Archive for April, 2022

MAC applauds Senate work on revenue sharing; House plan disappoints

A 10 percent boost in county revenue sharing took another step to enactment this week when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed out the fiscal 2023 General Government budget.

Senate Bill 831, by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), calls for a 5 percent ongoing increase in revenue sharing and a 5 percent one-time bump. The budget bill mirrors the governor’s recommendation on county revenue sharing of $243 million for FY23.

The House Appropriations Committee also passed out its General Government FY23 budget this week. House Bill 5783, by Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R-Muskegon), however, does not support the governor’s recommendation. Instead, it calls for a one-time increase of 1 percent in revenue sharing and a 1 percent ongoing increase.

Although MAC appreciates any increase in revenue sharing for counties, the House recommendation is a disappointment and does not help rectify decades of underinvestment. MAC applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for supporting the governor’s recommendation to include an unprecedented increase in revenue sharing for counties.

Both bills sit on their respective chamber floors, with votes expected next week. According to statute, the state budget must be finalized by July 1 each year for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

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

 

House panel moves $33 billion budget for health, human services

Michigan would spend $33 billion in state and federal funds for health and human services in fiscal 2023 under a budget bill approved this week by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), recommended the sum for the state’s largest agency. Notably, the amount includes $85 million for constructing a new intensive inpatient psychiatric services center for children and adolescents, down considerably from the governor’s recommendation to spend $325 million for a replacement and expansion of current facilities at the Hawthorn Center and Walter Reuther Hospital.

The budget plan includes a variety of one-time expenditures using the state’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan, including:

  • $50 million to Pine Rest pediatric behavioral health center
  • $45 million to Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network psychiatric campus  
  • $5 million for a Northern Michigan psychiatric inpatient facility
  • $30 million for establishing crisis stabilization units

A large investment of $101 million, in line with the governor’s recommendation, would go to certified community behavioral health clinics that would improve vital services by increasing access to evidence-based substance use and mental health treatment services, including 24/7 crisis care.

Additionally, the subcommittee recommended $5 million in state General Fund dollars to replace a like amount of county funding used for Medicaid mental health supports and services, which brings the state to year 3 of a 5-year phaseout plan.

The budget also includes $279 million for the Child Care Fund, with an additional $3.5 million for indirect costs, and $17 million for the Raise the Age Fund, which also is line with the governor’s recommendation.

The bill has been sent by the full Appropriations Committee to the House floor for action next week.

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

 

Legislature sends flawed public notice bills to governor

A two-bill package to “modernize” public notice postings is headed to the governor after it gained final approval by the Michigan House of Representatives this week.

Senate Bills 258, by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R- Mason), and 259, by Sen. Sylvia 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 bills would also require the posting of the notice on a website hosted by the newspaper.  Although neither of the bills increase costs to counties or create additional burdens, they also don’t do anything to alleviate our current challenges with public notices.  Neither of those modifications help to curb the cost of the postings, scale-back 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 that were rejected. Those amendments were 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.

MAC will continue to advocate for statutory changes that will address our concerns.

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

 

NACo shares updates on April 30 ARP reporting deadline

Counties are reminded that April 30 is the deadline for the U.S. Treasury’s ARP Recovery Fund Project and Expenditure (P&E) Reports.

Additionally, earlier today, Treasury released new FAQs for the ARPA Recovery Fund Final Rule. NACo will provide a more in-depth analysis in the coming days but is able to share the following about the looming report deadline:

“Treasury has stated that it is experiencing a very high volume of messages about problems that recipients are having with submitting their P&E Reports, which has caused a delay in addressing these issues. Treasury has stated that if your county has sent an email to Treasury outlining why you are unable to submit your P&E Report, you will not be penalized if you submit AFTER April 30, 2022, if your problem is not addressed prior to that date. Please save a date stamped email and/or screen shot of your messages to Treasury!  

If you are having an issue or are unable to submit your P&E Report, email both SLFRF@treasury.gov and covidreliefitsupport@treasury.gov and CC questions@naco.org with a description and screenshot of what the problem is.

If you are trying to submit your county’s P&E Report as the Authorized Representative, but the portal is stating it does not recognize your name/contact information, please watch the step-by-step walkthrough video released by Treasury. If the problem persists, email SLFRF@treasury.gov and covidreliefitsupport@treasury.gov and CC: questions@naco.org with a description and screenshot of what the problem is.

Counties are required to make a one-time, irrevocable election to either take the $10 million revenue loss standard allowance or calculate revenue loss. Counties must indicate this choice in this April P&E Report.

If your county is claiming the $10 million revenue loss standard allowance, please follow the below steps. Please note that there are streamlined reporting requirements for revenue replacement funds.

