Senate passes big supplemental bill tied to mental health privatization

The Senate passed a mental health supplemental budget this week, but tie-barred a portion of the funding to the passage of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s mental health integration package.

Senate Bill 714, by Sen. Shirkey (R-Jackson), provides $565.5 million in funding for the current fiscal year to the behavioral health system. $548.7 million would come from what the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act and $17.5 million would be directed from the state’s General Fund.

However, the following line-item appropriations are conditional upon the passage of Senate Bill 597 and  Senate Bill 598, two bills that MAC and others strenuously oppose due to the loss of local control they would create:

  • Requires Medicaid Mental Health Services be used to replace local match with GF/GP.
  • Requires the Clinical Integration Fund be used to provide grants to facilities and providers that integrate their setting with physical and behavioral health services and providers.
  • Requires the funding for Community Mental Health Services Program (CMHSP) Integration Readiness be used to support CMHSP efforts to make information technology, staff, and administrative improvements for integration.
  • Requires the funding for DHHS integration readiness be used to make one-time investments to support implementation of SBs 597-98.
  • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to appropriate $15 million of part 1 funding for Integrated Care Center to the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network to implement a centrally located integrated service center to provide physical and mental health services.
  • Directs the funding for Jail Diversion Fund be allocated to the Jail Diversion Fund, which would be administered by the Mental Health Diversion Council. Directs the Council to distribute grants to local entities to establish or expand jail diversion programs, with 50.0% going to community-based mobile crisis intervention services that include full integration with 911 dispatch centers, include both co-responder clinicians and peers, have access to residential treatment facilities, include telehealth response and follow-up services, and employ mental health professionals independent of law enforcement. Directs that the other 50.0% go to pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion programs for individuals with behavioral health needs, with priority given to nonurbanized areas.

MAC will continue to oppose any move to shift toward privatization of our local public mental health system. A total of 62 counties have voiced their opposition by passing resolutions in opposition to the mental health integration plan. We also encourage commissioners to use our Advocacy Tool to voice your opposition to your senator.

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

 

Treasury releases new guidance on P&E reports for July deadline

The National Association of Counties reported this week that, “Treasury released updated reporting guidance for the Project and Expenditure (P&E) Reports and a new template for the Recovery Plan Performance Report (Recovery Plan) ahead of the July 31, 2022, reporting deadline. The new requirements outlined below will impact all counties regardless of population size and award amount.

“Key updates to the compliance and reporting guidance outlined by Treasury include:

  1. Additional programmatic data for capital expenditures: When using Recovery Funds for capital expenditures projects, counties need to report the type of expenditure based on a list of enumerated uses. Examples of enumerated uses are COVID-19 vaccination sites, job and workforce training centers, and public health data systems. A full list of enumerated uses is available on pages 27 to 28 of the updated guidance.
  2. Written justification for capital expenditures: Counties are required to provide a written justification for capital projects of any category that cost at least $10 million and for projects in the “other” (i.e., project not explicitly enumerated by Treasury) category that cost at least $1 million. Previously, counties needed to create a written justification for these projects but were not required to submit them as part of regular reporting.
  3. Description of labor requirements for capital expenditures: Counties are required to provide additional labor reporting. For projects that cost at least $10 million, counties will need to report on the strength of the project’s labor standards, including information on the presence of a project labor agreement, community benefits agreement, prevailing wage requirement, or local hiring. This new required information is outlined under Infrastructure Project on pages 30-31 of the updated guidance.
  4. Project information for broadband projects: The updated guidance requires counties to provide detailed project information for broadband infrastructure investments. Counties need to report what kind of technology is involved in the project (i.e., fiber optic cables, coaxial cables, etc.), the total miles of fiber deployed over the project, and the total number of funded locations served broken out by both speed of connection and type of location (i.e., residential, business, or community). This new required information is outlined under Broadband Projects on pages 32-33 of the updated guidance.
  5. Moving of Recovery Plan Performance Report data into P&E Report: Under the updated guidance, some of the data that was previously only required for the Recovery Plan Performance Report (Recovery Plan) is now required for large counties (i.e., populations above 250,000 and/or above $10 million in awards) on their quarterly P&E Report. For example, large counties investing in housing security programs must now report the number of households receiving eviction prevention services. A full list of changes to programmatic data requirements for large counties is available on page 33 of the compliance and reporting guidance.
  6. Updated template for Recovery Plan: The updated guidance also provides a template for the Recovery Plan due for large counties on July 31, 2022, reflecting the expenditure categories and other changes made by the Final Rule.”

For questions regarding COVID funds reporting, visit NACo’s information hub at https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/arpa-fiscal-recovery-fund.

 

PPT reimbursement plan moves to full Senate

Bills to fully reimburse local units for their losses associated with the Legislature’s massive Personal Property Tax exemption that was estimated to have hit locals with $75 million loss annually passed out of the Senate Finance Committee this week. The MAC-backed bill package now awaits a vote from the full Senate.

Senate Bill 1060, by Sen. Mark Huizenga (R- Kent), SB 1061, by Sen. Kimberly LaSata (R-Berrien), and SB 1062, by Sen. Michael McDonald (R-Macomb), would create the Local Government Reimbursement Fund, to which the state would deposit $75 million annually.

The reimbursement package is a result of the House Bill 5351, by Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Kent), passed in December 2021. The bill lifted the PPT exemption threshold for small taxpayers from $80,000 to $180,000 in true cash value. Lawmakers did also vote for a $75 million reimbursement for the first year of this exemption scheme (which starts in 2023), but they did not provide for the years beyond.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs, previously testified in support of the package before the committee. MAC had helped develop the process in SBs 1060-62 alongside other local government groups.

MAC will continue to support the bill package and monitor its progress through the legislative process.

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

 

Road agency liability measures get hearing in House

Bills to apply immunity to county road agencies from liability for failure to maintain highways in their jurisdiction received a hearing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week. The bills previously passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 39 and SB 43, by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), clarifies language in county road law regarding the liability of counties for failure to maintain highways to ensure provisions of the governmental immunity law apply to county road commissions.

MAC supports the bills and will continue to monitor the legislation.

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

 

Resolution opposing wilderness expansion clears Senate committee

A resolution to oppose the designation of 65,000 acres of additional national wilderness areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula passed out of Senate Natural Resources Committee this week.

Senate Resolution 150, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), expresses concern over the effort to designate new wilderness areas in the Ottawa National Forest. The designation would significantly limit access to recreational areas, thereby decreasing tourism and economic returns to the community and local government.

The resolution urges the Michigan Legislature to recommend Congress not to designate more national wilderness areas. MAC supports the resolution, which is now on the Senate floor.

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

 

MAC-backed measures on mental health transportation advance

A MAC-supported bill to allow county mental health transportation panels passed out of the House Health Policy Committee this week. The bill now awaits a vote on the House floor.

Senate Bill 101, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), would allow the panels for the purpose of alternative transportation services for individuals needing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.

The bill would set forth a description and responsibilities of the panel, should a county choose to establish one, and outline contract and liability requirements. Any private security company considered to provide the transport services must meet certain requirements in order to enter into contract, including maintaining certain insurance coverage and providing to security transport officers a specialized training program for best practices when working with an individual with severe mental illness.

The bill also creates the Mental Health Transportation Fund, which, if funded by the Legislature, could help counties carry out functions of these mental health transportation services.

House Bill 4414, by Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Dickinson), is identical to SB 101 and passed out of the House Health Policy Committee and now awaits a full vote from the House.  

MAC supports both bills as an important tool for counties to secure alternative transportation services, so county law enforcement staff and resources are not tied up in long transport times.

For any questions on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

House approves set of bills to bolster crime victims’ rights

Bills to better protect victims in the criminal justice system passed out of the House this week and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

House Bill 5679, by Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton), HB 5680, by Rep. Ken Borton (R-Otsego), HB 5681, by Rep. Greg Wan VanWoerkom (R-Muskegon), and HB 5560, by Rep. Julie Rogers (D- Kalamazoo), would require the expansion of offenses that would count as a serious misdemeanor, allow public video recordings of court proceedings to blur victims faces and allow victim impact statements to be made remotely.

