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Advocacy Corner: Week of 12/07/18 Bookmark

Panorama of United States Supreme Court Building at Dusk

On November 29, the Michigan Senate took action on three bills which seek to restructure campaign finance laws, state oversight of public elections, and the ability of the Michigan legislature to intervene in court proceedings.

The legislature also approved amendments to citizen-initiated bills which seek to change earned sick-leave and raising the state minimum wage.

Personal Privacy Protection Act

Passed by the Michigan Competitiveness Committee, SB 1176 creates a new “Personal Privacy Protection Act,” that further protects the identities of members of non-profits and other donor information currently already protected from public disclosure.

Proponents argue the bill is, “…a victory for First Amendment freedoms,” while critics claim it is a, “dark money protection act” as it would shield nonprofits which engage in heavy election-cycle spending.

Fair Political Practices Commission

Introduced and referred to the Committee on Elections and Government Reform, SB 1250 would establish the “Fair and Political Practices Commission” to oversee campaign finance. The proposed bipartisan commission would be comprised of three Republican appointees and three Democratic appointees with the intent to “encourage bipartisan cooperation”.

The immediate, opposing response to the proposed legislation has suggested this may instead lead to further “partisan gridlock” with aims to decrease the powers of incoming democratic lawmakers.

Expanded Power of the Legislature to Litigate

HB 6553, referred to its second reading to the Committee on Government Operations, would amend previous statutes to expand the legislature’s ability to intervene in any action made in any level of state court, at any time.

In doing so, the legislature would protect its ability to litigate in cases of state interest as an entity independent from the Attorney General’s office. The current bill language is being interpreted by pundits as potentially threatening to the separation of powers with concerns to its constitutionality.

Sick Leave & Minimum Wage

On December 4, the legislature approved substantial amendments to a citizen-initiated bill which sought to reform worker’s compensation and earned sick-leave.

The newly approved bill version will roll back the language as originally presented and passed – drawing concerns of the action’s constitutionality from citizens and praise from business and interest groups. A detailed analysis of the amendments has been provided by Bridge Magazine.

MSAE will continue to monitor and provide substantive updates to the above. For additional information, contact Taylor Benavente regarding MSAE advocacy.

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