Archive for May, 2023

MAC-backed juvenile justice package begins legislative journey

A package of 20 bills to reform the state’s juvenile justice system, supported by MAC, was introduced in the House this week and referred to the chamber’s Criminal Justice Committee.

The package, House Bills 46244643, is a result of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform’s recommendations provided last July.

The Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform was established by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2021. The bipartisan task force was chaired by Lt. Governor Gilchrist and included members from all three branches of government, as well as state and local level juvenile justice leaders and advocates. Two county commissioners served on the Task Force, each nominated by MAC. Alisha Bell of Wayne represented a county commissioner from a county with a population over 100,000, and Marlene Webster of Shiawassee represented a county commissioner from a county under 100,000 in population. Rep. Sarah Lightner, a former county commissioner, also served on the Task Force.

The Task Force discovered several challenges to strengthening public safety and improving outcomes for youth. Those challenges, however, led to the set of 32 recommendations last year. Six priority areas have been identified and translated into this 20-bill package.

HB 4624, by Rep. Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo), enhances the Child Care Fund (CCF) by establishing a minimum framework of juvenile justice best practices statewide, including the use of risk screening and assessment tools. The best practices will be supported by an increase in the reimbursement rate for community-based services from 50 percent to 75 percent. These changes are essential to ensure counties have the resources to implement and utilize these approaches.

(UPDATE: Please see clarification on CCF rate changes in the Aug. 25, 2023, Legislative Update.)

HBs 46254629 require the consistent use of validated screening and assessment tools to enable more objective decision-making and allow agencies to better match youth to appropriate supervision and services, reducing their likelihood to recidivate. The bills also expand the Diversion Act so that all offenses, with an exception for youth committing a specified juvenile violation, are eligible for pre-court diversion, based on the use of a risk-screening tool and other factors and limit the time that a youth can be placed on pre-court diversion, unless the court determines that a longer period is needed. While diversion eligibility would be expanded, judicial discretion remains.

HBs 4630 and 4631, by Rep. Lightner (R-Jackson), would expand the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission to include development, oversight, and compliance with youth defense standards in local county defense systems, and expands the State Appellate Defender Office to include appellate services for juveniles.

HBs 46344637 eliminate most non-restitution fees and costs associated with juvenile justice system involvement. The bills do not include the elimination of restitution or fees related to the Crime Victims Fund. For restitution and fees related to the Crime Victims Fund, the bills establish a standard procedure for ability to pay, determination of payment schedule, and total to be assessed.

HBs 46384642 would strengthen and expand the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman for handling, investigating, and reporting incidents in juvenile facilities.

A committee hearing is expected in the coming weeks, as well as the introduction of this bill package in the Senate.

MAC supports this package and has shared a letter of support with members of the House Criminal Justice Committee.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

 

MAC releases Opioid Settlement Dashboard

MAC has officially released an Opioid Settlement Dashboard on the Opioid Settlement Resource Center webpage. The dashboard includes six pages of information about current funds and county readiness for spending.

The home page looks at settlement funds, highlighting the maximum number of payments per company, state and local shares, reporting requirements and, most importantly, allows counties to use a dropdown menu to see their estimated total amounts of funds per settlement.

The technical assistance page provides a map of counties that are engaged with MAC specifically for technical assistance related to settlements and highlights when these requests occurred.

Four additional pages utilize data from the Opioid Settlement Baseline Assessment to illustrate county plans for stakeholder engagement, county planning, management of funds and monitoring of funds and activities.

Since many counties are still in the planning phases, the dashboard points to three areas where additional information will be added in the future: areas of investment, links to public-facing plans and reports as well as additional monitoring.

For more information on MAC’s opioid settlement resources, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83 episode reviews budget, juvenile justice news

Legislators have enough money to pass a fiscal 2024 budget that includes significant increases in county revenue sharing and in reimbursements from the Child Care Fund, among other county priorities, MAC’s Podcast 83 team reported this week.

