Archive for October, 2021

County leaders, tell Senate to oppose privatization bid

Bills that would create a damaging privatization scheme for the state’s local mental health services cleared a Senate committee this week.

MAC is opposing this legislation and asking county leaders to engage with their senators with that message. (See below.)

Senate Bills 597-98, by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) and Sen. John Bizon (R-Calhoun) respectively, cleared the Senate Government Operations Committee this week. Joining Shirkey in support of the bills were Sen. Dan Lauwers (R-St. Clair) and Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Van Buren).

The committee made several changes to SB 597, by Shirkey (R-Jackson), to the timeline for privatization to create a phased approach. The first phase focuses specifically on children, the second phase focuses on adults with serious mental illness (SMI) or severe emotional disturbance (SED), the third phase focuses on individuals with a substance use disorder diagnosis, and the fourth center son the intellectually and developmentally disabled population. There were only three phases initially, as the first phase originally included both children and adults with an SMI or SED diagnosis. Full financial integration would be extended from 2026 to 2030 to account for the revised timeline.

Additionally, the legislation requires that any General Fund money distributed to the CMHs or other providers, as determined by the state, must receive 100 percent of the intended reward — no administrative fees would be permitted.

MAC opposes any move to shift toward privatization of our local public mental health system. MAC has provided testimony to the committee and joined on a letter with criminal justice partners that share concerns. Shirkey indicated during committee these bills will move with a substantial mental health supplemental spending bill in the upcoming months, which was introduced this week as Senate Bill 714. MAC will oppose spending that is tied to passage of SBs 597-98.

To help make our case to the Senate, please use MAC’s email advocacy tool to send your message of opposition to your senator with just a single click. Feel free to customize the email as you see fit. Personal stories or examples of our local system success stories are extremely helpful.

Additionally, partners at the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan have advocacy tools you may wish to share with constituents or others.

A one-pager on the issue can be found here and provides bullet-pointed concerns of the legislation. A list of concerns, as well as a list of the groups in opposition, can be found here and used as you see fit.

For more information on this issue, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Senate sponsors, Allegan chair make case for 4-year terms to House committee

MAC’s Deena Bosworth fields a question on bills to extend commissioner terms at a Wednesday hearing in Lansing.

A bipartisan Senate duo engaged in a spirited discussion Wednesday with a House committee on their bills to move county commissioner terms to four years in length.

Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson) and Sen. Jeremy Moss (R-Oakland) were assisted in their advocacy for Senate Bills 242 and 245 by Allegan County Board Chair Jim Storey, who gave a historical overview of the term-length issue to the House Local Government Committee from his home studio.

During a broad philosophical discussion with committee members, McBroom and Moss detailed the growing demands on county boards in managing public affairs since two-year terms were established in the late 1960s and the disparity between commissioner terms and those for countywide elected officials and for township positions. The majority of the debate centered around the value of accountability with a two-year term election cycle and the need to minimize politics in favor of continuity and governance. 

In his remarks, Storey also noted the wide array of county responsibilities and highlighted a very recent addition: managing aspects of the public response to COVID-19. “Today, as I converse with you, a new, massive duty has been added, counties are setting up and conducting testing and vaccination clinics for their residents … thousands of them. As a result, county boards across the state are wrestling with and devoting the time and attention to overseeing the delivery of these functions,” he said.

“These tasks and the many assigned by previous legislatures has made the job of county commissioner deeper and more important than ever before. Nor are these tasks simple one-offs. The ones enumerated require long range planning and attention to detail over several years to be successful and cost-efficient.”

Also speaking in support of the bills, a key MAC legislative priority for 2021, were Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth and Oakland County Commissioner William Miller.

“Due to the lively debate, commissioner outreach to House members is essential if we want to move this forward,” said Bosworth noted.

The bills, which passed the Senate with broad, bipartisan support earlier in 2021, are expected to receive votes in the committee next week. In advance of that, MAC is urging all members to utilize our digital advocacy tool to send messages of support to their various state representatives, if they have not already done so.

MAC also thanks the 29 counties whose boards have passed resolutions of support: Allegan, Alpena, Bay, Berrien, Cheboygan, Clinton, Huron, Crawford, Delta, Dickinson, Emmet, Genesee, Houghton, Ionia, Isabella, Lenawee, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mecosta, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Ontonagon, Oscoda, Sanilac, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wexford.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Counties can aid coalition work on prosperity plan with resolutions

As the campaign for the MI Prosperity Roadmap gains steam, MAC has developed a new tool for counties to use to support this plan for historic investments in Michigan’s public assets.

