Year-End Legislative Wrap-Up

While last week’s House and Senate adjournment merely marks the mid-point of this two-year legislative session, that did not mean that the Legislature coasted into their holiday break.

Highlighted by the intense activity surrounding OPEB reform, both legislative chambers pursued aggressive agendas in the final days before adjourning.  Numerous bills that the League was tracking and engaged with experienced some measure of action:

The now 13-bill OPEB package was signed by Governor Snyder this week as Public Acts 202-214 of 2017 and takes effect immediately.  New reporting requirements under the bill are expected to be phased in over the next year, with some reporting expected due as early as January 31, 2018.  The League will work to update member communities as more information becomes available in the next couple of weeks.

Senate Bill 110 clarifies that municipalities implementing plans to increase the supply of below market housing are not violating the Rent Control Act (PA 226 of 1988) by offering voluntary incentives. This League-supported legislation was introduced in February and received a committee hearing this last week of session. It’s anticipated the bill will receive another committee hearing in early 2018 and be voted out.

Two economic development proposals of key interest to municipalities were also voted out of the Senate during the last week of session.  Similar to legislation that died at the end of 2016, the Senate sponsor introduced Senate Bill 393, which consolidates all tax increment financing authorities, excluding Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities, into one act with added transparency and reporting requirements.  Senate Bill 469 would reinstate the Michigan Historic Preservation Tax Credit.  Both of these bills were voted out of committee and out of the Senate last week and have been referred to the House Tax Policy committee where they are expected to receive committee consideration in the new year.

The League was also pleased with the Governor’s signature on legislation allowing urban grocery store projects to access funding from the community revitalization program this week. The House and Senate coordinated efforts last week on House Bill 4207 to provide State Rep. Andy Schor with one last Public Act before he resigns to take over as mayor of the City of Lansing.

Three different proposals related to the new Personal Property Tax system also saw movement before the recess, with Senate Bills 570-573 being finalized and sent to the Governor.  These bills provide for a much needed local mechanism to address late-filed business exemption applications.  Senate Bills 590-593 were voted out of the Senate and were referred to the House Local Government committee.  These bills, promoted by the League and reported from the Senate committee earlier this fall, would essentially hold communities harmless from any reduction in their debt limit due to a reduction in their property tax base from now-exempt personal property.  Finally, House Bill 5086 was developed between local government groups and the Department of Treasury to address a host of technical and minor policy issues related to the continuing implementation of the new system and the need to align the statute with the practical realities of managing and administering the new law.  This bill moved nearly unanimously out of the House last week and will be considered by the Senate Finance committee in early 2018.

Finally, a League-supported proposal to allow for the voluntary coordination of election duties and functions moved this month as House Bill 4671 received overwhelming support in the House and is now awaiting further action before the Senate Elections & Government Reform committee.

Infrastructure and technology issues also experienced a flurry of lobbying and negotiation over these final weeks of 2017.

Our advocacy efforts combined with a broader coalition opposing legislation which would have preempted most local control over private telecommunication provider line relocation projects.  We were able to delay action on House Bill 5098 that was being pursued by the industry before the end of the year.  This proposal remains alive, however, and we will continue to work to block further action on this bill.

The discussions surrounding the proposed industry roll-out of small cell technology is quickly becoming a big issue for municipalities. Small cells are low-powered antenna nodes that have a range of up to 2 miles and are installed for the purpose of relieving congestion for wireless users. The term “small” refers to the footprint of the device. Small cell devices can be mounted on their own 40’ poles, or on existing utility or street light poles. Senate Bill 637 was recently introduced that would create a new act that allows for small cell technology to be consider a permitted use both inside and outside the right-of-way with limited exceptions. The bill would severely limit local control around siting, impair municipal ability to protect the public health, safety and welfare of residents, and hinder local government’s ability to manage the ROW, potentially leading to a significant increase in the number of new poles within our communities.  Supporters of this proposal are looking for a statewide regulatory structure that is similar to the Metro Act and the Video Franchise Act.

The League is opposed to the language as introduced but working with the Chairman, Senator Mike Nofs, of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee to improve the bill. To do that we have extensively researched legislative efforts in other states, discussed the issue with several communities and municipal attorneys, and looked at the Distributed Antenna System (DAS)/Small Cell License Agreement created by the Grand Valley Metro Council.

League staff have met with Chairman Nofs and presented alternative language based on our research and conversations with members. This viable alternative to the introduced legislation strikes a balance between local control and the nationwide deployment of this new technology. The telecommunications industry will continue its push for the bill when the legislature returns next year in the hopes of quick action . We have asked the Chairman that this issue not be rushed and that all parties be brought to the table to discuss this bill and our alternative.

