Give locals a ‘true sharing’ of revenue, MAC tells Senate panel

MAC and other local government groups explained the key to restoring the full meaning of state revenue sharing is creating a dedicated revenue stream and trust fund to exist outside the annual appropriations process to a Senate appropriations panel this week.

“Last year shows that the money that goes to revenue sharing for local units of government is just based on whatever money the state has available. It’s not really based on a true sharing of the state revenue,” said MAC Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth. “When we got to conference committee, local units of government were devalued, and the money was pushed elsewhere.”

Bosworth was referring to this chart (see at right) in her presentation before the General Government Subcommittee that showed how, in FY24, lawmakers backed higher revenue sharing until the waning hours of the budget process. (View her testimony, starting at 33:14 mark.)

To avoid such situations, MAC and others developed a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund plan embodied in House Bill 4274, by Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), and HB 4275, by Rep. Mark Tisdel (R-Oakland). The bills would require that 8 percent of the revenue generated by 4 percentage points of the state’s sales tax rate go into the fund.

Counties would receive 46.14 percent of this total, which would be $273 million in the first year, an increase of nearly $16 million from the current total.

The bills cleared the House last fall with a huge, bipartisan majority.

“All of the things that counties do at the local level are mandated either in the (Michigan) Constitution or by statute,” Bosworth advised the committee in urging adoption of the fund. “There are very few things that counties governments do for their residents that they have the discretion to do. Most of them are mandated.”

This week’s hearing was informational, as the bills are before the Senate Finance Committee. MAC is aiming for Senate action on them once the Legislature returns to sessions on Tuesday, April 8.

To send a ready-made message of support for these bills, just visit MAC’s Advocacy Center.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Renewable energy industry gives its take on controversial siting law

Solar and wind developers shared a much different interpretation than locals on the new renewable energy siting law in the second in a series of public meetings hosted by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) this week.

MPSC staff heard from developers and their attorneys about their concerns for implementing Public Act 233, which takes effect this November. MAC vigorously opposed the legislation in 2023 that became PA 233.

The law references “each affected local unit of government” numerous times throughout, and while locals have interpreted that to mean the city, village or township, in addition to the county a project lies in, developers say it only applies to the local unit handling the zoning.

During the meeting, they argued that only the primary local unit should receive the $2,000 per megawatt payment and the maximum $75,000 in intervenor funds. A legal representative for the developers strongly cautioned the MPSC that while they may grant a local unit up to $75,000 to contest the MPSC over a permitting decision, they should allocate much less.

Local governments and planning experts spoke during the first session and shared different concerns.

The MPSC must now determine how to proceed through the rule-making process. It is likely these disputes will be elevated, and a court of law may ultimately have to decide how to interpret the legislation. Much of the language in the law was drafted without proper consultation from stakeholders.

The next session is set for April 5 and is open to the public, though the time has not yet been announced. In the meantime, the MPSC is seeking feedback from the public. It has shared a list of questions and have asked that responses be submitted by March 31:

  • What guidance or information are local units of government and communities seeking from the MPSC about implementing the new siting law (Public Act 233)?
  • What lessons learned, resources, or expertise do local units of government and communities have to share with the MPSC?
  • What types of consultant specialties were needed and who are the consultants you worked with in your evaluation of past developer applications?
  • How can the MPSC incorporate local considerations into the process when a developer files an application at the MPSC?
  • How should the MPSC determine the amount of the 1-time grant (up to $75,000 per affected local government and not more than $150,000 in total) for local intervenor compensation?

Responses can be sent to or

Michigan Public Service Commission
Attn: Cathy Cole
PO Box 30221
Lansing, MI 48909

MAC encourages members to stay tuned for more information.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Could ‘perfect user fee’ dig Michigan out of $3 billion hole in county road resources?

Michigan has a nearly $3 billion a year funding gap to maintain its county road network, an expert in the field told MAC’s Podcast 83 in a new special episode.

“We’re short about $2.8 billion a year for county road agencies,” said Ed Noyola, chief deputy and legislative director for the County Road Association of Michigan. “So that is really a number that boggles the mind, and I’m sure it’s going to boggle the minds of our legislators and the governor’s office to include on top of what MDOT needs and what the cities and villages need.”

As daunting as the need is, finding a solution may be more of a challenge, Noyola warned.

“There is no way that the amount of money that we have is going to maintain (the roads) that we all have to maintain and make improvements to, period,” Noyola said.

“We’ve tried not to tell the Legislature what’s the best choice or how much they need to invest in the infrastructure. I don’t think we can play that anymore. I think we have to be direct and honest with them as to how much we need. They can decide whether they can meet that figure or not, but at least we have to tell them how much we need to increase it in the short term,” he explained.

What is a “mileage-based user fee” and how would it work?

A promising new solution, Noyola says is the “mileage-based user fee.”

“It is a perfect user fee. If you drive 10,000 miles, you’re going to pay for 10,000 miles; if you drive 50,000 miles, you’re going to pay for 50,000 miles of road driving.”

Hear more about what the County Road Association thinks needs to be done ASAP on this issue by viewing the full session, recorded on March 5.

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

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


Deadline approaching for 1% of revenue sharing payment

Counties are required, as part of the FY2024 budget, to certify that they have fully obligated or expended all their ARP funds by Dec. 31, 2023.

The Michigan Department of Treasury Form 6056 must be completed and submitted to Treasury by March 30.

