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Michigan governor OKs bill that lets auto dealerships adjust hours, closures

Crain’s Detroit Business
Oct. 18, 2021
C.J. Moore

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed off on a bill that will let the state’s auto dealerships adjust their hours for flexibility’s sake.

Under the newly approved bill, S.B. 128, dealerships can be open for less than 30 hours a week for up to four weeks each year. They were previously required to be open for 30 hours a week year-round.

The bill, which Whitmer signed into law Oct. 14, amends the Michigan Vehicle Code, an act that stipulates licensing for dealers. It will take effect 60 days after the date it was enacted.

Whitmer’s office said requiring dealerships to be open for more than 30 hours a week for all 52 weeks in a year could create issues for stores trying to plan employee absences. Those extra four weeks with lessened hours could help accommodate employee emergencies or vacations, Whitmer’s office said.

“I am happy to sign legislation that supports our small businesses and puts Michigan first,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Senate Bill 128 lifts restrictions for Michigan car dealerships without compromising opportunities for consumers.”

Dealerships that want to alter their hours have to let the Michigan Department of State know seven days prior to the change, according to the bill. At least 15 of the 30 hours of operation have to fall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We applaud Gov. Whitmer for signing this common sense legislation that will provide many small independent automobile dealerships with much needed regulatory relief and flexibility when emergencies occur and provide them with the ability to plan for other temporary closures,” Michigan Independent Automobile Dealers Association President Otto Hahne said in a statement.

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