The Michigan Municipal League is also participant on the Lead and Copper Rule Stakeholder Workgroup that is assisting MDEQ with recommendations to address modifications to the Administrative Rules promulgated pursuant to Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act, 1976 PA 399, as amended. The ongoing discussion continues to be about how to best protect the public from lead exposure.  Unfortunately, the preliminary draft rules add additional burdens to community water supply systems that run counter to the principles of asset management and may ultimately hinder the protection of public health. In addition to the League, there are more than a half dozen community water suppliers, the American Water Works Association, public health departments and others participating on this work group.

The draft rule would reduce the action level from 15 parts per billion down to 10 parts per billion, require communities to map their existing system to identify the presence of lead, require that a community water supplier be responsible for the replacement and cost of private lead service lines, along with many other requirements that could pose significant financial and logistic hardships on a community. The League has taken a stance that we are not opposed to determining how much lead is present in water systems or the need to systematically begin removing lead from systems, but it cannot be done in such a way that causes a financial hardship or conflicts with the Headlee Amendment or the Bolt decision.

Link to the Preliminary Draft Rule: 2017 Preliminary Draft Lead and Copper Rule

Link to the DEQ Summary Document: Summary Lead and Copper Rule Requirements

The Governor has requested this issue be placed on an aggressive timeline and a finalized draft rule is expected by the first of the year. Should our concerns not be addressed through the stakeholder process, communities will need to be prepared to offer public comments on the rule in early January. In the meantime we will continue to work with those stakeholders that have common concerns with the process and draft rules to make the necessary adjustment to help prevent exposure to lead while still allowing for the efficient management of our water supply systems.

The Legislature is scheduled to return to full session on January 10, 2018, with the Governor’s final State of the State message and the Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget presentation to follow shortly thereafter.

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

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.

Michigan Chapter APWA Great Lakes Expo May 23-25 at Grand Traverse Resort

The Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) will be hosting its annual Great Lakes Expo beginning Tuesday, May 23rd, with educational sessions continuing on May 24th and 25th. The Expo will offer three session tracts for those in Public Works: Management, Operations and Fleet Maintenance. This year’s theme, “Headliners in Public Works”, is embodied in Tim Skubick’s, WWJ Newsradio 950, keynote address in which he will dive into the realm of managing public relations. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive a Michigan Legislative Update from the League’s lobbyist and a Federal Legislative Update from Marty Williams, APWA National. Additional session topics will include:

  • Green Infrastructure Financing,
  • Trenchless Technologies for Water Main,
  • Utilizing Mobile GIS,
  • OMID Project Overview
  • Infrastructure Remaining Useful Life Planning,
  • Intelligent Public Works and Organizational Culture,
  • Workzone Safety,
  • Non-motorized Trail Crossing Design,
  • Application of “Lean” Processing in Public Works,
  • Tier 4 Emission Requirement Update,
  • Various equipment maintenance updates

To register for the Great Lakes Expo, visit http://michigan.apwa.net/, call (248) 370-0000 or e-mail tspencer@bellequip.com.

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.

Senate Bill Impacting Municipal Construction Specifications Voted Out of Committee

This week SB 157 was voted out of Michigan Competitiveness Committee on 4-1 party-line vote.The bill states a public entity could not exclude any pipe and piping materials when soliciting bids for a public works project if the pipe and piping materials meets or exceeds the recognized standards for pipe and piping materials on similar projects as determined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

The League believes this bill  would interfere with a municipalities engineer’s judgement and ability to specify pipe or pipe materials for water projects the reflect the needs of their system based on that systems specific needs. We are opposed to this legislation.

We do not believe the goal of this legislation is to provide fair and open competition as supporter have stated, but rather as a way increase the use of a product (PVC) on water and wastewater systems that they already can use, but in many cases and for many reasons choose not to. The bill incorrectly assumes that all pipe materials are the same and that the absence of a material (PVC) in a standard/specification requires state government intervention. Communities and engineers make different pipe material selections to reflect the unique needs and values of their community, considering operational and maintenance costs, and they should retain this ability.

The legislation threatens the important ability of engineers and communities to develop
standard specifications that reflect the needs and values of their community. These
communities are developing water and wastewater systems, not a series of individual projects. Standard specifications are used by federal, state and local governments for all type of infrastructure projects to ensure quality, safety and uniformity.

SB 157 could lead to a significant increase in bid protests and litigation over pipe selection on projects, thereby increasing costs, delaying projects, and subjecting engineers and communities to unnecessary litigation.

