Snyder signs law to bar municipal wage, employment rules that exceed federal or state requirements

By David Eggert
Associated Press

LANSING (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed a law prohibiting Michigan municipalities from requiring businesses to pay wages, benefits or provide sick days exceeding state or federal requirements.

The measure - opposed by Democrats, unions and local governments and backed by majority Republicans and business groups - also prevents the future enactment of local measures under which construction workers on public projects are paid "prevailing" wages. Michigan's 50-year-old law mandating prevailing wages on state-financed construction projects remains intact, though conservatives are organizing a petition drive so GOP legislators can repeal the law over Snyder's opposition.

The Republican governor said the law he signed Tuesday allows policies and agreements previously established at the municipal level to continue. Ensuring that employment matters are uniform statewide and not patchwork will bolster the job creation climate, he said in a statement.

The National Federation of Independent Business, which said Michigan is the 15th state to pass "pre-emption" legislation dealing with local minimum wages, cited Los Angeles' move this month to a $15 hourly minimum wage as a reason for enacting the law. Michigan's hourly minimum is $8.15.

"It is clear that various national front groups backed by organized labor are behind these efforts and they had Michigan on their list of states where they hoped to run similar local city campaigns," said NFIB Michigan Director Charlie Owens.

Critics condemned Snyder and the law, calling it a symbol of "tyrannical power."

"It's designed to attack workers and limit local democracy," said Lonnie Scott, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan.

Also Tuesday, Snyder signed 13 other laws that, among other things, clear the way for a Grand Rapids-area airport authority and eliminate regularly scheduled February election dates. Other measures assess a new tax on ambulance services, get rid of an adoption fee and boost licensing and inspection fees on hospitals, nursing homes and hospice agencies.

Published: Thu, Jul 02, 2015