Committee Hearings Begin on House Transportation Proposal

The newly formed Roads and Economic Development committee held the first of three committee hearings this morning on a package of bills introduced by House Republicans to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

HB 4610 allows townships contributing greater than 50% to a road project over $50,000 to require competitive bidding and the League has no position on this legislation due to it having no direct impact on our communities.

HB 4611 would require competitive bidding on all MDOT and local road projects over $100,000, and HB 4613 would require MDOT and local road agencies to secure warranties for projects over $1 million. We are currently opposed to these two bills as part of this package. The League believes we must find a sustainable long-term solution to the problem that includes new revenue that is dedicated to the entire transportation system.

The proposed package of bills only has $50 million in new revenue with the remaining billion coming from reprioritizing General Fund spending and projected growth. It neglects to make a much need investment in transit and jeopardizes economic development funding many of our communities benefit from. This plan impacts the long-term certainty our communities need to plan and one of the key factors for our opposition.

The League is committed to working with the legislature towards a long term solution and we are hopeful that solution can found sooner rather than later.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

Bill Prohibiting Local Regulation of Knives Passes Senate Committee

This week, SB 305, a bill to prohibit local units of government from regulating the transportation, possession, sale, or licensing of a knife or knife making components, passed the Senate Local Government Committee.  This bill would also prohibit a local unit of government from regulating the manufacture of a knife more restrictively than the manufacture of any other commercial good.

The League is opposed to this legislation and it is now before the full Senate.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

 

 

DEQ’s Road Right-of-Way Alternate Institutional Control Process Survey

Michigan’s environmental cleanup laws allow for the use of institutional controls when environmental contamination is proposed to be left in-place at a property. Often times, this contamination has migrated onto property controlled or operated by local units of government, tribal government or other authority, such as, road right-of-ways. Institutional controls are generally administrative and legal tools that are created for the purpose of providing information regarding the risks associated with contamination and the activities that are to be restricted or prohibited to protect the public health, safety, and welfare and the environment.

In 2014, the Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD) of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) introduced its Road Right-Of-Way Alternate Institutional Control as an instrument that may be used when contamination is proposed to be left in-place within a road right-of-way.

The DEQ-RRD has invited our members to complete a simple survey to provide them with an understanding of your knowledge, use, concerns or desire to learn more regarding the use of this instrument to control exposure and the risks associated with contamination within a road right-of-way. For a link to the survey please click here.

For questions regarding the survey, please contact Mr. Kevin Schrems at 517-284-5149 or schremsk@michigan.gov, or Mr. Dan Yordanich at 517-284-5174 or yordanichd@michigan.gov.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

Legislative Subpoena Authority Bills Move Out of Committee

Yesterday, the House Oversight and Ethics committee passed out HB 4522 with only one legislator voting no.  A different substitute was adopted from last week requiring that at least one minority vote must be in favor of passing the subpoena resolution in an attempt to help limit abuse of the act.  It also stated an attorney must be consulted before passing the resolution and the normal 18 hour notice of a committee hearing must now be a 72 hour notice when a subpoena resolution will be on the agenda.

The ability to subpoena local records is already allowed under Act 118 of 1931 by a resolution of the full house/senate.  This legislation would give authority to the committee that receives and reviews auditor general reports (the Oversight committee in this case) to subpoena witnesses by a vote of the committee  and not the full house/senate.

The League along well the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Sheriff’s Association and school organizations are opposed to this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

 

Speaker Cotter Unveils House Republican Transportation Solutions

At a press conference this afternoon Speaker Kevin Cotter released the House Republican transportation plan. The highlights are below.

  • This plan will generate $1.05 billion for transportation
  • $700 million from the General Fund
  • $185 million from Reprioritizing Restricted Funds
  • $162 million from Tax Fairness
  • Reforms and Efficiencies

General Fund: The $700 million the Speaker is proposing will come from expected future growth in revenues and additional anticipated revenue available based on the upcoming Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. This portion of the plan lacked specifics so it is yet to be determined what impact this would have on the state budget moving forward but the Speaker said he would be able to do this without making cuts.

Reprioritizing Restricted Funds: Of the $185 million, $75 million will come from tobacco settlement dollars currently in the 21st Century Jobs Fund, $60 million from the states tribal gaming compact, and $50 million from eliminating the film tax credit.