Host Stephan Currie and Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson of MAC’s Governmental Affairs Team reviewed a variety of positive developments for counties in recent days:

  • State budget: The Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, held May 19, showed that legislators have the resources to spend at least $14 billion in the General Fund, which is good news for revenue sharing, among other items.
  • Revenue sharing: Bosworth reported great process on MAC’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund project, a joint effort with local governments, to create a dedicated fund, backed by a percentage of sales tax revenues, for revenue sharing.
  • Juvenile justice: Gibson reported on a 20-bill package filed in Lansing to enact a wide variety of MAC-supported recommendations from a state task force that studied improvements for the juvenile justice system.
  • Statewide septic code: Fata reported on the expected filing of legislation to enact a statewide septic code and MAC’s ongoing review of that legislation.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on May 22, by clicking here.

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

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

 

Webinar will focus on Opioid Settlement Exhibit E and allowable uses

On June 8, the second webinar in the Opioid Settlement Technical Assistance Learning Series will be held from 2:30 p.m. to  3:30 p.m. (EST), providing a discussion on Exhibit E. The series is hosted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University as part of their Technical Assistance Collaborative.

The webinars are intended to provide information from experts for officials and representatives from counties, municipalities and townships, including community members, to aid in their opioid settlement investment processes. This webinar, titled “Overview of the Opioid Settlement and Discussion on Exhibit E,” will focus on allowable uses of funding. See the flier and register by clicking “Register Today.”

For more information on opioid settlements are technical assistance, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.

 

MAC offices closed on Memorial Day

MAC’s offices in Lansing will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Normal office hours will resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30.

 

FY24 budget remains on track after revenue conference

State legislators now in the final phases of preparation for the fiscal 2024 budget still have the resources to cover General Fund spending in the $14 billion range, state experts told the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference today.

While the conference finalized headline revenue figures to use for FY24 at levels substantially below their January 2023 estimates, the actual resources available to state budgeters are largely unchanged from earlier in this year, MAC is told.

This is due to the impact and timing of various tax policy changes implemented in recent months, such as the elimination of the “pension tax,” the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit and a cut in the personal income tax rate.

In the vote Friday morning, the conference adopted a net General Fund revenue total of $13.24 billion, an apparent huge decrease from January estimates.

However, resources for FY24 and carrying over from prior budget years allow for both the House and Senate appropriations bills to be funded as they presently stand. The chambers, though, still have to reconcile differences in their budgets before the Legislature’s mandated deadline of June 30 to complete budget work.

The FY24 budget would take effect on Oct. 1, 2023.

For FY24, the state would be $12 billion underneath the constitutional revenue limit imposed by the Headlee Amendment approved by voters in 1978.

For more information on MAC’s budget advocacy, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC continues to monitor solar taxation bills

Legislation to create an optional structure for the taxes levied on solar facilities was discussed this week in the House Committee on Tax Policy. 

After years of participation in workgroups to ensure local options, a stable funding source, appropriate zoning considerations and adequate local reimbursements, MAC has taken a neutral position on the legislation.

House Bills 4317 and 4318, by Reps. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason) and Cynthia Neeley (D-Genesee) respectively, would allow for the creation of solar energy districts by local municipalities after a mandatory public hearing. Subsequently, solar energy developers could apply for an exemption from local property taxes and instead pay a flat rate of $7,000 per megawatt of nameplate capacity for the proposed solar energy facility, instead of ad valorem property taxes. The payment would be locked in for 20 years and distributed based on the proportions of normal taxes that would have been paid to each taxing unit. 

An additional financial incentive would be offered for developers that choose to site their facilities on brownfield properties, in opportunity zones, as a secondary use on already improved real property (i.e., rooftops) or on state-owned property. In such cases, the reimbursement rate would be $2,000 per megawatt of nameplate capacity. 

The impetus behind the legislation is twofold. First, this methodology for compensating locals for lost taxes will provide financial predictability for the developers and the locals, hopefully avoiding the same problems we have had with the legal challenges to the valuation of wind turbines.  Second, the rate and process should serve as incentives for developers to build more renewable energy facilities in the state.  