A resolution template is now ready for counties to use to tout the specifics of the Prosperity Roadmap developed by the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan, of which MAC is a founding member.

The clock is ticking, said MAC’s director of governmental affairs. “The time to reach out to legislators asking them to act is now,” Deena Bosworth emphasized. “The scope of local projects could drastically change if the state were to partner with us to improve our communities.  We don’t want to be the last state to get money out the door; we will lose available labor to those states that are acting quickly.”

MAC staffers continue to meet with legislators to explain the plan to leverage state American Rescue Plan funds to invest in five key areas. And Executive Director Stephan Currie continues to explain the financial realities facing counties and others, this week to the Detroit News.

Be sure to visit MAC’s Prosperity Roadmap page for all the latest news on this effort.

For questions, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC urges U.S. House to adopt ARP flexibility measure

In a letter this week, MAC asked Michigan’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives this week to join the Senate by passing new legislation to increase a county’s flexibility in using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011 and the identical H.R. 5735) would:

  • Allow counties to allocate up to $10 million in ARPA Recovery Funds for the provision of government services without being required to calculate revenue loss

  • Allow $10 million (or 30 percent) of a county’s ARPA Recovery Fund allocation to be used for infrastructure-related activities authorized under existing federal surface transportation laws or a Community Development Block Grant project

  • Allow ARPA Recovery Funds to provide emergency relief from natural disasters and their negative economic impacts, including temporary emergency housing, food assistance, financial assistance for lost wages or other immediate needs

MAC thanks U.S. Rep Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) for his co-sponsorship of the House version.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has created a resources hub in support of the legislation, including a letter template that counties can use.

Also, be sure to visit MAC’s ARP Resources Page for the latest news and events.

 

Huge House majority backs 911 funding changes

The Michigan House, by a huge majority, approved a 911 funding bill, House Bill 5026, this week and sent it to the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. The bill would ensure authorization for Michigan’s 911 operation continues and is appropriately funded. The sunset on the fee structure would be extended through Dec. 31, 2027.

As passed, the bill would act as budget implementation for a $16 million one-time appropriation in FY22 to the state 9-1-1 fund to fill a hole created by prepaid revenue coming in lower than expected.  The appropriation allowed the fee for postpaid (contract) phones to remain at 25 cents.  Beginning March 1, 2022, prepaid phone fees would increase from 5 percent to 6 percent to ensure equity among revenue sources.

Additionally, the bill includes a review of prepaid fee revenue by Treasury to determine why prepaid phone revenue has been lower than expected. It also has a mechanism to trigger a roll back in fees if revenue is higher than expected.

MAC supports the legislation. A county template resolution and talking points can be found here.

For questions, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Bills to address medical staffing crisis clear House

A medication aide training and registration program would be created in Michigan under a bill that passed the House of Representatives this week.

House Bill 4316, by Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Shiawassee), passed 56-48. Under its provisions, the medication aide would administer regularly scheduled medications to residents of a nursing home while under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. While not a complete solution to the long-term care staffing crisis, this is intended to allow nurses more time for specialty care.

The training program and permitting of medication aides would go through the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Practice as a medication aide would not include the practice of nursing and would not include administering controlled substances, administering medications in injectable forms, the initial administration of medications or the administration of “as needed” medications. More than 20 other states allow medication aides in skilled nursing facilities.

A similar bill passed the Legislature last year but was pocket-vetoed by the governor.

The version that passed the House includes a “sunset” of Dec. 31, 2026, a set date in time when the law would expire unless further legislative action was taken, to help ensure the measure was working as expected.  The bill is now before the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee chaired by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason).  

The House easily passed another bill, House Bill 5089, by Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Livingston), to allow the state to recognize on-the-job training by counting it toward certification requirements that are required for nursing facility staff. The bill adds an alternative option for demonstrating competency to LARA. Instead of successfully completing a competency examination approved by LARA, the applicant could successfully complete an assessment performed by a site administrator responsible for assessing the applicant’s competency skills or by the entity hiring the applicant, as long as those assessments were determined by LARA to meet federal requirements. LARA would have to allow an applicant to complete a competency examination online or through remote means.

HB 5089 also has moved to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee.

The Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council, which represents the county-owned skilled nursing facilities in the state, supports both bills.

For more information on this issue, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

House passes bill to limit local control on short-term housing rentals

A bill that largely strips local governments’ ability to regulate short-term housing rentals passed the House this week in a late-night session.

