Round-Up of Legislative News
April 23, 2010
SBAM Member Testifies in Support of Ban on Unionization of Business Owners
This week SBAM Board member Jerry Grubb, owner of Wee Discover Child Daycare and Learning Center in Waterford, testified in support of SBs 1173, 1178, and 1179.
The bills would make it clear that daycare owners and home healthcare workers who own their businesses are not public employees and therefore cannot be unionized and have dues withheld from subsidies that they receive from the state. The state provides the subsidy checks to the daycare providers to assist low-income parents with the costs of child care.
This issue has received a great deal of local and national media attention because most people are shocked to learn that independent business owners could be part of a union.
Grubb made the point that this could set a horrible precedent for other businesses that receive payments from the state.
Two of the bills were reported from the Senate Families and Human Services Committee and now move to the full Senate.
The early retirement package that was announced by the Governor earlier this year and passed by the Senate last week still awaits action in the House.
The bills provide for early retirement provisions for both school and state employees. Gov. Granholm has asked that the legislature complete the bills by the end of the month so that schools can plan accordingly for the next school year.
The House has made changes to the Senate bill and is expected to take up its version next week. Depending on which version is passed, estimated savings are between $225 million and $735 million in the first year and nearly $3 billion over the next 10 years.
The employee unions oppose the Senate version and it remains to be seen whether they support the House version. The plan is an important component of the reform agenda that SBAM is supporting to deal with the state’s budget.
The Michigan Democratic Party held an early endorsement convention last weekend in which their likely candidates for Attorney General and Secretary of State were determined.
Unlike most elected offices that use primaries to determine who the Democratic and Republican nominees will be for the general election, nominees for the offices of Attorney General and Secretary of State (and a few others) are chosen by the respective state parties.
The nominating conventions for both parties are held in August. This year the State Democratic Party instituted an early endorsement convention. The Democrats have not held the Attorney General’s office for 8 years or the Secretary of State’s for 16. They felt that they wanted to have their potential nominees announced earlier so that they can begin their general election campaigns in the spring instead of late summer.
While the winners of last weekend’s convention will still not be officially nominated until August, it is expected that they will be the nominees.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton narrowly defeated attorney and Wayne State University Trustee Richard Bernstien to gain the Attorney General endorsement. In the Secretary of State race, Jocelyn Benson, a Wayne State University election law professor easily defeated Wayne County Clerk Janice Winfrey.
The Republican candidates will still be determined during their August convention.