We encourage you to reach out to your Senator, express your opposition to this legislation and ask that it not be taken up for a vote on the Senate floor.

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.

Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule Proposed by the Governor

The Governor has proposed Lead and Copper Rule reforms saying “The federal rule is dumb and dangerous. We need a Michigan rule that is smart and safe.” The proposed changes will require both administrative rule changes and statutory changes by the legislature.

Proposed Administrative Rule Changes:

  1. Phase in a reduction in the Lead Action Level from 15 ppb to 10 ppb by 2020.
  2. Require most public water systems to perform a full system inventory identifying
    materials used, such as lead service lines.
  3. Require the establishment of Water System Advisory Councils for most
    community Public Water Systems to assure citizen membership, input, and
    access. The Councils will develop plans for community outreach and education,
    and collaborate with community groups to assure correct implementation of the
    LCR. The Councils will assure access to information regarding corrosion control,
    testing results, remediation processes, educational efforts and general water
    safety.

Proposed Statutory Changes:

  1. Strengthen sampling methods and require annual testing at state licensed
    facilities involving children and vulnerable adults, including schools, daycare
    facilities, nursing homes, health facilities, and adult foster care facilities.
  2. Require public disclosure of testing results or filters on every drinking water
    faucet in state licensed facilities involving children and vulnerable adults. Facilities
    exceeding standards will be required to take remedial action.
  3. Prohibit partial lead service line replacements.
  4. Require landowners and property sellers to disclose to renters or new
    homeowners of any service lines or plumbing that are known to contain lead.

The league will be tracking this issue closely, reaching out to our members for input and offering our thoughts to the administration on these changes.

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.

Legislative Committee Orientation Event at Capitol Teaches Ins and Outs of State Politics

League staff John LaMacchia and Chris Hackbarth at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

League staff John LaMacchia and Chris Hackbarth at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

(View more photos here)

About 60 local municipal officials from throughout the state were at the state Capitol Thursday in Lansing for the Michigan Municipal League’s Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation. The first-time event for the League was highly successful as members from the League’s various legislative policy committees heard from state lawmakers, League staff and communications experts.

The League makes policy decisions based on the input from its five League policy committees that are broken into topics – energy, environment and technology (chaired by Brighton City Manager Nate Geinzer); land use and economic development (chaired by Lake Isabella Village Manager Tim Wolff); municipal finance (chaired by Howell City Manager Shea Charles); municipal services (chaired by Novi City Manager Pete Auger); and transportation infrastructure (chaired by Farmington Hills Public Services Director Gary Mekjian).

The event was hosted by State Rep. Dan Lauwers in the Speakers Library in the Capitol across the street from the League’s Lansing office. Lauwers welcomed the group to the Capitol and was followed by League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin who thanked the members for their services on the policy committees and explained how important their work is to the League’s success as an organization.

State legislators speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

State legislators Rep. Christine Greig, Rep. James Lower and Sen. Ken Horn speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday. Kyle Melinn (left), co-owner of MIRS News Service, was moderator of the panel discussion.

Other event speakers were League staff members Chris Hackbarth, director of state and federal affairs; John LaMacchia, assistant director of state and federal affairs; Jennifer Rigterink, legislative associated; Emily Kieliszewski, member engagement specialist; and Shanna Draheim, policy director. There was also a panel discussion moderated by Kyle Melinn, news editor and co-owner of Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) and featuring State Rep. Christine Greig, House Democratic Floor Leader; State Rep. James Lower; and State Sen. Ken Horn.

Local officials listen to a presentation at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

Local officials listen to a presentation at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

Policy committee members from throughout the state attended representing the following communities: Village of Beverly Hills, City of Novi, City of Flushing, City of Gibraltar, City of Wyoming, Village of Copemish, City of Dexter, City of Center Line, City of Howell, City of Southgate, City of Grosse Pointe, Village of Chesaning, City of Livonia, City of Taylor,
City of Brighton, City of Charlotte, City of Westland, City of Woodhaven, City of Springfield, City of Dearborn Heights, City of Ann Arbor, Village of Mendon, City of Grand Blanc, City of Menominee, City of Midland, City of Berkley, City of St. Clair Shores, Village of St. Charles, City of Ovid, City of Monroe, City of Ann Arbor, City of Hazel Park, City of Douglas, City of Farmington Hills, City of Mt. Pleasant, City of Hamtramck, City of Alma, City of Hastings, City of Farmington Hills, City of Grandville, City of Dexter, City of Adrian, City of Rochester Hills, City of Orchard Lake, City of Cadillac, City of Rochester
City of Plymouth, City of Wayne, Village of Cassopolis, City of Dexter, City of Milan, City of Midland, Village of Sparta, City of Alpena, City of Saline, City of Gladstone, City of East Lansing, City of Clio, Village of Lake Isabella, Village of Blissfield, and Village of Quincy.