 As of 8 a.m. on March 18, 40 counties had yet to comply with the reporting to receive the additional 1 percent of their revenue sharing payments.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Report offers suggestions on spending opioid dollars

Recommendations on how counties could deploy their opioid settlement funds are included in a new report paid for by the Michigan Opioid Partnership.

The partnership, a public-private collaborative including representatives from Michigan state government and key philanthropic organizations and the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT) at the University of Michigan, worked to understand the needs and challenges of community-based recovery organizations in supporting recovery for individuals and families.

CHRT researched gaps and identified opportunities to address those gaps with relation to opioid settlement funding and to develop potential recommendations for state government and local governments. The report outlines areas for investment with opioid settlement funds in the areas of recovery and harm reduction, highlighting specific practices and pointing to Michigan-specific examples of these activities. Primary strategies presented in the report include recovery housing, peer support, recovery community organizations, engagement centers and jail services.

Read the full report here.

For additional information, contact Amy Dolinky at


Interested in national policy? Apply for a NACo committee seat

A meeting of one of NACo’s many policy committees.

NACo members have the opportunity to serve on 31 committees, caucuses, task forces and advisory boards to inform national policy-making and help solve problems impacting counties, boroughs and parishes.

Policy Steering Committees

If you want to serve as a member of one of NACo’s 10 policy steering committees, you simply need to email MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie at MAC is responsible for these appointments. You do not need to complete any forms. Just list your first and second choices for committees. It is NACo practice to reappoint all members each year, so if you currently serve on a committee as a regular member, you will be renewed automatically. Please note that you can only serve on one Policy Steering Committee.

Leadership (chair/vice chair): All chairs and vice chairs of all committees and subcommittees are appointed by the NACo president each spring, with appointments announced at the NACo Annual Conference in July. Appointments are made through an application process. The Presidential application portal for incoming President Supervisor Jame Gore is currently open through April 26, 2024. You can access the site to apply here. Detailed application instructions are outlined below. Please note that you can only serve on one Policy Steering Committee, so if you are appointed to leadership for a committee, you can’t serve as a member on another Policy Steering Committee. …



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.


Cycling infrastructure for rural areas is topic of MDOT class

Planning and designing approaches for cycling facilities in a “rural context” will be the focus of a three-hour webinar to be offered twice in April by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Each session will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern.

Click here to register for the April 10 session.

Click here to register for the April 30 session.

The program will look deeper into the challenges and solutions for establishing safe and connected bicycle networks within and between rural communities. These concepts will be illustrated using national best practices, case studies and actual projects in rural communities.

This free course is for village, city, township and county managers, engineers, planners and officials.

RSVP by April 5 for the April 10 class or by April 26 for the April 30 class.

The class link will be provided by a separate email prior to the day of the class.


Staff picks


Trial court funding reform bills pass House committee

Time-sensitive legislation to secure key trial court funding took its first step toward passage this week.

House Bill 5392, by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), extends a quickly approaching May 1, 2024, expiration (“sunset”) of the authority of trial courts to levy fees that constitute a key part of their operational funding.

However, HB 5392 is now “tie-barred” to a separate measure through actions of the House Judiciary Committee. The companion bill, HB 5534, by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland), outlines a plan for the State Court Administrative Office to conduct data collection on certain 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. A “tie-bar” means both bills must advance together.

MAC sees broad support for the sunset extension, but the prospects for the companion bill are much less clear. If, for political reasons, the legislation is delayed and not signed before May 1, a funding gap will result.

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

MAC supports both HB 5392 and 5534, with our first priority to move HB 5392 and extend the sunset prior to May 1, as was testified to last Wednesday.

These bills now move to the House floor.

MAC is asking members to take immediate action to urge quick legislative passage. Please visit MAC’s advocacy center to share your support for HBs 5392 and 5534 with your elected officials. The legislative window is closing, as there are limited days for the Legislature to advance the bills to the governor prior to May 1.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


MAC joins campaign to repeal state control of energy siting

The MAC Board of Directors has voted to join the Citizens for Local Choice, a coalition of groups pushing for a statewide vote to repeal sections of a state law that put an unelected state panel in final charge of siting of energy generation facilities.

“What we have heard from our own counties, and from colleagues across the state, is that this law enacted last year is a clear attack on local control, an attack Michigan’s 83 counties cannot allow to continue,” said Jim Storey, president of the MAC Board of Directors and chair of the Allegan County Board. MAC is aware of at least nine counties that already have passed resolutions in support of the ballot campaign.

MAC consistently opposed the act as it worked its way through the State Capitol last year, testifying on the consequences of usurping local control and suggesting changes that could facilitate the generation of clean energy without making the state Public Service Commission the final answer on local land use.

“It’s unfortunate we have reached this point, but this measure is so ill-conceived, so counter to the interests of communities and good governance, that MAC has to take this stand,” added Stephan Currie, executive director.

What’s next?

MAC encourages county leaders to support the coalition’s work in several ways:

  1. Pass a county resolution in support of it. The coalition has a template you can use for this purpose. Click here for it.

  2. Consider circulating petitions for it. Click here to request a petition from the coalition. (Please note there are specific rules on the collection process, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them; the coalition has text and video briefings on that process.)

The coalition now has petitions in the field to collect the 550,000 signatures the group thinks is advisable to meet state requirements for ballot proposals. Only 356,958 valid signatures are needed under state law, but the coalition has set a higher goal to ensure the legal requirement is easily met.)

