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Hey Alexa, what’s happening in Lansing?

October 2, 2022

A look back on our advocacy efforts throughout the month of September

NSBA Washington Presentation

Earlier this month, SBAM Director of Government Operations Alexa Kramer, SBAM Board Member Mark Ware, and NSBA Board Member Milan Gandhi traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Small Business Association Washington Presentation. At this conference, Mark Ware was announced as a finalist for the NSBA Advocate of the Year.

In addition to a conference filled with speakers on relevant small business topics, Alexa, Mark and Milan were able to meet with several members of the Michigan delegation to discuss SBAM’s top federal legislative priorities. We thank Representatives Jack Bergman, Tim Walberg, Haley Stevens, Brenda Lawrence, and Lisa McClain for taking the time to meet with small business owners from Michigan.

Reconnect Legislation Moves out of the House

Michigan’s Reconnect Program is one step closer to seeing some increased accountability measures as bi-partisan legislation was voted out of the House. HB 6129 and 6130, co-sponsored by Representative Ben Frederick (R) and Representative Sarah Anthony (D) would provide needed program accountability and more:

  • Set annual numerical degree completion goals for Reconnect students that community colleges must meet or confront reductions in state Reconnect contributions
  • Prescribe best practices for helping adult students persist and complete degrees and certificates such as providing stackable industry-recognized micro credentials within degree and certificate programs, offering credit for prior learning, and building strong transfer agreements with four-year universities and colleges
  • Offer strong financial incentives for community colleges to provide Reconnect students with course credits for prior learning
  • Provide an outcome-based framework for the recently-appropriated Reconnect Short Term Training Program which provide scholarships for adults without college degrees enrolled in employer-recognized shorter-term skill certificate courses that result in higher paying jobs in demand

SBAM looks forward to continuing our advocacy to ensure this legislation passed out of the Senate and gets signed by Governor Whitmer.

Supplemental Spending

The Governor and Legislature negotiated a $1 billion supplemental focused on economic development. In this package, it includes:

  • $846.1 million for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund, which exists to bring new investment projects into the state. The bill will add nearly $300 million and reauthorize $220 million. There is also approximately $350 million for site preparation, with $100 million of that earmarked for landfills.
  • Other items include $800,000 for Binder Park Zoo improvements, $15 million for grants for foster youth housing, $12 million for a grant to the city of Adrian, $25 million for child caring institution rates for children receiving services, and $15 million for a Detroit Wayne Integrated health network psychiatric campus.

In addition, parameters around the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, funded in the FY 2023 budget, were laid out. Students going to a public university would be able to receive up to $5,500 a year for five years, students attending private universities will get up to $4,000 a year for five years, private trade school students could receive $2,000 a year for two years, and community college students could receive up to $2,750 a year for up to three years.

SBAM Endorsed Candidates

Election day is quickly approaching! Have you checked out the list of SBAM endorsed candidates to see who is the pro-small business candidate in Michigan’s legislative races? SBAM’s PAC Board has endorsed in almost 90 races all across Michigan! Check out our website to see our endorsed candidates.

The SBAM PAC Board, made of small business owners, have the final say of which candidates receive our endorsement. If you’d like to contribute to the PAC, do so here.

Amicus Brief Filed to Defend Paid Sick Leave & Minimum Wage Increase

SBAM has filed an amicus brief defending the compromise of 2018 on minimum wage and paid sick leave because our long standing position is that government should not get in between the employer/employee relationship. The laws, without the compromise, would be devastating to small businesses, who are still trying to recover from the pandemic while also dealing with inflation, workforce shortages, and supply chain disruptions. Both the minimum wage and paid sick leave provisions will only increase the cost of doing business. Small businesses have been through so much in recent years, they can’t handle the serious hit the original provisions would have delivered.

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