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

 

Bills introduced to create a statewide septic code

Legislation establishing a statewide septic code has been introduced in both the House and Senate. House Bills 447980, by Reps. Phil Skaggs (D-Kent) and Carrie Rheingans (D-Washtenaw) respectively, and Senate Bills 299300, by Sen. Sam Singh (D-Ingham), would require homeowners with onsite wastewater treatment systems to have them inspected every five years.

As of 2020, about 30 percent of state households relied on septic systems, but many are aging and facing failure. The intent of the legislation is to protect waterways from contamination and combat illness caused by increased levels of E. coli and algae blooms. While Michigan remains the only state in the nation without a statewide septic code, the proposed policy changes may be overly burdensome.

Local public health departments will be authorized to conduct inspections, issue permits and respond to complaints of failure under the bills. A permit would be required for any installation, alteration or repair of a septic system. Additionally, a building permit may not be issued for any construction on a premises served by a septic system unless a permit by the health department is first issued.

Further, homeowners would be liable for the cost of the inspection and any repairs or replacements deemed necessary. It remains unclear how much an inspection would cost, but a $25 administrative fee will be added to each inspection to be placed in a fund used to help local health departments complete their duties. The fund also will provide some grants to homeowners who are below a certain poverty threshold.

At present, a county can adopt a point-of-sale ordinance on septic systems. Should this legislation pass, however, they would lose that ability. There are 11 counties who have such an ordinance on the books, and they would be given seven years after the bills’ effective date to phase them out.

A technical advisory committee would be created and would include representatives from various regional health departments, engineers, septic manufacturers and installers, among others. The committee will be responsible for writing the septic code and promulgating rules. They will be required to consider local soil conditions during this process, so while it may be a uniform code, it will be crafted to the needs of local ecosystems.

MAC does not yet have a position on the legislation but has many concerns. We anticipate a workgroup will be created to allow stakeholders and bill sponsors to work through the details in the coming months.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

 

Federal legislation introduced to revisit Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy

Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to address the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MEIP). The Due Process Continuity of Care Act and the Reentry Act were introduced in March, which would amend the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy.

The Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy is a federal statute that terminates access to federal health benefits at the time of arrest. These bills would allow continuity of care via access to critical health services for incarcerated individuals. The Due Process Continuity of Care Act would “allow pretrial detainees to receive Medicaid benefits at the option of the state and provide $50 million in planning grant dollars to states and localities for implementing the MIEP repeal, improving the quality of care provided in jails and enhancing the number of available providers to treat this population.”

The Reentry Act would “allow Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to an eligible incarcerated individual during the 30-day period preceding the individual’s release.” MAC, along with other stakeholders, has requested the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services apply for a Section 1115 waiver relating to the MIEP, allowing for Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated individuals prior to release.

MAC supports these bills and access to better care for incarcerated individuals in county jails. Should these bills pass, counties will have a streamlined process to provide effective behavioral health care and services for transitions to community care, while recidivism rates and risk for post-release overdoses should fall.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83 discusses state budget, ongoing gravel control battle

Progress on the state’s fiscal 2024 budget continues to look promising for Michigan counties, and MAC and its allies are having success in fending off ill-considered mining legislation in the Michigan House, MAC’s Podcast 83 team said in its most recent episode.

Host Stephan Currie and guests Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson of MAC’s Governmental Affairs staff reviewed the last week’s activity in Lansing in this episode, focusing on:

  • The state budget and the May 19 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, which may show state resources are not as high as were once expected;
  • The ongoing battle over gravel and sand mining regulation, with MAC and its allies battling against an attack on local control;
  • The latest on juvenile justice reform legislation, one of MAC’s key priorities for 2023; and
  • The arrival of legislation for a statewide septic code.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on May 15, by clicking here.

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

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

 

Next ‘Fiscally Ready’ session set for May 23

The Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension will co-host the next Fiscally Ready Communities training webinar, titled, “Financial Best Practices,” at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23.

This FREE, 90-minute training, updated for 2023, discusses the fundamental best practices for fiscal and operational planning and provides an overview of best practices in financial policies and good governance.

Training topics include:

  • Budgets
  • Multi-Year Budget Forecasting Tool
  • Cash controls
  • Debt
  • Grants
  • Internal controls
  • Purchasing policies
  • Receipting

Please register for webinar at https://events.anr.msu.edu/fiscalbestpractice.

