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2021 Legislative Victories and Accomplishments

This article appeared in the January/February 2022 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

As we rebound from the pandemic, MMA has been laser-focused on working with the Whitmer Administration and legislative leaders to craft policies that allow the state’s largest and most vital sector to create jobs and drive our state’s economic recovery. We have achieved significant progress in the first year of the two-year session of the 101st Legislature, and will continue our work to boost the competitiveness of our industry and our great state in 2022.

Tax Policy

New Economic Development Tool for Michigan to Win Jobs and Investment

Passed a $1 billion economic development tool that puts Michigan in the game for transformational investments as the auto industry quickly evolves from the internal combustion engine to electric and autonomous vehicles. (Learn more on page 18.)

PPT “One and Done”s

Created a process that will allow manufacturers to file a single Personal Property Tax (PPT) exemption at the state level, preempting the onerous process of filing exemptions with each local municipality every year.

Simplified PPT Filings for Remote Personal Property

Extended the legislative solution advanced by MMA last year to avoid the administrative nightmare of tracking personal property such as laptops and monitors held by people working remotely.

Manufacturing Talent

Going PRO Talent Fund

Achieved record funding for the Going PRO Talent Fund, a critical tool to address the manufacturing talent crisis. Forty million dollars is available to employers for the 2021-2022 application period.

Michigan Reconnect

Fifty-five million dollars was dedicated to the Michigan Reconnect program, expanding this tuition-free program in which workers can earn a college degree or industry-recognized certificate to 40,000 more applicants.

PRIME® Talent Program

Six million dollars of the fiscal year 2021-2022 School Aid Budget will be dedicated to SME Education Foundation’s Partnership Response Initiative (PRIME®) program which will provide 16 Michigan high schools with opportunities to craft and run CTE programs for students providing an ongoing talent pipeline for local manufacturers.

Employer Issues

Reinstated Work Search

Called for reinstatement of work search requirement as a condition of unemployment benefits after Governor Whitmer suspended in 2020. Following the reinstatement of the requirement on 5/31/21, nearly 300,000 claimants dropped off the unemployment rolls by 9/1/21.

Required Work Registration and Fixed Temporary Waiver

MMA-supported law Public Act 66 of 2021 requires an individual to register for work with a Michigan Works! agency after applying for unemployment benefits. The bill also retroactively protected workers on temporary layoff, when requirement was reinstituted on 5/31/21, by allowing waiving the work search requirement, so manufacturers could avoid losing their workforce to the work search requirement.

Shored-up UITF

Avoided borrowing from the federal government to keep unemployment benefits available following record-shattering unemployment claims and fraud. Secured a $150 million to shore up the employer-funded Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF).

Health Care Policy

Maintained Health Care Cost-Cutting Tool

Prevented a long-term carve-out for positron emission tomography (PET) scanner services from the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) process which controls costs in Michigan’s health care markets.

Blocked Permanent COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rule

MMA led the fight against saddling employers with a permanent COVID-19 workplace safety rule. Dave Worthams chaired the MIOSHA workgroup, engaged more than 300 opponents and coordinated legislative opposition efforts, resulting in MIOSHA’s withdrawal of the proposed rules.

 

COVID-19 Policy

Reduced Regulatory Burden of COVID-19 MIOSHA Emergency Rule

As the vaccine became available MMA successfully advocated for the reduction in requirements for MIOSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Rule, such as eliminating testing for manufacturers, removing the confusing “feasibility “standard for enforceable safety measures, and provided regulatory clarity to following standardized CDC guidelines.

End of Federal Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Advocated for the end of expanded and extended federal unemployment benefits, which caused manufacturers to compete for talent against the unemployment system. Approximately 500,000 claimants stopped receiving benefits after federal benefits ended on 9/4/21.

Helping to Procure COVID-19 Tests

In light of OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccination or test emergency temporary standard (ETS), MMA is calling on Governor Whitmer to use federal COVID-19 support dollars to help employers and employees procure more COVID-19 tests.

Supported Work Share Program

Thanks to the MMA-supported Work Share Program, employers were able reduce payroll, limit unemployment tax liability and retain their talent through the pandemic by leveraging the unemployment system to put nearly 200,000 workers on a reduced work schedule.

Environmental and Regulatory Policy

Preventing Increased Ozone Regulations

Following years of work by MMA, EGLE requested that the U.S. EPA recognizes attainment of air quality regulations in seven counties in southeast Michigan. If approved, dramatic and costly increases in air regulations and imposition of emission controls would be avoided.

Keeping Environmental Fees Affordable and Reasonable

Averted fee increases proposed by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) by funding certain programs and staff through General Fund/General Purpose dollars.

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