Archive for March, 2024

House committee hears testimony as trial court funding deadline looms

Trial court funding sources (April 2023).

Legislative efforts ramped up this week to address funding for Michigan’s trial courts, which are now facing the legal expiration of a key funding source.

Action is now in the House Judiciary Committee and focused on two bills: House Bill 5392, by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), extends the current May 1, 2024, sunset date on the authority of courts to levy fees to May 1, 2026; and House Bill 5534, by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland), which outlines a plan for the State Court Administrative Office to collect data on trial court costs and revenue sources and provide a report to the Legislature with proposals to implement the Trial Court Funding Commission’s recommendations from 2019.

MAC is supporting both efforts, though its immediate focus is on HB 5392, since inaction would create an immediate funding gap.  MAC testified to this point on Wednesday.

Courts stand to lose nearly $50 million in operational funding annually if HB 5392 does not pass. This loss of revenue, if not supplemented by the state, will fall on the counties to cover.

It is expected that HB 5392 will advance out of committee in an amended form to set a Dec. 31, 2026, sunset on fee authority.

Political dynamics in the House, however, could delay passage of both bills. The bills are expected to be tie-barred, meaning one cannot move through the legislative process without the other.

The bills are likely to be voted out by the committee next week and move to the House floor.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


MAC urges passage of bill to deter unfunded mandates on locals

Deena Bosworth testifies on HB 5353 before the House Local Government Committee.

A renewed effort to require legislators to consider the fiscal implications of new mandates on local governments prior to enacting them received MAC’s support in testimony before the House Local Government Committee this week.

House Bill 5353, by Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Kent), is a re-introduction of legislation that’s been introduced every legislative session since the Legislative Commission on Unfunded Mandates issued its report in 2009. In the last Legislature, Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson) was able to move SB 449 out of committee before it stalled on the Senate floor.

HB 5353, as with previous iterations, seeks a fiscal note process for legislation and departmental rules that increase or create new mandates on local units of government. It requires the identification of additional mandated services and a cost estimate for those services prior to the third reading of the bills in the originating legislative chamber or prior to the implementation of new departmental rules. This approach will allow legislators to have prior knowledge of the potential costs and be able to weigh their support or opposition based on complete information.

Funds required to perform the new mandates must be appropriated and sent out to local units before the locals would have to comply with the new mandates. The bill would affect new bills and rules only.

Twenty-eight states have similar reporting requirements, and many states have requirements that mandates must be funded. Michigan’s “Headlee Amendment” already requires that our mandates be funded. However, this requirement has not been routinely met.

With county-controlled resources (property taxes) already constrained by Headlee and Proposal A, additional service requirements imposed on counties by the state must come with the resources to meet them, MAC’s Deena Bosworth told committee members this week during her testimony (see 39:00 mark).

No vote was taken on the bill this week, but MAC is hopeful the bill will advance this spring.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Senate appropriations panel hears from MAC on juvenile justice reforms

Severe shortages in staffing and bed space are limiting the effects of juvenile justice reforms enacted last year, MAC told a Senate appropriations subcommittee this week.

Panel Chair Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Wayne) convened a hearing to gauge the state of juvenile justice reform at the state and county level and determine the needs of counties and courts providing juvenile justice services.

MAC’s Samantha Gibson was among stakeholders who spoke to the struggles faced at the county level in providing care and support to youth in the justice system.

Among the reforms from enacted last year and now being implemented, the Child Care Fund reimbursement rate increase from 50 percent to 75 percent is most beneficial, Gibson told the panel, allowing courts and counties to expand on previously provided programs or possibly create new ones they could not fund prior to the increased reimbursement rate.

MAC once again called on legislators and the Department of Health and Human Services to assist in addressing the staffing shortage in juvenile detention facilities. More funding to counties is needed to boost staff wages and, in turn, promote more effective recruitment and retention efforts.

