Senate Passes Main Street Fairness Legislation

Yesterday afternoon the Senate passed two bills, SB 658 and SB 659, that would require that a sales tax be added on to purchases made by retailers who have a so-called “nexus” within the state. These bills are more commonly known as the Main Street Fairness legislation.

The bill includes a seller who sells “tangible personal property” and includes new provisions that a seller is presumed to have a nexus if it uses its employees, agents, representatives, or independent contractors to promote sales to purchasers.

It also tags a seller if it shares management, business systems, business practices, or employees with the seller, or in the case of an affiliated person, engages in “Intercompany transactions” with the seller to establish or maintain the seller’s market.

And a seller is presumed to have a nexus in the state if its total cumulative gross receipts from sales for storage, use or consumption to purchasers in this state exceed $50,000 during the immediately preceding 12 months.

The League is supportive of this legislation that now heads to the House for review. The House also has its own versions, House Bills 4202 and 4203.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

Senate Committee Passes Cell Tower Colocation Bill

Yesterday the Senate Energy & Technology Committee reported House Bill 4237, a bill that would open state police communications towers to colocation for broadband expansion.

As introduced, this legislation would allow both public and private entities to colocate for the purpose of broadband expansion; however, a substitute passed by the committee would limit this to only private entities for three years and then allow public entities to colocate only in “underserved areas.”

The League is a staunch supporter of broadband expansion; however, banning public entities from this colocation seeks to inhibit broadband expansion to only if a private entity decides to expand. This is a disservice to Michigan residents and job providers as broadband access becomes more necessary for both businesses and residents.

We continue to oppose this version of the legislation and encourage you to contact your Senate members to do the same. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

Pneumatic Gun Legislation Passes the House

Yesterday the House passed  Senate Bill 979 (sponsored by Sen. Hildenbrand, R-Grand Rapids), a bill to include pneumatic guns (i.e. paint ball guns) in the list of pistols or other firearms that local units of government currently cannot tax, regulate ownership of, registration of, sale/transfer/possession and transportation of (PA 319 of 1990).

The legislation does allow a local unit to regulate the possession of a pneumatic gun in someone under the age of 16 unless it is their private property as well as allow a local unit to prohibit discharging of a pneumatic gun in heavily populated areas.

The League is opposing this legislation. The bill will now head to the Governor for his signature once the Senate concurs.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

Community Benefits Prohibition Bill Dead This Session!

Last night the House failed to pass House Bill 5977, legislation that would prohibit local units of government from creating a “community benefits ordinance”. The League vehemently opposes this bill because it is an egregious violation of local control.

The Constitutional 5-day rule requires that a bill be in a legislative chamber for 5 calendar days before it can be taken up. For example all House bills must have passed the House and Senate bills must have passed the Senate. As a result of the 5-day rule any legislation that did not pass the first chamber yesterday is dead this legislative session because next week is the last week of session this term. A bill would have to be reintroduced in January to start the process anew.

Earlier this week the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness refused to hear our testimony in opposition to House Bill 5977. So we did a video of what we would have said and posted it on the internet and on our social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter).

The video made an impact along with our working with members in the lobby this week to ask for their no vote. Thank you to the legislators who were a staunch no. We appreciate your taking a stand for your communities!

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

Commerce Chair Announces DDA Legislation Won’t Be Taken Up This Session!

Yesterday the House Commerce committee posted, and House Bill 5856, a bill to amend the DDA act to provide for additional transparency and reporting requirements as well as adding in fund accumulation restrictions, was added to the agenda. We were working off of a substitute bill that had been sent to us last week: TIF sub latest

This bill has been a thorn in the League’s side this year, and in our view it was not ready to be passed by the committee. Yesterday we talked to committee members in the House lobby to relay our concerns.

This morning at the start of committee, Chairman Frank Foster announced that House Bill 5856 was being pulled from the agenda, and that the committee would not take up this legislation this year. The legislative session ends next week, and the committee’s failure to take up this legislation means that the bill will die at the end of December. The legislature will have to reintroduce it and begin the process anew.