For more information about Fiscally Ready Communities, please check out the Treasury Fiscally Ready Communities webpage. This webpage includes Treasury’s 32-page Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practices document, which we encourage all local officials to review.

If you have any questions, please email TreasLocalGov@michigan.gov with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”

 

Revenue sharing boost, other county priorities clear another budget hurdle

This week, the full House and Senate approved their fiscal 2024 budgets along party-line votes. Current plans include significant state investments for counties in a variety of areas. There are some key differences in House and Senate versions, however, which must now be resolved in joint conference committees. (To see the full text of any budget bill, click here and search by the bill number.)

Revenue sharing

House Bill 4292:

  • 17 percent hike in revenue sharing, divided into several segments:
    • 5 percentage points would be ongoing and for general use
    • 5 percentage points would be a one-time appropriation for general use
    • 2 percentage points would be ongoing and restricted to public safety uses
    • 5 percentage points would be a one-time appropriation restricted to public safety uses

These changes would place FY24 revenue sharing at more than $285 million.

Senate Bill 189:

  • Includes the same ongoing and one-time boosts for general use as HB 4292
  • Does not include additional funding for public safety
  • Ends the County Incentive Program and its requirements for the annual submission of verification of the posting of budgets online and the publication of citizens guides
  • Allows access to any unallocated funds from a $750 million appropriation for municipal pension assistance for use as grants for local governments with OPEB obligations funded at 7 percent or less
  • Adds a new program within the Department of Attorney General to assist communities with high crime, allocating $10 million and 45 full-time positions

The Senate plan would place FY24 revenue sharing at $269 million.

Health and human services

House Bill 4310:

  • Direct care wage increase
    • $2.35/hour and $140 million for an additional $1/hour increase on a one-time basis
  • Child Care Fund (community-based state reimbursement)
    • $31.5 million to implement a recommendation from the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform
    • Statutorily increases the state Child Care Fund Reimbursement rate from 50 percent to 75 percent for community-based juvenile justice services
  • Foster Family Maintenance Payment Increase
    • $12 million to fund a 5 percent increase to daily payments
  • Behavioral Health Recruiting and Retention (one-time)
    • $5 million for recruitment and retention programs for behavioral health professionals (using federal coronavirus state fiscal recovery funds)
  • Medicaid Mental Health Local Match
    • $5 million to replace a like amount of local funding used for Medicaid mental health supports and services (This amount reflects the fourth year of phasing out to the local match portion over a five-year period.)
  • Essential Local Public Health Services Increase
    • $14 million to support an estimated 50 percent of the costs of essential local public health services
  • Court-operated facility construction
    • $25 million to construct a 32-bed court operated facility in northern Michigan for youth involved in the court system

Senate Bill 190:

  • Direct care worker wage increases
    • 65 cents per hour increase in direct care worker wages
    • $3 per hour increase to non-direct care staff at long-term care facilities
  • Child Care Fund reimbursement rates
    • $31.5 million for increase to 75 percent in Child Care Fund for community-based services
  • Support for state share of Essential Local Public Health Services
    • $30 million for local health departments, ongoing support for essential local public health services
Public safety

House Bill 4280:

  • Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Grants
    • $57.2 million for Standard 8 (Standard 8 pertains to economic disincentives and incentives, including rates of payment for salaried public defenders, compensation and expenses for assigned counsel, contracting for indigent defense services, conflict counsel, reimbursements and payments.)

