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SBAM’s 2020 Legislative Priorities

February 17, 2020

Letter from the President

By Brian Calley

After a couple hectic weeks on the political scene, the political process is getting back to the regular grind of legislative action, with the budget taking center stage. But relations between the Executive and Legislative branches remain frosty.

SBAM is an intentionally bipartisan organization. We see value in forming and maintaining good relationships across the aisle because there are so many issues where we can work together. But our policy work is expansive and requires engagement in state and federal government, and in all three branches. Here’s a roundup of some of our top administrative rules issues in 2020.

Rules, Rules, Rules…

At the state level we are heavily involved in opposing a few administrative rule proposals that undermine the overall business climate entrepreneurs operate in. The top two concerns we have currently are:

Labor Peace Agreements

The proposal to require contracts with labor unions as a condition for being considered for a medical or recreational marijuana license. The state inserting a labor union contract as a condition of a licensing contract should be a concern of any business that is required to obtain a professional or operating license from the state.

Mandatory Overtime Threshold

The proposal is to increase the mandatory overtime threshold to $55,000 or more. The federal government just implemented a significant increase in this threshold from around $23,000 to $35,568. Raising the number to over $55,000 will not only make Michigan less competitive with other states, it will hurt small businesses more than large employers. Flexibility in hours and schedule is a key factor that small businesses use to attract the best talent. A high mandatory overtime threshold will require many small employers to manage hours differently, removing flexibility in the days/hours worked by their employees.

Small Business 401(k)s

At the Federal level we have our eyes on upcoming administrative rules that implement a recent law change meant to give small businesses better access to competitive benefit packages. Many small businesses cannot feasibly offer a 401(k) because the administrative costs are so high considering the relatively small size of their employment base. Late last year, federal law changed, allowing small businesses to form pools, spreading costs over many small businesses. SBAM is keenly interested and involved in moving this important policy change forward.

We find ourselves in court a lot lately too, and I expect a few of these administrative rules issues might eventually be settled by the judiciary. Next week we will do a rundown of some of the more important cases we are directly engaged in within the state and federal court systems.

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