Legislative Update for January 2010

Cherry Bows Out of Gubernatorial Race

In Michigan news this week, Lt. Governor John Cherry announced that he is ending his bid for Michigan governor.

In a letter to supporters, Cherry cited a lack of fundraising success, which led him to conclude he could not raise the necessary funds to compete for the nomination.

Speculation has run rampant over recent months that Cherry would have a difficult time in his bid for governor, because of his involvement in the Granholm administration.  The prevailing thought was that voters are ready for a change.  MITA has had a good working relationship over the years with John Cherry and he has been helpful in various behind-the-scenes efforts in his role as Lt. Governor.

Expect to see a large crowd of Democratic hopefuls now throw their hat in the ring.  Speaker Andy Dillon, Mayor Virg Bernero and a host of others are likely to announce in upcoming days.

Federal Healthcare Bill Nearing Reality

With both the U.S. House and Senate passing their own versions of a national healthcare overhaul before Christmas, it appears all but certain that a final law will be passed in upcoming weeks.

Details are still emerging, but it looks as if the already-crippled construction industry was singled out as the only industry being required to have companies with five employees or more and an annual payroll of $250,000 to be classified as a “large employer”.  (For all other industries, the threshold is 50 full-time employees.)

With that distinction, companies would be required to provide healthcare coverage for their full-time employees or pay a penalty of $750 per employee per year, under the Senate plan.  The House plan does not include such a provision.  “Large employers” would also be subjected to greater reporting requirements.

Leaders in each chamber will be working to reconcile their respective versions of the bill, although they may not do so through a formal conference committee process.

Please feel free to contact Mike Nystrom at mikenystrom@mi-ita.com or Keith Ledbetter at keithledbetter@mi-ita.com or call the MITA office at 517-347-8336 with any questions or comments.  They will continue to keep you updated with details as they become available.