In just the past few weeks, the Michigan Legislature has passed bills repealing union-mandated wages on government construction jobs and establishing work requirements for able-bodied residents receiving government-paid health care.
Lawmakers in the state House have also passed bills requiring a criminal conviction prior to civil asset forfeiture and preventing cities from adding new occupational licensing laws or adding regulations above and beyond what the state mandates.
Here is a summary of the bills:
The law mandating union wages on public projects has been around for more than 50 years, leading to higher costs for taxpayers, city councils, county commissioners, universities and every other government body. Repealing the law is a giant step toward more efficient building projects for roads, bridges and other public assets.
Medicaid Work Requirements
A new bill ushered through by Sen. Mike Shirkey requires able-bodied adults on Medicaid to work. This helps ensure the program works for those it is meant to help — namely poor children and the disabled — while encouraging work, which is a good thing.
Other important bills are moving or have moved through the state House but still need to be passed by the Senate and signed by the governor.
The Michigan House passed House bills 5955-5965. Rep. Jim Lower, who sponsored two of the bills, led the effort to limit the licensing currently done by cities and prevent new laws going forward. Also recently introduced is House Bill 6114 from Rep. Lana Theis, which sets up a review system for occupational licenses already on the books. House bills 6110-6113 from Rep. Brandt Iden, meanwhile, allow people with a criminal background to more easily get back into the labor force.
The Michigan House passed HB 4158, sponsored by Rep. Peter Lucido, which requires a criminal conviction for most cases before the government takes ownership of a person’s property. While forfeiture is a necessary tool, protections need to be in place, especially considering the nearly 1,000 people who lost their assets to the practice last year despite criminal charges being dismissed or never filed.
These are all huge steps when it comes to reforming government — and they are all major Mackinac Center priorities. Legislators should be applauded for their work.