Bills improving airport employee benefits, MSHDA bonding pass House, committee

LANSING, Mich., April 23, 2024 — State Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) celebrated the passage through the House of Representatives and committee of two pieces of legislation she introduced to improve lives and livelihoods in Northern Michigan. While both bills require more movement to reach the governor’s desk, Coffia remains dedicated to seeing them signed into law.

House Bill 4618 removes a barrier in current law that prevents regional airport authorities from increasing contributions toward their employees’ health care plans. Most Michigan airports can already do this, but in an apparent oversight in statute, regional airport authorities — such as those governing Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City and Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids — were excluded from this provision.

“In the modern economy where competition for the best talent is fierce, we need to allow entities like Cherry Capital Airport to offer the best compensation package possible,” Coffia said. “Not only that, but eliminating the contribution cap will help employees keep more of their hard-earned money, improving their spending power. I’m glad my colleagues on both sides of the aisle saw the merits in the bill and helped pass it overwhelmingly.”

Earlier in the day, the House Economic Development and Small Business Committee passed a package of bills including Coffia’s HB 5030. Collectively, the bills give the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) more financial flexibility to improve its bonding and support more affordable housing projects.

“Housing is a huge issue in my district. Allowing MSHDA to decide when to cancel bonds or notes it has purchased, instead of requiring the cancellation immediately, will let the authority capitalize on a better interest rate,” Coffia said. “This, in turn, will free up millions that will go toward addressing housing needs. We need to use every tool in our toolbox to increase the stock of affordable housing so that more people can stay in, and move to, our great state.”

HB 4618 now moves to the Senate. HB 5030 next goes to a vote of the full House.