Senate Bill 195:

  • Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Grants
    • $30 million for Standard 8

Transportation

House Bill 4309:

  • $6.81 billion in total funding
  • Adds $400 million for local road preservation, which would be distributed to local road agencies based on population
    • This is in addition to Public Act 51 dollars
  • $100 placeholder for bridge bundling program
  • $75 million in local bus operating investments
  • $33 million for rail grade separation

Senate Bill 178:

  • $6.83 billion in total funding
  • $150 million for bridge bundling program
  • $100 million for Intermodal Capital Investment Grant Program
  • $150 million for local road funding projects for the largest six counties in Michigan, distributed by population
    • This is in addition to Public Act 51 dollars
  • $100 million for critical infrastructure projects
  • $100 million for high-speed rail
  • $50 million for a rail grade separation project in Trenton

Environment

House Bill 4249:

  • $1.45 billion in total spending ($395.5 million is General Fund)
  • $110 million in General Fund for replacing lead service lines and providing technical assistance to communities, supplemented by $100 million in one-time federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars
  • $40 million for grants to communities to establish wind, solar and energy storage facilities
  • $20 million for dam safety and risk reduction

Senate Bill 199:

  • $1.08 billion in total spending ($334.2 million is General Fund)
  • $100 million for replacing lead service lines and providing technical assistance to communities
  • $25 million for environmental justice and contaminated site clean-up
  • $25 million for dam safety and risk reduction

The Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) is scheduled for Friday, May 19 to set final resource numbers for FY24. After CREC, conference committees will be held. Final budget numbers are yet to be determined.

For more information on the budget, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org, Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org or Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC-opposed mining regulation bill still in committee

A House committee on Tuesday deferred action on legislation that attacks local control after local governments and residents delivered thoughtful testimony to keep aggregate zoning authority out of the hands of the state.

MAC appreciates the support of members who have used our digital advocacy tool in recent days to send messages of opposition to House Bills 4526-28.

The House Regulatory Reform Committee held a two-hour session Tuesday on the bills, which aim to eliminate local control of sand and gravel mining operations and grant regulating authority to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

Aggregate and construction industries argued in favor of the bills, based largely on how much money could be saved by placing the permitting power in the hands of the state and the inconvenience of having to deal with townships and public input.

EGLE has not taken a position, but department officials noted the department currently oversees just eight active mining permits and are uncertain how many more would fall under their purview should this legislation pass. The speakers were also unclear on the number of full-time employees they would need to run the program.

The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) and Michigan Municipal League (MML) spoke strongly in opposition to the legislation. In its testimony, MTA disproved several claims made by proponents, including one that 37 of its members had delayed, denied or disrupted the permitting process. In reality, MTA noted, these townships had simply hired attorneys to help review the proposals.

Though MAC did not testify, the association remains opposed to the legislation, as it would set a dangerous precedent on preemption of local control in other policy areas.

While the committee took no action on the bills this week, it will resume its review on May 16. MAC urges members to use our digital advocacy tool to send a message of opposition to their members of the Michigan House without delay.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

 

Local control under multiple attacks under Capitol dome

In the newest episode of MAC’s Podcast 83, host Stephan Currie and the MAC Governmental Affairs Team of Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson catch up on legislative activity, particularly the following:

  • Attack on local control, part I (mining): House Bills 4526-28 would gut the principle of local control in a bid to make it easier to site gravel and sand pits around Michigan.
  • Attack on local control, part II (labor): House Bill 4438 would extend binding arbitration to county correctional officers, thereby transferring decisions on county staffing and budget matters to unaccountable third parties.

MAC is asking members to use our digital advocacy tool to send messages of opposition to both legislative attacks as soon as possible.

However, those bills, and potentially every other legislative initiative, could be halted in a matter of weeks due to political gamesmanship in Lansing and the action of “sine die.”

As Bosworth explained, the narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate lack the votes on their own to give the fiscal year 2024 budget immediate effect to ensure the fiscal plan starts with the beginning of the state’s budget year on Oct. 1. The talk in Lansing is Senate Republicans will refuse to allow immediate effect, thereby forcing the effective date of state spending bills 90 days beyond Oct. 1, a fiscal crisis.

To avert this, Democrats are looking at “sine die.” To learn more, see the full video, taped on May 8, 2023.

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

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

 

Federal mandate could worsen medical care facility staffing crisis

An expected federal staffing mandate for nursing facilities could hurt medical care facilities (MCFs) that already are dealing with staffing shortages.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, federal law requires Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes to provide 24-hour licensed services, with a registered professional nurse used at least eight hours per day, seven days a week.

