LANSING — Forget the champagne.
Michiganders can ring in the new year by reviewing some of the new laws that will take effect in 2020.
Those laws will usher in a slight pay increase for some, the chance to (legally) place bets on fantasy football, long-awaited changes to auto insurance policies and more.
Read about the changes that take effect on or after Jan. 1:
Minimum wage to increase Jan. 1
Michigan’s lowest paid workers will get a 20-cent raise in 2020. On Jan. 1, the state’s minimum wage will increase from $9.45 to $9.65. The minimum wage is set to increase to $12.05 by 2030.
That’s thanks to a controversial law passed in 2018, when the Michigan Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Snyder adopted a citizen-initiated ballot measure that called for a wage increase to $12 by 2022.
That removed the measure from November ballots. The legislature amended the law at the end of the year to slow wage increases.
Tipped workers also will see their wages increase from $3.59 to $3.67 Jan. 1, although they remain lower than the minimum pay because state law allows employers to pay tipped workers 38 percent of the minimum wage.
Michigan joins 23 other states in raising its minimum wage next year, according to USA Today. The federal hourly minimum wage is $7.25.
Internet gaming, sports betting expected by March
Internet gaming, sports betting and fantasy contests are legal in Michigan since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a slate of bills in December.
Lawmakers expect the new forms of gaming to be available by March.
Revenue from the newly legal forms of gambling will support the School Aid Fund and First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, which provides workers compensation and medical benefits for first-responders who develop certain cancers.
The Michigan Department of Treasury estimated the new gaming will add $19 million in revenue in the state and will increase the School Aid Fund by $4.8 million and the first-responder fund by $4 million.
Those figures could change depending on the amount of gambling that takes place online and the degree to which it adds to or substitutes gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Auto insurance reforms kick in
Starting July 1, Michigan drivers will be allowed to choose levels of medical coverage in their auto insurance policies. Choosing limited coverage would decrease the cost of insurance policies, although it’s unclear how much prices will change.
Insurers are required to provide customers with information about their updated coverage options.
In November, the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association announced it will reduce the cost of assessments in July, 2020 from $220 to $100. The fee is only charged to drivers who still purchase unlimited lifetime personal injury protection.
Gov. Whitmer signed auto insurance reform bills in summer 2019. Some have argued the changes could limit protection for Michiganders who are injured in car crashes.
Counselors’ scope of practice clarified
Following controversy over a state licensing agency’s proposal to change licensure rules for Michigan’s licensed professional counselors, Gov. Whitmer signed a bill clarifying how counselors can practice in the state.
The law, effective Jan. 27, states counselors can diagnose and treat patients and use basic counseling and psychotherapy techniques.
Whitmer’s signature followed an uproar by Michigan counselors who were angered by the rule changes pitched by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
They argued the proposals — which included shifting the terms “diagnose and identify the problem” and “psychotherapy skills” out of the section about what counselors do and into the section on what they are required to learn — would have effectively stopped them from practicing in the state.
— Contact Carol Thompson at 517-377-1018 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @thompsoncarolk.
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