New House Committee Membership Announced

With the kick off of the 99th Legislative Session this month, House Speaker Tom Leonard recently unveiled committee assignments for that chamber.  Of the 110 House members, 22 have backgrounds in municipal government.

A number of these former municipal officials have been appointed as chairs for the Communications & Technology, Local Government, Natural Resources, and Workforce & Talent Development committees, as well as to the vice chair position for the Appropriations committee and as chair of the General Government budget subcommittee with jurisdiction over revenue sharing.

The list below gives the name of the committee, partisan split and the last name of the committee member. Legislators with municipal background are indicated with an asterisk.

Agriculture (7-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Barrett, Vice Chair Alexander, Albert, Calley, Howell*, Frederick*, Lauwers

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Elder*, Kivela*, Phelps, Sabo, Sneller

Appropriations (18-11 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Cox, Vice Chair VerHeulen*, Afendoulis, Allor, Bizon, Brann, Canfield, Hernandez, Inman, Kelly, LaSata, Marino, Miller, Pagel, VanSingel, Victory, Whiteford, Yaroch*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Durhal, Cochran, Faris, Hoadley, LaGrand*, Kosowski*, Pagan, Peterson, Rabhi, Santana, Yanez

Commerce and Trade (9-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Leutheuser, Vice Chair Garcia, Frederick*, Hornberger, Hughes, Iden, Kesto, McCready*, Rendon

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Schor*, Byrd, Camilleri, Cook Scott, Geiss, Greimel

Communications and Technology (7-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Hoitenga*, Vice Chair Griffin, Glenn, Lower*, Runestad, Sheppard, Tedder

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Phelps, Hertel, Lasinski, Jones*

Education Reform (10-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Kelly, Vice Chair Hornberger, Alexander, Crawford*, Garcia, Griffin, Lilly, Noble, Reilly, Roberts

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Zemke, Brinks, Camilleri, Chang, Sowerby

Elections and Ethics (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Miller, Vice Chair Calley, Garcia, Kesto, Lilly, Webber*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Guerra, Moss*, Zemke

Energy Policy (12-7 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Glenn, Vice Chair Hauck, Barrett, Bellino, Cole, Farrington, Griffin, Johnson, LaFave, Lower*, Reilly, Tedder

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Lasinski, Camilleri, Dianda, Elder*, Garrett, Green*, Kivela*

Families, Children and Seniors (7-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Rendon, Vice Chair Noble, Farrington, Hughes, Kahle, McCready*, Roberts

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Liberati, Gay-Dagnogo, Ellison*, Robinson

Financial Liability Reform (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Albert, Vice Chair Reilly, Leutheuser, Lucido, Maturen, McCready*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Wittenberg, Cook Scott, Sneller

Financial Services (5-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Sheppard, Vice Chair Farrington, Lilly, McCready*, VanderWall

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Gay-Dagnogo, Clemente, Green*, Zemke

Government Operations (3-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Chatfield, Vice Chair Lauwers, Barrett

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Singh*, Greig
Health Policy (11-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Vaupel, Vice Chair Tedder, Calley, Farrington, Garcia, Graves, Hauck, Hornberger, Kahle, Noble, Sheppard

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Brinks, Hammoud, Hertel, Garrett, Neeley*, Schor*

Insurance (11-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Theis, Vice Chair Vanderwall, Barrett, Bellino, Glenn, Hoitenga*, LaFave, Runestad, Vaupel, Webber*, Wentworth

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Banks, Gay-Dagnogo, Greimel, Lasinski, Phelps, Wittenberg

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (3-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Johnson, Vice Chair Reilly, Hernandez

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Schor*, Banks

Judiciary (6-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Runestad, Vice Chair Theis, Cole, Hornberger, Howrylak*, LaFave

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Greimel, Guerra, Robinson, Sowerby

Law & Justice (7-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Kesto, Vice Chair Lucido, Albert, Graves, Howrylak*, Roberts, Theis

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Chang, Guerra, Liberati, Robinson, Wittenberg

Local Government (7-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Lower*, Vice Chair Crawford*, Alexander, Frederick*, Hauck, Howell*, Runestad

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Green*, Ellison*, Moss*, Sabo

Michigan Competitiveness (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Chatfield, Vice Chair Lilly, Cole, Rendon, Vaupel, Wentworth