We do not anticipate this being the end of this issue, and we welcome continued conversations next term. We’ve heard from the Governor’s office that there is an interest by the administration to continue reviewing this issue. We look forward to being part of a comprehensive discussion on the best way to utilize economic development tools.

Thank you to all of our members for the hard work and continually reaching out to their lawmakers. It obviously makes a difference!

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

House Considers Bill to Drastically Tie Hands of Local Communities Working with Developers

This morning the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness heard testimony on House Bill 5977. This is an extremely harmful piece of  legislation that would prohibit local units of government from creating a “community benefits ordinance”. The League vehemently opposes this bill because it is an egregious violation of local control.

Currently, Michigan communities are allowed to negotiate with developers and contractors when developing certain parcels of property. A developer, for example, may ask for a tax break and the city, in return for the tax break, could have the developer expand or repave a road or street that will service the new project. The city, in exchange for grants, tax abatements or other economic development incentives, could ask the developer to hire local workers, pay a certain level of wages or benefits and engage certain subcontractors or local businesses.

This give-and-take-type of negotiations is common and extremely beneficial to a community. However, this legislation would end all that and drastically tie the hands of local governments. The bill would prohibit a local government from creating a community benefits ordinance and doing negotiations for the betterment of the community. Imagine a roofer coming to your house and you not being able to negotiate the price of the new roof, the color, the type of materials used or anything to do with that roof. That’s what this bill does.

The committee recessed for session and will reconvene on Tuesday, December 9 at 9:30 am. We anticipate the committee will vote on the legislation at that time. Please contact your legislator and ask him or her to oppose!

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

Senate Approves Bills Allowing Locals to Allow for Late Night Liquor Sales

This afternoon the Senate has passed Senate Bill 247, a bill that would allow establishments licensed to sell alcohol in central business districts to stay open and serve alcohol until 4 a. m. on Saturdays and Sundays, expanding the current 2 a.m. limit.

Senate Bill 247 would require a majority vote of a local unit of government to allow an establishment wishing to stay open until 4 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. They must be located in a central business district of the city, village or township to qualify. Licenses would cost $10,000 annually.

The legislation now goes to the House for approval.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

House Committee Passes Cell Tower Colocation Legislation

This morning the House Energy & Technology Committee reported House Bill 4237, a bill that would open state police communications towers to colocation for broadband expansion.

As introduced this legislation would allow both public and private entities to colocate for the purpose of broadband expansion; however, a substitute passed by thecommittee would limit this to only private entities for three years and then allow public entities to colocate only in “underserved areas.”

The League is a staunch supporter of broadband expansion; however, banning public entities from this colocation seeks to inhibit broadband expansion to only if a private entity decides to expand. This is a disservice to Michigan residents and job providers as broadband access becomes more necessary for both businesses and residents.

We continue to oppose this version of the legislation and encourage you to contact your House members to do the same. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

House Committee Passes Problematic Rental Inspection Legislation

This morning the House Local Government Committee reported Senate Bill 313 sponsored by Senator Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) that would drastically change the way municipal rental inspection programs operate.

The bill would lower revenue that programs collect and provide additional barriers to entry when attempting to inspect a tenants property.The bill now heads to the full House, and we need your help to prevent this from passing.

For those communities that have rental inspection programs we would ask that you please reach out to your legislator to ask for a “no” vote. The message is very simple: making the proposed changes to the rental inspection laws would negatively impact well run,  efficient programs. Further, SB 313 should not be brought up for a vote this year and we can revisit the issue next year.

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

House Considers Cemetery Perpetual Care Bill

This morning the House Local Government Committee reported Senate Bill 1125, legislation that would Public Act 215 of 1937, which authorizes municipalities to
own or control cemetery or burial grounds.

The bill would allow a municipality to establish an endowment and perpetual care fund for a municipally owned cemetery as part of an agreement with a community foundation.

It would also require the community foundation to authorize the disbursement of earnings
from the fund to the municipality for care and maintenance of the cemetery. The bill would also require the cemetery to maintain records regarding the use of earnings from
the fund.

In addition the bill would allow the community foundation’s fees and costs associated with the agreement to be paid from the principal of the fund and specify information that the community foundation would have to include in an annual audit.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org