State of Michigan issues and concerns facing broadcasters:

DOL Issues Final Rules on Overtime Pay

(11/12/19) On January 1, 2020,  the threshold for white-collar workers minimum salary level for exemption from overtime pay will raise from $23,660 to $35,568 annually. It is estimated that 1.3 million additional workers will be eligible for overtime.

Governor Whitmer directed the Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity to submit a request for rule-making to expand the right to overtime in Michigan to look more like the one President Obama developed which was not implemented. It approved this would make employees in Michigan eligible for over time making up to $47,000.00. Several business groups are coming out against this bill. We will wait to see what happens before lending our name to such a movement. This does not impact our creative personnel exemption from overtime.

 

Internet Gaming

(11/12/19) H.B. 4311 has been introduced by Rep. Brent Iden (R-61).  This is a bill that defines and legalizes “Internet gaming” in Michigan. Though the MAB likes the bill, John Ronayne believes there needs to be language that clearly defines internet gaming from Internet gambling.  The bill uses these words interchangeably.

Members are starting to get involved in Internet gaming contests and they do not want to have a requirement that all internet gaming must be held in conjunction with a Casino.

Sales Tax Exemption of Additional Broadcast Equipment

(11/12/19) The MAB has been meeting with the Michigan Dept of Treasury to get them to update their list of broadcast equipment that receives a tax exemption under the manufacturing exemption. MAB’s Rob Elhenicky, President White, Manager of Technical Services Dan Kelley and station engineers met with the Department and presented them a list of equipment that was outdated and explained why should be on the exempt list of equipment with other items. Transmitters are now a part of the integration of the broadcast signal and should be tax exempt.

A second meeting was held where MAB staff presented an economic impact study. We have been asked to set up a local station visit so treasury personnel could get a better ideas of how the equipment we hope to have switched to nontaxable works. That meeting is being scheduled.

Governor Whitmer Bans Flavored E-Cigarettes in State

(9/6/19) The MAB is researching the ramifications of this law on advertising now and in the future. Once we get guidance from our Washington FCC attorney David Oxenford, we will pass on his advice to MAB members. Watch this space.

Whitmer announced Wednesday (9/4) she was moving to ban flavored e-cigarettes in Michigan by issuing an emergency rule that would ban their sale in stores and online. She said she was doing so to protect Michigan’s children, who she said are getting hooked on nicotine through vaping products marketed toward children.

The Governor added that she was confident she had the authority to ban the products and had consulted with both her attorneys and the Attorney General prior to the announcement. She said the state was on “solid legal footing” in doing this and is prepared to defend it in court if necessary. Under the emergency declaration, that rule can exist for six months and can be renewed for an additional six months before going through the state’s administrative rules process, which is overseen by the legislature.