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Geiss, Hammoud, Neeley*

Military and Veterans Affairs (8-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Wentworth, Vice Chair Graves, Albert, Barrett, Glenn, Hoitenga*, Hughes, Johnson

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Sabo, Brinks, Byrd, Elder*, Jones*

Natural Resources (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Howell*, Vice Chair LaFave, Bellino, Maturen, Rendon, VanderWall

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Kivela*, Chang, Sowerby

Oversight (4-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Graves, Vice Chair Howrylak*, Iden, Johnson

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Hertel, Chirkun*

Regulatory Reform (10-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Iden, Vice Chair Bellino, Crawford*, Griffin, Hauck, Hoitenga*, Leutheuser, Reilly, Theis, Webber*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Moss*, Chirkun*, Dianda, Jones*, Liberati, Love

Tax Policy (9-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Tedder, Vice Chair Maturen, Howrylak*, Johnson, Kesto, Lower*, Lucido, Kahle, Vaupel

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Byrd, Hammoud, Ellison*, Neeley*

Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (3-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Hughes, Vice Chair VanderWall, Sheppard

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Dianda, Clemente

Transportation and Infrastructure (9-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Cole, Vice Chair Webber*, Alexander, Calley, Howell*, Lucido, Maturen, Noble, Roberts

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Chirkun*, Banks, Clemente, Love, Sneller

Workforce and Talent Development (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Frederick*, Vice Chair Kahle, Crawford*, Iden, Leutheuser, Wentworth

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Love, Cook Scott, Geiss

 

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

FCC Threatens to Limit Local Land Use Authority on Wireless Siting

The National League of Cities is requesting the help of Michigan Communities.

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice seeking comment on two topics that could shape the future of city control over their rights-of-way. The FCC’s Wireless Bureau requested public comment on how to streamline the deployment of small wireless facilities, primarily through potential changes to local land-use ordinances, and comment generally on a petition filed by infrastructure company Mobilitie regarding local government rules and procedures.

The public notice raises several major concerns for cities. The first is that the FCC wishes to use this proceeding to reexamine the facts of the decisions made in its 2009 and 2014 rule-makings on local wireless facilities siting, questioning whether the evidence presented by local governments during those proceedings is still valid. Specifically, the notice questions the amount of time needed by local governments to process wireless siting applications for small-cell facilities, particularly when submitted in large quantities. The notice requests feedback on streamlining local regulations when similar applications are submitted as batches. The notice also questions the amount and structure of fees charged by local governments for applications and access to rights-of-way.

NLC will comment on this notice, in collaboration with other local government groups and state municipal leagues, and is calling on cities nationwide to help craft our response. Click here to provide important data on your city’s wireless facility siting process by January 27 and to request a comment template for your city to use in providing your own comment.

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.

Proposals Sought for Beach Water Quality Monitoring Projects

Local governments and nonprofit entities now have the opportunity to apply for $200,000 in support for inland beach water quality monitoring projects. Applications are due by Feb. 28, 2017.

The funds, to be used in fiscal year 2017-2018, are available from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) under the Clean Michigan Initiative-Clean Water Fund. Local government and nonprofit entities are eligible for funding and are encouraged to apply either individually or as part of a group. Successful applicants will be required to share the resulting data with the MDEQ.

The request for proposal is available at www.michigan.gov/waterquality.  The application contains detailed instructions on developing a proposal, MDEQ funding priorities, criteria by which proposals will be evaluated, and the items that should be included with your application. 

For questions regarding the inland beach grants, please contact Shannon Briggs, Water Resources Division, at 517-284-5526, or briggss4@michigan.gov.

 

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

22st Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit Local Agency Scholarships

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the availability of funds for local agency use to attend the 22st Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. The Summit will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan, from March 21 to 23, 2017.

MDOT will provide reimbursement for local agencies to send one employee to the Summit. Expenses eligible for reimbursement include registration, lodging, meals, and mileage costs associated with attending the Summit. There is a maximum of 50 scholarships available to all municipalities, county road commissions and tribal agencies in the State of Michigan. 10 of the Scholarships will be saved for Traffic Incident Management participants.

The Summit is designed to bring together representatives from all areas of traffic safety – Enforcement, Engineering, Education, and Emergency Medical Services (the 4 E’s). The Summit presents a mix of general session speakers and breakout sessions aimed at the many areas of traffic and safety and traffic incident management.

