Whitmer promotes clean energy and paid leave in Michigan; offers some details | Michigan Bridge

Whitmer’s speech was short on detail and she did not respond to reporters’ questions.


A spokesman said the governor kept broad targets to leave room for negotiations with the legislature, where Democrats’ two-seat lead in the House could soon disappear if two members win mayoral elections in November and resign.

Republicans criticized the speech as a “left-wing and progressive” wish list from the second-term Democrat, who earlier this year worked with House Democrats to enact sweeping policy changes, including a pro-union repeal and codification of the right to work. of LGBTQ rights.

Heres Whitmer looks forward to working on the next one:

A term of paid leave

Whitmer endorsed an effort to provide paid sick and family leave for all Michigan workers, guaranteeing time off for childbirth or ill health, but she did not propose specific details or endorse legislation.

Whitmer called the issue “personal,” noting that when she had her first daughter, she was also caring for a mother who was dying of brain cancer. “I was sandwiched between them,” she said. “That era forged me and showed me the challenges so many Michiganders face every day.”

House Minority Leader Matt Hall, R-Richland Township, criticized the proposal, arguing it would create a “payroll tax” for small businesses and workers.

He pointed to a recently introduced Democratic bill for up to 15 weeks of annual paid leave that would require employers to pay a state fund and allow them to deduct up to 50 percent of the cost of employees’ paychecks.

Cautious business groups with a broad government mandate have also criticized the idea.

“Most small business owners already do everything they can to provide paid leave and flexibility for their employees. This mandate could cause small business owners to downsize or close altogether,” Amanda Fisher, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said in a statement.

Advocates say a strong paid leave law would help employers fill vacancies, encouraging more people to return to the workforce.

The license is critical to ensuring we can fully participate in the work, Monique Stanton, CEO of the nonprofit Michigan League for Public Policy, which advocates for the poor, told Bridge Michigan.

Michigan has seen a pretty significant drop in the number of women in the workforce, and things like paid family leave help with that.

A 100% clean energy standard

Whitmer offered broad support for a legislative push to require Michigan utilities to produce 100% of their energy from clean, renewable sources, but the governor stopped short of proposing a deadline for utilities to meet that requirement.

Democrats in the Michigan legislature have proposed requiring 100% clean energy production by 2035, a timeline that would require aggressive phasing out of several newly built natural gas plants, among other things.

Whitmer has yet to commit to that schedule. Its own climate change plan, released earlier, calls for a carbon-neutral energy standard by 2050.

But the governor said she and the Legislature agree on the need to ensure that all of Michigan’s energy production comes from wind, solar or what she called other commonsense sources, including nuclear.

We can achieve 100% clean energy while balancing reliability and affordability, Whitmer said.

State Representative Phil Green of Millington, who appeared to be the only Republican legislator to attend Whitmers’ speech, criticized the proposed clean energy mandate and suggested that it would make Michigan a Third World country.

We already know this will drive up prices, Green said.

It puts us at a competitive disadvantage compared to the production facilities being built in China (and powered by coal-fired power plants). I don’t see a way this could improve Michigan’s economic situation.

Solar and wind licenses are transferred to the state

Whitmer supported pending Democratic legislation that would transfer permission for larger wind and solar projects to the Michigan Public Service Commission, rather than city councils, where local opposition has delayed or hindered several developments.

Critics say the Democratic plan would take control away from local officials who know their communities best.

But Whitmer argued that the proposed statewide process would ensure that local perspectives were reflected in the planning process, while allowing us to move more quickly through the installation.

it should be easier to create jobs and build wind and solar projects. We will allow clean energy projects through the MPSC as well as all other energy sources, the governor said.

Repeal antiquated abortion law, expand insurance

Whitmer confirmed support for what supporters call the Reproductive Health Act that would repeal several existing abortion regulations, including a 24-hour waiting period law that requires women to be given a full day’s information before proceeding with an abortion.

Let’s protect the freedom to make your own decisions without interference from politicians, Whitmer said, suggesting that the state create abortion rights added to the state Constitution last year through Proposition 3 passed by voters.

In a policy draft, the governor’s office also said Whitmer wants to ensure that everyone has access to abortion, regardless of where they live, work or what type of insurance they have.

Among other things, Democrats want to repeal a 2014 Michigan law that prohibits private insurers from automatically including abortion coverage in their policies by requiring customers to purchase a separate rider.

Abortion rights groups also want Michigan to become the 18th state to allow government-funded Medicaid insurance for low-income residents to pay for abortions. That would require state money because federal funding can only be used to cover abortions in cases of life-threatening, rape or incest.

Right to Life of Michigan, which helped enact many of the state’s existing abortion regulations, accused the governor of using the Proposition 3 passage as a Trojan horse to remove common sense provisions designed to protect women and children who seek or undergo an abortion, as well as basic parental rights.

Codifying the Affordable Care Act

With the federal Affordable Care Health Act facing legal challenges a decade after it became law, Whitmer proposed codifying at the state level what she called the commonsense, cost-saving measures of the Obama-era health care law.

These include: protections for residents with pre-existing conditions, allowing people to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26, banning annual or lifetime coverage limits, and requiring insurance plans to cover essential services such as ambulance travel, maternity, mental health treatment and birth control.

Every Michigander deserves quality, affordable care, Whitmer said.

Panel of prescription drugs

Whitmer proposed creating what she called an independent, nonpartisan Prescription Drug Accessibility Council, composed of leaders in economics, health, supply chain, and academia, which would use data and evidence-based research to address the cost of prescription drugs.

The governor did not offer further details about the board, how members would be selected or what authority they would have.

But she cited recommendations from a previously appointed working group that called for the creation of drug accountability review boards that would have the authority to penalize and regulate certain entities in the prescription drug supply chain.

We need to hold bad actors across the supply chain accountable for skyrocketing prices, while encouraging research and development of new treatments and cures made right here in Michigan, Whitmer said Wednesday.

Simplify commercial licenses

Whitmer has asked the Legislature to work with her on improving the state’s licensing process for construction projects, but she offered few details about what she would like to accomplish on that front.

The governor said she wanted to “simplify” permits for advanced manufacturing, infrastructure and housing projects, among others.

“I hear from business leaders, especially people from other states, about how no state has gotten the permit properly yet,” Whitmer said. “Michigan should be number one. This is a bipartisan priority and I know we can do this.”

protect democracy

Whitmer said he wants to help protect democracy by increasing election security and protecting election workers from intimidation, among other things.

“We cannot allow the will of the people to be overruled or overruled, and we cannot allow politicians to remain in office despite being ousted,” Whitmer said, referring to former President Donald Trump.

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