House Bill 4722, by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), advanced on a 55-48 vote this week. The legislation states short-term rentals can’t be banned, be subject to a conditional use permit or be considered a commercial property. However, local governments can limit the percentage of units that can be designated a short-term rental to 30 percent of housing stock in their jurisdictions.

Local governments also, under the bill, can regulate noise, advertising and traffic through an ordinance. And the legislation sets a limit on the number of such rentals by a property owner (2) and the number of days a renter can occupy a unit (30).

MAC has not taken a position on the bill and will continue to monitor this legislation as it now moves to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

County views sought on juvenile justice system

Michigan has formed the Taskforce on Juvenile Justice Reform to identify what is working well in the juvenile justice system and to identify opportunities for statewide improvement. The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center — a national nonprofit that works with state and local governments across the country — is the technical assistance provider to the taskforce. On behalf of the taskforce, the CSG Justice Center is conducting a comprehensive assessment of local and state juvenile justice policies, practices and funding, and will submit a report of findings and recommendations by next summer. As part of this assessment, the CSG Justice Center is facilitating focus groups with key stakeholders across the state to hear directly from them about juvenile justice system strengths and challenges.

Two focus groups have been scheduled specifically to solicit feedback from county commissioners and their staffers, including:

  • Nov. 16, 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Eastern

https://csg-org.zoom.us/j/87417802335?pwd=MVFoZVF6TlF3L3REb1cwZjZkVFI0dz09

Meeting ID: 874 1780 2335
Passcode: 751571
+13017158592,,87417802335#,,,,*751571# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,87417802335#,,,,*751571# US (Chicago)

  • Nov. 30, 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Eastern

https://csg-org.zoom.us/j/83895764435?pwd=Sy9WTStOMVRBSndiNmhJZTBKYzNjZz09

Meeting ID: 838 9576 4435
Passcode: 112059
+13126266799,,83895764435#,,,,*112059# US (Chicago)
+16465588656,,83895764435#,,,,*112059# US (New York)

We encourage you to join one of these focus group discussions so you can provide input that may ultimately inform statewide legislative, funding and administrative changes to improve public safety and youth outcomes. If you are unable to join either of these meetings but are still interested in providing feedback, please contact MAC’s Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Survey: Local leaders still see much uncertainty on COVID’s course

A significant share of county leaders reported still seeing “crisis-level” impacts from COVID-19 in a survey just released by the University of Michigan.

The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is performed by the Center for Local, Urban and State Policy (CLOSUP) at U-M and done in partnership with MAC, the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Townships Association.

“By jurisdiction type, county officials are by far the most likely to report significant (53%) or crisis-level
(8%) impacts continuing in their jurisdictions in 2021 … Meanwhile, 41% of city officials, 30% of village officials, and 25% of township officials say their communities continue to suffer severe impacts of COVID-19 this year,” wrote the report authors.

“While the numbers of communities reporting on the full range of impacts from the pandemic — public health, the economy, residents’ welfare and public service delivery, among others — are significant, they show improving conditions amid uncertainty, the authors added.

The spring 2021 MPPS reached 1,364 leaders of counties, municipalities and townships and responses were collected April 5 and June 7.

“The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on communities across Michigan,” said Tom Ivacko, executive director of CLOSUP in a university release. “We see the continuing effects particularly in the largest population areas in the southeast as well as in communities across the Upper Peninsula. After more than a year, there remains uncertainty about how and when they will emerge from the economic and health challenges they have faced.”

 

Treasury provides actuarial assumptions for FY22

A key component of the Protecting Local Government Retirement and Benefits Act (Public Act 202 of 2017) requires the State Treasurer to annually establish uniform actuarial assumptions for local governments in Michigan who offer a defined benefit retirement system(s) (pension or retirement health care). Below is a link to a draft of the fiscal year 2022 uniform assumptions that are being made available for public comment. 

Fiscal Year 2022 Uniform Assumptions

This document provides the rationale for how the assumptions are determined as well as a table that provides a summary of the relevant changes. Following a 30-day public comment period, the uniform assumptions will be released to be used in fiscal year 2022 Public Act 202 of 2017 reporting.  

If you would like to offer comment on these draft uniform assumptions, please email LocalRetirementReporting@michigan.gov by Nov. 26. Treasury will review and consider your comments before finalizing the fiscal year 2022 uniform assumptions.

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Treasury has developed a webpage with numbered letters, memorandums, webinars, and resources regarding COVID-19 updates for local governments and school districts. This webpage was created to ensure that Michigan communities have access to the most up-to-date guidance and is updated frequently with information and resources as they become available.