Time is short, though, as the deadline to collect signatures is approaching on May 29, the deadline to reach the November 2024 ballot.

  1. Contact your county captain or volunteer to be one. The coalition has at least one county captain in 62 counties, but more are needed, particularly in Southeast Michigan. To volunteer as one, sign up on the website or send a note to

  2. Donate to the campaign. While the coalition is having success using volunteer petition collectors and not using paid ones, unlike other ballot efforts, a full statewide campaign to convince voters this fall will not come cheap. To donate directly to the coalition, click here.

For more information on MAC’s work in defense of local control, contact Director of Governmental Affairs Deena Bosworth at


‘Polluter pay’ package would bring problems for counties

Action could occur in coming weeks on a so-called “polluter pay” package that MAC opposes due to the burdens it would impose on county agencies.

Senate Bills 605-611, led by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Washtenaw), add new regulations for businesses and local units of government to own and operate brownfield sites, making it difficult and undesirable to do so. Environmentalists are referring to the package as “polluter pay,” while industry representatives are calling it an attack on brownfield redevelopment.

The lead bill would require all owners of a contaminated property, whether they are responsible for the contamination or not, to conduct a baseline environmental assessment and submit a “due care plan” to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) every five years. A due care plan must include specific actions, plus monitoring and reporting requirements.

Contaminated sites will need to be cleaned up to residential standards, the highest level possible. Even if the site is meant to be used as a parking lot, the owner will need to follow remediation guidelines as if the site were to be a neighborhood. Financial considerations are not factored into this requirement in any way.

There is a stipulation for financial assurance on any facility that houses a pollutant. Many counties or their road agencies own salt sheds and oil brine tanks for road maintenance activities. For each of these facilities, a county would need to take out a bond for 70 percent of the cost to remediate the release of all pollutants on site. The response cost would be estimated per pound, or by a third party approved by EGLE.

Other provisions include medical monitoring, allowing EGLE to circumvent the rules-making process and changes to the statute of limitations for discovering contaminants. Aside from brownfield sites and road agencies, county airports also could be affected by this legislation.

MAC anticipates a hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment sometime in April. MAC will share updates as they become available.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Podcast 83 discusses court funding, energy conundrums

What should have been a simple extension on state authority for local courts to levy fees for their operations has turned into a complicated bout of legislative gamesmanship, the Podcast 83 team reported in its newest episode.

On May 1, the state law that allows trial courts to impose fees on defendants, a key part of the overall court funding system, expires. For many months, MAC has been working to, at minimum, get that authority extended to 2026, but the extension may not come until after the authority expires, Samantha Gibson explained.

“Last Wednesday, I testified in the House Judiciary Committee in support of two bills. One … extends the quickly approaching May 1 sunset date … (T)he other bill that MAC supports … that’s a plan for a plan, if you will, that requires the State Court Administrator’s Office to do data collection on court costs, revenue, judicial caseload and a few other things to then give a report to legislators in May of 2026,” Gibson said.

The plan, as of March 11, was to “tie-bar” the bills, meaning either both advance or neither. This complicates passage of the fee authority, especially in light of the Legislature’s upcoming calendar and the continued 54-54 seat deadlock in the House, Gibson said.

In the end, MAC expects fee authority to be extended, but there could be a gap in “coverage,” which would mean missing funds from courts that would have to be made up by someone. “It’s MAC’s position that if the Legislature withholds the bills, and a funding gap occurs that the state is responsible for backfilling those funding and allocating that to local courts, which we saw back in October of 2022,” Gibson added.

In other news:

Madeline Fata reported on a “town hall” held by the state Public Service Commission about the new law giving it the final say on the siting of wind and solar facilities.

“There certainly were a lot of red flags raised (on interpreting the law),” Fata said, “but they’re not done. There’s another meeting on March 19 at 1:30 p.m. There’s a virtual link available. I think it’s great for members to participate on those. They’re also accepting public comment between now and March 25.”

Deena Bosworth reviewed her testimony before the House Local Government Committee on House Bill 5353, a measure to require legislators to consider the fiscal effects of their decisions in order to deter any new unfunded mandates on local governments.

“We’ve seen iterations of this bill in the past. Is there anything different in this bill that would kind of help it or hurt it or anything? As you know, we obviously haven’t seen much action in the past,” Bosworth noted.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on March 11, 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.


Local governments explain concerns on energy siting law to state panel

Local governments voiced concerns over implementing the new renewable energy siting law in the first in a series of public meetings hosted by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) last week.

MPSC staff heard from local governments and planning professionals about their many concerns for implementing Public Act 233, which takes effect this November. Among concerns raised were the short timeline for local units to adopt compatible renewable energy ordinances; whether or not locals can include provisions for buffering or screening in their plans; and who enforces compliance after the permitting process is completed.

MAC vigorously opposed the legislation in 2023 that became PA 233.

While the MPSC did not specifically address these concerns, the session served as more of a learning opportunity for their team. MAC notes that the MPSC is an appointed body whose primary function is ratemaking; it has little experience in land use planning or zoning.

The next session is set for March 19 at 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public. We encourage members to tune in and learn more about the upcoming changes.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Bill to help curb sheriff staffing shortages advances to Senate

Legislation aimed at addressing staffing shortages in sheriff offices cleared the Michigan House this week in a broad, bipartisan vote.

