2019-2021 Session Legislative Alerts
Legislative Alert UPDATE: State Bill Would Reduce Penalties for Agricultural Businesses Who Don't Report Workplace Deaths and Injuries in a Timely Manner
On January 27, 2021 Representative Kahle (R) introduced House Bill 4031 (2021). As originally written, the bill sought to reduce the protections for all farmworkers who die or are injured at certain agricultural businesses by increasing reporting time and reducing penalties. The sponsor and secondary sponsors have indicated that coverage of all workers was not their intent for the legislation. They have stated that they are working to make amendments to the original language of the bill to apply ONLY to farm owners’ immediate family members working at certain agricultural businesses. If and when these amendments are presented, MIRC will remain neutral on this bill because it does not directly impact farmworkers; we appreciate legislators’ attention to our concerns about the original poorly-drafted bill. We do not support any action that reduces the ability of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to protect workers and promote safe workplaces.
Legislative Alert: State Bill Would Reduce Penalties for Agricultural Businesses Who Don't Report Workplace Deaths and Injuries in a Timely Manner
On January 27, 2021 Representative Kahle (R) introduced House Bill 4031 (2021), a bill that would deny Michigan farm workers working at certain agricultural businesses the same protections that other workers receive when they are injured or die at work. The bill seeks to change the amount of time certain agricultural businesses have to report a death or injury to Michigan's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) and reduces penalties for not reporting a death or injury of a farm worker as required. All farm workers, regardless of the type of agricultural employer they work for, should be equally protected by Michigan's workplace health and safety laws. All Michigan agricultural employers should be held to the same reporting standards and held responsible for not timely reporting an injury or death of a farm worker at their workplace. MIRC opposes this bill.
Legislative Alert: Bills Would Strip Rights from Workers Who Suffered or Died from COVID-19
On July 23, 2020, Representative Thomas Albert (R - District 86) introduced House Bill 6030, a bill tie-bared to HB 6031, SB 1023, HB 6032, SB 1024. (A tie-bar means none of the bills can go into effect unless all of the bills are enacted.) House Bill 6030 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on September 1, 2020, with support from employers. These bills would strip the most vulnerable and essential farmworkers from much needed legal protection during the COVID-19 pandemic by setting the bar too high to prove when an employer acted negligently in not protecting workers from COVID-19. These bills are especially harmful to immigrant workers, including many farmworkers, who do not have access to the workers compensation system due to their immigration status. The worst actors among employers, those who ignored health and safety guidance designed to protect workers and stop the spread of COVID-19, would benefit the most from the blanket immunity the bills provide. MIRC opposes these bills.
Legislative Alert: Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom, and the Economy) Bills
On October 31, 2019, Senate Bill 0631 and 0632 and House Bills 5192 and 5193 were introduced and are sponsored by Sens. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, in the Senate and Reps. Alex Garza, D-Taylor, and Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, in the House. MIRC supports these bills. We encourage you to attend any future hearing and to take a moment to contact your elected officials to express your support by clicking on the links:
Legislative Alert: Michigan State Budget - County Jail Reimbursement Program (CJRP)
UPDATE: The original version including "anti-sanctuary" language was line-item vetoed. MIRC is neutral on substitute version that removes problematic immigration enforcement language.
House Bill 4231 (line item) Michigan State budget bill includes a section that punishes sanctuary cities and essentially forces police departments to cooperate with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). An attempt to punish counties who exercise their clear legal option to decline to hold people for ICE or engage in other optional federal immigration enforcement activities. Applying this condition to the CJRP funds could be in conflict with existing state and federal law.
Legislative Alert: Civil Rights Expansion Package
In the last two weeks of June, Michigan State Representatives led by State Representative Abdullah Hammoud have introduced the MI Civil Rights Expansion bill package. The sponsors noted that the bills are designed to, “extend necessary civil rights protections to all residents, regardless of birthplace.”
The bills are briefly summarized below. MIRC supports these bills because the bills promote the full participation of Michigan's immigrant communities in the economic, social, and cultural life of our state.
Legislative Alert: HB 4083 (“Local Government Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act”) and HB 4090 (“County Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act”)
UPDATE 4/10/19: Despite overwhelming opposition in yesterday's hearing from groups as diverse as the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Sheriffs Association, Michigan League for Public Policy, Michigan Office for New Americans, and many more, these bills passed out of the Military, Veterans, and Homeland Security committee with all Republicans voting for them and all Democrats voting against. We were grateful for testimony from great partners including Kim Buddin of the ACLU of Michigan and Akash Patel, a law student and friend of our office.
We believe it would be harmful to immigrant communities for these bills to proceed further. Please take a moment to contact your elected officials and express your opposition to them by clicking on the links: