Governor Signs Fix for Local Candidate Filings

Governor Snyder signed House Bill 4892 (Chatfield) on Monday morning, just in time for the affected communities to print and prepare their November ballots for mailing.

Now known as Public Act 118 of 2017, HB 4892 will allow any community that inadvertently followed candidate filing deadlines outlined within their charter, as opposed to the uniform filing date established within Michigan election law (15th Tuesday prior to the election), to place all otherwise eligible candidates back on the November ballot.

One provision was added to this bill in the House that differentiates this language from a similar fix that was done in 2015 for the city of Flint.  The House amendment now includes a $2500 penalty/reimbursement of costs for any community that utilizes this extension in 2017 and adds a $5000 penalty for any community that misses the state filing deadline in the future.

The League worked with the cities of Sault Ste Marie and Tecumseh to develop the original language in HB 4892 (and the companion SB 526-Schmidt) and move the bill through both the House and Senate in a matter of weeks to ensure implementation in time to meet federal ballot deadlines for military and overseas voters.

The League will continue working with member communities, the Legislature and the Secretary of State to guard against similar situations occurring in the future.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

$500 million federal TIGER program accepting grant applications for road projects; due October 16

The federal government has announced it is now accepting applications for the FY 2017 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, with $500 million in available funds for infrastructure projects including roads.

The application deadline for the 2017 TIGER solicitation is October 16.

The Department of Transportation will hold public two webinars:

  • September 13 and 19, 2 – 4 p.m., on “How to Compete for TIGER Grants;” and
  • September 18, 2 – 4 p.m., on “Preparing a Benefit Cost Analysis.”

To register for the free webinars, please visit the TIGER Webinar Series webpage.

Additional information about the TIGER program is available at the TIGER website. Questions may be directed to Ryan Brumfield, 202.366.2639, ryan.brumfield@dot.gov, in the TIGER program office or to FHWA TIGER program staff Sam Snead, 202.366.0857, sam.snead@dot.gov.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

MDOT kicking off 2018 Local Grade Crossing Surface Program; applications due October 27

MDOT provides funding assistance for highway-railroad grade crossing surface improvements on local roads. This annual program offers 60% funding for eligible projects, with railroads responsible for the remaining 40% of costs. Projects are selected in compliance with criteria established by state law.

After a successful launch in 2017, 2018 Local Grade Crossing Surface Program announcement letters are being mailed to all railroads and road agencies with active highway-railroad grade crossings within Michigan.

The 2018 Call for Projects opened in early September, with program letters containing additional details mailed to road authorities and railroads. Application materials for road agencies are now available, with a deadline for submittals of October 27, 2017. Project selections are expected to be confirmed by late November, with authorizations scheduled to be issued in time for the 2018 construction season. The 2017 Program had over 130 applications resulting in more than 70 approved projects to improve local crossing surfaces.

2018 Application
Sample Surface Program Railroad Authority Letter
Sample Surface Program Road Authority Letter

Questions about the program should be directed to Kristian Foondle, MDOT Local Grade Crossing Program Manager, at foondlek@michigan.gov. Click here for a list of railroad contacts

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

House Moves Bill To Correct Local Candidate Filing Deadline Errors

The League's Chris Hackbarth (center) testifies in Lansing Wednesday along with Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner (left) and Tecumseh City Manager Dan Swallow (right).

The League’s Chris Hackbarth (center) testifies in Lansing Wednesday along with Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner (left) and Tecumseh City Manager Dan Swallow (right).

The Michigan House voted 92-13 on Wednesday afternoon to send the League-supported House Bill 4892 (Chatfield) over to the Senate for their consideration.  The bill had moved out of the House Elections & Ethics committee earlier Wednesday morning and is on a tight schedule for completion in order to be effective during the current election cycle.  This bill provides an avenue for local candidates, who relied on incorrect filing deadline information and were subsequently prevented from appearing on the upcoming November election ballot, to have the filing deadline extended to include their names.  Officials from the cities of Sault Ste. Marie and Tecumseh were in Lansing to testify with the MML and their local State Representatives, Rep. Lee Chatfield and Rep. Bronna Kahle, in support of the bill.

Recent situations in these two communities brought this issue to the forefront when they discovered that their city charter deadline provisions were no longer in compliance with recent state law changes.

Rep. Lee Chatfield meets with Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner and City Clerk Robin Troyer in Lansing Wednesday.

State Rep. Lee Chatfield (right) meets with Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner and City Clerk Robin Troyer in Lansing Wednesday.

Legislation passed in late 2012 moved all candidate filings from the 12th week prior to the election back three weeks to the 15th week prior to the election.

Officials in these two communities -Tecumseh and Sault Ste. Marie – realized this discrepancy too late and a number of candidates for city council and mayor were precluded from appearing on the ballot. In working with their local legislators and the League, we were able to craft language in HB 4892 (duplicated in SB 526-Schmidt) that is a mirror image to what was done in 2015 when the City of Flint encountered a similar situation and needed a change in the state election law to get that city’s mayoral candidates back on the ballot. Today’s action moves the bill forward as a way to allow a community that utilized an incorrect filing deadline to work with the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections to accommodate those candidates that otherwise would have qualified for the November ballot.

Swift action is needed in the Legislature to ensure that all ballots are printed and military and overseas ballots are mailed by September 23rd.

The Michigan Municipal League will be working to get the bill brought up and acted upon next week in the Michigan Senate.

Communities utilizing filing deadline or other election dates within their charter need to be aware of state election law changes and make the necessary adjustments to their internal processes or charter amendments to protect themselves from encountering this same issue.  The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections publishes an election calendar each year with all of the relevant filing and election process dates outlined. Communities are encouraged by the Bureau to track these dates closely to avoid being out of compliance with state law.

The League will be working with the Bureau of Elections and the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks as we move forward from HB 4892 to promote a more robust level of communication and education on key election deadlines and law changes.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

Full Agenda Released for Transportation Asset Management Council’s Fall Conference

Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council will be having their annual fall conference in Marquette on October 5th.This conference presents critical information for League members and we encourage all of those that are able to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

The full agenda and registration information has been released and can be found here. Additional information about hotel reservations is also provided.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Draft Michigan Freight Plan Comment Period/Webinar Opportunity on September 12th

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to release for public review and comment the draft Michigan Freight Plan, a supplement to the 2040 MI Transportation Plan. MDOT is seeking comments on the plan through Sep. 29 and has scheduled a Sep. 12 Webinar to discuss it in detail. The plan is available for viewing online at www.michigan.gov/freightplan or at MDOT’s region offices and Transportation Service Centers. Comments can be made electronically at the above link, or by writing Geralyn Ayers, Public Involvement and Hearings Officer, Bureau of Highway Development, Michigan Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909.

The Michigan Freight Plan provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s freight transportation system, including existing assets, system performance and the investments required to ensure long-term success. Freight is defined as any good, product or raw material carried by commercial transportation, including air, highway, rail, water and pipeline.

A multi-modal and intermodal resource, the plan provides an overall framework for freight system improvements and priorities. It is an element of the 2040 MI Transportation Plan and integrates its overall vision, goals, objectives, strategies and decision-making principles.

The public Webinar is scheduled for 9 to 10 a.m., Sep. 12. To participate, please register at the Freight Plan website at www.michigan.gov/freightplan or by calling (517) 373-2227. Details, including Web address and audio connection information will be sent with E-mail confirmation. Copies of the plan also may be obtained by calling Geralyn Ayers at (517) 373-2227.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Treasury Announces Grants for Financially Distressed Communities

Treasury released the following information this morning regarding grant dollars available through Treasury’s financially distressed city, village and township program:

Cities, villages and townships experiencing financial struggles can now apply for a grant to help fund special projects and free up tax dollars for important services, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury).

Applications are now being accepted for the Financially Distressed Cities, Villages, and Townships (FDCVT) grant program. Municipalities interested in applying for an award must submit applications to the state Treasury Department by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.

All cities, villages and townships experiencing at least one condition of “probable financial distress” as outlined in the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act are eligible to apply for up to $2 million. A total of $5.4 million in funding is available for Treasury to award through the FDCVT grant program for the 2018 fiscal year. 

Grant funding may be used to pay for specific projects or services that move a community toward financial stability. Preference will be given to applications from municipalities that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • A financial emergency has been declared in the past 10 years.
  • An approved deficit elimination plan for the General Fund is currently in place.
  • Two or more conditions indicating “probable financial distress” currently exist.
  • The fund balance of the General Fund has been declining over the past five years and the fund balance is less than 3 percent of the General Fund revenues.

Due to requirements outlined under state law, school districts are not eligible for funds from this grant program.

For more information about the FDCVT grant program or to download an application, go to www.michigan.gov/revenuesharing.

 

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) Publishes Compliance Plan Application, Instructions for Submission, and Sample Plans

A guide for municipalities who are the court funding unit has been developed to assist with compliance of the first four standards issued by the MIDC. The document provides instructions for determining local cost share and illustrates a sample plan.

This spring the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs approved the MIDC’s first four standards for indigent criminal defense services. Those first four standards cover training and education of counsel, the initial client interview, use of investigation and experts, and counsel at first appearance and other critical stages.

The full text of the approved standards can be found on the MIDC’s website.

The MIDC has approved several documents to assist funding units with compliance planning for MIDC Standards 1, 2, 3, and 4. The Commission has published a detailed application with instructions for completing the form, a guide for submission of compliance plans, cost analyses, and local share calculations, as well as sample plans for a variety of systems to consider. The MIDC has Regional Managers working statewide to assist with compliance planning.  Application workshops will be conducted throughout September for work group members to attend via webinar.

Every court funding unit in Michigan is required to submit a plan for compliance with the first four standards for indigent defense, along with a cost analysis, to the MIDC no later than November 20, 2017. Contact your MIDC Regional Manager for questions or further information.

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

LARA Seeking Participants for Medical Marijuana Work Groups

The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations (BMMR), housed within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), is seeking participants for medical marijuana stakeholder work groups. The bureau is facilitating the five stakeholder work groups to discuss and provide suggestions on regulatory topics related to the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA). The five work groups, one for each license type, are:

  1. Grower
  2. Processor
  3. Safety Compliance Facility
  4. Provisioning Center
  5. Secure Transporter

The work groups will gather information only and do not take the place of the licensing board nor the advisory board as provided for in the MMFLA. The purpose is to collect input on the various regulatory topics of each work group. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 5, 2017. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/medicalmarihuana.

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

MSP Announces Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Opportunity

Attached is the official Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) announcement for the open application period for two Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation grant programs for FY 2017.  This funding announcement includes the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program.  Both of these FEMA hazard mitigation grant programs are now under one umbrella known as Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA).  FEMA has unified all of the mitigation grant programs under one set of guidance documents.  The two guidance documents (linked below) are dated 2015 because there have been no changes to the guidance since last year.

The information contained in the announcement below include limited time lines and requires a timely response.

Deadlines:
· NOIs must be submitted to the MSP/EMHSD by no later than September 1, 2017.
· eGrants applications (initial draft) are due to the MSP/EMHSD for review by October 13, 2017.
· After review and revision, eGrants applications are due to FEMA by November 14, 2017.

HMA funds can be used for the implementation of hazard mitigation projects as well as the development or update of local hazard mitigation plans.  Many of the FEMA approved local mitigation plans across Michigan will be expiring within the next two years.  The available HMA funding offers an excellent opportunity for communities to use grant dollars to update their local hazard mitigation plans.

IB 17-01 – HMA Funds Available
HMA_Guidance_022715_508
HMA_Addendum_022715_508

Joel Pepper
Asst. State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division
Michigan State Police
TX: 517-284-3955

Physical Address:
7150 Harris Drive
Dimondale, Michigan 48821

Mailing Address:
PO Box #30634
Lansing, Michigan  48909

 

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.