05/13/2015 06:03 pm ET Updated May 13, 2015

Michigan Bill Aims To Wipe Out Local LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws

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The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a bill that would bar local governments from enacting worker protections that are stronger than state or federal laws already on the books. That means no higher minimum wage, no better sick leave policy and no anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers.

The bill, proposed by state Rep. Earl Poleski (R), does not explicitly address LGBT rights. But the potential impact of House Bill 4052 seems clear.

There are 22 states with laws banning discrimination against LGBT individuals; Michigan is not one of them. Cities and towns there that want to protect their LGBT workers have had to pass their own laws. As of March, 37 Michigan municipalities had measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or both, according to Equality Michigan.

HB 4052 would effectively nullify these local measures.

"House Bill 4052 is a draconian measure which will void protections for the more than 2 million people covered by a local non-discrimination ordinance,” Sommer Foster, Equality Michigan's director of political advocacy, said in a statement to Eclectablog. “Local leaders have the right and the responsibility to protect the people who live, work and play in their communities and those rights should be respected.”

The House Fiscal Agency, the Michigan House's nonpartisan policy analysis service, lays out a host of other areas in which municipalities could not legislate -- including minimum wage, sick leave, hours, mandatory training or "any specific fringe benefit" that would cost the employer.

Currently, Michigan’s hourly minimum wage is $8.15, higher than the federal minimum of $7.25. It is scheduled to rise to $9.25 in 2018.

There was a House committee hearing on HB 4052 on Tuesday.



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