MAC supports these bills to modernize and strengthen the rights of victims. MAC will continue to monitor the legislation as it moves through the legislative process.

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

 

MAC-backed bill on opioid treatments gets Senate hearing

A bill to create a standing order on the distribution of opioid treatment medication received a hearing in the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee the week of June 6. The bill previously passed the House.

House Bill 5166, by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), allows the state’s chief medical executive to expand the ability of community organizations to dispense FDA-approved medication for the treatment of a drug overdose to an individual. Any community organization providing substance use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, or harm reduction services would be allowed.

MAC supports HB 5166 and will continue to push for its passage in the Senate.

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

 

Justice Department conducting ADA reviews of courthouses in Pennsylvania

The association of counties in Pennsylvania has advised MAC that the U.S. Department of Justice has been visiting courthouses in the Keystone State to conduct assessments of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

According to the Pennsylvania report, one of these incidents involved “DOJ (sending) in an ADA expert who literally took a tape measure to check how far the sinks were off the floor, elevator buttons and much more.”

MAC is working to gather more information on the scope of this federal inquiry, but members are advised to be ready to respond promptly to such inspections.

For questions on this issue, contact Stephan Currie at scurrie@micounties.org.

 

MAC offices closed on Monday, June 20

MAC’s Lansing offices will be closed on Monday, June 20 to observe the federal Juneteenth holiday.

Juneteenth “has its significance in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued the Order Number 3, which stated the freedom of all slaves by the issue of Emancipation Proclamation, by Abe Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. The people of Galveston did not know they were free and found out after the order was issued by Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, two years after the original date of proclamation. Texas was the last state to recognize the proclamation and hence June 19th or ‘Juneteenth’ became the official day. The law was ratified after all the states agreed to free all forms of slavery within the Union of America which was completed on June 19, 1865.”

MAC’s normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, June 21 at 8 a.m.

 

Mid-year Legislative Status Report


MAC makes case for PPT reimbursement reforms

Deena Bosworth, left, discusses PPT reform legislation before a Senate committee this week as MML’s John LaMacchia and MTA’s Judy Allen look on.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth joined other proponents this week in testifying in favor of bills to fully reimburse local units for their losses associated with the expansion of Personal Property Tax exemptions that is estimated to hit locals with a $75 million loss annually.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee took its first look at Senate Bill 1060, by Sen. Mark Huizenga (R-Kent), SB 1061, by Sen. Kimberly LaSata (R-Berrien), and SB 1062, by Sen. Michael McDonald (R-Macomb), which would create a Local Government Reimbursement Fund to which the state would deposit $75 million annually.

The reimbursement package is a result of the House Bill 5351, by Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Kent), adopted in December 2021. That bill lifted of the PPT exemption threshold for small taxpayers from $80,000 to $180,000 in true cash value. Lawmakers did also vote for a $75 million reimbursement for the first year of this exemption scheme (which starts in 2023), but they did not provide for the years beyond.

Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs, led the testimony of the local government groups that have been working to resolve this problem.

MAC will continue to support the bill package and monitor its progress through the legislative process. A vote out of committee and the full Senate is expected before the Legislature breaks for summer.

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

 

FOIA bills clear House committee over MAC’s opposition

Legislation that alters the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in ways detrimental to county government passed out of the House Oversight Committee this week. MAC needs your voice to urge the House to set aside this ill-advised package.

House Bills 5921-25 have numerous problems and create unanswered questions for the local officials charged with complying with FOIA. Among the problems are:

  • Provisions to impose penalties on public bodies when mistakes are made
  • An inevitable increase in costs for compliance with the act
  • The removal of the anonymity of task force members when serving their communities

MAC remains opposed to all but one of the bills. MAC’s Deena Bosworth, alongside the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Association of School Boards, testified in opposition this week.