Steps for claiming $10 million standard allowance and reporting requirements

    1. Go to the “Project Overview” section
    2. Choose 6 – Revenue Replacement – under the “Project Expenditure Category Group”
    3. Choose EC 6.1 – Provision of Government Services – under the “Project Expenditure Category”
    4. Enter in Project Name
  1. If your county has not yet signed a contract, obligated or expended funds, select “My jurisdiction has no projects”
    1. Enter Recipient Project ID#
    2. Enter Total Cumulative Obligations
    3. Enter Total Cumulative Expenditures
    4. Enter Program Description
    5. SKIP the following modules:
  1. Subrecipients/beneficiaries/contractors
  2. Subawards/direct payments

                                                           iii.      Expenditures

    1. Go to the “Recipient Specific” module 
    2. Choose “Yes” under “Is your jurisdiction electing to use the standard allowance of up to $10 million, not to exceed your total allocation, for identifying revenue loss?”
    3. Enter in the amount you would like to claim in the field below “Revenue Loss Due to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency”
  1. For counties that receive less than $10 million in ARPA Recovery Funds and want to allocate the entirety of your allocation towards revenue loss, enter in your total allocation (total of first and second tranche) into this field
    1. Provide a description of how revenue replacement funds were allocated to government services

NACo has released a number of resources that walk counties through the P&E Report submission process, including:

 

Join Podcast 83 team live at 4 p.m. on May 2

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie and the Podcast 83 team of Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit will be live on Monday, May 2 to discuss what’s coming up for action in Lansing.

The update will begin at 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will be able to ask questions of the team as well.

If you can’t catch the episode live, a recording will be posted later next week to MAC’s YouTube channel.

And you always can find details about any Podcast 83 episode on the MAC website.

 

House votes out treasurer fee bill backed by Zillow

A bill to alter fees that county treasurers charge on parcel records is headed to the Senate after the full House approved it this week.

House Bill 4730, by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia), was amended on the House floor to require county treasurers to provide property records in their possession, regardless of how many of the entire list of records they maintain.  Originally the bill was tie-barred to other sections of law affected register of deeds offices and clerk offices but has since been scaled back to include just records held by county treasurers.

This bill appears to limit the revenue county treasurers collect for the dissemination of records for parcels of property. The bill was originally introduced as part of a package that would have carried the same limitations on fees for other county electronic records but has since been scaled back to just fees charged by treasurers. 

Currently, a county treasurer can charge 25 cents per parcel record, which is not easily separated from the entirety of the parcel records, so it comes in a batch. Zillow is the primary advocate for this bill and the firm is seeking to make the process less costly and easier for it to use.

MAC continues to work with other organizations representing countywide elected officials as the bill begins consideration in the Senate.

For more information, please contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.   

 

Opioid settlement webinars set for May 3, 17

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with MAC, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and others will be hosting a webinar series on the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements.

The next two webinars are:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

State, county and local governments are slated to receive funds from the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements in the coming months, and this webinar series will provide an opportunity for local elected officials, public health officials and other relevant parties to learn about best practices for spending these funds. This upcoming webinar will focus on opportunities to support treatment services.

You can post questions prior to each webinar by sending a note to MDHHS-OpioidsTaskForce@michigan.gov.

 

May 10 webinar will cover grant management, budgeting, more

The Michigan Department of Treasury is pleased to announce our next Chart Chat webinar at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.

Topics covered will include:

  • Grants Management Best Practices
  • Treasury Updates American Rescue Plan Act – Alternative to Single Audit
  • Qualifying Statements
  • Budgeting

Participants can register and submit questions on the webinar’s registration page.

Presentations and recordings from this webinar, along with previous webinars, can be found at TREASURY – BLGSS Learning Center. Utilize TREASURY – Contact Information for support related to Treasury’s local government services. 

 

Senate panel signs off on 10% boost for revenue sharing

A 10 percent increase for county revenue sharing for fiscal 2023 took another step toward enactment this week when the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, chaired by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), passed out its FY23 recommendations.

Included in this budget is a recommendation to support the governor’s proposed increase for county revenue sharing. The plan would give counties a one-time 5 percent increase in revenue sharing and an additional 5 percent increase in the base funding amount going forward. For FY23, this would mean $243 million for counties.

The House has yet to put forth its recommendations for FY23 revenue sharing. According to statute, the state budget must be finalized by July 1 each year for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

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

 

Senate subcommittees advance FY23 budget bills

Subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee continued their fiscal 2023 budget work this week.

For the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the state’s largest budget, the Senate panel voted out $32.5 billion, 2 percent less than for FY22 but with significant investments in mental health. This includes $101 million for certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHC) and $61 million to expand behavioral and substance use disorder health homes. The recommendation also calls for $10 million for the jail diversion fund, which provides grants to local units of government to establish or expand behavioral health jail diversion programs in coordination between community agencies and law enforcement agencies.

Other items to note in the DHHS budget are:

  • $5 million for a crisis stabilization unit in Northern Michigan
  • Continuation of a $2.35 per hour direct care worker wage boost
  • $279 million for the Child Care Fund, with an additional $3.5 million for indirect costs
  • $9.1 million for the Raise the Age Fund
  • $2.4 million to increase the juvenile justice basic grant to counties with fewer than 75,000 residents (58 counties) from $15,000 to $56,520
  • $15 million to fully phase out the local match drawn down for Medicaid

The House DHHS budget is expected to move next week.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Licensing and Regulatory Affairs gave support to full funding of MIDC grants at $149 million.

The Senate Subcommittee on State Police added $1 million to the governor’s plan for county road patrol grants, bringing the total to $5 million from the General Fund. This is a point of difference with the House, which is working on a plan to shift road patrol’s funding source to the state liquor tax.

The Senate Corrections Subcommittee backed $14.8 million for the county jail reimbursement program, unchanged from the previous year.

The County Veteran Service Fund would sit at $4.2million, which aligns with the governor’s and House recommendations.

The Senate Appropriations Judiciary Subcommittee supported many of the governor’s recommendations, with one notable difference: leaving out the $175 million for a statewide judicial case management system.

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

 

Senate committee takes up key bills for medical care facilities

A bill to extend the county maintenance of effort (MOE) rate for county medical care facilities (MCFs) for three years continues to move swiftly through the legislative process. After House passage last week and acting on requests from the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC) and MAC to keep the momentum, the Senate Health Policy Committee held a hearing on the bill this week.

House Bill 5875, by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee), provides an extension to the MOE freeze until 2025, or until the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) implements a new reimbursement model, whichever is sooner.

Renee Beniak, MCMCFC’s executive director, outlined for the committee the history of the MOE and the importance of this legislation to maintain higher Medicaid reimbursements rates for services for some of the most vulnerable citizens. Other organizations supporting the bill alongside MCMCFC are MAC, the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) and LeadingAge Michigan.

The bill awaits a vote from the Senate Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason). A committee vote could come as soon as next week, and MCMCFC has hopes for quick action then on the Senate floor.

The same committee did unanimously vote out an important long-term care staffing bill that would allow temporary nurse aides who met training requirements during the COVID-19 emergency to count their experience for training requirements to become a certified nurse aide (CNA). House Bill 5089, by Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Livingston), would also ensure the state allows nurse aide training and testing to be done remotely, online and in a nursing facility. Allowing for these options will remove many of the barriers for these temporary aides to receive registration as a CNA. MCMCFC, HCAM and LeadingAge Michigan all supported the bill. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs submitted a neutral position.

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

 

Live Podcast 83 episodes return on Monday, May 2

How soon will Michigan have a fiscal 2023 budget? Will it include the 10 percent boost in county revenue sharing first proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer? What’s going to happen with the $3 billion in the still unassigned state American Rescue Plan funds?

These and other questions are likely to be tackled in the next LIVE episode of Podcast 83 on Monday, May 2.

The update will begin at 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will be able to ask questions of Podcast 83 team as well.

Last Monday, MAC Director of Governmental Affairs Deena Bosworth and Governmental Affairs Associate Meghann Keit-Corrion discussed the latest action on the FY23 state budget and some troubling legislation that would make major changes to the state’s Freedom of Information Act in a Podcast 83 episode recorded on Monday.

Watch a video of the session on-demand here.

Previous episodes in 2022 can be seen at MAC’s YouTube Channel.

And you always can find details about any Podcast 83 episode on the MAC website.

 

House resolution names April as County Government Month

To mark National County Government Month (NCGM) in April, the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution drafted by MAC noting the key contributions that county governments make to daily life in our state.

State Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo, herself a former county commissioner and former MAC Board member, sponsored the resolution and spoke on its behalf during a House session Tuesday afternoon.

“As a former county commissioner, I know firsthand that county governments play a vital role in the delivery of key public services in our state,” Rogers said. “Counties provide a variety of services, such as parks and recreation programs, services for seniors, medical care facilities, courts and court services, elections, and infrastructure. As a health care provider, I also appreciate the key role they play in public health by promoting equitable and accessible health for all residents.”

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie thanked Rogers for her support: “Our members across Michigan greatly appreciate Rep. Rogers’ sponsorship of this resolution and its quick adoption by the full House of Representatives. Nearly 50,000 of our friends and neighbors work in county government each and every day to make our state a better, safer and healthier place to live. Such service is deserving of recognition this month — and every month.” 