House Bill 5203, by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland), would 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.

By 94-12, HB 5203 was passed out of the House this week. It now moves to the Senate Local Government Committee.

Currently, if a person who has retired and receives retirement benefits becomes re-employed by the same county, their retirement benefit payment is suspended for the length of their re-employment.  The bill would allow retirement benefits to continue during re-employment if a retiree becomes employed by a county sheriff’s office.

Allowing counties to re-employ sheriff’s office employees and maintain their retirement benefits will 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


Healthy Climate Conference will focus on ‘Accelerating Action’

With unprecedented climate investments from federal and state sources, recently passed legislation, and executive actions to help meet the goals in the MI Healthy Climate Plan (Plan), Michigan is positioned better than ever to achieve the main goal in the Plan of a healthy, prosperous, carbon-neutral Michigan for all residents by 2050.

To learn more, join the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) for the 2024 Michigan Healthy Climate Conference at the Lansing Center on May 16-17, 2024.

Building on these actions and the success of last year’s conference, the department is hosting this two-day conference to continue the mobilization of engaged stakeholders and review the actions being taken around the state to implement the goals in the Plan. This year’s conference is expected to draw more than 500 attendees from local, state, federal, and tribal governments, universities, nonprofits, community groups and businesses.

With the theme of this year’s conference being “Accelerating Action,” speakers will share about their success stories, challenges, funding opportunities, technical assistance, and other actions they are taking in the six priority areas of the Plan:

  • Commit to environmental justice and pursue a just transition
  • Clean the electric grid
  • Electrify vehicles and increase public transit
  • Repair and decarbonize homes and businesses
  • Drive clean innovation in industry
  • Protect Michigan’s land and water

Click here to start your registration.


Legislature adjourns for the year

As predicted, the Michigan legislature has completed its work for 2023 and is expected to adjourn sine die next week Tuesday.  This early adjournment for the year is in part due to the need to have certain previously passed pieces of legislation enacted early, the most pressing of which is the movement of the presidential primary election date. Public Act 2 of 2023 by Sen. Moss (D-Oakland) changes the election date to the fourth week of February. The bill was approved earlier this year but was not granted immediate effect. If a bill does not receive immediate effect, it is not implemented until 90 days after adjournment.  Traditionally, the legislative term ends mid-December.

Moving the presidential primary date was a priority for Governor Whitmer and makes Michigan the fifth state in the nation to hold the election. The Legislature had several late nights over the past few weeks to tie up loose ends before heading back to their districts for the year.


Solar siting reform legislation will soon be signed into law

House Bill 5120 by Rep. Aiyash (D-Wayne) passed the Senate on Wednesday along party lines and received a concurrence vote in the House later that day. The bill will take effect 1 year after the governor signs it. The following provisions are included in the final version:

  • The bill applies to all solar facilities greater than 50 megawatts, and wind facilities greater than 100 megawatts.
  • If a local unit wants the responsibility of approving or denying applications, it must adopt a “compatible renewable energy ordinance” (CREO). Locals will have 1 year from effective date to create and adopt a CREO. A CREO cannot be any more restrictive than what is prescribed in the bill.
  • If a local unit does adopt a CREO, a developer must apply to them first and the local unit has 120 days to approve or deny the application. The deadline can be extended up to an additional 120 days if the local unit and applicant agree.
  • If the local fails to act in 120 days or if the application is denied but meets the requirements of the bill, the Public Service Commission (PSC) then reviews the application.
  • If the PSC approves an application, the local CREO can be voided if the PSC feels the local’s initial denial was unreasonable.
  • If the PSC approves the application, the applicant will give the local unit $75,000 to be used as an intervention fund.
  • The applicant will give the local $2,000 per megawatt for public safety or infrastructure improvements, but the applicant must agree to the terms of use.

MAC’s Madeline Fata testified in opposition to the bill on Tuesday in the Senate Energy Committee. Some of Fata’s concerns were resolved in the latest draft but the substance of the bill remained largely unchanged between chambers. While the latest version may appear to preserve local control to a degree, locals will be limited in what they can and cannot consider when deciding on an application.

The governor is expected to sign the bill in the coming weeks, especially since the clean energy package was also approved this week. Senate Bill 271 by Sen. Geiss (D-Wayne) passed along party lines in both chambers to set a renewable energy standard of 50% by 2030, and 100% clean energy by 2040. The siting reform legislation was introduced to supplement the clean energy package, with the goal of making it easier for solar and wind facilities to be built across the state.


Juvenile justice reform bills headed to governor

A majority of the 20-bill package to make sweeping reforms to the juvenile justice system, and which is backed by MAC, gained approval in the Michigan House and Senate this week. All but one of the bills, House Bill 4630, were passed and sent to the Governor.

House Bills 4624-43 and Senate Bills 418-423, 424425426427428-429430-431 and 432-437 are a result of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform’s recommendations provided last July. House Bills 4625, 4626, 4628-4629, 4633, 4636-4637, 4639-4640 and 4643, alongside Senate Bills 418, 421, 425, 426, 428, 429, 431, 432, 435 and 436 are headed to the Governor’s desk.

The Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform was established in 2021 and tasked with assessing Michigan’s juvenile justice data and identifying ways to improve the system. 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, R-Jackson and a former county commissioner, also served on the panel.

The task force discovered several challenges to strengthening public safety and improving outcomes for youth. This led to the set of 32 recommendations provided to the Legislature last year. The recommendations would improve community safety, reduce disparities and improve youth outcomes.