Additional hearings on this topic are expected in coming weeks.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


State gets federal grant for juvenile services

Treatment options in counties for justice-involved or high-risk youth will be expanded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) with a $825,000 grant from the federal government.

The department intends to use these federal dollars to create more beds and more appropriate placement options for high-risk youth in need of long-term residential treatment. According to MDHHS, Project activities include:

  • Starting a Juvenile Justice Planning Council that will advance efforts to reduce the number of youth placed in detention or secure residential placements through effective prevention, intervention, diversion and re-entry services.
  • Identifying evidence-based practices, and culturally appropriate strategies that advance the long-term well-being and success of youth and their families.
  • Developing strategies to evaluate the economic impact of changes that result in cost savings and identifying how those cost savings can be reinvested into the larger continuum of care.
  • Creating a sustainable framework that supports reducing incarceration of youth and their diversion into community programs through a coordinated, collaborative strategy that also promotes safe communities.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


House committee backs bill to address sheriff staffing

Legislation to allow county boards of commissioners to choose if retired county employees who work at a sheriff’s office can continue to receive retirement benefits during a period of re-employment advanced out of committee this week.

House Bill 5203, by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland), received unanimous support from the House Local Government Committee and now moves to the House floor.

At present, if a person receiving retirement benefits becomes re-employed by the same county, their retirement payments are suspended for the length of their re-employment.  The bill would allow retirement benefits to continue during re-employment if a retiree is hired by a sheriff’s office.

Allowing this practice would help address the severe staffing shortages seen within county sheriff’s offices.

MAC supports this legislation.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Podcast team discusses MAC’s behind-the-scenes efforts at Capitol

While the State Capitol might not be dominating headlines with passage of major legislation so far in 2024, the work there for MAC is as expansive as ever, members of the Podcast 83 Team note in their newest episode.

The legislative slowdown continues from the results of last November’s elections when the Democrats lost their majority in the House, leaving a 54-54 chamber that will remain tied until the end of April when new members are seated for two vacancies.

MAC, however, continues to crisscross the Capitol campus to brief legislators on county priorities and needs.

MAC, for example, testified last week before a Senate appropriations panel on the association’s opioid settlement efforts and the reaction was widely positive, Samantha Gibson reported.

“Our feeling on feedback from senators after that committee hearing was that they were really glad and impressed to hear about what was going on at MAC,” Gibson said. “It is important to note that I don’t believe anyone has started spending their settlement dollars yet and that’s because counties are really taking the time to hear from stakeholders and make sure that as many people as possible are engaged in the process, that they’re going to spend those dollars as effectively as they can.”

Director of Governmental Affairs Deena Bosworth spoke about her planned testimony on  House Bill 5353 (see item above).

“MAC has always been supportive of any kind of unfunded mandates legislation dating back to 2009, when the legislative commission on unfunded mandates issued their report,” Bosworth explained. “We have not been successful in getting this all the way through the process and enacted. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can cross that threshold this time.

“The only teeth (in the bill) are that we don’t have to comply … if they don’t follow the fiscal note process,” Bosworth added. “

View the full video of the episode, recorded on March 4, 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.


Webinars explain how to challenge internet connection maps

The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) will soon be testing the unserved, underserved and served status of homes, businesses and community anchor institutes across the state. Individuals will be able to complete the BEAD Challenge Process to determine the status of their internet connection, verifying the accuracy of the maps determined by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The challenge process will be open March 25-April 23.

While individuals may complete the testing process, they cannot submit the data themselves. Only local units of government, tribal governments, internet service providers and nonprofit can submit this data to MIHI.

Many county buildings are considered community anchor institutes, so they are able to challenge their connection status through the process.