The NCGM celebration was begun by the National Association of Counties in 1991 to highlight the numerous and daily contributions of county government and employees to public life.

MAC members are encouraged to make use of a variety of NCGM resources:

 

Podcast 83 interviews state mental health leader about threat to local control in Senate Bills 597-98

Legislation that would bring in private companies to handle mental health services in Michigan would wreck longstanding local oversight and almost assuredly weaken assistance for those in need, a state leader in the field said during a special episode of MAC’s Podcast 83.

Alan Bolter, associate director of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan, discussed Senate Bills 597-98 with Meghann Keit-Corrion, MAC governmental affairs associate and point person on mental health issues.

MAC and CMHA are among organizations that have opposed these measures, which are backed by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson). First introduced in July 2021, the bills cleared a Senate committee last fall and are before the full Senate.

Use MAC’s advocacy platform to send a message of opposition to your senator. MAC also has a talking points sheet on mental health legislation for members’ use.

A poll commissioned by the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan and conducted by third-party survey provider EPIC-MRA found 67 percent of Michigan voters prefer the public mental health system to be managed by public entities who specialize in mental health care vs. turning the system over to private, for-profit companies.

Sixty-two Michigan counties have passed resolutions in support of local control and against SBs 597-98.

 

House subcommittees send budget recommendations for review

House subcommittees were busy at work this week sending recommendations to the full House Appropriations Committee for further review. Some highlights include:

  • $149M in Michigan Indigent Defense Commission grants
  • $175M for a statewide judicial case management system as recommended by the Trial Court Funding Commission
  • $15M in federal funds to assist trial courts with processing base backlog ($7M of which must be used to create a virtual backlog response docket)
  • $250M in federal funds for counties for improvements to existing jail facilities or construction of a new jail, with a 20% match and a cap of $25M per grant (it should be noted new jail construction is not allowed under the federal rules)
  • $100M in federal funds to support radio tower grants, which includes a 20% match requirement and caps a cap of $25M per grant
  • $57.5M for grant funding to eligible public safety entities to purchase years of service for out-of-state personnel who are hired in Michigan
  • $15M for secondary road patrol  
  • $10M in grants to public safety departments for community policing programs
  • $10M to reimburse local law enforcement officers for leave time they were required to use in order to quarantine because of exposure or possible exposure to COVID-19
  • $10M to grant retention bonuses of up to $5,000 to public safety officers, first responders, local corrections officers, public safety telecommunicators, and juvenile detention employees.
  • $10M in federal funds to grant signing bonuses of up to $5,000 to new public safety officers, first responders, local corrections officers, public safety telecommunicators, and juvenile detention employees
  • $3M for a public safety and first responder recruitment marketing program
  • $15M for the county jail reimbursement program
  • 13M for community corrections program
  • $4M for county veterans service grants

The Senate is expected to begin moving budgets next week and have them to the full Senate Appropriations Committee by the end of the month.

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

 

Bills amending FOIA receive hearing in House Oversight Committee

Changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) could be coming from legislation introduced in the House. House Bills 5921 and 5923-25 seek to amend the act to limit local governments’ ability to defend denials of FOIA requests as well as increase the administrative burden and costs of compliance. Counties across Michigan consistently comply with the Freedom of Information Act and work with the public to ensure transparency and accountability in government. The provisions in the act require dedicated staff, on-going communication and compliance with requests.  At the same time, the Act protects specific exemptions from record disclosures to safeguard personal privacy, legal investigations, attorney-client privilege information, certain appraisals and other similar exemptions. 

MAC submitted a letter of opposition when the bills received a hearing in the House Oversight Committee this week outlying the following concerns with the package:

House Bill 5921, by Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Kent), limits the reason for FOIA request denial to only the ones stated in the beginning.  This amendment could have the unintended consequences of releasing protected records if someone didn’t catch the right exemption the first time and could potentially force a local agency to violate other laws.

House Bill 5923, by Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R-Muskegon), requires a written acknowledgement of a request within two days, on top of requiring compliance within five days, and in cases of a denial for a record, requires the public body to acknowledge the records, provide a description of the record and the explanation for the denial.  These amendments will likely require legal counsel involvement in each record request denial as well and create scenarios where private information is being described without providing the actual record.  In cases of mental health allegations, sexual assault allegations, legal opinions and law enforcement investigations, these disclosure requirements undermine the intent of the privacy exemptions. 

House Bill 5924, by Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale), requires that a record in the possession of outside legal counsel be considered to be in the possession of the public body. This amendment blurs the line over what is FOIA-able in an outside legal practice.

House Bill 5925, by Rep. Bryan Posthumus (R-Kent), allows for civil actions regarding the determination of whether or not the record is considered primarily for the public benefit and therefore should not be subject to fees for compiling the record. Again these amendments would open the floodgates of litigation against public bodies, especially by the press who would claim public benefit for every request. Then the public body would likely have to absorb the entire cost of fulfilling these requests to avoid litigation.

