Medical Marijuana Legislation Fails to Secure Passage

House Bill 4271, a bill that would allow local units of government to regulate (or ban) provisioning centers (i.e. dispensaries), and HB 5104, a bill to allow for medical marijuana infused products, failed to secure passage in the Senate on the last day of lame duck.

There is still work to be done on this legislation to ensure local control is protected and the League looks forward to continued discussions on this topic next term..

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

Property Tax Exemption for Housing Organizations Sent to the Governor

House Bill 5182, legislation that would allow the State Tax Commission to grant a local property tax exemption for qualified housing organizations (namely Habitat for Humanity) has been sent to the Governor.

The bill as substituted would say an exemption is in effect for the lesser of 5 years or until the the property is leased to a low-income person or is transferred to another owner. For residential lots the exemption is for 3 years or until the property is leased or transferred.

The League testified in opposition to this legislation. The legislature continues to erode local control by taking local money for state priorities.

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.

Bill Allowing Locals to Allow for Late Night Liquor Sales Dies in House Committee

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, dies in House committee.

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 Leagues supports this legislation and looks forward to working with Senator Smith on this issue next term.

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.

Important Special Assessment Tool Pushed Off Till Next Term

Senate Bill 307, a bill introduced Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren) that removes population thresholds for communities who want to use a police and fire special assessment as a revenue option has been pushed off till next term.

Under the law currently a city with a population of under 15,000 may levy a police and fire special assessment. A city with a population of more than 15,000 and less than 70,000 in a county with a population between 230,000 and 235,000 may levy an assessment with a vote of the people. The only city that meets this very narrow criteria is the City of Saginaw.

Senator Bieda’s bill would eliminate the population threshold so that any city above 15,000 could levy a special assessment for police and fire under the Act with a vote of its electorate.  The bill was amended to include a 10-year sunset. We are grateful to Sen. Bieda for introducing this important local option.

The League is very supportive of this legislation and will look to secure its passage early next year.

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

Main Street Fairness Bills Pass as Part of Transportation Package

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, pass as part of the transportation package. These bills are more commonly known as the Main Street Fairness legislation.

The bills 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 supports this legislation .

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

Bill Enforcing Income Tax Collection from Lottery Winners Fails to Secure Passage in the Senate

House Bill 5924, legislation that would require the Department of Treasury to withhold local income tax from a lottery winner at the time the winnings are claimed, has been pushed of to the next term after not securing passage in the Senate..

While a lottery winner is required to pay local income tax (if applicable), it can be very difficult to enforce. This would aid in that enforcement.

Thank you to Rep. Daley for introducing this legislation and to the committee chair, Rep. Farrington, for giving it a hearing so quickly in the House.

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

HAM Radio Legislation Sent to the Governor

The legislature has sent Senate Bill 493 to the Governor for his signature. This legislation dealing with amateur radio operations.  As it was introduced, it had a significant impact on local control and zoning.  However, through a work group process, the bill was made significantly better in the Senate-passed version and now mirrors the Federal regulations that our local communities are already required to adhere to.

It also discusses an advisory council made up of amateur radio industry folks and local government folks so anyone with a question can seek feedback and research from this group either at the industry level or the community level.

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.

Cemetery Perpetual Care Bill Sent to the Governor

Senate Bill 1125, has been sent to the governor. This 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.

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

Legislation Allowing Golf Carts on Local Roads Sent to the Governor

HB 5045 which allows golf carts on local roads sent to the Governor. This bill would allow a local unit of government to pass an ordinance that would allow golf carts on roads under their jurisdiction. The following requirements must be met.

    • Must have a population less than 30,000
    • The operator must be at least 16 years of age and have a valid driver’s license
    • The golf cart must be operated on the far right side of the roadway
    • You can only operate the golf cart between a half hour after sunrise and a half hour before sunset
    • Drivers must use hand signals to indicate turning and stopping

The golf cart cannot exceed 15 mph and cannot operate on a road with a speed limit of more than 30 mph

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

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.