Ban on local wage ordinances becomes newest state law

LANSING – A bill that would ban local communities from passing ordinances regarding wages, benefits or work rules for companies operating in their towns was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Such ordinances — like living wage ordinances passed in several Michigan cities — approved by communities before Jan. 1 would be able to stand under the amended legislation signed by Snyder. The original bill would have reversed those ordinances.

A similar bill stalled last year and has faced intense criticism again this year from Democrats who feared the bill would also prohibit communities from negotiating community benefit packages with companies that were getting tax credits or abatements from communities. New language was added in the final version of the bill that will allow cities to negotiate the terms and conditions of contracts with businesses outside of wages and benefits.

“Given changes that were made to legislation upon passage — about being forward looking only and not affecting existing ordinances that are already in place in some communities — was a change the Governor could support to help ensure uniformity and avoid a patchwork of varying regulations across the state,” Snyder’s spokeswoman Sara Wufel said.

But Democrats and progressive organizations decried the bill, calling it the “Death Star” bill.

“The crux of this bill is abundantly clear: it’s designed to attack workers and limit local democracy,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan in a statement. “The freedom to fight for a better future for our communities is being clobbered by Gov. Snyder and his conservative cronies in the Legislature.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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