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Michigan Association of Timbermen Government Affairs Update – 12-9-22


The lamest of Lame duck sessions in my memory ended Wednesday evening with a whimper as the House of Representatives and Senate adjourned for the year. The 102nd Legislature will begin in 2023 with the Democrats taking over both the House and Senate.


Prior to the election, the conventional thinking was that the Republicans would keep at least one chamber of the legislature meaning we would see a busy lame duck session. After the flip, the agenda got whittled down to a handful of minor issues and a lot of farewell speeches.

As we head into 2023, the agenda priorities and leadership will create a vastly different landscape than we’ve seen in 40 years.


2022 Election Recap

The November election certainly brought some surprises, especially in Michigan races. Gov. Whitmer won re-election as expected but by a wider margin than what the polls showed.

The Democrats in the Michigan Senate gained control from the Republicans for the first time since 1983 winning 20 seats to the Republicans 18. The Democrats also flipped the House of Representatives to take their first majority since 2010 winning 56 seats to the Republicans 54 seats.

Nationally, the Republicans flipped the U.S. House winning 221 seats to the Democrats 213. In the U.S. Senate, the Democrats picked up one seat taking a 51 to 49 seat majority.

All three ballot proposals passed in Michigan.

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Michigan Governor – Governor Gretchen Whitmer won a second term by roughly 10 percentage points, 54% to 44% over Tudor Dixon.

Michigan Secretary of State – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson won re-election with roughly 55% of the vote to Kristina Karamo’s 42%.

Michigan Attorney General – Attorney General Dana Nessel won re-election with roughly 52% of the vote.

U.S. Senate – The Democrats took control, 51-49.

U.S. House Representatives – The Republicans took control, 221-213.

Michigan Senate – The Democrats flipped the Michigan Senate, 20-18. Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) was elected as the next Senate Majority Leader and Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) was elected as the next Senate Minority Leader.

Michigan House of Representatives – The Democrats took majority, 56-54. Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) was elected as the next Speaker of the House and Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall) was elected the next House Minority Leader.


Priorities Followed by MAT

House Bill 5290 (O’Malley) - require the Michigan Department of Transportation and each local authority with highways and streets to which seasonal restrictions apply to post on the homepage of its website or the website of a statewide road association to which it was a member – Died on Senate Floor

House Bill 5422 (Damoose) – prohibit selling of carbon credits – Died in committee

House Bills 4976, 4977, 4978 (Markkanen) – fuel reciprocity for raw forest products – Signed into law

House Bill 6067 (VanSingel) – require revenue from selling of carbon credits to go to the forest development fund – Died in committee

House Bills 4535 & 4536 (Borton) – prohibit wheeled vehicles on snowmobile trails from December 1 to March 31 – Died in Senate Committee

House Bills 5662 & 5663 (O’Malley) – updating CDL requirements to match the federal guidelines – Signed into law

House Bill 4575 (Hoitenga) – “Ban the Ban” legislation – Died in Senate Committee


MAT submits Comments to DOL

Last month, MAT submitted comments to the Department of Labor (DOL) asking them to withdrawal a proposed rule that would greatly impact independent contractors and small businesses.

Background:

On October 11, 2022, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would rescind the existing pro-small business independent contractor analysis and replace it with a needlessly complicated and restrictive system for determining employee or independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This proposed DOL rule would have dramatic negative impacts on entrepreneurs operating as independent contractors and on small businesses who use independent contractors. The Small Business Association of Michigan has a longstanding position against government restrictions on entrepreneurs wishing to operate as independent contractors.

For context and scale, 59 million people (about 1/3 of the US workforce) did at least some freelance work last year, contributing $1.3 trillion to the US Economy according to a recent survey by Upwork.

MAT worked collaboratively with Congressman Jack Bergman’s office and the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) in their opposition.

Looking Ahead to 2023-24 ……….

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Last night certainly brought some surprises in the election results, especially in Michigan races. Gov. Whitmer won re-election as expected but by a wider margin than what the polls showed. The Democr