MAC urges county leaders to use our advocacy platform to send a pre-drafted message of opposition to your House member. The bill package awaits consideration on the House floor.

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

 

MAC-backed bill on public notices gets committee nod

A MAC-supported bill to modernize state law on public notices passed out of House Oversight Committee this week. The legislation will save counties time and money and create more avenues for our citizens to receive public notices. 

House Bill 6062, by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D-Wayne), is the first in what will be more than 100 bills dealing with the modernization of public notices for public bodies. HB 6062 sets up the framework, while other pieces of legislation will amend each state statute requiring the notice to be published in a newspaper.

HB 6062 would allow local units to put public notices on their websites, but not require them to be published in a newspaper. In addition, and to ease the concerns about transparency, the bill requires the public body to send a copy of the notice to the newspaper, to post the notice in a conspicuous place and to create an annual mailing list for those residents wishing to have notices mailed to them via first class mail.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth previously testified in support and MAC will continue to support a fair and transparent process of reporting public notices and monitor HB 6062’s progress through the Legislature.

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

 

Rules changed on some mental health service payments

Changes to the financial liability guidelines for mental health services are on their way after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed reform legislation.

House Bill 5165 (now Public Act 91 of 2022), by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), states that the ability to pay for adult inpatient psychiatric services of less than 61 days, all nonresidential services and all services to minors must be determined solely on family size and income in accordance with the most current federal poverty guidelines.

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

 

State courts take Juneteenth holiday, memo details county options

Following the announcement by the Michigan Supreme Court that the judicial branch of Michigan would observe the Juneteenth holiday on June 20, 2022, MAC has received numerous inquiries from members about what that means for county government offices.

A memo by the firm of Cohl, Stoker & Toskey P.C. in Lansing was received by MAC this week and details both the legal background of the Supreme Court’s order and options that counties have to respond to this sudden change in the work calendar.

“It is important to note that the Supreme Court’s Order only applies to Courts and Court employees and not to the employees of the County (this includes the employees of the county-wide elected officials for which the County, through the Board of Commissioners, is a co-employer with the responsibility for determining the economic terms and conditions of employment which includes the number of paid holidays),” the memo states. “Counties have options:

“1. To remain open even though the Courts are closed;

“2. Offer to unions Juneteenth for 2022 (June 20th) as a paid holiday on a one-time, non-precedent setting basis;

“3. Offer to unions to substitute Juneteenth for a different holiday on a one-time or permanent basis; or

“4. Offer to unions to add Juneteenth as an additional holiday without restriction.”

Read the full memo here.

In an informal and ongoing survey conducted by MAC this week, 23 counties reported they would observe the holiday this year, 39 said they would not and 15 were still reviewing the situation.

 

Secondary Road Patrol funding package gets Senate committee backing

A legislative package to to improve Secondary Road Patrol (SRP) funding via the state liquor tax advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.

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

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

The bills are now on the Senate floor for consideration.

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

 

House committee reviews mental health transport bill

A MAC-supported bill to allow county mental health transportation panels received a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee this week. The bill previously passed in the Senate.

Senate Bill 101, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), would allow the panels for the purpose of alternative transportation services for individuals needing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.

The bill would set forth a description and responsibilities of the panel, should a county choose to establish one, and outline contract and liability requirements. Any private security company considered to provide the transport services must meet certain requirements in order to enter into contract, including maintaining certain insurance coverage and providing to security transport officers a specialized training program for best practices when working with an individual with severe mental illness.

The bill also creates the Mental Health Transportation Fund, which, if funded by the Legislature, could help counties carry out functions of these mental health transportation services.

MAC supports the bill as an important tool for counties to secure alternative transportation services, so county law enforcement staff and resources are not tied up in long transport times.

A full analysis of the bill can be found here.

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

 

Senate looks at regulatory burdens on medical care facilities

Legislation supported by the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC) to ease the regulatory burden of certifications, surveys and evaluations of nursing homes received a hearing in the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee this week. The bill previously passed the House.

