2018 Lame Duck Updates

What was your Chamber Government Affairs team working on during Lame Duck 2018?

Your Chamber lobbyists are ready for a break after several long weeks of Lame Duck 2018. The hard deadline of the end of the legislative cycle means several hundred bills were passed in December. So, what were we focused on to support our members during the long hours of the night (and sometimes into the next morning)? Here are a few of the highlights of legislation we were able to get across the finish line:

Stopping Local Gov’ts from Charging Businesses from Calling Police

Call the police, get sent a bill? While it seems hard to believe, a local government in West Michigan actually started charging local businesses for situations where the police got called to their premises. Thanks to a Grand Rapids Chamber led bill sponsored by Senator Peter MacGregor, that is now on its way to the Governor, this action will no longer be allowed.

 A-F Grading System

House Bill 5526 would create an A-F accountability system for all public schools, with schools being graded on five key factors and two indicators. This will improve school transparency and accountability in order to boost student achievement.

Preventing Double Taxation

Senate bill 1170 created a new tax on pass-through entities in response to a change at the federal level. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put a limit on state and local tax deductions for pass-throughs only. Under this bill, a pass-through could elect to create a new tax on the entity level, shifting the liability and allowing the full deduction. Pass-throughs would then get a credit so as to avoid double taxation. This bill levels the playing field for businesses to compete.

Improving Environmental Cleanup Process

Senate Bill 1244 sets a clearer process for how the DEQ will develop and set cleanup criteria values. This is critical to provide better clarity and expectations for businesses working to remediate contaminated property and return it to use.

Funding for Environmental Cleanups, Recycling and Roads

A new fund environmental cleanups, recycling and solid waste management has been set at $69 million a year. These dollars will replace critical funding that was previously available through the expiring Clean Michigan Fund. Part of this bill also gives Michigan roads another shot in the arm, adding between $114 and $143 million for next year’s construction season.