Historic Accomplishments

  • Successfully defeated numerous proposals to hike the liquor tax and liquor license fees and create a state death tax. Each proposal would cost restaurants and other small businesses tremendous amounts of money in new taxes and fees – at a time when they can be least afforded.

  • Successfully helped pass legislation which phases-out the inclusion of sales tax from the base of the Michigan Business Tax, which will end this tax-on-a-tax.

  • Successfully helped pass legislation which reduces unemployment benefit claims from 26 to 20 weeks, and implements anti-claim fraud and anti-waste provisions, which will save Michigan employers $1 billion over three years.

  • Successfully passed legislation requiring all schools to wait to start their school year until after Labor Day and we successfully defended this law in 2009 when several lawmakers tried to repeal it.

  • Successfully supported legislation providing $25 million in state funding of Michigan tourismfor the current fiscal year. Studies show that for every dollar spent on an effective tourism promotion program, about three dollars in new tax revenues are produced for the state. Efforts continue on a more permanent source of funds for tourism promotion.

  • Successfully passed legislation putting a stop to frivolous lawsuits against restaurants brought by individuals with obesity problems who are looking to avoid personal responsibility.

  • Successfully passed legislation allowing restaurant guests to take home unfinished bottles of wine they purchased with their meals.

  • Successfully passed legislation allowing Sunday morning sales of alcohol by liquor licensees who obtain the necessary permit.

  • Successfully passed legislation which prohibits the development of a statewide mandatory workplace ergonomic standard enforced by MIOSHA. A mandatory ergonomic standard – which had been under development by the Granholm Administration – would be among the most complex, confusing and costly regulatory burdens placed on the backs of Michigan employers. Additionally, Michigan would be only the second state in the country to have this mandate – California being the other – and it would be much tougher than California’s.

  • Successfully eliminated a 20-year state Treasury practice of taxing meals that operators provide at no cost or reduced cost to their employees during work periods. And in 2004, 2007, and AGAIN in 2009 we successfully defended it when attempts were made to undo our efforts!

  • Successfully passed legislation allowing liquor licensees to remain open past 2am to provide entertainment options for guests and increase sales.

  • Successfully defeated a proposal which would have ended the ability of a restaurateur to deliver beer and wine for off-site catered events using a SDM liquor license.

  • Successfully passed legislation which ends the requirement that unused funds from gift certificates and gift cards get turned over to the state as unclaimed property in exchange for some new regulations on the issuance and use of gift certificates and gift cards.

  • Successfully passed legislation allowing liquor licensees to provide free samples of beer, wine and spirits to guests who may be interested in purchasing higher end products, driving additional sales.

  • Successfully passed an update to the Michigan Food Law simplifying the menu consumer advisory requirement. This took effect April 2008.

  • Successfully defeated a proposed state law and a proposed Oakland County ordinance, both of which would have banned the use of trans fats in restaurants, which would have created a number of problems for restaurateurs in the area of supply, prices and being out of step with the rest of the country.

  • Successfully passed legislation which would exempt exhibitors at the annual Michigan Restaurant Show from having to obtain temporary health licenses for the preparation and sampling of food.

  • Successfully passed legislation allowing liquor licensees to sell alcohol on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, by allowing them remain open and sell alcohol on Christmas Eve until midnight, and to open and sell alcohol starting at noon on Christmas Day.

  • Successfully passed a permanent extension of the resort liquor license program.

  • Successfully put an end to unemployment tax dodging without placing new paperwork and fee burdens on Michigan restaurants.

  • Successfully defeated attempts to hike the minimum payroll wage for tipped employees as well as an attempt to completely eliminate the tip credit altogether. However, this proposal comes back year after year and will no doubt be seen again … soon.

  • Successfully passed legislation creating a youth minimum wage below the state minimum wage. This allows employers to pay a minimum wage of 85 percent of the state wage to employees who are 16 or 17 years of age.

  • Successfully amended the smoking ban legislation by making sure that enforcement focuses on the smoking patron – not the establishment – by continuing the current prohibition on local smoking ordinances affecting restaurants and taverns, and by making sure individuals will not have the ability to bring frivolous civil lawsuits against establishments.

  • Successfully created a new vertical driver license for minors that can easily be identified by servers and clerks.

  • Successfully supported the creation of two new state Lottery games called “Club Games” to increase customer enjoyment at Class C licensed liquor service establishments. Members can call the MRA for information on “Club Keno” and “Pull Tabs” games.

  • Successfully repealed a rule that prohibited the display of illuminated signs advertising alcoholic beverage brands. MRA was the only organization that initiated and encouraged the action of the Michigan Attorney General to throw this rule out.

  • Successfully defeated a bill allowing Detroit to levy a restaurant sales tax.

  • Successfully passed a bill bringing Kent County in line with the rest of the state to allow the transfer of an escrowed on-premises liquor license within the county.

  • Successfully ensured the new drunk driving standard did not drop below .08 or create a new impairment standard below .08, which would have criminalized responsible social drinkers.

  • Successfully helped pass legislation creating a new “high BAC” drunk driving penalty to go after the true source of the drunk driving problem, while not criminalizing responsible social drinkers.

  • Successfully defeated an Ingham County proposal that would have required all restaurants to put up posters with the contact information for the health department if guests became sick.

  • Successfully defeated a Ferndale proposal that sought to allow law enforcement officers to use alcohol breath tests on customers while they were still in a restaurant or bar.

  • Successfully provided uniformity of alcohol sales times on Sundays for four counties in the Upper Peninsula. These counties are located in the central time zone and, on Sundays, are less able to compete for customers who can simply cross the state border into Wisconsin, which has less restrictive Sunday sales laws.

  • Successfully supported a new state law disallowing the admissibility of blood-alcohol content tests conducted in a licensed establishment to be used to prove the establishment illegally served a visibly intoxicated person. This change clarifies the state prohibition on serving visibly intoxicated persons.