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Round-Up of Legislative News: April 24 – 30

April 30, 2010

House Passes Its Version of Early Retirement Bills

On Tuesday, the State House passed its version of early retirement bills for school employees in the state.  The Senate then sent the bills to a Conference Committee where the differences between the two bills will be ironed out. 

Throughout the week the lead negotiators on the bills have been meeting to come to agreement.  The House bills have more first year savings, but less in the long term than the Senate.

The Governor had hoped that the proposal would be complete by this week, so that teachers could make their decisions and schools could plan accordingly.  House and Senate leaders are expected to meet over the weekend in the hopes of coming to some agreement.

If the bills pass, this would be the first major reform bill to be enacted this year.  The House did not move the bill dealing with state employees.  That bill does not face the same time constraints as the bill for school employees.

Stay tuned.

SBAM Lends Support to Microenterprise Fund

SBAM expressed its support for a package of bills before the House Banking and Financial Services Committee that would assist our smallest business owners in getting needed loans.

The Microenterprise Fund would provide loans and grants to community-based microenterprise development organizations which in turn would provide loans to small businesses.  These organizations assist entrepreneurs with business training and technical assistance for those starting or growing their businesses.

The maximum loans under the bills would be $35,000, but no more than half can exceed $10,000.  Microenterprise businesses are generally those with five employees or fewer and include home-based businesses.

SBAM believes that this fund will help many business owners that cannot get lending through traditional sources.

The committee passed the bills and they now move on to the full House.

Election 2010

The latest poll is out in the gubernatorial races.  Congressman Pete Hoekstra leads the Republican field and Hose Speaker Andy Dillon leads on the Democratic side.

The poll was conducted by Rasmussen Reports.  It shows Hoekstra with 28 percent support, Ann Arbor business executive Rick Snyder with 14%, Attorney General Mike Cox with 13 percent , and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard with 9 percent.  32 percent remain undecided.

On the Democratic side, Dillon had 13%, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero with 12% and State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith with 8 percent .  53 percent of respondents are still undecided, while 17 percent want another candidate to get in the field.

In that vein, there has been some talk of controversial attorney and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Feiger getting into the race.  Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen.  If he did get in the race he would only have until May 11 to collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot.

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