SB 418, by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Wayne), enhances the County 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, including 17-year-olds. These changes are essential to ensuring counties have the resources to implement and utilize these approaches. The reimbursement rate for residential services will be 50 percent, including the 17-year-old population.

SBs 419423 and HBs 4625-29  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.

SB 424 and HB 4630, by Sen. Sue Shink (D-Washtenaw) and Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), respectively, would expand the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission to include development, oversight, and compliance with youth defense standards in local county defense systems. MAC has worked to ensure there would be no increase in the local share for MIDC services, that 40 percent of the total grant amount would be received upfront and that partially indigent reimbursements will remain. House Bill 4630 never received a vote in the Senate. It remains to be seen if the legislature will revisit this bill in 2024.

If enacted, this legislation would take effect Oct. 1, 2024.

MAC supports this package.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


State House split evenly between Democrats and Republicans

Two Representatives exited the Michigan House this week, leaving a 54-54 split between Democrats and Republicans. On Tuesday, Reps. Coleman (D-Oakland) and Stone (D-Oakland) won mayoral races in their respective hometowns of Westland and Warren. Both will be seated next week, and the House will have a split majority for the first time in nearly 30 years.

While Rep. Tate (D-Wayne) remains speaker of the House and Democrats will retain control over the chamber, the House will struggle to pass partisan policies until those seats are filled via special election. It is expected that a special election will be held in mid-May. Both parties will need to work together and heavily negotiate to move any legislation in the spring.


Counties can create Opioid Fatality Review Teams under House-approved legislation

This week, the House approved Senate Bill 133, by Sen. McCann (D-Kalamazoo). SB 133 would allow a county or group of counties to establish an Opioid Fatality Review Team, by creating the Overdose Fatality Review Act.

If a county chooses, an opioid fatality review team would consist of county officials, individuals from law enforcement, and those from public health agencies. The main goal of a team would be to identify potential causes of drug overdose in their community and recommend law or policy changes for the prevention of those causes and overdoses.

Senate Bill 133 now heads to the governor.

MAC supports this legislation. For more information on this issue, please contact Samantha Gibson at


Medication aide legislation passed by Senate

A package to create medication aide registration and permits, supported by the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC), was approved by the Senate this week.

House Bills 4885 and 4923, by Reps. McKinney (D-Wayne) and Aragona (R-Macomb), respectively, would allow for the training and registration of medication aides, similar to conditions for registration and training for nurse aides, commonly referred to as certified nurse aides, or CNAs.

These bills will address staffing shortages within county medical care facilities, likely increase retention and recruitment for nurses, nurse aides, and medication aides, as well as reduce overall errors by freeing up nurses within facilities. HBs 4885 and 4923 now wait for the governor’s signature.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Senate approves additional judgeships in Kent and Macomb counties

New judgeships will soon exist in Kent and Macomb counties after the Senate passed House Bills 4823 and 4920, by Rep. Wozniak (R-Macomb) and Rep. Fitzgerald (D-Kent), respectively. HB 4823 would add a probate court judge in Macomb County, while HB 4920 would add a district judge in Kent County.

The Macomb Probate Court now has two probate judges, so HB 4823 would add a third slot. HB 4920 would add a judge to the 63rd District Court in Kent County. However, the Kent seat would still need approval from the Kent County Board of Commissioners, even after any legislation is signed into state law. After approval from the Board of Commissioners, an election would have to be held in 2024 to elect a new judge.

The bills now head to the governor’s desk and await her signature.

MAC supports this legislation.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Opioid Advisory Commission announces survey and listening sessions

The Opioid Advisory Commission (OAC) is excited to announce the release of the Michigan Opioid Settlement Funds: Community Impact Survey and Community Voices Listening Sessions.

The survey takes roughly ten (10) minutes to complete and covers questions related to lived experience, access to care, and recommendations for the use of state opioid settlement funds. It is entirely voluntary, anonymous, and open to all members of the public. If you’re interested in viewing the survey before taking it, please click here—a public copy of the survey can be found under “What to Expect: View the Survey” on the OAC’s website. Information from the survey may be discussed in public meetings, referenced in reports written by the OAC, and used to help the OAC develop recommendations to the state legislature for funding and policy.

Listen sessions will take place weekly and new monthly flyers will be posted on the Opioid Advisory Commission’s website.

Please contact for more information.


Operation Green Light will honor nation’s veterans

America’s counties have a long and proud history of serving our nation’s veterans, a legacy that continues to this day as we work with our federal, state and local partners to ensure that the former service members have access to the resources they need to thrive.

Once again this Veterans Day (Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023), the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO) invite the nation’s 3,069 counties, parishes, and boroughs to join Operation Green Light and show support for veterans by lighting our buildings green from Nov. 6-12. By shining a green light, county governments and our residents will let veterans know that they are seen, appreciated and supported. The picture is of Wexford County Courthouse lit up for operation Green Light.

To show support, counties are encouraged to use this template to pass a resolution declaring your county’s participation in Operation Green Light. If you pass a resolution or light your building green, please send a copy of the resolution and any pictures to

For a variety of materials to publicize and support your Green Light efforts, visit NACo’s resource hub.


MAC-backed revenue sharing bills introduced

Two different packages of bills that create a state Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and direct the expenditures of such a fund have been introduced in the Legislature.