MAC will share reminders as the start of the challenge process nears. In the meantime, MIHI will be hosting two upcoming webinars for participants to learn more:

  • Designed for Eligible Challengers – Tuesday, March 12, 1 p.m.-2m.
    • Eligible Challengers are local units of government, tribal governments and nonprofits.This session will cover what types of challenges will be accepted, what type of evidence will be required, and how to use the State Challenge Portal to submit challenges and evidence.
  • Designed for Community Anchor Institutions – Thursday, March 14, 1:30 p.m.-2:15m.
    • CAIs are organizations that serve as hubs for digital access in their communities and, as a result, have increased connectivity. This session will cover how CAIs can verify whether they are correctly represented on the map and how they may monitor and respond to any challenge about whether they fit the definition of a CAI.

For more information on MAC’s work on broadband issues, contact Madeline Fata at


EPA opens grant program on hazardous waste

Funding opportunities for household hazardous waste collections and setting up waste diversion centers will soon be available to counties. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shared the following information with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy:

“U.S. EPA Region 5 has opened the FY2024-2025 Source Reduction Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity. This regional competitive grant program provides funding for projects that promote practical source reduction practices, tools, and training or Pollution Prevention (P2) approaches, such as reducing single-use plastics or using green cleaning or other safer chemical alternatives.

“Tribes, States, local governments and not-for-profit organizations are eligible for funding.  Region 5 anticipates awarding 1-4 projects ranging from $40,000-$240,000 up to a total of $240,000 in federal funds. The number of awards is subject to the availability of funds, the quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations. The application deadline is April 15, 2024.”

While a variety of projects are eligible, the program’s priority areas are:

  1. Prevention of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  2. Hazardous Materials Source Reduction
  3. Innovative approaches to conservation of materials and resources
  4. Environmental Justice through P2 Actions

For additional support, contact Claudia Santiago at 312-886-0674 or


NACo continues to accept Achievement Award applications

Since 1970, the NACo Achievement Awards have recognized outstanding county government programs and services. Through a non-competitive application process, noteworthy programs receive awards in 18 categories that cover a vast range of county responsibilities.

Applications are due March 30, 2024.

Michigan counties have won numerous awards in recent years for efforts ranging from the use of recycled materials for roads to cyber defense strategies to specialty courts.

Click here for more information or to begin your application process.


Opioid commission releases annual report

The Opioid Advisory Commission (OAC) is excited to share its 2024 Annual Report.

Please find the report, available here. It is also publicly accessible on the OAC’s website under “Commission Documents” > “Annual Reports.”

Also available is the 2024 supplemental brief. This document covers overarching themes, key takeaways/needs, and primary funding recommendations for appropriation from the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund.

The OAC is also in the process of finalizing its “Action Guide”, anticipated for release later this month. The Action Guide will lay out steps that state leaders can take to support/adopt OAC recommendations.

For information about MAC’s work on opioid settlements, click the image or contact Amy Dolinky at


Meet Peter Cressy

Retired Adm. Peter Cressy, director of Executive Leadership Programs at the Washington Leadership Institute, will speak on: “Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Churchill: A Strategic Approach to Leading in Times of Crisis and Change: Washington and these other great leaders manifested eight common characteristics in leading during times of crisis and change, ranging from visibility and communication to planning and collaboration. This popular session will explore examples of these traits during the times of crisis each of these outstanding leaders faced, which remain relevant today” at the 2024 Legislative Conference.

More about Cressy

Peter Cressy, Ed.D., RADM (Ret.), has been the Director of Executive Leadership Programs at the Washington Leadership Institute for the past eight years. He served 28 years in the United States Navy in command and senior staff positions, followed by eight years in higher education as a college president and university chancellor, where he was also a tenured professor of management. He later served 16 years as the President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council trade association. Dr. Cressy has taught graduate and undergraduate classes at several universities and colleges.

To register for the conference, click here.

Legislative Conference keynoter will address leadership in times of change

Leading in times of crisis and change will be the theme of the keynote address at the 2024 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference, to be held April 29-May 1 in Lansing.

