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Legislative Issues

Our Chamber is here to advocate for you! Whether it's fighting the Storm Water Fees or other important topcis at the local, state or federal government levels, we are here for you.

Below are some of the issues that we are keeping an eye on. Please take a few minutes to read the articles and offer feedback to us AND the elected official working with that issue.

Paid Sick Leave Petition Circulating Again

A ballot petition requiring employers to provide paid sick leave is circulating. Early this year, a similar petition failed to reach the number of signatures needed to make the November ballot. With this petition, employers would be required to offer one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Time would accrue in one hour increments of up to 40 hours per calendar year for businesses with less than 10 employees and 72 hours per calendar year for all other businesses. The time would carry over from year-to-year, but employers would not be required to allow employees to use more than 40/72 hours in a single year. Paid sick leave could be used for illness, medical treatment, and care for a family member or a newborn child.   We recommend against signing this petition as it is a one-size-fits-all paid leave mandate. This proposal would have a significant impact on Jackson employers’ payroll

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Lawsuit Filed to Challenge New Department of Labor Rule

Lawsuit Filed to Challenge New Department of Labor Rule That Prevents Financial Professionals from Best Serving Retirement Savers Thursday, June 2, 2016 - 7:30am Plaintiffs look to court to strike down over-reaching federal regulations that will restrict hardworking Americans’ access to retirement advice and planning services WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Financial Services Institute, Financial Services Roundtable, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, Insured Retirement Institute, Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and Texas Association of Business filed on June 1st a legal challenge to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule for brokers and registered investment advisers serving Americans with Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) plans. In a joint statement, the Chief Executive Officers of the five national association co-plaintiffs noted the following: “Our organizations have a long, well-documented

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Member Alert: Efforts Underway to Significantly Alter Property Tax Assessments

May 9, 2016 A property tax debate is emerging that could have significant consequences for Michigan taxpayers. Local government associations are currently advocating for passage of legislation to dramatically change the way real property assessments and appeals are conducted. Their goal is to base assessments on a narrow set of variables that may not accurately reflect the fair market value of the property in order to increase taxes. Local government officials have characterized this debate as so-called “dark stores” in an effort to portray large retail operations in an unflattering light. But there is much more to this story. Despite local officials’ characterization that this debate centers around retail operations, every proposal put forward to date by local governments would impact all taxpayers!   A number of bills have been introduced in the Michigan House and Senate, and the Michigan House Tax Policy committee held its second

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State Energy Policy Debate Continues

May 9, 2016 The Michigan Senate Energy & Technology Committee is heading into its third week of testimony on Senate Bills 437 and438, which would rewrite Michigan’s 2008 energy law. At the center of debate are the new electric choice requirements, the elimination of energy efficiency and renewable energy mandates, and utility competitive bidding provisions.  The main focus of these bills is to create an Integrated Resource Planning process to improve overall energy policy planning; place new requirements on electric choice providers and customers to ensure reliability; provide a more competitive procurement process for utility generation; and eliminate energy efficiency and renewable energy mandates.     We have been working closely with Chamber members and State Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), who chairs the Senate Energy & Technology Committee, to find a path that brings our membership to a supportive position.  For more information, please contact Jason Geer,

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Chamber Supports Efforts to Block Misguided Overtime Regulation

Chamber Supports Efforts to Block Misguided Overtime Regulation  As the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule moves to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for review and promulgation, members of Congress have introduced legislation to stop the rule in its tracks. The Jackson County Chamber applauds the introduction of this important legislation and the involvement of a Michigan Congressional Delegation member.   As proposed, the rule recommends setting the salary threshold for exempt employees at $50,440 annually, up 113 percent from the current $23,660 annually. It also calls for annual automatic increases to the salary threshold and suggests that the duties tests should be made more stringent, requiring managers to spend at least half of their time on managerial functions.  The Chamber is strongly opposed to the proposed federal overtime rule and submitted comments to the DOL, arguing the proposal goes too high too

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Chamber Working to Prevent Cuts to Employer-Sponsored Medicare Plans

Chamber Working to Prevent Cuts to Employer-Sponsored Medicare Plans  The Michigan Chamber is urging the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to stop proposed cuts to employer-sponsored Medicare Advantage (MA) Retiree Coverage, also known as Employer Group Waiver Plans (EGWP).  Nationally, employers, including state and local governments along with union sponsors, use customized EGWP products to finance retiree coverage for almost 3.2 million beneficiaries, or more than 18% of all Medicare Advantage enrollees. The CMS proposed cuts, which could be finalized as early as April 4, would reduce funding to EGWPs by 2.5 to 4.5 percent and negatively impact nearly 305,000 Michigan retirees. An ever-increasing number of employers are choosing EGWPs because they offer innovative integrated care and offer reduced out-of-pocket costs and financial protections, including reduced premiums for Part B and D, out-of-pocket maximums and lower cost-sharing on medical and pharmacy benefits than traditional fee-for-service plans. The Michigan Chamber

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