Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

MCRC Votes To Expand Discrimination Prohibitions; AG Opinion Sought

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) has approved an interpretive statement declaring that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) includes protection against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The action comes after two requests for an interpretive statement were tabled in 2017 by the Commission due to questions of legality. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office previously testified that only the Michigan Legislature could reinterpret the act, and if the commission issued such a rule it could be subject to a lawsuit. Multiple legislative attempts to expand the civil rights act have failed, so MCRC was petitioned by Equality Michigan to provide the interpretive statement. After the Commission’s action, a letter requesting a formal opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette on the interpretive statement was sent by House Speaker Tom Leonard and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. However, MCRC has begun processing complaints, with the scope of ELCRA covering housing, employment and public accommodations.

Legislation Proposes Change to Security Deposits

Legislation introduced in June proposes to amend a security deposit requirement under Michigan’s Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act. House Bill 6126 would change the current security deposit standard of an amount no more than 1 ½ months’ rent to no more than 2 months’ rent plus $100.00. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary in the Michigan House of Representatives for action.

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