For more information on the Summit and how to apply for reimbursement please click on the following link. Traffic Safety Summit Local Agency Scholarships

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.

Governor Vetos School Billboard Bill

After strong opposition from the League and working with partner organizations MTA, Scenic Michigan and Michigan Association of Planning, as well as direct member outreach, the Governor vetoed SB 953 today! This legislation would have amended the Highway Advertising Act to exempt private commercial uses from zoning when located on a school owned property .

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

NLC Congressional City Conference

Join city leaders from across the country at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference as we advocate together for the priorities of cities. With new players on the Hill and in the White House, this year it’s more important than ever to make your voice heard on behalf of your community. Washington, D.C., March 11-15. Get the details.

Application for Local Rail Grade Crossing Surface Funds Now Available

The Office of Rail is pleased to introduce a new local grade crossing surface program. In compliance with directives and criteria established as part of the recent transportation funding package, the new program offers 60% funding for crossing surface improvements, with railroads responsible for the remaining 40% of project costs.

A program announcement with additional details was mailed to all road authorities and railroads as of early December 2016. Road agencies are eligible to apply through January 27, 2017. Project selections are expected to be confirmed by early February, with authorizations scheduled to be issued by early April for the 2017 construction season.

Please click here for the application.

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.

Energy Deal Reached on the Last Day of Lame Duck

Legislation making major changes to how the state regulates energy, including the construction of new power plants, how customer choice is managed and increasing the percentage of electricity that must be generated from renewable sources finally passed the House and the Senate.

Passage came after a tentative framework of a deal came together between the state’s major utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, and those advocating greater customer choice, two groups long at odds on energy legislation.

The approved versions of SB 437 and SB 438 would put in place strict parameters as to how the Public Service Commission would calculate the charge alternative electric suppliers would pay Consumers or DTE if they did not reach a contract with an entity to supply them with power to sell to their customers.

The deal drops Senate language that would have meant a minimum 4-year charge and maximum 10-year charge on customers of alternative electric suppliers. The bills could also reduce the size of the choice market if those customers return in large numbers to utilities.

The legislation sets up a revised certificate of necessity process for utilities to win state approval of building new power plants or purchasing existing ones. And another major provision requires utilities to submit integrated resource plans to the state showing five-, 10- and 15-year projections of their load obligations and plans to meet those obligations.

The legislation would increase the percentage of electricity utilities must generate from renewable sources from 10 to 15 percent by 2021.

Finally, those who currently generate their own power through the net metering program would avoid having to pay a charge to support the grid for the first 10 years, but there would be a study on the subject with the PSC later implementing a tariff no sooner than 18 months from the bill’s effective date on new net metering users.

The Governor is expected to sign the bills.

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.

Compromise Bill Eliminating Local Cost Sharing with MDOT Sent to the Governor

On July 1, the Governor vetoed SB 557. That bill would have eliminated the local cost sharing provision for cities over 25,000 on MDOT projects. As a result of the veto, Senator Knollenberg, introduced SB 1068 as a starting point to begin working on a compromise.

After months of working with the Senator, MDOT and the Administration, a compromise was reached during lame duck that will eliminate local cost sharing on all limited access freeways. This compromise language will significantly reduce the liability for our largest municipalities and in some cases save them million of dollars.

Although we were disappointed with the Governor’s original veto, we appreciate the willingness of all parties involved to work toward this compromise and are very please with the results. We look forward to the Governor signing this legislation and the positive impact it will have on our communities and their local road networks.

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.

Federal Government Avoids Shutdown, Sends Money to Flint

The Senate recently passed legislation to fund the federal government until April 28, avoiding a government shutdown by less than an hour. The measure passed 63-36 after a group of disgruntled Democrats backed away from their threats to block or delay the funding measure because of a dispute over healthcare benefits for retired miners.

Senators will have to reach an agreement by late April on spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2017 while juggling the confirmations of various executive branch nominees and perhaps a Supreme Court nominee. They will also be working on regulatory reform and a budget to pave the way for tax reform.

The Water Resources Development Act passed by a vote of 95 to 3, and it includes access to $100 million to repair Flint’s drinking water infrastructure; $50 million to address health care needs of children with lead exposure; the authority for the state of Michigan to forgive $20 million in past drinking water loans to Flint; and a requirement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warn the public within 15 days of high lead levels in drinking water if a state fails to do so.
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.