 

State-local collaboration will assist on resiliency

A collaboration of local government groups and the state is renewing efforts to support communities in their work to adapt to changing weather patterns, reduce energy use and save money and resources.

The Michigan Green Communities (MGC) program is backed by MAC, cities, townships and three state agencies. All Michigan counties are eligible to join the MGC network and take the MGC challenge. Receive support in your community’s sustainability journey by joining the Michigan Green Communities network. Learn more about MGC program here.

The revamped Michigan Green Communities includes:

  • Updated MGC Challenge – Launching January 2022 on the MGC website
  • Virtual Networking Platform – Launching early 2022 on the MGC website
  • MGC coordinator to assist communities in finding technical assistance and resources to achieve your community’s sustainability goals

MAC encourages members to sign up for the MGC Challenge and begin your sustainability journey.

For more information, contact Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org or MGC Coordinator Danielle Beard at dbeard@mml.org.

 

Legislative focus turns to water infrastructure spending

With the state’s FY22 budget now enacted, legislators are turning their attention to allocating the approximately $5.7 billion in remaining American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in state accounts.  The first item of focus will be a massive water infrastructure supplemental spending bill sponsored by Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo).

Senate Bill 565 allocates $2.5 billion of ARP funds for a variety of projects, ranging from lead line replacement to septic system loan programs and wastewater treatment and stormwater management.

Several interest groups have testified on the importance of investing in water infrastructure across our state. MAC and our Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan were among those voicing support for the funding bill. However, it is important to note that these are preliminary conversations regarding the allocation of funding. It will be several weeks before the Senate Appropriations Committee acts on recommendations to move the proposal forward. 

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org

 

Critical 9-1-1 funding measure clears House committee

With legislative session days in 2021 dwindling, the Dec. 31, 2021, expiration of the state’s 9-1-1 enabling act is looming large for county and state officials. Fortunately, this week House Bill 5026, by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia), which would extend the 9-1-1 authorization until Dec. 31, 2027, cleared the House Communications and Technology Committee with a near unanimous vote.

The bill also replaces a statewide 5 percent prepaid wireless surcharge with 6 percent one to ensure proper revenues on these devices, which, over the years, have become less expensive, in large part due to an expansion of internet sales. Importantly, the bill also includes a provision to ensure a review of prepaid fee revenue by the Department of Treasury to determine why revenue has been lower than expected.

There is no change in the state 9-1-1 fee on “post-paid” (contract) devices, which remains at 25 cents, under the proposal. Lastly, the bill has a mechanism in which the Michigan Public Service Commission can roll back fees if revenue ends up higher than expected.

A vote in the full House on HB 5026 is expected to as soon as next week. With the looming sunset, MAC encourages members to reach out to House members to voice support.

For questions, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

NACo webinar will feature MAC’s work on Michigan jail reforms

Executive Director Steve Currie speaks at launch event in 2019 for county-state task force on  jail reforms as (l-r) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and Attorney General Dana Nessel look on.

County jails are a major local expense and jail populations across the country have tripled since the 1970s. While state lawmakers may think of jails as the county’s responsibility, many of the laws and policies that determine who goes to jail and for how long are made at the state level. Everything from determining what’s a crime, when to arrest someone, how to make pretrial release and sentencing decisions, and how to handle probation violations and unpaid fees, to things like funding for mental health services in the community. County officials often have broad discretion, but they’re not solely responsible for the growth in our jails.

Safely reducing jail populations has taken on even more importance during the pandemic as congregate care settings have fueled the spread of COVID-19.

Join us on Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. (noon central time) for a half hour webinar featuring the work of the Michigan Association of Counties, which formed a county-state partnership to safely reduce jail populations, and read more about their work here!

 

MAC joins coalition to enact ‘Prosperity Roadmap’ with ARP funds

MAC Executive Director Steve Currie participated in a press conference on Oct. 14 unveiling the work and funding plan created by the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan. This coalition includes more than 40 members. The proposal sent to legislative leaders and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration last week is a comprehensive approach to utilizing the state’s remaining $5.7 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars by focusing on 5 key areas that will have a transformational impact on Michigan. These funding and match programs will support individuals, families, education, small business, infrastructure and local governments. … READ MORE
 
MAC asks counties to add their voices to this effort by passing resolutions of support. Please see a sample resolution here. If you pass such a resolution, please send a copy to Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org.
 