MAC is currently opposed to these bills as written but is ready and willing to sit down with the bills’ sponsors and staff to work on the legislation to achieve clear, fair and reasonable changes to the act. 

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

 

Opioid settlement rules gain swift action from legislative committees

A legislative package to manage the state’s $388 million portion of the national opioid settlement gained swift approval from committees in both chambers of the Legislature this week.

The House Judiciary Committee and Senate Health Policy Committee approved the bills that are designed to ensure Michigan receives the full $388 million over the 18-year settlement period, which begins in 2022.

House Bills 5968-69, by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), and Senate Bills 993, by Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb), and Senate Bill 994, by Sen. Mark Huizenga (R-Kent), create the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund which ensure all money received under the national agreement is consistent with the settlement requirements. HB 5969 and SB 994 create the Opioid Advisory Commission in the Legislative Council, which recommends funding for initiatives that would support opioid prevention, treatments and services to the Legislature.

Whiteford stressed during her testimony how critical the bills are to prevent a repeat of what happened with the national tobacco settlement funds, which were diverted away to projects not related to anti-tobacco efforts.

HB 5970, by Rep. Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo), and SB 995, by Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Wayne), would bar local governments from future litigation related to the specific distributor and Janssen settlements. Under the settlement, a state must have a legislative prohibition against future litigating subdivisions (i.e., local governments) to receive the top incentive and the full amount of eligible funds.

MAC supports the bills based on our policy platforms, which call for state investment for treatment and services related to combatting the opioid epidemic and oppose a repeat of the spending outcome similar to that of the tobacco industry settlement.

The committees in both chambers passed the bills, on bipartisan votes, and the bills await action on the floor.

For more information on the national opioid settlement, visit https://nationalopioidsettlement.com/ or contact MAC’s Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

MDHHS opioid webinar on harm reduction set for next week

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with the Michigan Municipal League (MML), the Michigan Township Association (MTA), The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office (AG) will be hosting a webinar series on the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements. The next webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 19 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

State, county and local governments are slated to receive funds from the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements in the coming months, and this webinar series will provide an opportunity for local elected officials, public health officials and other relevant parties to learn about best practices for spending these funds. This upcoming webinar will focus on opportunities to support harm reduction services.

There will be a Q&A period during the webinar, or participants may email questions directly to MDHHS-OpioidsTaskForce@michigan.gov, prior to April 19, 2022.

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcofuqhrzstH9EWwiYdZm2Zw0vOKo_C5x0E

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

MAC-backed road patrol funding bills clear House

The House passed a package of bills on Wednesday to improve Secondary Road Patrol (SRP) funding via the state liquor tax.

House Bill 5773, by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Genesee), HB 5732, by Tommy Brann (R-Kent), and HB 5772, by Rep. David Martin (R-Genesee), would require that $15 million annually from the 4 percent excise tax on liquor go to SRP. At present, the fund receives a $10 assessment from civil infractions, so funding is dependent on the number of written traffic citations. Under the bills, the assessment levied on those traffic citations would be reduced by $10 (from $40 to $30) to account for the portion of the assessment that would no longer be distributed to the Secondary Road Patrol and Training Fund.

MAC supports these bills as they would create a more stable funding stream for sheriffs to finance road patrols. The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association supports the package, as well, as do a number of individual county sheriffs.

The bills are now before the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland).

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

 

Maintenance of effort measure gains House approval

The Michigan House this week approved a three-year extension to the county maintenance of effort (MOE) rate for county medical care facilities (MCFs), a key legislative priority for the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC).

House Bill 5875, by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee), provides an extension to the MOE freeze until 2025, or until the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) implements a new reimbursement model, whichever is sooner.

MDHHS has been studying and contemplating a new reimbursement model and policies for long-term care facilities. Should a new approach be implemented prior to Dec. 31, 2025, MCFs would transition to the new system under the bill.

Other organizations supporting the bill alongside MCMCFC include MAC, the Health Care Association of Michigan and Leading Age Michigan.

The bill now heads to the Senate Health Policy Committee chaired by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason).

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

 

Podcast 83 discusses infrastructure, FOIA, courts and more

Returning from a month’s hiatus, MAC’s Podcast 83 team reconvened on Zoom Monday to discuss the next phase of legislative activity in Lansing.

Among issues discussed by Executive Director Stephan Currie and Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit-Corrion of MAC’s government affairs team were the $4.7 billion infrastructure spending bill that’s heavy on water projects, troubling legislation to alter the Freedom of Information Act, the seemingly perennial battle over court funding and National County Government Month.

