%
Bouchard     10%
George         1%
Undecided    27%

On the Democratic side, now that the field is apparently set, most voters haven’t made up their mind.  However, House Speaker Andy Dillon has the early lead with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith still in single digits.  

Dillon        21%
Bernero     9%
Wheeler Smith 6%
Undecided    64%

The next few months should prove very interesting on the gubernatorial race and we will provide you with periodic updates.

SBAM Testifies in Support of Review of Administrative Rules

This week, the House Government Operations Committee took up HB 4988 sponsored by State Rep. Arlan Meekhof.  HB 4988 would provide an annual review of regulatory rules that effect businesses.  And more importantly for our members, it would require a periodic review of the impact rules have on small businesses.

The review would have to consider:  the continued need for the rules, the nature of any complaints or comments received from the public about the rules, the complexity of complying with the rules, the extent to which the rules conflict with or duplicate similar rules or regulations of the federal government or local government, and the date of the last evaluation of the rules and the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed regulatory activity covered by the rules.

Complying with the various rules and regulations that businesses face can be costly and time-consuming, especially for small businesses.  Large businesses have compliance officers and attorneys on staff to deal with these regulations.  Small businesses do not, and therefore must hire people to advise them on coming into compliance with these rules.

Additionally, increased administrative costs due to reporting requirements also have a disproportionate effect on small businesses.  It is much easier for larger businesses to absorb these costs when they have hundreds of employees.  Businesses with fewer employees cannot spread the cost as much and therefore are placed with a greater regulatory cost impact.

The bill was not voted on in committee this past week.  We will keep you posted on its progress.  A similar bill was passed by the Senate last year.