MAC thanks the following counties that have approved resolutions: Alger, Barry, Chippewa, Delta, Huron, Isabella, Lake, Lapeer, Mecosta and Sanilac.
 
Reminder on reporting deadlines
 
The U.S. Treasury has revised its timeline for counties to submit their Project and Expenditure Reports for the Fiscal Recovery Fund. Treasury has set aside the original deadline of Oct. 31, 2021, citing comments and feedback gathered during the Interim Report and Recovery Plan Performance Report process.
 
The Project and Expenditure Reports will now be due on Jan. 31, 2022, and will cover the period between award date and Dec. 31, 2021. Further instructions will be provided at a later date, including updates to existing guidance as well as a user guide to assist recipients to gather and submit the information through Treasury’s Portal.
 
Please visit the Treasury’s website at www.Treasury.gov/SLFRPReporting for the latest information.
 

Senate backs jail diversion grant programs

Grant programs that would help support local efforts to promote jail diversion and community mobile crisis intervention services easily passed the Michigan Senate this week. Senate Bills 637638, by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Wayne) and Sen. Rick Outman (R- Montcalm) respectively, would create grant programs through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Under SB 638, the behavior health jail diversion grant would provide funds to local units of government to establish or expand behavioral health jail diversion programs in coordination between community agencies and law enforcement agencies.

Under SB 637, the community crisis response grant would distribute grants to local units of government for the purpose of establishing or expanding community-based mobile crisis intervention services and give priority to grant applications that demonstrated a commitment to certain best practices.

The state’s FY22 DHHS budget included $5 million for the Jail Diversion Fund which is also created under this legislation. MAC supports both bills, which now move to the House.

Additionally, the legislation aligns with the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan proposal to support ongoing grant opportunities through the Mental Health Diversion Council for counties and to build on the existing partnership through the Center for Behavioral Health at Wayne State University, who also supports both bills.

For questions, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Tell your member of Congress to back ARP flexibility measure

The bipartisan State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act would provide additional flexibility for the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund) authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

This week, the U.S. Senate passed this bipartisan bill, and it now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. The legislation would strengthen the Recovery Fund in the following ways:

  • Allow counties to allocate up to $10 million in ARPA Recovery Funds for the provision of government services without being required to calculate revenue loss
  • Allow $10 million (or 30 percent) of a county’s ARPA Recovery Fund allocation to be used for infrastructure-related activities authorized under existing federal surface transportation laws or a Community Development Block Grant project
  • Allow ARPA Recovery Funds to provide emergency relief from natural disasters and their negative economic impacts, including temporary emergency housing, food assistance, financial assistance for lost wages, or other immediate needs

The Recovery Fund, which the National Association of Counties helped develop, is a historic investment in our nation’s counties. These funds provide direct, flexible aid for every county, parish and borough in America.

Please contact your U.S. representative and urge their support for final passage of the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, which will help counties achieve our goal of successfully implementing the Recovery Fund to ensure the health and well-being of our residents and economic vitality for our communities.

 

ARP matching program campaign discussed in latest episode of Podcast 83

In a new episode of MAC’s Podcast 83, Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit of MAC’s Governmental Affairs Team go deep on MAC’s involvement in a new coalition to convince the state of Michigan to match local investments of American Rescue Plan funding.

The pair discuss the groundwork laid for the MI Prosperity Roadmap with allies in the public and private sectors AND what local county leaders need to be doing to help propel the campaign. Keit also discusses the legislative progress of 9-1-1 funding.

Click here to view the episode.

Members can view any previous episode of the podcast on the podcast webpage.

 

Updates on ARP, state budget coming in Oct. 26 webinar for local governments

The 14th session in a webinar series, “Updates and Resources for Local Governments,” co-sponsored by MAC and other local government groups will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

To register: https://bit.ly/3peBM8v

Topics covered will include:

  • An update from the State Budget Office regarding the State of Michigan fiscal year 2022 budget
  • An update on the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act
  • Updates from Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) on trends and initiatives

The Michigan Treasury also maintains a a webpage with numbered letters, memorandums, webinars, and resources regarding COVID-19 updates for local governments and school districts. This webpage was created to ensure that Michigan communities have access to the most up-to-date guidance and is updated frequently with information and resources as they become available. 

 

Mecosta administrator appointed to Indigent Defense Commission 

Paul Bullock, controller/administrator for Mecosta County, has been appointed to the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Bullock was submitted by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) for a term commencing Oct. 15, 2021, and expiring April 1, 2025. He succeeds Jeffrey Collins whose term expired April 1, 2021.  