House Bill 5609, by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee), aims to improve the timeliness and consistency of the state’s survey process of nursing homes under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Among the changes is the removal of the annual reporting requirement of complaints to the legislature, the average length of time it takes for the agency to respond to a nursing home complaint, and the number of citations disputed through information dispute resolutions.

The legislation calls for on LARA to employ and individual to serve as a quality improvement officer to ensure fairness and accuracy. The officer would be required to present findings of the survey and enforcement process to an advisory workgroup at each semiannual training session for nursing home surveyors.

The full analysis can be found here.

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

 

Unfunded mandates measure doing circle in Senate committees

A bill to protect local units of government against unfunded mandates received a hearing this week and vote this week. Although it was voted out of the Senate Oversight Committee, it was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, instead of being presented to the full Senate for consideration.   

Senate Bill 449 by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), creates the Headlee Unfunded Mandates Prohibition Act and is the latest attempt to implement the recommendations stemming from the Unfunded Mandates Commission that were issued more than a decade ago.

MAC supports the legislation.

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

 

‘Fiscally Ready’ webinar on June 14 will look at capital planning

The next free webinar in the “Fiscally Ready Communities” series put on by the Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension will be held on June 14. The session is designed to assist appointed and elected officials and will focus on “Capital Asset Management and Planning.”

Recurring annual expenses are simple to budget, but repair and replacement of big-ticket items can be much more difficult. A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will help your local government organize those major projects and forecast the expenses to make long-term planning simpler. This session will cover the basics of a CIP, best practices, and give participants a chance to share techniques that have worked for their community, as well as policies, procedures, and accounting for capital asset management and planning.

The webinar will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 13.

Register here.

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.

For questions, email TreasLocalGov@michigan.gov with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”

Important conversations held during the Mackinac Policy Conference

The Detroit Regional Chamber hosted its annual Mackinac Policy Conference this week on Mackinac Island. The event brings together business, community, and policy leaders in Michigan to have conversations on the biggest issues facing the state.

Steve Currie, MAC’s Executive Director and Deena Bosworth, MAC’s Director of Government Affairs, were also on the island having meetings with key legislators and county commissioners to ensure the interests of all Michigan’s 83 counties were a part of the conversation.

The legislature did not hold any committee meetings or votes this week because of the Mackinac Policy Conference. MAC is gearing up for a busy few weeks as the Legislature reconvenes to reach a consensus on the state budget before the deadline on July 1.

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

Michigan Treasury releases 2022 PPT millage rates

Counties are encouraged to review 2022 millage rates just released by the Michigan Treasury as part of the Personal Property Tax (PPT) reimbursement system.

The 2022 Millage Rate Comparison reports are available on Treasury’s PPT reimbursement website: www.michigan.gov/pptreimbursement.

Under state law, Treasury (Treasury) must issue these reports so municipalities can verify the eligible millage rates to be used in the 2022 PPT reimbursement calculations.

The eligible millage rates to be used in the 2022 PPT reimbursement calculations are calculated based on the eligible millage cap and 2021 millage rates and may be prorated as required by the Local Community Stabilization Authority Act (LCSA Act.  Therefore, the calculated eligible millage rates to be used in the 2022 PPT reimbursement calculations may not reflect the actual 2021 millage rates levied by the municipality.

Municipalities should review the 2022 Millage Rate Comparison reports for accuracy.

  • If the millage rate data is correct, the municipality does not need to take any further action.
  • If there are any errors in the millage rate data, the municipality is required by the LCSA Act to notify Treasury of the error(s) by submitting Form 5613Millage Rate Correction for the 2022 Personal Property Tax Reimbursement Calculations no later than Aug. 1, 2022 (MCL 123.1358(4)).

Below is a list of the reporting forms related to millages that are available on Treasury’s PPT Reimbursement website under Forms for Calculation of PPT Reimbursements.

