Over the past eight years Michigan became one of the country’s top comeback states. Our state went from the highest unemployment rate to one of the lowest (currently 3.9% unemployment). We went from people leaving the state, to people moving in.
In the residential construction sector, we went from 7,775 single family permits pulled in 2010 to nearly 17,000 by the end of this year. We went from losing nearly 60,000 construction workers to now needing more than an estimated 15,000 ANNUALLY to fill the positions that will open in the 18 professional trades that the HBA of Michigan’s Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation tracks. Workforce challenges and other housing affordability issues are going to be at the forefront of elected leader’s minds (regardless of political party) as they come to the Capitol in January.
Politically speaking, Friends of Housing (the political arm of the HBA of Michigan), stepped up their fundraising among HBA members this past election cycle. We endorsed Republicans and Democrats in 90 races around the state in the General Election. We had an election night overall success rate of 86%. Those successes will help us as we prepare for the 2019/2020 legislative session.
So, what will the 100th legislative session look like? Because of term limits, and the outcome of the November elections, your government relations team will be working with an entirely new state government.
The new session begins with the official swearing in of statewide officials on January 1, 2019. Taking the oath that day will be Governor Elect Gretchen Whitmer (D), Attorney General Elect Dana Nessel (D), and Secretary of State Elect Jocelyn Benson (D). All new to the executive branch of government.
When the state Senate returns, 38 state senators will take the oath of office. Of those 38, 30 will be new to the state Senate, which maintained a Republican majority. When the state House returns, 110 state representatives will take the oath of office. Of those 110, 47 will be new to the state House, 41 will begin their second term, and 22 with begin their third and final term in the House. Republicans maintained majority in the House as well. So for the first time in eight years, Michigan will have a divided government.
So what does all this change mean for the HBA of Michigan and your government relations team? Nothing really. We’ve historically worked well on both sides of the political aisle. We will continue to monitor and lobby on legislation, and with the assistance from the HBAM legislative committee, we will have a pro housing, pro-business legislative agenda for the next two years. We are committed to working on your behalf with legislators who support you and the residential construction industry, whether they be republicans or democrats.
What does that mean for you and your local HBA? Your government relations team will be asking you to have an aggressive legislative advocacy program locally. You will most likely have new representation for your region in Lansing, and you need to build relationships with these elected officials. We can assist you and will be looking to work with your local HBA to set up opportunities for dialogue with your local representatives. Stay on the lookout for these opportunities in the coming year and don’t ever hesitate to contact your team at the State Capitol if you have a question or want to lend a hand with our efforts. l