Bullock holds a bachelor’s degree in American history from Spring Arbor College and is an active member of the Michigan Association of County Administrative Officers

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission develops and oversees the implementation, enforcement and modification of minimum standards, rules, and procedures to ensure that indigent criminal defense services providing effective assistance of counsel are delivered to all indigent adults in this state consistent with the safeguards of the U.S. Constitution, the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and with the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Act.

 

Registration opens for Virtual Great Lakes PFAS Summit

Registration is now open for the 2021 Virtual Great Lakes PFAS Summit taking place Dec. 6-10. The goals of the summit are to provide the most current and reliable science and policy, facilitate information sharing and explore current and future research topics related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Participants may include local, state, and federal government officials; environmental consultants and vendors; academic researchers and students; industries involved in managing PFAS contamination; and community organizations. Last year, the summit drew nearly 1,800 attendees from more than 30 states and six countries.

Registration fee is $50 and professional development hours will be available.

 

Recycling conference set for Oct. 28-29 in Bay City

The Michigan Recycling Coalition Conference is hosting its second conference of the year on Oct. 28-29 at the Bay City DoubleTree. The conference provides two days of educational sessions, thought-provoking keynotes, and unparalleled networking opportunities.

Designed for Michigan public and private sector professionals that manage end-of-life materials, come to learn about opportunities and stay to network with industry experts and potential partners in sustainability. This hybrid event provides both an in-person and virtual attendance option. We’re following state guidance and best practice models to keep you safe in-person and meet your needs if you attend virtually. Take a look at the program.

 

ARP Coalition announces MI Prosperity Roadmap

Executive Director Steve Currie participated in a press conference this morning unveiling the work and funding plan created by the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan. This coalition is comprised of over 40 members including the Michigan Association of Counties. The proposal sent to legislative leaders and Governor Whitmer’s administration this week is a comprehensive approach to utilizing the State’s remaining $5.7 B in American Rescue Plan dollars by focusing on 5 key areas that will have a transformational impact on Michigan. These funding and match programs will support individuals, families, education, small business, infrastructure, and local governments.  
 
The five key areas are:

Infrastructure: Resilient and Sustainable Water Systems ($2.5B) and High-Speed Broadband Access ($500M)

• Water infrastructure across Michigan is in desperate need of repair and replacement. The American Rescue Plan provides an opportunity to repair and replace aging water infrastructure, resolve public health problems, reduce environmental contamination, and provide current and future generations with resilient and sustainable systems. This roadmap leverages American Rescue Plan funds to make capital improvements, replace lead service lines, improve planning at the local level, and address issues of sustainability and resiliency related to water. Key Investments: Capital Improvements, Lead Line Replacement, Drinking Water Assistance, PFAS Mitigation, Dam Repair and Retro Fit, Planning
 
• High-speed broadband should be accessible to homes and businesses across Michigan to enhance economic development, provide access to education and life-long learning opportunities, and support remote work demands. Utilizing the American Rescue Plan, Michigan can support the buildout of high-speed broadband and help modernize the way we work and learn. Key Investments: Connecting Michigan Communities Grant Program, Digital Literacy, Access to Devices, Mapping, and Planning 
Infrastructure: Resilient and Sustainable Water Systems ($2.5B) and High-Speed Broadband Access ($500M)
 
Fiscal Health: Smart Investments that Provide Stability for State and Local Government ($800M)
 
• Supporting the long-term fiscal health of the state and local governments of all sizes is key to stabilizing Michigan’s economic landscape. State economic policy sets the stage for business growth and personal wealth creation. Local government complements state policy by balancing and tailoring quality of life, infrastructure, and economic initiatives for a community’s specific needs. Utilizing the American Rescue Plan to enhance Michigan’s prosperity is strengthened by providing stability at the state and local level. Key Investments: Revenue Sharing, Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, Technical Assistance 
 
Thriving Communities: Attainable Housing and Community Development ($805M)
 
• Access to attainable housing and thriving communities have a significant impact on education, health, employment, economic, and equity outcomes, while providing greater opportunities for wealth creation. Michigan can utilize American Rescue Plan resources to address the state’s housing needs, invest in great places, and layer in wrap-around services to improve outcomes for all Michigan families. Key Investments: Housing and Community Development Fund, Building Trades Training, Placemaking, Non-Profit Assistance, Regional Resiliency 
 
Strong Economy: Economic Development, Business Assistance, Skilled Workforce, and Talent ($910M)
 