Retired Adm. Peter Cressy, director of Executive Leadership Programs at the Washington Leadership Institute, will speak on:

Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Churchill: A Strategic Approach to Leading in Times of Crisis and Change: Washington and these other great leaders manifested eight common characteristics in leading during times of crisis and change, ranging from visibility and communication to planning and collaboration. This popular session will explore examples of these traits during the times of crisis each of these outstanding leaders faced, which remain relevant today.”

Registration is now open for the 2024 conference, with sessions at both the DoubleTree (formerly Radisson Hotel) and the Lansing Center. The event is co-hosted by the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC).

Additional plenary sessions will feature:

  • A discussion with the Legislative “Quadrant” (senior officials in the House and Senate)
  • Remarks from National Association of Counties (NACo) President Mary Jo McGuire of Ramsey County, Minnesota
  • MAC Legislative Update
  • Remarks from MAC President Jim Storey of Allegan County
  • Presentation of certificates to the 2024 graduating class of County Commissioner Academy

Breakout sessions on current challenges for county leaders, including broadband funding updates, lessons learned from the opioid settlements, impact of renewable energy siting legislation, options for infrastructure funding to address the expansion of electric vehicles and much more!

A Legislative Reception will be held on the evening of Tuesday, April 30.

Registration is online only and may be done by clicking here.








Member – Full Conference Rate | $425

Member – Two-Day Rate | $370

Member – One-Day Rate | $125 to $245 (depending on day)

Non-Member – Full Conference Rate | $525

Non-Member – Two-Day Rate | $470

Non-Member – One-Day Rate | $165 to $305 (depending on day)

Spouse Meal Package Rate | $225

The DoubleTree (formerly Radisson Hotel) is providing a special group rate of $142.95 for the event and is connected via the newly renovated pedestrian bridge to the Lansing Center itself. The bridge now offers improved lighting, new security systems, ventilation system and carpet.

Check-in is 4 p.m.; check-out is noon. MAC has designed the conference agenda to ensure attendees will have no issues in coordinating their schedules on check-out day.

The cutoff date to reserve your room is April 4, 2024. There is no guarantee that rooms will be available until April 4, so you are encouraged to reserve early.

For agenda details and other information, please consult the MAC website.


MAC briefs Senate panel on opioid settlement efforts

MAC’s Amy Dolinky and Samantha Gibson testified before the Senate Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday to share the association’s work with counties relating to opioid settlement dollars.

The committee also heard testimony from DHHS and the Opioid Advisory Commission (OAC).

In her testimony Dolinky highlighted MAC’s role in providing planning and capacity building for opioid settlement funds. MAC has created a toolkit for local spending, resource center, resource library, local government learning community, informational webinars, and numerous other resources and templates for use by local governments.

Dolinky reported that 66 counties have engaged in some capacity with MAC’s technical assistance. Most counties have created steering committees to ensure stakeholder engagement, review local data and develop recommendations of priority areas where funds may be used to share with their boards of commissioners.

MAC has advised for intentional effort to include local voices in planning processes and decision-making, as well as long-term and sustainability planning efforts. Most counties have not yet spent funds, Dolinky explained, as they are focused on ensuring they understand the specific needs of their communities and the ways in which funds can be best leveraged alongside other funding sources addressing substance use.

Later that day, Dolinky participated in a media discussion on opioid settlement work with other health policy leaders in Michigan. To view or listen to that discussion, click here.

For more information on the opioid services, contact Amy Dolinky at


Counties enjoy 90 percent success rate in millage elections

Michigan counties that asked their residents for revenue support this week achieved a 90 percent success rate, according to results collated by the Gongwer News Service.

Nineteen of 21 county-related millage requests (either renewals or increases) gained voter approval, a success rate of 90 percent, well above the overall rate of 83 percent for all millage elections this cycle.

Click here to see county results.


‘ForwardTogether’ is theme of 2024 National County Government Month

National County Government Month (NCGM), held each April, is an annual celebration of county government. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties to actively promote county roles and responsibilities in serving residents. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective or innovative county programs and raise public awareness of services provided to the community. 