  • Form 54512022 School District and Intermediate School District (ISD) Debt Millage Rate for the 2022 Personal Property Tax Reimbursement Calculation
    • Optional form to be used by eligible school districts and ISDs to report the debt millage rate levied in the current year specifically for the payment of debt obligations approved by voters or incurred before 2015.
    • DUE DATE: Aug. 1, 2022
  • Form 5608Portion of 2021 Essential Services Millage Rate Dedicated for the Cost of Essential Services
    • Optional form to be used by counties, cities, villages, townships, and local authorities that levy an extra-voted millage rate that partially funds the cost of essential services (for example a Fire/Cemetery millage). For extra-voted millage rates where the name of the millage would imply that the millage was partially dedicated for the cost of essential services, Treasury has identified the millage type as “PARTIAL ESSENTIAL SERVICE” on the 2022 Millage Rate Comparison reports.
    • DUE DATE: Aug. 1, 2022
  • Form 56092022 Hold Harmless Millage Rate for the 2022 Personal Property Tax Reimbursement Calculation
    • Required form to be used by the 24 school districts that levy a supplemental hold harmless millage rate in 2022.
    • DUE DATE: Aug. 1, 2022
  • Form 5613Millage Rate Correction for the 2022 Personal Property Tax Reimbursement Calculations
    • Optional form to be used by municipalities that identify an error in the 2022 Millage Rate Comparison reports.
    • DUE DATE: Aug. 1, 2022

Direct any questions regarding the PPT reimbursement calculation or correction process to TreasORTAPPT@michigan.gov or 517-335-7484.

 

June conference to focus on environmental emergencies

Is your community prepared to handle environmental emergencies such as fires, floods, oil spills, etc.? The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is hosting the Environmental Emergency Management Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing June 29-30, 2022. to help communities with preparedness and mitigation, response, and recovery related to incidents impacting the environment and public health. Participants may include federal, state and local emergency response personnel, public health officials, facility emergency managers, contractors, consultants, academia or anyone within the emergency response community. 

Conference highlights will include:

  • Plenary presentation on the Coast Guard Great Lakes Center of Expertise for Oil Spill Response
  • Special breakout session on Natural Disaster Debris to Increase Community Resiliency
  • Additional breakout sessions on themes of Preparedness and Mitigation, Initial Response and Response and Recovery
  • Networking Reception with exhibitors and hundreds of emergency response professionals

View the agenda and session descriptions

General admission fee: $125 for both days.

Registration deadline: June 17, 2022.

Lodging block deadline: June 7, 2022.

For registration questions, contact Joel Roseberry, RoseberryJ@Michigan.gov, or Alana Berthold, BertholdA@Michigan.gov.

 

Staff picks

MAC-backed safety bills advance from Senate committee

Three bills on local public safety were approved by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee this week that MAC supports.

House Bill 4719, by Rep. Robert Bezotte (R-Livingston), a former sheriff and county commissioner, would require a person convicted of first-degree murder be immediately committed to the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) in a state correctional facility, pending sentencing. The county sheriff will have to transport the convicted person for final sentencing from the facility to the county and back again.

HB 4887, by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Genesee), would also allow for transports of a juvenile under the age of 18 with an adult in limited circumstances. A transport could occur if all of the following apply in the situation: the juvenile was 16 or older; the adult was 25 or younger; the juvenile and adult were taken into custody at the same time; the juvenile and adult were taken into custody for the same offense or both occupied the same vehicle at the time the offense was committed; and the juvenile was taken directly to the appropriate location and then was separated from the adult at the earliest available time.

MAC supports both bills to ensure officer and public safety and save county time and resources.

MAC also supports HB 4173, introduced by Rep. Kara Hope (D-Ingham) that would delete the cap on the amount of a reward that a county may offer for the arrest and conviction of a person who committed a crime or escaped from a penal institution. Current law limits the amount a county board of commissioners could offer and pay out for the arrest and conviction at $2,000. The bill would change that limit and leave it to the county’s discretion.

For more information on this issue, send an email to Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org.