Tax Fairness: The Speaker will achieve the projected $162 million through the creation of tax fairness by eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit and using that $117 million for roads. The remaining $45 million will come from diesel parody and increased fees on electric and hybrid vehicles.

Reforms and Efficiencies: The plan will require competitive bidding on all MDOT and local road projects over $100,000, require MDOT and local road agencies to secure warranties for projects over $1 million, and allow townships contributing greater than 50% to a road project over $50,000 to require competitive bidding.

Other highlights in this plan include a phase in over four year with $522 million going to roads in FY 16, $697 million in FY 17, $872 million in FY 18, $1.05 billion in FY 19 and beyond. All of the new money would only be sent to MDOT, Counties, and Cities and Villages. None of the new money would go to transit operations. The current gas tax will remain at 19 cents but would be tied to inflation under this plan. A copy of the document Speaker Cotter provided can be found at the following link. House Republican Road Funding Plan

As the League gathers more details on this plan in the coming days we will be sure to update you with any new information.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Senate Passes Mobile Home Legislation

Today the full Senate unanimously passed HB 4054 this week, a bill that makes changes to the Mobile Home Commission Act.  HB 4054 is a reintroduction from last year by Rep. Andy Schor in an effort to address a situation that occurred in his district with the Life O’Riley Mobile Home Park. This legislation requires the DEQ to outline clear roles for local units of government and enforcement (a problem that occurred with the Life O’Riley mobile home park that ended being condemned and residents forced to seek housing elsewhere). In addition, there are more reporting requirements of the DEQ to local units of government of rules promulgated or when a mobile home is found to be in violation.

The League is supportive of this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use, and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Congress Passes Federal Budget Resolution; Retains Deep Cuts

Congress this week, passed a federal budget resolution in both Chambers for the first time in many years. The resolution, which is non-binding, sets the larger figures for areas of the budget, which appropriation members will use to start developing actual budget bills. In the framework, Congress set a 10 year plan that cuts $5 Trillion from spending and retains cuts and caps from sequestration. The President has already signaled that he won’t sign budget bills that reflect those cuts, so Congress is setting up for a budget battle over the summer which will set a tone for both parties going into the 2016 elections.

Summer Minnick is the Director of External Relations and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

Bill Giving Subpoena Power to Legislative Committee Gets Hearings in House

Today, the House Oversight and Ethics committee for the second week took up HB 4522, a bill that would grant any legislative committee subpoena power over local units of government and schools.  A substitute was adopted that narrowed this to only the committees who receive and review the auditor general reports (oversight committee) in each of the house and senate and would require a resolution passed by 2/3 of the committee.

The ability to subpoena local records is already allowed under Act 118 of 1931 by a resolution of the full house/senate.  This legislation would give authority to the committee that recieve and review auditor general reports (the Oversight committee in this case) to subpoena witnesses by a 2/3 vote of the committee members and not the full house/senate.

The League is opposed to this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Urban Ag Sample Ordinance Now Available from MSU Extension

MSU Extension has been working to provide a sample ordinance to municipalities regarding Urban Agriculture as it relates to Right to Farm and GAAMPs.  There are many communities who would like to allow for some type of urban agriculture given the demands of some of their residents but are unsure as to how to go about allowing such activity so as not to interfere with the Right to Farm Act and the GAAMPs.  This is meant to be a starting point for local communities and to be changed based on the communities needs and make up.  To view the sample ordinance and back up documents visit here.

If you are looking to create such an ordinance and would like to have it reviewed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, please don’t hesitate to contact them.  They are ready and willing to assist you in ensuring your ordinance is in compliance with the Right to Farm Act and GAAMPs.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use, and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

House Committee Takes Second Week of Testimony on Medical Marihuana Legislation

Today, the House Judiciary committee took testimony for the second week on two pieces of legislation dealing with medical marihuana.  HB 4209 (Rep. Callton) provides for state and local regulations of medical marihuana provisioning centers/dispensaries.  The introduced version does not allow a local municipality to ban dispensaries within their community but we are working with the bill sponsor to ensure this makes it into the next substitute.  HB 4210 (Rep. Lyons) allows for and regulates marihuana infused products.  These pieces of legislation are an attempt at helping to fix some of the loopholes and provide more clarity from the ballot proposal Michigan citizens passed back in 2008.

We look forward to continued discussions as this process moves forward.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issue.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.