Changes to MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Signed by the Governor

Senate Bill 882 has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act 301 of 2014. This has been a long process and the Michigan Municipal League would like to thank all of those have helped with the passage of this bill. They include Senator Casperson and his staff, Representative Schmidt, Representative Kosowski, policy staff, MDOT, Munetrix, and most importantly our members for all of the outreach they did on this issue.

The final version of this bill eliminates the requirement for cities and villages to post their current fiscal budget, list the number of transportation employees, and create an additional dashboard. It pushes the implementation date back to September 30, 2015 and maintains the requirement to certify with the department that you are in compliance with PA 152. It also requires that communities inform MDOT if they have opted out of PA 152. If you fail to send in your certification form to the department they may withhold your Act 51 funding.

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

Changes to MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Sent to the Governor

Senate Bill 882 was sent to the Governor for signature after the Senate unanimously concurred in the House changes. The Michigan Municipal League supported these changes and is very thankful for the work put into this legislation by Senator Casperson and his staff.

The final version of this bill eliminates the requirement for cities and villages to post their current fiscal budget, list the number of transportation employees, and create an additional dashboard. It pushes the implementation date back to September 30, 2015 and maintains the requirement to certify with the department that you are in compliance with PA 152. It also requires that communities inform MDOT if they have opted out of PA 152. If you fail to send in your certification form to the department they may withhold your Act 51 funding.

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

Repeal of MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Awaits Final Passage in the House

Senate Bill 882 that repeals the MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions under Act 51 Section 18j is currently awaiting final passage in the House. This bill was voted out of the Senate just before the Legislature left for their summer break by a vote of 35-1. Upon their return in September we knew we would be working on a short timeline to get this bill out of the House. The first committee hearing on the bill was last week and our testimony was well received by the committee. Following committee there were a few questions that were brought up by policy staff in the House that we addressed and after some debate the bill was brought up for a vote in committee. It passed by a margin of 13-2.

There continued to be some questions raised by a few legislators about the need to repeal requirements placed on local government. As a result further movement on the bill was suspended and discussions and negotiations resumed. Yesterday the League supported compromise with the House that would remove the requirements for additional dashboards and financial reporting but would still require us to certify to MDOT on an annual basis that we are in compliance with PA 152. The legislation would also push the implementation date back a year to September 30, 2015. Please click on the following link for the most recent version of the bill. 2014-SCVBH-0882-14645

After reaching the compromise, the House moved the bill from 2nd reading to 3rd reading but did not vote on it. They will not return to session again until next Tuesday September 30th, the current implementation date in statute. In our discussions with the House they have indicated that when they return next Tuesday they will vote on the bill with the changes mention above and send it back to the Senate for concurrence. The plan is for the Senate to concur in the changes to the bill later that day, send it to the governor for signature, and just narrowly beat the deadline.

The bill does not represent the full repeal that we pushed for but we believe it is a very good compromise at the end of the day.

As you know nothing is guaranteed until the Governor’s signature is dry, but at this point, based on the conversations we have had with legislators and staff, we are confident that SB 882 will be passed on Tuesday.

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

Smart Growth America Offering a Limited Number of Technical Assistant Workshops

Is your community interested in creating vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, but not sure where to start?

Smart Growth America’s technical assistance workshops can help. Our experts can work with your community to understand your goals, show how development strategies can help achieve goals, and provide ideas to make it happen.

Each year Smart Growth America offers a limited number of these workshops at no charge, and we’re proud to announce that applications are now open for our 2015 free technical assistance workshops.

Now in its fourth year, our free technical assistance program has helped over 50 communities grow in ways that benefit residents and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

Visit our website to learn about this year’s opportunity, including the types of workshops available and information about how to apply. Applications are due by October 23, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT.

For more information or to apply click here.

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

Congress Passes $1 Trillion Short Term Spending Bill, Goes on Break

After failing to pass the 12 budget bills before the October 1st fiscal year began, Congress enacted a $1 Trillion short term spending measure to avoid a government shutdown. Congress is now on recess for the mid-term campaign season. The short term budget extension sunsets on December 11th, ensuring Congress comes back for a lame duck session.

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

EPA Extends Deadline to Submit Comments on Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline to submit comments on the proposed plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for existing power plants to December 1st, from October 16th.

Click here to access additional information on the proposal and to submit comments.

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

Repeal of MDOTs Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Receives Committee Hearing

Today House Transportation Committee took testimony on SB 882 that would repeal the annual certification of employee related conditions requirement for cities and villages under Act 51. The League expressed its strong support for the legislation and addressed the need to act on this quickly. The Chairman acknowledge the importance of moving quickly on this legislation and plans to have another committee meeting on this bill next week and vote it out. We will continue to work with the Chairman and members of the committee on this issue in an effort to secure its passage before the end of the month.