Senate Bills 229230, by Sen. Veronica Klinefelt (D-Macomb), are backed by MAC and carve out a portion of the state’s sales tax for deposit into the fund (10% of all funds collected by 4 percentage points of the sales tax rate).

The bills also:

  • Stipulate the money in the fund does not lapse to the state’s General Fund
  • Allocate an even split of the funds between counties and CVTs (cities, villages and townships)

A dedicated fund helps protect revenue sharing dollars from being raided during the annual appropriations process. The 10 percent collection rate would boost current allocations to counties and reflect the true intention of revenue sharing by requiring a portion of the state’s revenue to be shared with local governments. In this system, if sales tax revenue goes up, revenue sharing would go up, if the sales tax revenue fell, so would the money in the fund. 

Legislation advanced by the Michigan Municipal League (House Bills 427475 and SBs 182183) takes a slightly different approach.

That package would create a base in a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund of the Fiscal Year 2024 recommended revenue sharing amounts and distribute funds on the current allocation method. The fund could accept additional monies but would not require additional deposits into the fund. While this approach would help insulate local governments from further raids on revenue sharing by the Legislature, it does not build in a system for growth. 

The current revenue sharing system is overly complicated and not well understood. For example, many don’t know that counties don’t share in more than $1 billion in constitutional revenue sharing that all CVTs receive per capita. For a quick primer on the revenue sharing program, check out this slide deck prepared by the House Fiscal Agency.  

Parity on the statutory side of revenue sharing, as reflected in Sen. Klinefelt’s bills mentioned above, is appropriate given the fact counties serve 100 percent of the state’s population and have significantly more mandated services to provide to our residents than other local governments.

MAC also is advocating for an increase in the amount in the fund to ensure no local government is faced with reductions in their allocation and to ensure the state supports the work done at the regional and local levels.

A survey recently conducted by MAC found members would use additional revenue sharing dollars to invest in communities in ways long supported by the Legislature, such as infrastructure; unfunded liabilities; customer service improvements; attraction and retention of employees; economic development; and cybersecurity.

Revenue sharing is the most flexible form of state aid to counties, which makes it the most effective method to fund generational investments in public services — with decisions made at the local level. Reform of revenue sharing is one of MAC’s top legislative priorities for 2023.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force testifies before Senate panel

Members of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform testified before the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety this week on the 32 recommendations they provided to the Legislature last July.

Of these recommendations, two tiers of priorities have been identified.

The first tier, consisting of six priorities, will be introduced in an approximately 15-bill package later this spring. This package would include expansions to the County Child Care Fund (CCF), including an increase in reimbursement rates to counties from 50 percent to 75 percent for community-based services; expanding eligibility for diversion; and requiring the use of risk and needs assessments.

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

In addition to expanding the CCF, the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission would be expanded to implement youth defense standards in local county defense systems, the State Appellate Defender’s Office would be required to oversee a system of appellate defense for juveniles and court fines and fees for juveniles would be waived.

MAC supports this bill package and will continue working to implement the recommendations of the task force.

For more information on this issue, please contact Samantha Gibson at


New rules on materials management loom for counties

On March 29, new state legal provisions kick in requiring counties to update their Materials Management Plans (MMP) and increase recycling rates in Michigan.

(NOTE: If you listened to this week’s Podcast 83, be advised that timetables shared there were incorrect; see correct information below.)

A 180-day window for counties to determine whether they planned to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) does not officially begin until the director of the EGLE initiates it.

After those 180 days, if a county declines to prepare a new MMP, EGLE will create one for them and the county will then be responsible for implementing the plan. If a county decides to file an NOI and prepare their own MMP, they will have 36 months to plan and receive approval from EGLE. Counties have the option to collaborate with neighboring counties to create regional plans.

Counties that file an NOI will be provided funding from the state to prepare their plans. Each county will be granted a base of $60,000, plus 50 cents per capita, up to $300,000. An additional $10,000 will be given to each county that enters a multi-county plan.

Until the EGLE director initiates the process, counties can consider their waste capacity limits, their willingness to draft their own MMP and whether they would like to partner with other counties.

In the meantime, EGLE will be hosting monthly webinars to walk counties through the process. We encourage each county to have at least one representative participate in these discussions. The meetings are typically held on the third Wednesday of each month; however, April’s meeting has been cancelled.

The next scheduled meeting will be from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 17. To be included in future meeting notices, please email

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Wayne County addresses Senate panel on juvenile facility crisis

Wayne County officials were called to testify this week before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in the wake of news reports of major problems at the county’s juvenile center.

Every county in Michigan is suffering from a bed and/or staffing shortage within the juvenile justice system. Incidents like those in Wayne can and should be avoided with the help of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Without proper funding of our juvenile justice system, staff go underpaid and overworked, then leave. Youths go without the services they need and deserve, and risks to public safety are posed.

Court-involved youth in Michigan are currently staying in short-term detention facilities, such as Wayne’s, for months or, in some cases, even years. The staffing shortage has led to countless empty beds in residential facilities that would otherwise be in use. Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula do not have access to a local facility and are forced to send youths to Southern Michigan or out of state. This issue has become a crisis, and the time is now for our state to provide funding to alleviate the burden on this system.

MAC has requested that the state fund staff recruitment, retention, and training to resolve the current staffing shortage crisis, as well as funding for the creation of an additional facility to serve northern counties who do not have access.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Podcast 83 looks at juvenile justice, solid waste, revenue sharing

Major changes are looming for three significant areas of county responsibility, MAC’s Podcast 83 team said this week.