This year’s National County Government Month theme is consistent with NACo President Mary Jo McGuire’s focus for the year, ForwardTogether.  

ForwardTogether is about connecting, inspiring and leading – pillars of county government that build trust and drive towards solutions. Counties are encouraged to reflect on this theme as you choose how to celebrate NCGM. In particular, consider how NCGM is so intrinsically connected to the responsibility of county leaders to inspire our residents to take an interest in and engage with their communities, and how it presents an opportunity to lead in new and growing ways.

To download a toolkit from NACo for our NCGM activities, click here.


Counties to get $43.5M for marijuana payments

Seventy-one counties will share in $43.5 million in revenue from the Michigan Department of Treasury for the taxes and fees collected in state fiscal 2023 under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (Initiated Law 1 of 2018).

The distribution rate for FY 2023 adult-use marijuana payments is slightly over $59,000 per licensed marijuana retail store or microbusiness. Each city, village, township and county will receive a payment based on the number of licensed marijuana retail stores and microbusinesses located within its jurisdiction as of September 30, 2023.

A listing of adult-use marijuana payments can be found in the following document:

For more information about distributions under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, go to Questions regarding payments can be emailed to or call 517-335-7484.


Forum will focus on mass shootings and local responses

A forum to brief county and other local leaders on resources to prevent and respond to mass shootings will be held on April 17 in Lansing.

“School Mass Shooting & Critical Incident Preparedness Forum: The Role of Local Leaders” which run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Crowne Plaza Lansing, 925 S. Creyts Rd. 

“The MSU and Oxford Village shootings have taught us that a school shooting can happen anywhere at any time. We owe it to our children to be prepared. Give the importance of this issue, former Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley (who responded to a mass shooting in Dayton) and Lansing Mayor Andy Schor will be keynote speakers. They will be joined by subject matter experts who will brief us on crisis communications, victim services, law enforcement training needs, school safety and available resources for county and other local leaders,” explained event organizer Sarah Peck of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University’s School of Law.

Registration link:

Contact Peck at for questions.


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‘Fiscally Ready’ session will feature advice on budget work

How to process and communicate your budget will be among the topics explored at the next “Fiscally Ready Communities” webinar on March 14.

The Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) host these free trainings that are designed to assist appointed and elected officials with entry and intermediate level budgeting knowledge.

The March 14 session, which will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Eastern), will feature:

  • The budget process and communicating your budget
  • Dealing with uncertainty in a changing economy
  • Understanding key financial variables, such as:
    • The “rainy day fund”/fund balance/net position
    • Understanding how the tax base provides revenue
    • Understanding volatile revenue
    • Forecasting revenue and expenditures
  • How to track your budget performance, including reviewing and amending your budget
  • How spending in the present will have an impact on the future.

Click here to register.

For more information about Fiscally Ready Communities, please check out the Treasury Fiscally Ready Communities webpage.

For questions, email with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”


Comment sought on best practices for underfunded retirement plans

The Municipal Stability Board is soliciting feedback on February 2024 revisions to the Corrective Action Plan Development: Best Practices and Strategies document, which was originally issued in 2018.

Section 8 of Public Act 202 of 2017 requires the Municipal Stability Board (the Board) to review and annually update a list of best practices and strategies that will assist underfunded local governments in developing their corrective action plans. At their meeting on Feb. 21, the Board approved an updated best practices and strategies document, which can be viewed at the Board’s website along with other documents at Municipal Stability Board.

The Best Practices and Strategies document includes the following three best practice principles: Plan Funding, Modern Plan Design, and Effective Plan Administration. It also includes detailed corrective action plan approval criteria, including underfunded status, legality, and affordability.

Any individual or organization that would like to submit comments should provide those comments in writing by March 15, 2024.

Comments may be submitted by email to with the subject line titled, “Best Practices Comment: 2024.”


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