News Briefs 3/20


GVL Briefs

Elizabeth Schanz, News Editor

What to know about Michigan democrats’ recent legislation

Holding a majority in both chambers of the state legislature, Michigan democrats have advanced a wide array of policies and campaign promises including protections for LGBTQ people, repeal of Michigan’s 1931 abortion law and their centerpiece tax plan in recent weeks. 

Expanded protections under anti-discrimination law 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer codified protections for LGBTQ people into the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws. This legislation ensures equal protection and outlaws employment, housing and education discrimination regardless of sex or sexual orientation. 

This protection follows a ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court that expanded the understanding of the definition of “sex” to be more than gender and ruled that the existing laws protect against a greater span of discrimination than originally explicitly stated. 

Whitmer signing this protection into law secures and prevents the anti-discrimination ruling from being reversed. 

Repeal of 1931 abortion law follows a trend in abortion protections

Although invalidated in 1973 following Roe v. Wade, Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban has remained on the Michigan law books. This ban prohibits abortions, including in cases of incest or rape, and only allows for an exception on the basis that the woman’s life is in danger.

On Mar. 8, the Michigan legislature voted along party lines, 20-18, to officially repeal the ban and its sentencing guidelines. Many democrats see the official removal of the previous law to be reassuring for the security of abortion rights within the state, while republicans stand in opposition. 

This legislation comes in partnership with similar legislative policies regarding abortion. During midterm elections, Michigan voters enshrined abortion protections in the state constitution through a ballot measure known as “Prop 3.” This ballot measure was meant to ensure that the abortion ban would be blocked. 

Centerpiece tax plan will not have some initial promises 

The tax proposal by Whitmer initially promised $180 checks for every tax filer. But without gaining republican support, the package has moved on without the checks as part of the legislation. 

However, the package does aim to provide various kinds of monetary relief to Michiganders. For instance, the plan offers support for retirees who are phasing out taxes on both private and public pensions and an expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit from the current 6% to 30% which would match the federal rate. The tax credit would particularly benefit low-income families in the state.