Booher payroll debit card reform signed

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to enable more employers and consumers to take advantage of payroll debit cards was signed on Thursday by the governor.

“Many employers and employees prefer the option of making or receiving wage payments through a payroll debit card instead of by cash, check or direct deposit,” said Booher, R-Evart. “This reform is a simple fix that is about making it easier and more available for companies and workers to use this type of service in Michigan”

Senate Bill 1281, now Public Act 440 of 2012, alters the definition of payroll debit cards to include cards issued by a third party on behalf of a bank or credit union. The law is one of 15 bills signed to adopt recommendations from the Office of Regulatory Reinvention.

A payroll debit card, also known as a paycard, is a prepaid card that an employer can “load” with payment funds as necessary. Employees then can use their cards to obtain cash at an automatic teller machine, make debit purchases from merchants or make purchases and receive cash back.

Previously, Michigan law required payroll debit cards to be issued by a financial institution.

“Most community banks and credit unions do not issue their own cards because of the prohibitive costs,” Booher said. “Since these institutions use third party vendors to issue cards on their behalf, without this reform they would not have been allowed to offer paycards. By making this change, we are allowing employers, consumers and financial institutions to experience the benefits of payroll options – including using paycards.”

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Booher business development bill signed

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to create an organization of major financial institutions in Michigan to help deserving small businesses get a loan has been signed by the governor.

“Michigan has successful start-ups that businesses are looking to grow but cannot get the loans necessary to expand because of more stringent federal regulations – costing us jobs and hurting their ability to compete,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The state currently has a capital access program for smaller-sized loans to small businesses, and the new public-private partnership will extend loans to companies too large for the capital access program yet not large enough to access traditional capital.”

Public Act 358 of 2012 expands the Michigan Business and Industrial Development Company (BIDCO) Act to allow for a few, much larger organizations to become licensed and regulated.

The new Business Development Corporations must have a minimum net worth and firm financing commitments of not less than $25 million. Previously, participating businesses were limited to $10 million in net worth and could start with as little as $500,000 in financing.

Booher noted that the new law will give loans to companies with 750 employees or fewer, with the expected average loan size to be $1 million to $3 million.

“Private capital markets in Michigan are not usually willing to lend or invest until the need exceeds $8 million to $10 million per company,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “This new law will help those businesses that fell into the gap between existing development corporations and the private capital markets. The result will be increased access to loans and investments to Michigan businesses looking to grow and hire more workers.”

The Business Development Corporations will be fully regulated by the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation and the Michigan Strategic Fund Board.

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Booher elected vice chair of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher has been elected to serve as vice chair of the bi-national Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (GLLC) in 2013-14.

The nonpartisan caucus provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key Great Lakes issues through its mix of programming, advocacy and activities. Its goal is to strengthen the role of state and provincial legislators in the Great Lakes policymaking process.

“I am honored to be able to put the interests of Michigan at the forefront by serving as vice chair of this international caucus,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I look forward to working with the caucus on important Great Lakes issues, such as dredging, water levels and invasive species.”

The caucus has facilitated regional discussions on passage and implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and pushed for federal passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an improved Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and an expedited timeline for a federal study recommending how to keep Asian carp from entering the lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System.

The caucus also maintains a legislative tracker that monitors bills being considered in state capitols and Washington, D.C.

Booher and other members of the recently elected GLLC Executive Committee will guide caucus efforts in 2013-2014. The 12-person executive committee was elected by fellow caucus members in December and is made up of the chair, the vice chair and one additional legislator from each of the eight states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes Basin.

Planned caucus activities already include workshops for legislators in Michigan and Minnesota, webinars on Great Lakes policy, and a regional meeting this summer in Duluth, MN.

Minnesota Sen. Ann Rest serves as chair of the caucus. Membership in the caucus is open to all state and provincial legislators in the 10 Great Lakes states and provinces.

The Midwestern Office of The Council of State Governments provides staffing services for the caucus, which is funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. CSG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving all three branches of state government. For more information, please contact Lisa Janairo at ljanairo@csg.org or 920-458-5910 or visit www.greatlakeslegislators.org.

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Booher votes for passage of freedom-to-choose bills

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday helped make the state more competitive for jobs and attractive to job creators by approving freedom-to-choose legislation, said Sen. Darwin Booher.

“Workplace fairness is about helping everyone in Michigan, because when our economy thrives, everyone benefits,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Freedom-to-choose has proven effective in creating jobs in many states for decades. Workplace fairness states have more job growth, higher wage increases and are more attractive to business than those states without worker fairness.

“Freedom-to-choose means a Michigan with more jobs, vigorous economic growth and workers who will be able to choose for themselves what they want to do with their hard-earned dollars.”

Michigan will become the 24th state to pass freedom-to-choose legislation. Indiana became the 23rd state in February. Since that time, nearly 100 businesses have told Indiana officials that the workplace fairness law will factor into their decision on where to locate projects.

“We achieved significant strides during the last two years to make our state competitive for new jobs, and workplace fairness sets the framework for long-term economic success in Michigan,” Booher said. “Making Michigan a freedom-to-choose state will help us continue building a strong economy that will allow our children and grandchildren to be able to live, work and raise a family in Michigan. It will attract new well-paying jobs for hard-working middle class families, and that is why I am proud to help bring workplace fairness to Michigan.”

According to an analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics, freedom-to-choose states have higher average wage increases and greater growth in total employment than non-worker-fairness states.

“This is not about collective bargaining; it is about ensuring that every Michigan worker has the freedom to choose if they want to join a union or not,” Booher said. “Freedom-to-choose will protect the rights of every worker in every workplace. It’s the right thing to do for our economy, our children and hard-working middle-class families.”

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Booher votes for passage of freedom-to-choose bills

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday helped make the state more competitive for jobs and attractive to job creators by approving freedom-to-choose legislation, said Sen. Darwin Booher.

“Workplace fairness is about helping everyone in Michigan, because when our economy thrives, everyone benefits,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Freedom-to-choose has proven effective in creating jobs in many states for decades. Workplace fairness states have more job growth, higher wage increases and are more attractive to business than those states without worker fairness.

“Freedom-to-choose means a Michigan with more jobs, vigorous economic growth and workers who will be able to choose for themselves what they want to do with their hard-earned dollars.”

Michigan will become the 24th state to pass freedom-to-choose legislation. Indiana became the 23rd state in February. Since that time, nearly 100 businesses have told Indiana officials that the workplace fairness law will factor into their decision on where to locate projects.

“We achieved significant strides during the last two years to make our state competitive for new jobs, and workplace fairness sets the framework for long-term economic success in Michigan,” Booher said. “Making Michigan a freedom-to-choose state will help us continue building a strong economy that will allow our children and grandchildren to be able to live, work and raise a family in Michigan. It will attract new well-paying jobs for hard-working middle class families, and that is why I am proud to help bring workplace fairness to Michigan.”

According to an analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics, freedom-to-choose states have higher average wage increases and greater growth in total employment than non-worker-fairness states.

“This is not about collective bargaining; it is about ensuring that every Michigan worker has the freedom to choose if they want to join a union or not,” Booher said. “Freedom-to-choose will protect the rights of every worker in every workplace. It’s the right thing to do for our economy, our children and hard-working middle-class families.”

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