Southwest Michigan Today: Tuesday December 4, 2018

Dec 4, 2018

Kalamazoo Mall - file photo
Credit WMUK

Protests outside the Michigan Chamber of Commerce over efforts to change Michigan’s minimum wage law. Kalamazoo plans to reinvest captured tax revenue in the downtown area. A new deal is struck on a pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. 

(WKAR) Several Michigan groups joined together Monday to protest bills being pushed through the lame duck session that they say would hurt working families. Groups including Progress Michigan, Good Jobs Now, and We the People Michigan gathered outside the Michigan Chamber of Commerce in Lansing to protest attempts to change earned sick time and minimum wage increase laws. They say those proposed changes would hurt average workers. One of those efforts would change a former ballot initiative so that it would delay the minimum wage increase to $12 until 2030. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce said its focus is to advocate for bills that encourage job creation and economic growth.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) The city of Kalamazoo plans to invest $66-million in tax revenue in the downtown area over the next 30 years. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that city commissioners approved the plan last night to reinvest the revenue collected from increases in downtown property values. The commission created the Downtown Economic Growth Authority in October to capture tax revenue in the downtown area. The money will be spent on infrastructure, support for local businesses and marketing of downtown.

(WDET) Lawmakers and Governor Rick Snyder have reached a deal on legislation about the future of the controversial Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. A deal struck between the Snyder administration and Enbridge energy in October would replace that stretch of the pipeline and bury it in an underground tunnel. But the Legislature has to decide who will oversee that project. Governor Snyder proposed giving that power to the Mackinac Bridge Authority. But his office now says that plan didn’t have enough support at the state Capitol. Instead, lawmakers want to create a new authority to oversee the project. A Snyder spokesperson says the governor supports that plan.

(MiBiz) Amway has eliminated 45 management level jobs. MiBiz reports that the cuts are in various areas including human resources, supply chain, legal, IT and finance departments. About 60% of the jobs were eliminated from Amway’s world headquarters in Ada, east of Grand Rapids. The layoffs come about a month after the direct sales giant closed two plants in West Michigan as part of a restructuring of its manufacturing operations.

(MPRN) Environmental groups are hoping legislation to address emerging contaminants in Michigan will move during the lame duck session. But lawmakers say there isn’t enough time to pass the bills – and any action will likely wait until next session. PFASes are a family of contaminants that are polluting water across the state, including some sites in Southwest Michigan. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters wants a House committee to pass bills that would provide for a comprehensive PFAS cleanup plan, tighten up the state’s standards for how much PFAS is allowed in drinking water, and more.

(Michigan Radio) The state Senate Natural Resources Committee is expected to continue hearing testimony on a controversial Michigan wetlands bill Tuesday. The legislation could deregulate as much as fifty percent of Michigan's wetlands. The bill's sponsor, Senator Tom Casperson, says it would protect the rights of small property owners. But environmental groups say it could result in the loss of critical wetlands, especially in heavily developed parts of southern Michigan.

In women’s basketball, Western Michigan lost to Loyola-Chicago Monday night 64-53. Deja Wimbey scored a season high 20 points for the Broncos. Western now has two wins and four losses this season and will play at Detroit-Mercy on Sunday.

Western Michigan forward Josh Passolt has been named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s offensive player of the week. The junior scored three goals and assisted on another in Saturday night’s 7-3 win over Niagara. That gave the Broncos a weekend sweep over the Purple Eagles. Western will host defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth Friday and Saturday night at Lawson Ice Arena. Face off is at 7:00 both nights.