The League continues to deliver the message that certifying to MDOT that we are in compliance with PA 152, which by law we are required to be in compliance with, is redundant, unnecessary, and an inefficient use of time. We have also advocated that the creation of another dashboard is unnecessary because of the public access to our current dashboards, F65 Forms, audits, and our comprehensive annual financial reports. With the commitment from the Chairman to move this bill out of committee next week we remain hopeful that this legislation will pass before September 30th but there is no guarantee. We encourage you to prepare as if this requirements will be due on September 30, 2014 and we will continue to update you on the progress of this legislation.

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

National League of Cities Announce Applications Open for Committee and Leadership Positions

Have you been involved in NLC before but want to take it to a new level? Are you considering expanding your professional involvement for the first time? If you are a member city of NLC, now is the time to submit an application!

The incoming NLC President will appoint chairs and vice chairs to NLC’s Policy and Advocacy Committees; the Council on Youth, Education, and Families; the International Council; the Large Cities Council; the Military Communities Council; the First Tier Suburbs Council; the Small Cities Council; and the University Communities Council.

City officials from NLC member cities who are interested in serving as Chairs and Vice Chairs should complete and submit online applications and biographical statements by October 3. Committee chairs and vice chairs will be notified of their selection in late October or early November.

Steering Committee Membership Positions Open

In addition, the incoming President will appoint city officials to be members of the Policy and Advocacy Steering Committees, the University Communities Council Steering Committee; and the Small Cities Council Steering Committee.

City officials from NLC member cities who are interested in serving as members on one of these Committees should complete and submit online applications by November 24. The Steering Committee appointments will be announced in December.

All appointments will be for a one year term.

 

Webinar This Thursday on EPA’s proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under Clean Air Act

This Thursday, September 18th from 1-2 pm the State and Local Legal Center will be hosting a webinar on the legal issues raised by EPA’s proposed rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. This webinar will be particularly helpful to those who are in the process of drafting comments, which are due on Oct. 16. There is no pre-registration for the webinar; simply click here at the appropriate time and sign in as a guest.

EPA has invited comment on a number of issues that may have legal implications for states. Given the compliance obligations this rule will create for states, the National Governors Association has worked with the SLLC to develop a presentation that will provide states with an opportunity to explore topics that will most directly affect them. Some of these topics will be addressed in the webinar and include:

o   State-level considerations for regional compliance and a legal roadmap for how states could join together to develop a regional consortium to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

o   Whether states can legally adopt multiple approaches to reducing carbon emissions, including approaches that are rate based, mass based, market based, or some combination of those three.

o   The authority for states to implement approaches outside of reductions at individual power plants (regardless of the legal interpretation at the federal level), or whether states need internal authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through other measures like regional agreements or the implementation of energy efficiency measures through 111(d).

o   The ability of states to adjust the specific percentage by which they must reduce their carbon emissions by 2030.

Roger Martella,, a former General Counsel for the EPA and current partner with the law firm of Sidley Austin, will lead the discussion and answer questions.

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

MDOT Makes Significant Upgrades to Act 51 Reporting Portal and the Investment Reporting Tool

The Michigan Municipal League would like to inform you that the Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) has made some significant updates to Michigan’s Act 51 Reporting Portal (MITRP) specific to completed project reporting requirements within both the Investment Reporting Tool (IRT) and Act 51 Distribution andReporting System (ADARS). Both systems can be accessed via this link: www.mcgi.state.mi.us/MITRP/.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and each local road agency has a responsibility to annually submit a report to the TAMC that includes, road and bridge projects anticipated to be contracted within the next three years and completed projects (open to traffic) for the fiscal year being reported. In 2006, the TAMC developed the Web-based IRT to facilitate the collection of project location information related to planned and completed projects for local agencies. In 2011, in an effort to gather meaningful cost information from local agencies, the TAMC partnered with MDOT to add an asset management page to the Web-based ADARS system. Unfortunately, this had an unintended consequence that caused many local agencies to have to manually re-enter duplicate project information into both systems.

This situation has been corrected and as of September 3, 2014, both the IRT and ADARS Asset Management page will be fully integrated to allow for the completed project information reported within the IRT to be automatically “synced” to the reporting categories within the ADARS page.

Initially, there will be a “soft” roll-out of this update for agencies with fiscal years ending on/after October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015. During the roll-out MDOT will focus on training and educating local agencies on the project reporting process and you will still be able to submit Act 51 reports by clicking the “No Treatments to Report” button. However, on/after October 1, 2015, the TAMC will expect the project information requested in both the IRT and ADARS to be complete. Failure to report this information could result in non-compliance with Act 51 reporting requirements and funds withheld until such a time that compliance can be determined.

If you have any questions, please contact Brian Sanada, TAMC Coordinator, at 517-373-2220 or sanadab@michigan.gov.

The following is a link to the letter that was sent out by the Transportation Asset Management Council regarding these changes. TAMC Letter to IRT-ADARS Users 9 3 14

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.