From not having to pay a tax on tampons to seeing an increase in minimum wage, many Michiganders could be saving money in 2022 thanks to these new laws.
MICHIGAN—As many Michiganders watched their TV screens as the ball dropped on 2021, bringing in the new year, they thought of the new year with the same clean slate hope that comes to mind with every new year.
It’s a new year, it’s a new me.
In Michigan, that also meant it was a new year with some new laws. Luckily for many, some of these new laws involve saving money or providing money for Michigan families. Others involve more time to enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors without the hassle of renewing state recreation licenses.
We’ve highlighted a few of the laws we feel are important to take note of in 2022. Here they are below:
Extending Vehicle Registrations (and Recreational Passports)
Michiganders would much rather be enjoying the beautiful state they live in than standing in line at the local Secretary of State office. A 2022 extension on vehicle registrations in Michigan will mean you can avoid the lines and enjoy Pure Michigan a little longer.
Drivers in Michigan will have the option to renew their vehicle registration every two years instead of every single year thanks to a law that takes effect in October. The bill, signed by Whitmer in November 2021 after being introduced by Rep. Steven Johnson (R-Wayland Twp), is similar to one that was in place in the 1980s, according to The Associated Press. The bill was, at the time, not popular with motorists, according to the article.
But what comes along with the option to renew the registration every other year is the option to buy a two-year recreation passport, which gives people unlimited access to Michigan state parks, recreation areas, and other destinations that make Michigan great.
Increasing the Minimum Wage
If you’re working a job that pays minimum wage, you can expect to see an increase in your paychecks. Beginning when the ball dropped for 2022, Michigan’s base minimum wage took a $0.22 hike to $9.87.
If you’re a bartender, server, or other tipped hourly employee, you should also be seeing an increase. The hourly rate for those employees increased by $0.12 to $3.75.
Michigan was one of 22 states to increase its base minimum wage in 2022.
Taking Away the Tampon Tax
Michigan families might have a little extra cash in their wallets in 2022. Why? Well, among other reasons, thousands of people won’t have to pay the tax on essential menstrual products, such as tampons. How much will that likely save Michiganders? According to some estimates by the state, it could save families as much as $4,800 over the course of a lifetime.
The average menstruating Michiganders has about 450 periods over the course of their lifetime. According to state estimates, they also use about 17,000 tampons or pads. But despite the necessity, expense, and frequency of which these products are used, Michiganders have long been required to pay a 6% tax when they bought them.
These products typically cost around $7 to $10 per month.
“After years of trying to repeal this tax, I am proud that we are bringing people together to put Michiganders first and drive down costs on these essential products,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in November 2021, when she signed a pair of bills repealing the tax on those products. The repeal officially begins Feb. 3. “Everyone should be able to take care of their most basic healthcare needs without an unnecessary added financial burden.”
New, Cheaper Auto Insurance Options for Michiganders
With the new year comes new changes on the auto insurance front. A grace period given to Michigan drivers without auto insurance expired Saturday. The grace period allowed drivers who let their auto insurance lapse avoid expensive penalties and high premiums when they finally did sign back up for insurance.
The law, which was actually signed by Whitmer back in 2019, will give drivers new choices and lower-cost options when shopping around for auto insurance. But it also means that if they were uninsured on New Years Day they’ll begin collecting penalties. The intent behind the 2019 law was, in part, to help cut down on premiums. In a sense, it has been very successful. Michigan saw an 18% drop in average premium costs from 2019 to 2020, according to The University of Michigan.
Michigan drivers who were insured will be seeing some additional money coming their way thanks to an unrelated deal. The state last year announced that Michigan drivers in 2022 will get $400 for each insured vehicle they had as of Oct. 31, 2021. This is because there was a $5 billion surplus reported by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, which the organization and state agreed should be returned to insured drivers.
A Return for Michigan’s Only HBCU
The effects of a pair of bills signed at the end of 2021 are expected to lead to the first-ever reopening of Michigan’s only Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Lewis College of Business is expected to reopen in 2022 as the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design. It had originally operated in Detroit from 1939-2013 before relocating to Indianapolis.
The governor in December signed two bills to coordinate the reopening of the college—which would be the first reopening of a HBCU in the US. But a lot still has to be done for that to happen. School officials are still requesting official HBCU recognition from the state.
The college was originally opened as a secretarial school for Black women. Fast forward to today, and the college could be a pathway to opportunity for everyone, as well as an outlet for equitable education.
“Partnering with D’Wayne Edwards to create a tuition-free academy by reactivating a Historically Black College or University is a tremendous opportunity for Detroit and the Black community on so many levels,” said Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit), who also is the chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. “I’m eager to see the ingenuity that will once again come from students at the PENSOLE Lewis College of Business and Design, as well as the future they envision for their communities.”
Republicans and Democrats worked together to reopen the college. The bills leading to its reopening were sponsored by Rep. Joe Tate (D–Detroit) and Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R–Chesterfield).
“Michigan’s first historically Black college shut its doors eight years ago. Next year, those doors will reopen,” said Rep. Joe Tate (D–Detroit), who sponsored the bills paving the way for the college’s reopening. “I was proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the governor to have an HBCU back in the city of Detroit. I look forward to seeing the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design create valuable opportunities for its students and businesses across Michigan and Detroit.”