Dusty Fancher and Dave Waymire speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

Dusty Fancher and Dave Waymire speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

After lunch, the group heard about communications, public relations and the insider’s guide to lobbying from Dave Waymire, partner at Martin Waymire; and Dusty Fancher, partner with Midwest Strategy Group.

To learn about the latest legislative issues involving Michgian’s communities, subscribe to the League’s Inside 208 blog here: http://blogs.mml.org/wp/inside208/ (view subscribe box on right side of page). Learn more about the League’s policy committees here: http://www.mml.org/advocacy/committee/index.html. View additional photos from the event here.

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

League CEO Dan Gilmartin to Speak at Congressional Briefing on Flint Water Crisis

Dan Gilmartin is interviewed during the NLC Congressional City Conference in Washington D.C. this week.

Dan Gilmartin is interviewed during the NLC Congressional City Conference in Washington D.C. this week.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin will participate in a Congressional Capitol Briefing Wednesday in Washington D.C. and talk about national infrastructure issues and the Flint water crisis.

Gilmartin will be part of a panel that will inform members of Congress about the most pressing infrastructure issues facing cities today. They also will delve into whether federal policies are keeping pace with local efforts to reevaluate and reconfigure infrastructure for the next generation. More than 200 members of Congress and congressional staff are expected to attend the event taking place 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium. The briefing is part of the National League of Cities annual Congressional City Conference happening this week.

Through his work with communities, Gilmartin is recognized as a national leader in the fields of urban revitalization, placemaking, local government reform, and transportation policy.  Model D Media has referred to him as “an urban thinker with an eye for the small, oft-unnoticed changes that can make ‘places’ out of streets and buildings.”  Dan serves as a member of the Michigan Future, Inc. Leadership Council and on the Placemaking Leadership Council.

Joining Gilmartin on the panel will be other local experts who will discuss the water crisis in Flint and what it means for federal-state-local relations nation-wide; contrasting state and local perspectives on accountability in the transit funding process; competing public and private interests in the broadband market; and differing federal and local points of view on infrastructure finance.

Other speakers include Mayor Mark Stodola, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Councilmember Greg Evans, of Eugene Oregon; and Councilmember Andy Huckaba, of Lenexa, Kansas.

NLC is the nation’s largest and most representative membership and advocacy organization for city officials, comprised of more than 19,000 cities, towns, and villages representing more than 218 million Americans.

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

DEQ to Host Workshops on Lake and Wetland Protection Tools for Local Governments

Michigan has 11,000 inland lakes and over 1,850 units of government who share a role in keeping those lakes clean for future generations. Four workshops will be held in Michigan during the summer of 2015 to help local officials and concerned citizens understand the benefits of inland lakes to communities, the regulations that govern them, and the opportunities for enhancing protection at the local level.

Workshop Dates and Locations:
• July 21: Franklin Twp. Hall, 3922 Monroe Rd. (M-50), Tipton (Lenawee County)
• August 3: Kensington Metropark Farm Center, 2128 W. Buno Rd., Milford (Oakland County)
• August 6: North Central Michigan College Library Conference Center, 1515 Howard St., Petoskey (Emmet County)
• August 10: Van Buren Conference Center, 490 S. Paw Paw St., Lawrence (Van Buren County)

Each workshop will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and lunch will be provided. The fee is $20 per person and registration is required 10 days prior to each workshop. Topics will include: the importance of inland lakes and wetlands, what you can do at the local level, natural features setbacks, existing legal framework, and how to get started in your community.

For more information or to register, visit www.VanBurenCD.org or contact Erin Fuller at 269-657-4030 x112 or erin.fuller@mi.nacdnet.net.

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.

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.

 

EPA Proposed Regulation on Dental Amalgam Separation Could Cause Burden on Local Treatment Systems

The Environmental Protection Agency is having an open comment period until December 22nd, to allow individuals and organizations to respond to proposed new regulation of discharge of dental amalgam into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) as part of the Clean Water Act. The regulation would classify dentists as an “industrial user” under part 23, which would require additional pretreatment measures that could be burdensome to locals due to the increased oversight requirements in this category. Michigan already has an amalgam separation law on the books, but this new provision would place dentists into a category (industrial user) that the DEQ does not have authorization over in order to modify the federal requirement to better align with the existing state law. If you would like to read about this issue further and/or submit comments, click here.

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