There is potential for the federal government to implement increased staffing requirements. Penalties for not meeting likely mandated staffing ratios will be detrimental to facilities that are already struggling to recruit qualified staff.

Michigan, though, already is facing a loss of about 10,000 nursing facility employees, or 17 percent of Michigan’s long-term care workforce, says the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM).

MAC and the Michigan Counties Medical Care Facilities Council, which represents the county MCFs, will continue to watch for federal mandates pertaining to increased staffing ratios and any potential penalties for not being able to meet such standards.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

 

Save taxes and trees by enrolling in MDARD’s Qualified Forest Program

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Qualified Forest Program (QFP) is now accepting applications for the 2024 tax year with applications being due no later 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.

“MDARD’s Qualified Forest Program is designed to encourage Michigan’s landowners to actively manage their privately owned forests for commercial harvest, wildlife habitat enhancement, and improvement of other forest resources,” said Jim Johnson, Director of MDARD’s Environmental Stewardship Division “The program provides two potential tax benefits for enrolled landowners in exchange for managing their forests in a sustainable fashion.”

The two possible benefits which helps save landowners on property taxes are:

  • School Tax Affidavit —Authorizes an exemption from the local school operation millage up to 18 mills of school operating taxes a year. The exemption only applies to land value.
  • Taxable Value Affidavit—Keeps the previous owner’s property taxable value from uncapping on enrolled land after a transfer of ownership.

Requirements for the program:

  • Parcels must be 20 acres or larger to qualify
  • A forest management plan must be written by a qualified forester
  • Buildings and structures are allowed, but are not eligible for exemption
  • Enrolled landowners must pay an annual fee; public access is not required

For parcels less than 40 acres, no less than 80 percent of that parcel must be stocked with productive forest. For parcels of 40 acres or more, at least 50 percent must be stocked with productive forest.

To apply, landowners are required to submit a QFP Application form, QFP Stand Summary and Harvest Schedule, copy of the most recent deed and/or land contract, copy of a tax bill(s), $50 application fee, and forest management plan.

To get started with the Qualified Forest Program or for more information, visit the www.Michigan.gov/QFP, call 517-284-5630, or reach out to your local conservation district.

 

MAC needs your help in stopping attack on local control over mining

Legislation preempting local control over sand and gravel mining was introduced this week in the House. In a joint statement with the Michigan Townships Association (MTA) and Michigan Municipal League (MML), MAC opposed House Bills 4526, 4527 and 4528, by Reps. Pat Outman (R-Montcalm), Tyrone Carter (D-Wayne), and Angela Witwer (D-Eaton) respectively, which aim to eliminate local control of aggregate mining operations and place the regulating authority in the hands of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Should this legislation become law, local governments would have no jurisdiction over the issuance of a permit, approval, or other authorization for the location, operation, abandonment, or reclamation of an aggregate mine. EGLE is being granted the authority to usurp local officials to work directly with the aggregate industry to approve mining sites and their activities, with little to no community input.

MAC, MTA, and MML worked together last term to block nearly identical legislation. This move would set a dangerous precedent on preemption of local control in other policy areas.

There has been a lack of transparency from the legislature during this process. Local input has not been sought on this legislation, indicating an unwillingness to negotiate.

HBs 4526-28 have been referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. We anticipate they will be approved by the committee next Tuesday, May 9.

MAC has set up an easy digital campaign for you to send your opposition to your state representative. To begin, just click this link TODAY!

Your voices are vital during this process. There is power in numbers!

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

 

State nixes Camp Grayling expansion after locals weigh in

Following input from county officials, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has rejected the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ proposal to expand Camp Grayling in Crawford County.

The DMVA sought to lease 162,000 acres of DNR-owned land surrounding the National Guard’s Camp Grayling facility for additional training activities for a 20-year period. The rejection came after a great deal of pushback from residents and public bodies in the area.

The counties of Crawford, Iosco, Kalkaska, and Roscommon all opposed the expansion. There were concerns that the training activities would negatively impact the quality of life for the communities surrounding Camp Grayling due to potential groundwater contamination, noise pollution, etc. Additionally, the land the DMVA desired is suitable for recreational activities and many advocated for its preservation.