Host Stephan Currie and the MAC Governmental Affairs Team of Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson took in-depth looks at the following issues in Lansing:

  • Juvenile justice reform legislation, with Gibson saying a large packet of bills would constitute “a whole juvenile system overhaul”
  • Revenue sharing reform, with Bosworth detailing her recent testimony to multiple legislative panels on MAC’s plan to create a protected fund for revenue sharing payments and create parity between counties and other local governments on such appropriations
  • Materials management, with Fata reporting that the clock is ticking for counties to make a big decision on whether, under state law passed last year, they will write new solid waste plans or let the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy do so (Correction: Some of the timing mentioned in this week’s podcast on this issue is incorrect; please refer to the written item in this Legislative Update for proper details.)

See the full video, recorded on March 20, 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.


Opioid Advisory Commission releases annual report

The Michigan Opioid Advisory Commission released its 2023 Annual Report: A Planning Guide for State Policy Makers on Thursday (March 23). The report provides a comprehensive overview of the background of the opioid epidemic in Michigan and the national landscape in which the opioid settlements are taking place. The report details the state of Michigan’s intended uses of current settlement funds and outlines approved uses of funds as provided in Exhibit E.

The report looks specifically at the Principles for the Use of Funds From the Opioid Litigation and provides a scorecard for Michigan’s adoption of these principles, identifying strategies and gaps. The final section of the report outlines the commission’s findings and recommendations, as well as the Opioid Advisory Commissions strategic plan and planning considerations.

As a reminder, local governments have been given an opportunity to participate in national Opioid Settlements with Teva, Allergan, CVS and Walmart. To participate in these settlements, counties must complete a participation form and return the form by April 18. We encourage all counties to participate in these additional settlements.

For more information on this issue, contact Amy Dolinky at


Liquor tax funding change means $25 million boost to counties

A two-bill package designed to extend the capture of liquor tax revenue that counties use for substance abuse programs passed during the last days of the legislative session this week and will soon mean a $25 million boost to counties.

Senate Bills 1222-23, by Sen Wayne Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse), amend the State Convention Facilities Authority Act to extend the sunset on the capture of liquor tax revenue for improvements to the convention facility in Detroit and therefore extend the sunset on the collection of liquor tax revenue for counties.

The issues were tied together when the act was created. Under current law, the collection and allocation of the liquor tax revenue expires once the bonds for the convention facility are paid off. Due to recent increases in liquor tax revenue, those bonds are scheduled to be paid off 13 years early, which would eliminate the future collection of revenue and deplete the allocation to counties. This two-bill package does not extend the 2039 deadline for the bonds to be paid off, but it does allow the facility authority to issue additional bonds for improvements.  

MAC has been working with representatives from the authority to address our need to have counties’ annual allocation reflective of the collection of the liquor tax revenue. Current law states counties receive an increase in their allocation based on a percentage above the previous year’s allocation, not on a percentage of the total tax collected. The excess tax collected is instead allocated to the reduction of the bond debt of the authority. (Again, due to the increase in liquor tax revenue, those bonds are scheduled to be paid off early.)

By allowing the authority to issue additional debt for improvements, the bills do something significant for counties. Beginning in 2023, the baseline allocation in liquor tax dollars for counties will increase by approximately 48 percent — or $25 million. (See county-by-county estimates.) The annual increase will remain the same as current law of 1 percent additional each year, but the baseline will be reset every three years to reflect the increase in revenue from the liquor tax.

Also, current law states 50 percent of the liquor tax revenue received by counties must be allocated to substance abuse programs. SBs 1222-23 will change that requirement to 40 percent (though no less than the amount allocated in FY22). In short, this will be a significant increase in funds toward substance abuse programs and an increase in the amount counties can allocate to their general funds. 

The bills are now headed to the governor for her expected signature.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


MAC, others fend off final bid for mental health privatization

Legislation to privatize control of local mental health services, opposed by MAC and others, was defeated last week after it came up in a surprise vote in the Senate.

Senate Bills 597 and 598, by Sens. Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) and John Bizon (R-Calhoun), were rejected by votes of 15-17 and 15-19, respectively.

These bills would have shifted financial administration of Medicaid mental health services to private Medicaid health plans, taking away public accountability and local governance and replacing it with for-profit private insurance companies.

A potential deal to incorporate the language from SBs 597 and 598 into a House bill was avoided as well, as the House did not vote on any mental health privatization bills this week.

MAC opposes any attempt to shift toward privatization of our local public mental health system, and we thank our members that contacted their legislators to share their opposition to these bills.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Final ’22 episode of Podcast 83 reviews highly successful legislative session

MAC’s Podcast 83 closed out its 2022 schedule on Dec. 9 with an episode reviewing a brief but still wacky lame duck legislative session and a lengthy list of county successes in the legislative sphere over the past two years.

During the two days of voting in legislative chambers this week, MAC closed a highly successful Legislature with a flourish with a modification to the state convention act that will mean an additional $25 million in liquor tax revenues for counties.

