Earlier this week, House Republicans held a hearing on H.B. 4052, a bill that would prohibit local governments from passing employment-related ordinances that are more restrictive than state-level laws. Although it is called the “Local Government Employer Mandate Prohibition Act”, it really should be referred to as the “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” because it strips what is commonly known as “home rule” from local governments.
The list of things covered by the current version of H.B. 4052 is pretty large. It would prohibit a local governmental body from adopting, enforcing, or administering an ordinance, local policy, or local resolution that:
- Regulates the relationship between an employer and its employees or potential employees, if the regulation contains requirements exceeding those imposed by state or federal law.
- Regulates information an employer or potential employer must request, require, or exclude on an application for employment from an employee or potential employee.
- Requires an employer to pay an employee a wage higher than the state minimum hourly wage or the federal minimum wage (unless the federal minimum is lower than the state minimum wage).
- Regulates work stoppage or strike activity of employers and their employees or the means by which employees can organize.
- Requires an employer to provide paid or unpaid leave time.
- Regulates hours and scheduling that an employer is required to provide to employees.
- Requires an employer or its employees to participate in any educational apprenticeship or training program.
- Requires an employer to provide any specific fringe benefit or any other benefit for which the employer would incur an expense.
- Regulates or creates administrative or judicial remedies for wage, hour, or benefit disputes.
The upshot of all of this is that it would prohibit things like community benefits ordinances, local minimum wage ordinances, and local ordinances protecting the civil rights of the LGBTQ community. The city of East Lansing was the first municipality in the country to pass such an ordinance and their mayor Nathan Triplett has been a fierce warrior opposing this bill. There are, in fact, 38 such LGBTQ civil rights ordinances across Michigan, more than in any other state. Those will all go away if Gov. Snyder signs this legislation into law.
H.B. 4052 had only one sponsor, Republican Earl Poleski. The hearing held this week adjourned without a vote and rational people across the state who actually believe local control is a vitally important all breathed a sigh of relief.
But don’t think that Poleski was a lone wolf in this effort. Yesterday, Senate Republicans introduced S.B. 337, a bill that is essentially identical to H.B. 4052. This bill was co-sponsored by several Republicans. Senators Peter MacGregor, Wayne A. Schmidt, Patrick Colbeck, John Proos, Jack Brandenburg, Joe Hune, Phil Pavlov, Arlan B. Meekhof, and Marty Knollenberg all signed on.
S.B. 337 does everything that H.B. 4052 does with the exception of the last bullet point in the list above. Apparently the only concession they were will to make to local government control was to allow them to regulate and/or create administrative or judicial remedies for wage, hour, or benefit disputes.
Other than that, if this legislation becomes law, local municipalities will lose the ability to protect workers, the LGBTQ community, and other groups at the local level. If state Republicans say that these groups should be screwed over, they will be screwed over statewide and they will stay screwed over until sane people retake control over our state government.
Now is the time to speak up about this legislation. Contact your State House Representative and Senator and let them know that this Republican overreach is unacceptable. In fact, it flies in the face of Republican rhetoric about the importance and sanctity of local control, revealing them to be the hypocrites they are. They don’t want local governmental control and democracy. They want control OVER local governments and local democracy. If our state’s Emergency Manager law didn’t prove that, this effort surely does.
You can also send an email to members of the Michigan House Committee on Commerce and Trade demanding they oppose House Bill 4052 by clicking HERE.