Weekly Legislative Round-Up

The Small Biz PAC (Political Action Committee) made its first round of endorsements for the 2010 election cycle.  The PAC committee is made up of SBAM members and staff that review candidate surveys sent to each of the candidates, voting records, personal interviews and other relevant criteria in determining which candidates will best serve the interests of small business.

The committee chose not to make an endorsement in the governor’s race at this time. 

The committee did make endorsements in 37 of the 110 House seats and 24 of the 38 Senate seats.  In addition, SBAM issues the “SBAM Stamp of Approval” in seats where we feel there are multiple candidates who would support our small business agenda.  The “Stamp of Approval” was given out in 23 House districts and 3 Senate districts.

State House Endorsements

State Senate Endorsements

SBAM Stamps of Approval

Throughout the summer we will continue to evaluate the 2010 elections and will announce further endorsements, especially after the August 3 primary election.

If you do not know your House and Senate district numbers please visit our legislative action center and type in your zip code and address.

SBAM announces new board officers, directors

The following small business owners are new 2010-2011 board officers and directors for the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM.) They were elected at SBAM’s board of directors meeting on June 24 in East Lansing.

•    Chair: Cynthia Kay, owner of Cynthia Kay and Company, Grand Rapids
•    1st Vice Chair – Yan Ness - Online Technologies Corp., Ann Arbor
•    2nd Vice Chair - David Rhoa - Lake Michigan Mailers, Kalamazoo
•    Treasurer – Guy Richardson, Advance Employment Services, Lansing
•    Secretary – Bob Fish, BIGGBY Coffee, East Lansing
•    Immediate Past Chair – Mike Fox, Ingenuity IEQ, Midland

New members of the board of directors:

•    Bunmi Akinyemiju – Enliven Software, East Lansing
•    Kathy Fuce-Hobohm – SPACE, Inc., Midland


SBAM endorses for State House races

The Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) Small Biz PAC has endorsed the following candidates for State House:

House Endorsements

1st District     Janice Dumouchelle (R-Grosse Pointe Farms)           
4th District     Michael Hartt (D-Detroit)
17th District    Phil Cavanaugh (D-Redford Twp.)
19th District    Rep. John Walsh (R-Livonia)
20th District    Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth)
26th District    Ken Rosen (R-Royal Oak)
30th District    Jeff Farrington (R-Utica)
36th District    Rep. Pete Lund (R-Shelby Twp.)   
39th District    Lois Shulman (R-West Bloomfield)
45th District    Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills)
47th District    Rep. Cindy Denby (R-Fowlerville)
52nd District   Mark Ouimet (R-Chelsea)
54th District    Dave Franklin (D-Ypsilanti)
56th District    Dale Zorn (R-Ida)
57th District    Nancy Jenkins (R-Clayton)
58th District    Rep. Ken Kurtz (R-Coldwater)
59th District    Rep. Matt Lori (R-Constantine)
61st District    Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage)
63rd District    Rep. Jase Bolger (R-Marshall)
65th District    Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake)
66th District    Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton)
74th District    Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville)
79th District    Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville)
81st District    Sen. Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac)
82nd District    Rep. Kevin Daley (R-Attica)
84th District    Kurt Damrow (R-Port Austin)
86th District    Lisa Posthumus-Lyons (R-Alto)
87th District    Mike Callton (R-Nashville)
88th District    Rep. Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck)
90th District    Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland)
91st District    Holly Hughes (R-Montague)
92nd District   Scott McNiell (D-North Muskegon)
94th District    Rep. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth)
98th District    Rep. Jim Stamas (R-Midland)
104th District   Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City)
106th District   Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle)
110th District   Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine)


SBAM honors Rep. Proos and others with Advocate Awards at annual meeting

Rep. John Proos (R-St. Joseph) was honored as the Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) Legislator of the Year at the organization annual meeting June 24 in East Lansing.


Also honored at the SBAM annual meeting were Nancy Kaffer, reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business, as Communicator of the Year; and Jennifer Turner, Vice-President of St. Regis Culvert in Charlotte, as volunteer Advocate of the Year.


The SBAM Legislator of the Year award is presented to the state or federal lawmaker who has shown the most support for small business. Criteria include legislation introduced, votes cast and leadership ability as demonstrated by the person’s ability to build consensus to resolve small business issues.


As Chair of the House Republican Strategic Task Force on Jobs, Proos was the primary author of the “Michigan Jobs Plan,” which called for among other things repealing the MBT surcharge, eliminating the personal property tax and promoting economic gardening. He also introduced a bill to create the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Services, which would assist start-up and growing businesses; co-sponsored bill that would increase the officer compensation threshold in the MBT’s Alternative Profits Tax; co-sponsored a bill that would give tax-free status to new businesses that haven’t yet become profitable; and as a key House Appropriations member led House Republican efforts to balance the budget without raising taxes.


SBAM endorses for State Senate races

The Small Business Association of Michigan’s (SBAM) Small Biz PAC has endorsed the following candidates for State Senate:

2nd District     Rep. Bert Johnson (D-Highland Park)
3rd District      Morris Hood (D-Detroit)
6th District      John Pastor (R-Livonia)
13th District    Sen. John Pappageorge (R-Troy)
15th District    Mike Kowall (R-White Lake)
16th District    Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale)
17th District    Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe)
18th District    Rep. Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea)
19th District    Sen. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek)
20th District    Rep. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton)
21st District    Rep. John Proos (R-St. Joseph)
22nd District   Joe Hune (R-Fowlerville)
24th District    Rep. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge)
25th District    Rep. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair)
26th District    David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc)
28th District    Sen. Mark Jansen (R-Grand Rapids)
29th District    Rep. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell)
30th District    Rep. Arlen Meekhof (R-West Olive)
33rd District    Rep. Brian Calley (R-Portland)
34th District    Rep. Goeff Hansen (R-Hart)
35th District    Rep. Darwin Booher (R-Evart)
36th District    John Moolenaar (R-Midland)
37th District    Howard Walker (R-Traverse City)
38th District    Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba)


Coming tomorrow: endorsements for State House.