The team also took questions from members during the live session Monday afternoon.

Next Monday, Podcast 83 will broadcast a live session from MAC’s Lansing offices. The episode will begin at 4 p.m. and you can access it with this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will again be able to ask questions of the team.

If you can’t catch the episode live, a recording will be posted later next week to MAC’s YouTube channel.

And you always can find details about any Podcast 83 episode on the MAC website.

 

Staff picks

Michigan Supreme Court hears challenge to local judges’ ability to collect costs

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments this week in Lansing on People v. Johnson, which challenges the state statute allowing judges to impose court costs on convicted defendants.

Critics of state law say it’s unconstitutional for a judge to oversee a criminal case and also have the power to order someone to pay a share of their court’s operations. The attorney for Travis Johnson argued to the court the statute violates due process because it creates a perceived conflict of interest between a judge’s impartiality and the obligation to generate revenue for the court.

In a 2-1 decision in April 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s order, holding the relevant statute was not unconstitutional.

In the hearing this week, Justice David Viviano questioned whether judges really feel they must “fundraise” to keep their courts in operation.  He noted he did not while serving at the trial level and, because the Legislature is obligated to fund the courts, the judges should not feel pressure to do so. Chief Justice Bridget McCormack suggested whether a legislative fix imposing a specific fine per offense would remedy the problem, to which defense attorneys responded that while it may be better than status quo, their opinion is the main problem of courts generating revenue for their operations would remain in that scenario.

While the court case continues, the statute that allows these court costs is still on track to expire in October.

To deal with this legislative “sunset,” Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson) introduced House Bill 5956, which extends the sunset until 2025, and HB 5957, which authorizes the State Court Administrative Office to create a formula for local courts’ operational needs and requires the state to fund the amount needed to replace revenue loss due to a court ruling.

The Trial Court Funding Commission outlined this proposal in its recommendations under a scenario in which court costs are eliminated as a source of trial court funding prior to long-term solutions being implemented. The report specifically states, “Funds necessary to meet this shortfall must be appropriated by the Legislature.”

Lightner’s bills, which MAC supports, are before the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Kent).

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

 

Counties continue to oppose mental health privatization bid

Legislation that eliminates local control and local decision-making in community mental health systems remains under consideration by the Michigan Senate.

Senate Bills 597-98, by Senate Majority Leader Shirkey (R-Jackson) and Sen. John Bizon (R-Calhoun), would shift financial administration of Medicaid mental health services to private Medicaid health plans. These bills ultimately take away public accountability and local governance and turn control over to for-profit private insurance companies that do not have a good track record in treating patients with mental health needs.

MAC will continue to oppose any move to shift toward privatization of our local public mental health system. To use MAC’s digital advocacy tool to send a message of opposition to your senator, click here.

To date, the boards of 62 counties have passed resolutions in opposition to the legislation, covering 84.5 percent of House members and 92.2 percent of Senate members. (If your county is not listed below and passes a resolution in opposition, please send it to sweeney@micounties.org.)

Additional resources to use with your legislators on this issue are:

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

 

Join Podcast 83 team on April 11 for live update

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie and the Podcast 83 team of Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit-Corrion will be live on Monday, April 11 to discuss what issues will dominate in Lansing as legislators return from their spring break next week.

The update will begin at a new time: 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will be able to ask questions of the team as well.

If you can’t catch the episode live, a recording will be posted later next week to MAC’s YouTube channel.

And you always can find details about any Podcast 83 episode on the MAC website.

 

MAC provides option for members to download conference photos

In addition to the regular conference photo gallery for the 2022 Legislative Conference, MAC has created an even larger gallery of photos that can be downloaded in sizes suitable for printing.

Link to full photo gallery: https://www.dropbox.com/t/yq8A5pSwJRhrmgTv

Once you open the page, you may scroll down to find your photo and the option to download to your desktop or mobile device.

 

NACo issues alert about ARP auditing standards

The National Association of Counties issued the following alert regarding audit rules for American Rescue Plan funds:

“Today, the Office of Management and Budget posted a new alternative, titled Addendum 3, to Single Audit Act requirements for certain ARPA Recovery Fund recipients. Under current guidance, recipients and subrecipients that expend more than $750,000 in federal awards during their fiscal year will be subject to an audit under the Single Audit Act and its implementing regulation at 2 CFR Part 200, Subpart F regarding audit requirements. Addendum 3 changed this requirement for counties that received less than $10 million in Recovery Funds. This will help our rural counties significantly.