• Recovering from the pandemic will require more than just a return to normal. To propel Michigan’s future success, it is critical to learn from the experiences of the last year and a half and capitalize on the changing environment to make the state a model for recovery, innovation, and growth. The American Rescue Plan can help streamline Michigan’s recovery, better connect talent to the state’s growing job market, accelerate entrepreneurship, and increase community wealth. Key Investments: Office Conversion, Brownfield Redevelopment, Strategic and Large Site Development, Job Training and Direct Business Support Grants, EV Readiness 
 
Public Health and Safety: Healthy and Safe People, Families, and Communities ($500M)
 
• Strengthening Michigan’s health and safety infrastructure is critical to improving the quality of life for residents while protecting their ability to fully participate in their economy and community. Through the American Rescue Plan, the state can make targeted investments necessary to support a safer, healthier, and more stable population. Key Investments: Mental Health and Addiction Services in Rural and Underserved Areas, Facility Improvements, Cybersecurity, Restaurant Licensing.
 
For more detailed information, please see the detailed plan here and watch the recording of the press conference this morning.
 

County infirmary structure simplified under proposal

Michigan has two county infirmaries, Monroe and Midland, that have multiple layers of administrative oversight, of which is unnecessary and removed under Senate Bill 569. Senator Dale Zorn (R-Monroe) worked with Monroe County, home of Fairview- the Monroe County Home, to ensure a simplified organization structure in which the county board governs and provides administration for the facility.

Monroe County’s Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Michael Bosanac provided testimony in support of the legislation to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The full testimony can be found  here beginning at the 20 minute mark.

MAC supports Senate Bill 569. The committee voted out the bill unanimously this week and it now awaits action of the full Senate.

For further questions, please contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

National Alliance on Mental Illness hosting one-day virtual state conference

This year’s conference is for everyone! Specific focus on Law Enforcement Crisis Response Models, the Intersection of Faith and Mental Healthcare, the future of integrated healthcare in Michigan, Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT) Behavioral Health Crisis – Training for First Responders, First Episode Psychosis (FEP), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s), suicide prevention resources in our schools, and more!

For more information, please see here.

 

Staff picks

Public notice bills no help to locals

A two-bill package “modernizing” public notice postings passed out of the Senate this week. SB 258 sponsored by Sen. Vanderwall (R-Mason) and SB 259 sponsored by Sen. Santana (D-Wayne) would modify the definition of a newspaper to mean a newspaper in an adjoining jurisdiction if one was not available in the county. 

The bill would also require the posting of the notice on a website hosted by the newspaper.  Neither of those modifications help to curb the cost of the postings, alleviate the unnecessary details of many of the posting requirements, nor do they assist locals in meeting the publicized notice timeline should a newspaper fail to print the notice in a timely manner. 

MAC offered several amendments to the legislation that were rejected.  The intent of the amendments was to limit the cost of the public notices to a government rate, to allow for partial posting of information with a link to more information, and to allow the posting online to count toward the deadline needed to meet notice posting timelines. The bills have been referred to the House committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance. MAC will continue to advocate for amendments to make this legislation beneficial to counties. 

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Mental health transport option moved by committee

Under Senate Bill 101, sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), a county board of commissioners would be allowed to contract with a private security company to transport individuals for involuntary hospitalization or screening. The opportunity under the bill will allow county boards to address the many logistical issues that law enforcement officers have to work through when they must transport an individual.

The board would have to establish a county mental health transportation panel, which must include certain members, before entering into a contract. The purpose of the panel would be to recommend a transportation mechanism to serve as an alternative to a peace officer’s transporting an individual to the board. The panel would make sure the company meets the criteria as set forth under the statute, if passed.

The substitute bill that passed the Senate Health Policy and Human Services committee included additional language to protect counties from liability and ensure a private security company would have to maintain insurance coverage. The bill now awaits further action by the full Senate.

For more information on this issue please contact, please contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

NACo hosting webinar featuring Michigan’s jail reforms

County jails are a major local expense and jail populations across the country have tripled since the 1970s. While state lawmakers may think of jails as the county’s responsibility, many of the laws and policies that determine who goes to jail and for how long are made at the state level. Everything from determining what’s a crime, when to arrest someone, how to make pretrial release and sentencing decisions, and how to handle probation violations and unpaid fees, to things like funding for mental health services in the community. County officials often have broad discretion, but they’re not solely responsible for the growth in our jails.
 
