LANSING, Mich., May 24, 2023 — State Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) has introduced House Bill 4618 to give the Northwest Regional Airport Authority — which oversees the Cherry Capital Airport — as well as the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority the option of expanding their contributions to their employees’ medical benefit plans.


“Allowing the Northwest Regional Airport Authority and other regional airport authorities to enhance employee medical benefits supports their efforts to attract and retain talent as a means of alleviating staffing shortages while supporting employees’ basic needs,” Coffia said. “I am proud to partner in supporting both employer and employee needs to help our regional economies flourish and improve the quality of life for our residents.”


While other regional airport authorities in Michigan already have this ability, the two aforementioned airports have been prohibited because they were created under a different chapter of the state Aeronautics Code. This bill, correcting an apparent legal oversight, makes additional regional airport authorities level in allowing their boards to exempt themselves from contribution limits to an employee’s medical benefits plan.


“Cherry Capital Airport greatly appreciates Rep. Coffia’s efforts to update 2011 PA 152 to reflect the updated changes in the Michigan Aeronautics Code for Airport Authorities,” said Cherry Capital Airport CEO and Michigan Association of Airport Executives (MAAE) Legislative Chair Kevin Klein. “This change simply holds the airport in the same regard as other governmental entities and keeps Cherry Capital a competitive employer by offering great benefits.”


Among the bill’s supporters are the Northwest Regional Airport Authority/Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority/GFIAA (GRR), the Michigan Association of Airport Executives (MAAE), Teamsters 214, and the GFIAA units of the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and the Command Officers Association of Michigan (COAM).


HB 4618 has been referred to the House Committee on Economic Development and Small Business.