MAC also succeeded in fending off damaging legislation, such as a bid to privatize local mental health services and unwise changes to the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Director of Governmental Affairs Deena Bosworth and her team of Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson also detailed to Podcast host Stephan Currie a number of highlights from the 2021-22 work:

  • Four-year commissioner terms, which begin with the 2024 election cycle
  • Reauthorization for trial court fee authority, avoiding a $50 million gap in court funding
  • Reform of Secondary Road Patrol funding that ensures year-to-year stability
  • A 6 percent increase in county revenue sharing for fiscal year 2023

This episode and previous ones in 2022 can be seen at MAC’s YouTube Channel.

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

In closing the year, MAC wishes to thank Comcast for its support of Podcast 83 in 2022.


Bid stalls to reform veteran property tax reimbursements

Changes to local reimbursements for property taxes exempted for disabled veterans appear dead for 2022. In a last-minute decision, the House took up Senate Bills 783 and 1084, by Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Muskegon), during their last voting session day of lame duck session and passed them with bipartisan support. The bills would have expanded the disabled property tax exemption to those that were 50 percent disabled and capped the amount of their exemption at $2,500.

Unfortunately, the bills were amended in the House and the Senate adjourned before concurring in those changes. And because the Senate did not concur, the bills will not likely get presented to the governor unless, by some very rare chance, the Senate resumes voting before the last day of 2022.

MAC will continue to advocate for the enactment of the reforms in the new legislative session in 2023.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Tweak to County Veteran Service Fund rules advances

A bill to change the distribution structure of the County Veteran Service Fund gained broad approval from the Legislature this week and is headed to the governor.

The County Veteran Service Fund, established by the Legislature in 2018, was created to encourage counties to establish and maintain County Veteran Service Offices. The fund ensures counties are eligible for a $50,000 grant annually, plus additional funding based on the number of veterans living within the county.

By unanimous vote this week, the Senate approved House Bill 6377, by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Isabella), which says counties must maintain a minimum county veteran service funding level of 70 percent of the funding level from FY 2017 in order to receive the $50,000 grant from the County Veteran Service Fund. The 70 percent funding level requirement was previously only for FYs 2021 and 2022. HB 6377 extends the requirement to FY 2023 and beyond.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the bill, which was backed by MAC.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Larger reimbursement for PPT exemptions dies

Despite commitments from House and Senate leaders last December, local governments will not have a reimbursement mechanism in place to replace the Personal Property Tax (PPT) revenue loss stemming from the small taxpayer exemptions in the economic development supplemental budget enacted a year ago.

MAC spent months working with the Senate, the administration and the business sector on a method for reimbursing counties for PPT losses arising from the dollar threshold expansion of the small business exemption. Legislation to enact this, Senate Bills 1060-62, passed the Senate unanimously in June, but staunch Republican opposition in the House ran out the clock in Lansing this week.

The approximate $75 million price tag of this exemption was pre-funded as part of the economic development deal last year. But this process still needed the implementing legislation prior to distribution. This $75 million was to be spread across all local units of government and is not reflective of the total loss for counties.

MAC will resume efforts for reimbursement language in early 2023 in order to make counties whole in FY 2023. With strong Democratic support, and the support of the governor, we are hopeful we can get this enacted quickly.

For more information about this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Legislature makes surprise move to update solid waste law

A package of bills that will place new reporting and coordination burdens on counties was approved by the Legislature on the last day of the lame duck session. The legislation modifies Part 115 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, which deals with solid waste management.

House Bills 4454-61 amend the language describing the purpose of Part 115 to include recycling and reusing materials. Substitutes were introduced by Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Van Buren) to include provisions for chemical recycling.

MAC has been engaged with stakeholders and bill sponsors since the package was introduced back in March 2021. While MAC supports updating Part 115 — which has not been updated in many years and does little to promote recycling efforts in Michigan — we have remained neutral on this package because of the added burdens for counties.

Each county will be required to create a Materials Management Plan (MMP) and receive approval from the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, as well as township officials. HB 4461 creates a fund to help counties develop their MMPs, but the Legislature will need to approve an appropriation each year to fill the fund. This funding mechanism is, in MAC’s view, both unreliable and undesirable.

This legislation was presumed dead after it passed the House in and was referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform in April 2021, but, as they say, expect the unexpected during a lame duck session. It received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate on Wednesday and will now be presented to the governor for signature.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Allegan and Kalamazoo to get more circuit court judges

A bill to add circuit court judgeships in Allegan and Kalamazoo counties passed in the House this week, its final step before a signature by the governor.

Senate Bill 1047, by Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), would allow the 9th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Kalamazoo County, to add one additional judge, effective Jan. 1, 2025, increasing the number of judgeships from four to five. It specifies that the term of office for the judgeship would be eight years. The bill also allows the 48th Judicial Circuit, covering Allegan County, to have one additional judgeship beginning Jan. 1, 2025, increasing the number of judgeships from one to two.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign SB 1047, which was backed by MAC.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Legislature approves changes to patient visitation during epidemics

A bill to alter how emergency orders can limit visits to patients in health care facilities gained final legislative approval this week.

On Wednesday, the House approved Senate Bill 450, by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland). The bill was previously voted out of the Senate in May.

Under SB 450, which awaits Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature, an emergency order issued under the Public Health Code could prohibit or limit visitation of a patient in certain health care facilities for up to 30 days, as of June 1, 2023. After 30 days, even if the emergency order were to be extended, the order could not restrict visits to a patient or resident.

SB 450 also allows an emergency order to require prescreening or testing of persons allowed to visit a qualified health facility. The Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council, which represents the county-owned facilities in Michigan, supported the legislation.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


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