SBAM Annual Meeting media coverage roundup

Here’s a selection from the widespread media coverage of SBAM’s annual meeting, held June 24 in East Lansing:


SBAM launches initiative for economic turnaround

(TV news crews cover SBAM's press conference announcing economic growth initiative)


A public policy initiative geared to revitalize Michigan’s economy is being launched today by the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), which hopes to boost job creation and propel Michigan forward toward economic growth and stability.


SBAM is urging state policy makers and the next governor to embrace “economic gardening,” an economic development strategy that has emerged as a prototype for significant job creation.


“Our initiative will aggressively hold the new governor and legislators accountable for supporting home grown business job providers,” explains Rob Fowler, SBAM President and CEO. “We need to refocus our direction from primarily ‘hunting’ outside the state for job providers, to instead ‘cultivating’ home grown companies, especially second stage companies, that have been the primary job creators.”


Almost all of Michigan’s new jobs from 1993 to 2007 came from businesses with less than 100 workers, while companies of 500 or more employees lost significant numbers of jobs in that period, according to the Edward Lowe Foundation.


SBAM is launching the initiative today, dubbed “Propelling a New Economic Direction for Michigan,” at its annual meeting, which draws hundreds of small business owners from across the state to the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.


Figures compiled by the Edward Lowe Foundation show that small, "second-stage" companies produced more jobs in the 15-year period between 1993 and 2007 than any other business segment in the state. Second-stage companies are those that employ between 10 and 100 workers, have annual sales of at least $1 million and want to grow, according to the Edward Lowe Foundation's definition. Such businesses created 137,249 jobs in Michigan between 1993 and 2007, while companies employing 500 or more workers shed 257,585 jobs in the same time period.


SBAM says home grown companies will grow with the right support that allows them to overcome hurdles to growth.


SBAM has quietly been working on pilot programs, testing growth ideas with 24 companies in the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw region and Tuscola County in the Thumb. The “economic gardening” philosophy was pioneered in Littleton, Colorado in 1989 when the town’s major employer, Martin Marietta, cut thousands of jobs. Since then Littleton’s employment has risen 71 percent and its tax base has tripled.


SBAM’s “Propelling a New Economic Direction for Michigan” initiative noted in Detroit Free Press column

SBAM’s new “Propelling a New Economic Direction for Michigan” initiative, which will be launched Thursday at SBAM’s annual meeting in East Lansing, was the subject of Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh’s column on June 20. Excerpt:


Hunting should be replaced by "economic gardening," an approach that would cultivate the state's existing base of companies with fewer than 100 employees, growing them into much bigger outfits. That's the gospel the Small Business Association of Michigan will preach to its members -- and to the pack of candidates vying to be Michigan's next governor -- at SBAM's annual meeting Thursday in East Lansing. "This is not just a philosophy. We believe there's some new science here," SBAM President Rob Fowler told me last week.


Read Walsh’s entire column here.


What do you think of SBAM's initiative? Leave a comment below!



Grandfathered health plan FAQs

Question:  What can you tell me about “grandfathered” health plans and how that may impact my company’s health insurance plan?

Answer: On June 14, the Internal Revenue Service, along with the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services released the interim final rules for grandfathered plan provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). All employer sponsored group health plans that were in effect on March 23, 2010 are impacted.

The regulations, published in the Federal Register on Thursday, June 17, 2010 provide some clarification on whether or not your health plan can maintain “grandfathered” status, as well as the applicability of the “grandfathering” rules to collectively bargained plans.  Generally, the regulations are applicable for plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010, when many of the market reforms take effect.  The regulations also confirm that retiree-only plans are exempt from certain PPACA requirements.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exempts certain health plans that were in existence on March 23, 2010 –“grandfathered plans” from many new requirements, including benefit mandates, caps on out-of-pocket expenses, limits on age-based premiums, and other consumer protections.

So, what does this really mean to your health plan?  Group health plans that were in existence on  March 23, 2010 are grandfathered – meaning they do not yet have to comply with some, but not all, of PPACA’s mandates. Including:

Ø  Coverage for certain preventive health services without imposing cost-sharing requirements.

Ø  The PPACA puts the following rules in place for patients: 

Plans that require designation of a participating primary care provider must permit each participant, beneficiary and enrollee to designate any available participating primary care provider (including a pediatrician for children). 

Plans that provide emergency services may not impose preauthorization or increased cost-sharing for emergency services (in or out of network). 

Plans that provide obstetrical/gynecological care and require a designation of a participating primary care provider may not require preauthorization or referral for obstetrical/gynecological care.

Ø  Fully insured plans must satisfy the requirements of Internal Revenue Code section 105(h)(2). That section provides that a plan may not discriminate in favor of highly compensated individuals as to eligibility to participate and that the benefits provided under the plan may not discriminate in favor of participants who are highly compensated individuals.


Ø  Within two years of the date of enactment (March 23, 2010), reporting requirements will be developed for group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage. The reports will relate to benefit and reimbursement structures that are designed to improve health outcomes, prevent hospital readmissions, improve patient safety, reduce medical errors and implement health and wellness activities.


Ø  Group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage must implement an effective appeals process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims.

Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014
Premiums charged for health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market may not be discriminatory and may vary only by