LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - It's hard to believe that 2024 is three weeks away. It seems like we've only just celebrated the start of 2023, but it's true. The new year is nearly here and there are a few new laws that are going into place in Michigan next year.
Almost all the laws will go into effect 90 days after the legislature ends, which is February 13, 2024. The only exception is for the minimum wage increase, which goes into effect on January 1.
Minimum wage increase
On Monday, January 1, 2024, the state of Michigan's minimum wage will increase by nearly a quarter from $10.10 to $10.33.
This law was enacted by the state's Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 and established an annual schedule of increases. It's the second of three scheduled raises with another raise coming on Jan. 1, 2025, to establish the state's minimum wage at $10.56.
For tipped workers, the minimum wage will also increase to $3.93 per hour, up from $3.84. State law requires that, when tips are received, the combined tip and hourly rate must equal the required minimum hourly wage.
Michigan's gun laws
In the days after the tragic shooting at Michigan State University, a package of gun laws was introduced in Lansing, intended to help protect people from gun violence.
Michigan Democrats were able to use their power obtained in the 2022 elections to get the three bills through both the House and Senate and onto the desk of Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
- Safe Storage: If you own a gun or if a minor is expected to be in your home, a gun owner will be required to lock their weapon away
- Background checks: Someone purchasing a firearm at a gun show or through a private sale will need to have their background checked regardless of how they are buying it
- ‘Red flag’: establish a pathway for extreme risk protection orders – intended to remove the potential of violence for those who may have mental health problems or have threatened others.
The bills were written in the hours after a shooting on campus in East Lansing that killed three students.
Michigan's Prevailing Wage Act
The same day that Whitmer signed the package of gun bills into law, she also signed a bill that restores a prevailing wage act.
In 2018, Republicans in Lansing repealed the state's prevailing wage act, which requires contractors hired for state projects to pay union-level wages. With the restoration, it means Michigan-hired contractors must pay their employees at the union level.
Michigan ends ‘right-to-work’
Also in February, Michigan's right-to-work law will be repealed as the state became the first state in decades to repeal a union-restricting law known as "right-to-work" that was passed over a decade ago by a Republican-controlled Legislature.
The state's "right-to-work" law had allowed those in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues and fees. Its repeal is seen as a major victory for organized labor with union membership reaching an all-time low last year.
The Democratic lawmakers pushed through the repeal, which Whitmer said would restore workers' rights and protect Michiganders on the job.
Michigan expands Elliot-Larsen Act
Also in March 2023, Whitmer signed an expansion of the Elliot-Larsen Act – which includes protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
The act protects the rights of those within the LGBTQ+ community relating to employment, housing, education, and access to accommodations.
Michigan teens can pre-register to vote
With an eye on the next election season, Michigan Democrats passed a new law that allows 16-year-old high school students in the state to pre-register to vote.
"Michigan led the nation in youth voter turnout in the 2022 elections and we are working to build on that progress in 2024," said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "This new law helps us prepare the next generation of voters to inherit their democracy, bolstering our state’s commitment to engaging young people, educating them about the democratic process, and getting them ready to cast a ballot once they turn 18. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to energize Michigan’s young voters and look forward to implementing this policy to continue to make elections accessible for everyone."
The law allows 16-year-olds to pre-register by requiring the Michigan Department of Education to work with the Secretary of State to coordinate on eligibility and material.
Michigan repeals third-grade reading law
Whitmer also signed a bill that repeals the state's third-grade reading law, which was enacted in 2016 when less than half of Michigan third graders got a passing score on the reading portion of M-Step.
In 2016, the state of Michigan enacted a law that required schools to identify students who were struggling with reading and writing. The law would hold students behind for a year if they are more than one grade level behind.
That law ends in 2024.
Starting next year, students will not be held back if they receive a low score. Instead, parents will receive information about intervention options.
Michigan's bold energy plan
It's taken seven years but Michigan has a bold clean energy plan that aims to have the state as 100% clean energy by 2040.
In late November, Whitmer signed the historic Clean Energy & Climate Action Package.
The legislation aims to boost clean energy production by pulling on certain levers of government. One way is by empowering the Michigan Public Service Commission to plan large-scale solar power projects. That task was previously taken up by local governments.
The 2040 target date aims for the state to produce all of its energy from clean sources. To reach that threshold, the state has set benchmarks of 50% clean energy by 2030 and 60% by 2035. Currently, the state produces 12% of its energy from renewable sources - mostly from wind.
The act goes into place on Feb. 27, 2024.