There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the DNR and DMVA that would allow the DMVA to reapply for a portion of the land for low-impact training operations. Should this be approved, the DMVA would only have access to 52,000 acres and it would remain open to the public. The DNR has not yet indicated whether they would approve this application.

For more information about MAC’s land-use policies, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83: State budget could be quite good for counties, but key hurdle looms on May 19

Host Stephan Currie led MAC governmental affairs associates Samantha Gibson and Madeline Fata through the recent budget activity in Lansing that directly affects the county bottom line in the latest episode of Podcast 83.

Among key points made during the episode:

  • Counties could see a big increase in revenue sharing funds if the House and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer get their way.
  • County reimbursement via the Child Care Fund could be headed to 75 percent, from the current 50 percent.
  • Majority Democrats on transportation spending panels voted to spend more money on infrastructure than Gov. Whitmer requested.

All this budget work, however, hinges on the results of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference scheduled for May 19. At that point, legislators will know exactly how much revenue is available for use in the fiscal 2024 budget.

Currie and guests also recapped MAC’s recent Legislative Conference, which was highlighted by a panel of legislative leaders discussing their views on key county topics.

See the full video of the session, taped on May 1, 2023.

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

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

 

Opioid settlement webinar series starts on May 16

On May 16, the first of many webinars in an Opioid Settlement Technical Assistance Learning Series will be held. The series is hosted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, as part of their Technical Assistance Collaborative.

The webinars are intended to provide information from experts for officials and representatives from counties, municipalities and townships, including community members, to aid in their opioid settlement investment processes. The first webinar, titled “Determining Local Needs and Assets through Engaged Community Assessment” will focus on how to engage community stakeholders to assist in understanding the needs and assets of the community.

Click here to see the flier and to begin your registration process.

For more information on opioid settlements and technical assistance, contact MAC’s Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAC staffers brief West Central commissioners on legislative activity

County leaders from Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Newaygo, Oceana and Osceola received a legislative update from MAC’s Madeline Fata (right) and Samantha Gibson this week during a West Central Michigan Counties Association meeting in Mason County.

 

Report gives evidence-based options on using opioid funds

Evidence Based Strategies for Abatement of Harms from the Opioid Epidemic is a report that was created by Harvard Medical School, Blavatnik Institute for Health Care Policy and a team of authors. The authors describe this resource as having three main focuses:

  • “Generating a list of evidence-based abatement options, describing the infrastructure and context required to successfully implement such efforts, and assembling existing evidence about the potential impact of abatement options.”
  • “Providing cost estimates for scaling the activities.”
  • “Considering how the political, financial, and infrastructure circumstances of states may make some packages of abatement programs more practical than others.”

This resource provides tables within in strategy that outline a summary of the strategy, supporting evidence and information on outcomes and the level of support for each strategy. Information is presented related to different forms of treatment, primary care and hospital settings, recovery supports, harm reduction, individuals involved with the criminal-legal system, families and communities, data and policies. This report provides in-depth information and context around public health activities that can serve as a type of menu of options for local governments determining the most appropriate evidence-based strategies for their communities.

For more information on opioid settlements and technical assistance, contact MAC’s Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.

 

Seven Michigan county officials graduate from NACo academy

MAC congratulates the January 2023 NACo Leadership Academy graduates from Michigan. They join more than 6,000 graduates and current participants from across the country benefitting from the 12-week online program enabling existing and emerging county leaders to achieve their highest potential:

  • Erika Espeland, GIS director, Cass County
  • Monica McMichael, clerk/register, of deeds, Cass County
  • Ryan Laylin, commissioner, Cass County
  • Tami Stewart, equalization director, Cass County
  • Trudy Galla, planning director, Leelanau County
  • Nathan Roskey, administrator/controller, Sanilac County
  • Tyler Ray, animal control director, Tuscola County

The August cohort for the High Performance Leadership Academy is just around the corner. Prioritize leadership development today and deliver results for your team and county. Scholarships are available, including a fee of only $1,000 for the first person to register from a county that has not previously participated in the program. 

 

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