The Michigan Competitiveness Committee met this morning and reported a modified version of House Bill 4052. The bill, which was jointly opposed by the League, Michigan Townships Association, and Michigan Association of Counties, was amended to address some of the concerns we raised and quickly passed the full Senate early this afternoon.
The bill that left the House at the end of May would have prohibited a municipality from negotiating a broad range of conditions as part of the normal procurement process with their own vendors and blocked any employment conditions from being included in an economic development or tax abatement agreement. Zoning decisions or noise abatement regulations impacting a business’s hours of operation would have been precluded, along with any local business license requirements that could have been interpreted as regulating the relationship between an employer and their employees.
There was broad recognition in the Senate that corrections were needed for many of these unintended consequences. The Senate committee reported an S-1 version of the bill that made a wide variety of changes that we had requested. Decisions impacting a business’s hours of operation were excluded from the bill. An attempt was made to acknowledge community-wide ordinances impacting public safety by allowing business license requirements to include background checks. Non-discrimination ordinances are not impacted by the proposal. Language was added that recognizes a local government’s ability to negotiate with a vendor for services and in connection with a tax abatement or tax credit agreement, except that wage and benefit conditions may not exceed state or federal law as part of those negotiations. Finally, language was included that allows for the enforcement of existing agreements.
We welcomed many of these changes as common sense and an acknowledgment that the original bill constituted a broad over-reach, but we remain opposed to the bill. You can read the testimony that we submitted here. While the Senate version is an improvement, the proposal lies in direct conflict with local control and Home Rule. We remain concerned with the broad language in parts of the bill and the potential impact on a community. These concerns along with the unjustified infringement on a local government’s ability to fully negotiate the terms and conditions of any contract or agreement investing public tax dollars ultimately dictated our position. This bill now returns to the House for concurrence with the Senate amendments sometime next week.
Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and email@example.com.