Safely reducing jail populations has taken on even more importance during the pandemic as congregate care settings have fueled the spread of COVID-19.
 
Join us on Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. (noon central time) for a half hour webinar featuring the work of the Michigan Association of Counties, which formed a county-state partnership to safely reduce jail populations, and read more about their work here!
 

FY22 budget includes County Incentive Program requirements

The state’s County Incentive Program (CIP) will continue through FY 2022 after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the state budget into law last week. The Michigan Department of Treasury has released guidance for qualifying counties to begin their application process to receive their full CIP payments.

The program’s document requirements include:

  • City, village, and township revenue sharing and County Incentive Program certification
  • Citizens’ guide  
  • Performance dashboard
  • Debt service report
  • Projected budget report

All required documents must be available for public viewing in the county clerk’s office or posted on a public website. The due date to receive full CIP payments is Dec. 1, 2021. Detailed information can be found on the Michigan Department of Treasury’s CIP website.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Conference draws more than 300 to Mackinac Island; President Kuyers urges unity

More than 300 county leaders from across Michigan converged on Mackinac Island this week for the 2021 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, which culminated with the swearing in of Ottawa Commissioner Phil Kuyers as MAC Board president.

The conference, which was held at the Grand Hotel Sept. 26-28, featured plenary sessions, policy breakouts and the MAC Annual Business Meeting, where commissioners approved policy platforms for the 2021-22 year.

Kuyers, who is starting his third term on the MAC Board, is the 113th person to hold the president’s position.

In his speech after taking the oath on Monday, Sept. 27, Kuyers pledged to “raise up MAC as an example of unity, of bipartisanship, of civility and of common sense” in a time of controversy and high passions.

“You are here tonight and at this conference because you believe in the value of MAC. I urge you to lean on this organization like you never have before. Our comfort zone is gone, another victim of the pandemic. Expectations of county government are rising on new fronts from broadband service to affordable housing,” Kuyers continued. “MAC stands ready to help each of you, and your colleagues who are not here tonight, with navigating these new issues. But we must work together.”

Keynote addresses at the event included presentations by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall and Dave Lorenz, who leads the highly popular Pure Michigan travel campaign.

Kuyers will lead a board that gained one new member via elections held at the conference: Melissa Daub of Wayne County. She will fill one of the three at-large seats on the MAC Board of Directors.

As the conference closed, the MAC Board confirmed officers for the 2021-22 term. Joining Kuyers are Stan Ponstein of Kent County (first vice president) and Eileen Kowall of Oakland County (second vice president). Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County moves to the role of immediate past president.

“We were pleased with the attendance at our first in-person conference in two years,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “It speaks to the quality of the policy breakouts and keynote presentations that more than 300 county leaders set aside the time to join us.”

 

Governor calls mask-budget links unconstitutional in budget message

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the FY22 state budget this week, but only after a few line-item vetoes and deeming certain boilerplate provisions unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The budget presented to the governor included language that “unappropriated” funding of local public health departments if a heath officer has an emergency order in place authorized under the Public Health Code- unless a county board of commission votes to support the order.

In a letter to lawmakers, the governor stated that penalizing local health departments for using their power given to them by the Public Health Code violates the Michigan Constitution. The letter cites both Article 3, section 2 and Article 4, section 25, which provide for separation of powers and no act is to be amended by reference, respectively.  

For more information on this issue, please see the text of the transmittal letter or contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

U.S. Treasury resets key deadline on ARP reporting

The U.S. Treasury has revised its timeline for counties to submit their Project and Expenditure Reports for the Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Treasury has set aside the original deadline of Oct. 31, 2021, citing comments and feedback gathered during the Interim Report and Recovery Plan Performance Report process.

The Project and Expenditure Reports will now be due on Jan. 31, 2022, and will cover the period between award date and Dec. 31, 2021. Further instructions will be provided at a later date, including updates to existing guidance as well as a user guide to assist recipients to gather and submit the information through Treasury’s Portal. 

Please visit the Treasury’s website at www.Treasury.gov/SLFRPReporting for the latest information.

 

Presentations from 2021 Annual Conference now available

Presentation slides from all of the plenary sessions and MAC policy breakouts at the 2021 Annual Conference are now available on the MAC website.

Among the highlights are:

  • A breakdown of the state budget process by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall
  • The MAC Legislative Update
  • A primer on Michigan’s voting process by Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck
  • Research studies on the problems with, and potential solutions for, Michigan’s local taxation system

Also on the conference page, you will find Facebook videos of three of the breakout sessions.

 

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