“Top 10 things you should know about Addendum 3 to the 2021 Single Audit Compliance Supplement:

  1. If a county is eligible, you should discuss this with your Auditor
  1. This is an addendum to the 2021 Single Audit Compliance Supplement and, specifically, the revision is Addendum 3
  2. Addendum 3 includes a simplified Single Audit process (an “Attestation”) for those direct recipients that are considered exempt from the Single Audit if it was not for the expenditures of SLFRF funds
  3. This alternative is intended to reduce the burden of a full Single Audit or Program-Specific Audit on eligible recipients and practitioners
  4. This alternative applies to fiscal year audits beginning after June 30, 2020
  5. Attestation would result in an auditor’s opinion on compliance which includes an assessment of two activities, specifically “activities allowed” and “unallowed/allowable cost”
  6. Attestation is optional – any SLFRF direct recipient can decide to perform a Single Audit instead even if they are eligible for attestation
  7. Eligibility is limited:
    1. Attestation (instead of SA) eligibility would only apply to direct recipients from Treasury receiving under $10M in total
    2. Attestation (instead of SA) eligibility would apply to direct recipients only if other Federal award funds the recipient expended are less than $750,000 during the recipient’s fiscal year – not including their SLFRF award funds
  8. Single Audit would still apply if the recipient spends over $750K in ANY OTHER federal funds
  9. Uniform Guidance (UG) still applies to ALL expended funds, whether the recipient performs an Attestation or a Single Audit”

For more information on this issue, contact MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie at scurrie@micounties.org.

Take the MGC Challenge by April 29

The Michigan Green Communities Challenge is open through April 29 and is open to all counties.

Participation involves two easy steps:

  1. Register for an account at: https://migreencommunities.com/register/
  2. Take the Challenge!

The annual Michigan Green Communities Challenge is a key part of the program and allows participants to track and benchmark their sustainability progress. Communities can log their sustainability actions using the MGC Challenge to achieve bronze, silver or gold recognition. The MGC Challenge should only take a few hours of staff time to complete.

Benefits of participating in the Challenge:

  • Have access to peers across Michigan through the MGC Network
  • Gain access to technical support, guidance, and examples
  • Save money and municipal resources by taking steps to reduce energy and resource use
  • Take steps to improve health outcomes for your residents
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Support your local economy
  • Engage your residents in community planning and sustainable actions

If you have questions, you can reach the Michigan Green Communities coordinator, Danielle Beard, at dbeard@migreencommunities.com or MAC’s Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org.

MAC is a supporting member of Michigan Green Communities.

 

Webinar focuses on new ways to think about budgets

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Rethinking Budgeting Initiative is helping local governments update budget practices to better meet the rapidly changing needs of communities. This initiative is raising new ideas and producing guidance for how local government budget systems can be adapted to changing needs. The initiative explores a wide range of topics related to the budget process including budget planning, fairness in budgeting and how behavioral science impacts budget decisions. 

In this webinar, participants will have a chance to learn more about the concept of fairness in budgeting and discuss how ideas of fairness impact their own budget process and decisions. 

Join this free webinar on April 13 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Click here to register.

The webinar link will be sent out following registration. The webinar will be recorded, and the recording will be sent out to everyone who registers.

 

Governor signs $4.7 billion spending bill on water, more

A state spending bill will help repair dams that failed in 2020, leading to flooding in Midland (shown here) and elsewhere.

Nearly $5 billion is about to be injected into Michigan’s infrastructure after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week signed a supplemental spending bill aimed at water systems, broadband and other infrastructure.

MAC’s governmental affairs director, Deena Bosworth, said in March that the much of the spending falls in line with priorities laid out by the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan, which MAC helped form last fall to create a united plan for leveraging the state’s ARP funding in the most strategic way possible.

The coalition projects about $2.5 billion of the $4.7 billion in Senate Bill 565 aligns with its Michigan Prosperity Roadmap that recommended investments in five key areas: Infrastructure, Fiscal Health, Thriving Communities, Strong Economy, and Public Safety.

Of particular note in SB 565 is the massive investment in protecting Michigan’s waters, including $1.27 billion from federal ARP funds for grants for wastewater, stormwater and drinking water projects.

The bill includes $200 million for Midland and Gladwin counties for repairs of dams that failed in 2020, forcing significant evacuations. Use of those funds requires a 20 percent local match. Another $6.8 million will be used in Clare County for lake dredging and a dam emergency spillway.

The bill also sends $250 million in federal funds into a broadband service grant program.

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

 

National County Government Month is under way

National County Government Month (NCGM), held each April, is an annual celebration of county government. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties has encouraged counties to actively promote the services and programs they offer. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective county programs and raise public awareness and understanding about the various services provided to the community.

