Governor Snyder Delivers 2015 State of the State Address

Governor Snyder delivered his fifth State of the State speech last night and used the forum to kick off his call for support of the road funding ballot question on May 5th.  Within his speech, he focused on efforts he intends to pursue this year on reforming social service, health and education programs and restructuring certain aspects of state government.  He announced plans to pursue 3rd grade reading improvement and utilize his regional prosperity team concept to better target business and job creation activities and skilled trades training.  The Governor also announced a schedule for upcoming “special messages”, beginning with a special message on energy policy in March, followed by criminal justice and drug abuse prevention messages later in the year.  For more information on the Governor’s speech and additional background documentation, please click on the link below.

http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-63747—,00.html

Chris Hackbarth is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or chackbarth@mml.org. 

House Announces Committee Assignments

Following on the heels of yesterday’s opening day of session for the new Legislature, House Speaker Kevin Cotter announced membership this afternoon for the chamber’s 24 standing committees and the 18 Appropriations subcommittees for the 2015-16 legislative session.  Of particular interest to the League’s State Affairs team…

Commerce & Trade  – Graves (Chair), Sheppard (VC), Barrett, Callton, Garcia, Glenn, Hughes, Johnson, Leutheuser, Rendon, Somerville, Jenkins    Schor (Minority VC), Byrd, Garrett, Geiss, Love, Moss, Townsend

Communications & Technology – Jacobsen (Chair), Iden (VC), Barrett, Franz, Glardon, Leutheuser, Outman, Price, Tedder    Phelps (Minority VC), Chirkun, Driskell, Greig, Guerra

Elections  - Lyons (Chair), Leutheuser (VC), Kesto, Heise, Jacobsen    Driskell (Minority VC), Hoadley, Irwin

Energy Policy  – Nesbitt (Chair), Glenn (VC), Barrett, Cole, Hughes, Jacobsen, LaFontaine, Lucido, Maturen, McBroom, Outman, Pettalia, B. Roberts, Sheppard, Webber    LaVoy (Minority VC), Brunner, Byrd, Dianda, Garrett, Kivela, Kosowski, Lane, D. Miller, Plawecki

Local Government  – Chatfield (Chair), Price (VC), Heise, Maturen, Runestad, Sheppard, Theis    Moss (Minority VC), Brunner, Neeley, Rutledge

Regulatory Reform  – Franz (Chair), B. Roberts (VC), Courser, Crawford, Garcia, Iden, Kesto, Lauwers, Yonker    Dianda (Minority VC), Chirkun, Darany, Lane, Moss, Schor

Tax Policy – Farrington (Chair), Maturen (VC), Chatfield, Glenn, Howrylak, Iden, Somerville, Webber, Yonker    Townsend (Minority VC), Byrd, Clemente, LaVoy

Transportation & Infrastructure  – Pettalia (Chair), Glardon (VC), Cole, Farrington, Goike, Jacobsen, Lauwers, Maturen, Yonker, McCready    Lane (Minority VC), Cochran, Dianda, Neeley, Rutledge, Smiley

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government  –  Laura Cox (Chair), Chris Afendoulis, Larry Inman, Earl Poleski    Fred Durhal III (Minority VC), Sam Singh

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation  – Ed Canfield (Chair), Roger Victory (VC), John Bizon, Tim Kelly, Aaron Miller     Brian Banks (Minority VC), Brandon Dillon

***Democratic members listed in italics

For more background on each of these legislators, please visit – http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/frmRepList.aspx.

Chris Hackbarth is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or chackbarth@mml.org. 

Senate Announces Committee Assignments

The Senate has announced the committee assignments for the 2015/2016 session.  Here is a list of the committees we work with on a more regular basis (D’s in italics).

  • Commerce – Schmidt (chair), Kowall (vice chair), MacGregor, Nofs, Hertel
  • Economic Development & International Investment – Horn (chair), Schmidt (vice chair), Brandenburg, Stamas, Emmons, Smith, Bieda
  • Elections and Government Reform – Robertson (chair), Colbeck (vice chair) Emmons, Shirkey, Hood
  • Energy and Technology – Nofs (chair), Proos (vice chair), Horn, Schuitmaker, Hune, Shirkey, Zorn, Hopgood, Knezek, Smith
  • Local Government – Zorn (chair), Proos (vice chair), Brandenburg, Rocca, Young
  • Regulatory Reform – Rocca (chair), Jones (vice chair), Knollenberg, Kowall, Marleau, Hune, Warren, Hertel, Johnson
  • Transportation – Casperson (chair), Horn (vice chair), Pavlov, Marleau, Hopgood
  • Appropriations: General Government – Stamas (chair), Nofs (vice chair), Booher, Young
  • Appropriations: Transportation – Hansen (chair), Knollenberg (vice chair), Young

For a full list of the committees and their membership, click here.

