Aug 29, 2023 - Politics

Whitmer to propose paid leave, health care reforms

Whitmer in may

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at National Harbor in Maryland in May. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Democrats are set to flex their legislative muscles this week.

Why it matters: Following eight months of implementing liberal reform under an entirely Democratic government, Whitmer will use her "What's Next" address Wednesday in Lansing to call on legislative leaders to pass reforms for the second half of the year.

  • Typically the governor would outline the yearlong agenda during her State of the State address, but Whitmer is set to make a second address this year for the first time since she's been in office.

Driving the news: Paid family leave, a clean energy standard that would require Michigan to source 100% of its energy from carbon-free sources, more laws to protect elections and codification of the Affordable Care Act are among proposals outlined in documents the governor's office shared with Axios.

State of play: Up to 1 million employees could get more time off should lawmakers expand the state's paid leave requirements.

  • "It is a sad reality that paid leave is completely out of reach for too many Michigan families today, especially folks who are Black, brown and low-income," Aisha Wells of Mothering Justice, a local nonprofit dedicated to uplifting women of color, told Michigan Advance this year after similar paid leave bills were introduced by Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor).

Between the lines: The governor will "build on work to lower costs, make Michigan more competitive, improve energy efficiency, expand opportunity and protect people's fundamental rights," Whitmer's press secretary Stacey LaRouche said in a statement to Axios.

What they're saying: Michigan's Senate Elections and Ethics Committee Chair Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) tells Axios the Board of State Canvassers, which certifies elections, should be required to certify election victories only to the top vote-getter.

  • The change would end any future attempts to certify alternate candidates and would have prevented attempts to subvert elections, like former President Trump's unsuccessful effort to pressure GOP canvassers to not certify Michigan's 2020 election results.

What's more: Whitmer is also set to call for legislators to codify the ACA into state law, the Associated Press reports.

  • Writing the Affordable Care Act into state law will ensure Michigan residents aren't at risk of losing coverage due to future threats, Whitmer told the AP in a statement.

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