The coronavirus pandemic highlights the importance of county government. Counties are on the front lines protecting our communities from coronavirus and other illnesses that have the potential to become a pandemic. Counties support more than 900 hospitals and operate over 1,900 public health departments, which are the ground troops in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Local health departments are working to protect public health by communicating with transportation officials, educating health care providers and communicating to the public best practices to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

MAC members are encouraged to make use of NCGM resources:

 

Conference attendees, respond to survey by Monday, April 4

MAC members who attended the recent 2022 Legislative Conference are asked to complete their survey responses by Monday, April 4.

As of Friday morning, only a third of eligible respondents had use their survey link to answer questions on conference educational content, scheduling and speakers.

“These surveys are the top way for members to give us their views on what we are doing well and where we can improve,” said MAC Communications Director Derek Melot. “Planning is already under way for 2022 Annual in Port Huron, so now is the time for members to help us design that event.”

One of the most consistently popular aspects of MAC conferences has been Exhibitor Bingo, in which attendees visit booths at the Exhibitor Show to fill out their card for a drawing. In March, the two grand prize winners were Kristine Bosley, human resources director at Benzie County, and Rob Pallarito, vice chair of the Otsego County Board of Commissioners. Each claimed a $250 cash prize from Executive Director Stephan Currie after their names were drawn by Second Vice President Eileen Kowall of Oakland County on the last day of the conference.

The 2022 Annual Conference will be Sept. 18-21 in Port Huron. Expect registration to open for it in July.

 

MDHHS opioid webinar set for April 5

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with MAC, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office (AG) and others, will launch a webinar series on the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements on Tuesday, April 5 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Click this link to join the session: Recovery Webinar.

State, county and local governments are slated to receive funds from the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements in the coming months, and this webinar series will provide an opportunity for local elected officials, public health officials and other relevant parties to learn about best practices for spending these funds. This upcoming webinar will focus on opportunities to support recovery services.

There will be a Q&A period during the webinar, or participants may email questions directly to MDHHS-OpioidsTaskForce@michigan.gov prior to April 5, 2022.

 

Get On Board! with better meetings for your county

Helping county commissioners operate more effectively in public meetings is the focus of a three-session webinar series sponsored by MSU Extension in May.

“Effective Board Meetings and Good Governance” will have three 90-minute sessions in the evenings beginning May 9. Commissioners who participate will earn 3 credit hours in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy continuing education program.

The cost of the program is $50 per person or $200 per board (group rate, up to 10 people).

Click here to register. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on May 7.

Monday, May 9, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern Time): Role and Purpose

Elected and appointed government boards have distinct rules, norms and a public purpose. In this session, we will learn key differences between elected and appointed boards and their unique spheres of influence. Staff and the public also have significant roles in developing and carrying out policy. Participants will explore common best practices between boards and within boards that support functional governance.

Monday, May 16, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (ET): The Meeting Process

The board chair, members, staff and public are all important meeting participants. In this session, we will review the fundamental practices for leading meetings effectively. Each person must understand their role during a meeting and having clarity around the meeting process. We will discuss formal process documents like bylaws, codes of conduct, and agendas, as well as skills for efficiency and inclusion.

Monday, May 23, 6:30 p. m. to 8 pm (ET): Parliamentary Procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order

An introduction to Parliamentary Procedure based on Robert’s Rules of Order, the most widely used parliamentary authority. This session will focus on parliamentary principles, motions, and debate and decorum during meetings. Participants will explore scenarios and practice skills.

All sessions will be recorded and sent to registrants. Additional resources and session recordings will be available on a Google site shared through the registration process.

For content questions, contact Mary Reilly at 231-889-4277, ext. 1 or reillym8@msu.edu. 

 

NACo urges use of funding opportunities on mental health

In its blog on March 21, the National Association of Counties (NACo) urged county leaders to fully utilize federal aid for mental health services:

“On March 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced new funding opportunities for states and counties to improve and expand access to community mental health services for children and young adults. As a part of the administration’s new strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis, this new funding seeks to improve mental health programs and services through early intervention and suicide prevention in schools, universities, foster care systems and other youth-centered settings.

“Counties are directly eligible for 4 of the 7 new grant programs under this funding announcement, including:

“Together, these grants provide approximately $27 million in new funding opportunities for counties to improve access to mental health services for youth and young adults. …

“For a list of the new funding opportunities, click here. Grant application deadlines vary by program and span from April 18, 2022, to May 31, 2022.”

For more information on MAC’s mental health advocacy, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Deadline extended to April 15 for Achievement Awards

The National Association of Counties has announced a deadline extension for its Achievement Awards application process. The new application deadline is Friday, April 15 at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Participation in the NACo Achievement Awards program is an excellent opportunity to earn national recognition for your county’s groundbreaking efforts and to share ideas with your peers across the country.

APPLY TODAY

Through the years, Michigan counties have won dozens of awards in this contest, so don’t hesitate to put your best ideas forward.

 

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