The House is expected to announce their committee assignments later this week.

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

Governor Snyder Announces Bipartisan Deal on Transportation Funding

The League supports a transportation funding solution that covers all forms of transportation, not just roads.

The League supports a transportation funding solution that covers all forms of transportation, not just roads.

Governor Snyder announced today (Dec. 18, 2014) that he and legislative leaders have come to an agreement on transportation funding. All votes from the House and Senate are expected today.

The plan calls for several statutory changes and is heavily reliant on a 1% increase in sales tax that will be put on the ballot May 2015. If all is approved, it will raise about $1.3 billion annually for roads and transit. The package also includes additional funding for local governments outside of the road funding formula.

The League and its partners are still combing through the details of the plan and we will have a full analysis to the members as soon as possible.

Here are some of the details that have emerged: This is a comprehensive proposal to address the dramatic shortfall that exists in Michigan’s transportation system. The announced plan is contingent upon voter approval, but provides significant new money do address our deteriorating transportation system.  Some key funding components of the plan include:

  • $1.2 billion annually of new money for roads
  • $94 million of new money for local government
  • $112 million for transit
  • $300 million for schools

Click here for a decent breakdown of the transportation funding plan, with additional details, by the Associated Press.

League members with additional questions about the plan can contact the League’s John LaMacchia II a jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org. and 734-669-6317.

 

Bill Creating a Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act Sent to the Governor

This afternoon House Bill 5397 was sent to the governor after unanimously passing the Senate. This bill creating the Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act and would enable municipalities that own electric utilities to establish a program to help provide financing to residential property owners for energy efficiency projects. This is modeled after the PACE Act.

This legislation passed the full House prior to the legislative recess in June on a 108 to 2 vote.

This is an idea that was brought to Rep. Joe Haveman’s attention by the city of Holland who would like the opportunity to create a program such as this. The League has been supportive of this bill throughout the process and is very pleased that it has been sent to the Governor.

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.

Transportation Funding Talks Ongoing: Stay Tuned, We May Need You

The League supports a comprehensive transportation funding solution that services all modes of transportation, including roads, rails, trails, and ports.

The League supports a comprehensive transportation funding solution that services all modes of transportation, including roads, rails, trails, and ports.

Usually the term is “hurry up and wait,” but this week when it comes to transportation funding in Lansing it’s more like “wait and possibly hurry up.”

That’s the situation currently at the state Capitol. Michigan legislators have been meeting behind closed doors to come up with a transportation funding package. The Michigan Municipal League is anxiously waiting to see what they’ll come up with. Once the League learns what the proposal is we could very well be asking our members to do a “hurry up and do XYZ” scenario. So we’re asking our members to be in stand-by mode and ready to make phone calls and send emails if necessary.

Of course, we’re hoping the lawmakers come up with a transportation funding solution that does not negatively impact communities. If that happens, we may ask you to contact your lawmakers in support of the plan.

Here are some links to recent blogs we’ve written on the issue that explain what’s happened up to this point:

Dec. 12: Transportation Funding Bills Sent to Conference

Dec. 9: League Needs Your Help on Transportation Issue

Dec. 8: Ask Michigan Senators to Pass Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan

Related: Bills Requiring Regulation of Transportation Network Companies Dead This Session!

For questions regarding the transportation funding issue, contact the League’s John LaMacchia II at jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

Michigan Water Environment Association to Host Seminar on Infrastructure Project Funding

Utility systems are continually being challenged to provide quality services while budgets are being decreased. This seminar has been developed to provide relevant information to Utility Owners, Managers, Superintendents, and Consultants associated with infrastructure systems. Attendees will be informed of current funding programs and what other utilities are doing to stay ahead of today’s challenges with infrastructure systems.

For more information on this helpful seminar being hosted by the Michigan Water Environment Association please click on the following link. 2015 Infrastructure Postcard

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.

Bill Requiring Statewide Regulation of Transportation Network Companies Dead this Session!

HB 5951 would provide statewide regulations for Transportation Network Companies (TNC). The most recognizable TNC operating in Michigan today is Uber. This bill would preempt local control of a TNC but it does allow for locals to enforce provisions of the statewide regulation. We have many communities that have already negotiated contracts with and regulate TNCs. This would make those contracts null and void. After opposition from the League and others, HB 5951will not be passed this session.

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

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.