 

Details released on getting second batch of federal ARP funds

The U.S. Treasury has begun the process of allocating the second tranche of ARP Recovery Funds.

The process for counties to receive the second installment of funding is provided below with the new SAM.gov registration requirements:

Section 603 of ARPA provides payments to eligible local governments in two tranches, with the second tranche payment being made no earlier than 12 months after the first payment.

Consistent with this requirement, Treasury expects to provide second tranche payments to local governments approximately 12 months after their first payment.

In the coming weeks, Treasury will open the submission portal in a phased approach, allowing counties to access the portal for 30 days prior to their second tranche payment date.

Counties will receive a notification from Treasury by email letting them know that they can enter the portal — it is very important to make sure that the assigned point of contact is still available to receive future communications.

The point of contact is the individual designated in the portal during the first tranche submission who will receive email notifications on submission status, including any issues found during the verification and communication regarding payments.

The individual entering the portal for the second tranche submission will be the same individual with the registered ID.me who submitted for the first tranche allocation.

If that individual is no longer with the county and you need to designate a new individual, email COVIDReliefITSupport@treasury.gov with the subject line “Entity Name – Update to Designated Individuals” and include the role that needs to be updated along with the full name, title, email and phone number of the new person designated.

After the email is received by the county, the point of contact will be able to update their entity information to include banking information in the portal.

In preparation for the second tranche payment, counties should ensure their SAM.gov entity registration is still active — all counties are required to have a SAM.gov registration to receive their second tranche payment.

Note that on April 4, 2022, the federal government changed service providers and stopped using the DUNS Number and began using the Unique Entity ID (UEI) in SAM.gov to identify entities.

All counties, even those already registered in SAM.gov, must validate their entity information through the new service provider.

Counties may need to provide additional supporting documentation through the new system.

The General Services Administration (GSA) released FAQs to support counties through this new process.

Counties are required to renew their SAM.gov registration every 12 months. If a county’s SAM.gov registration expired (12-month coverage) before it is due to receive its second tranche (and after April 4, 2022) the county is required to reactivate their SAM.gov registration, which will require them to adopt UEI (instead of a DUNS number) PRIOR to receiving their second installment.

 

Keit-Corrion departs MAC government team

Meghann Keit-Corrion, MAC’s governmental affairs associate with specific responsibilities for court, health, human services, public safety and other issues, departs MAC on Friday, May 27.

The Michigan State University graduate will be joining the Dykema law firm in Lansing.

Keit-Corrion joined MAC in September 2017 from the office of Sen. Jim Stamas. She also worked for Stamas when he served in the Michigan House and for the Midwest Strategy Group in Lansing, where she was a legislative analyst.

“Meghann has played an important role at MAC working on health and judiciary issues. We wish her the best of luck in the future,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director.

 

Bill for nonpartisan county elections introduced

Some county boards of commissioners would have the ability to create nonpartisan elections for countywide offices under a new bill introduced in the Senate.

Under Senate Bill 1050, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), counties with a populations below 75,000 may adopt a resolution to create nonpartisan elections for the following offices: clerk, treasurer, register of deeds, prosecutor, sheriff, drain commissioner, surveyor, coroner and elected road commissions.

Incumbents will be noted on the ballot and the two candidates with the most votes in a primary would move on to the November general election. Counties will have the option to adopt this change within three years of a census.   

MAC will continue to monitor the bill as it moves through the legislative process.

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

 

Fuel tax suspension bills clear full Senate

Bills to suspend state fuel taxes in a bid to lower prices at the pump advanced out of committee this week. A Senate committee and the full chamber this week reviewed and approved:   

  • Senate Bills 972, 973, 974, by Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Eaton), Sen. Aric Nesbit (R-Cass), and Sen. Dan Lauwers (R-St. Clair) respectively, suspend the collection of taxes on gasoline by exempting motor fuel from sales and use tax for the period of June 15-Sept. 15.
  • Senate Bill 1029, by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), which specifies that between June 15 and Sept. 15 the rate of tax on gasoline would be zero. The bill would appropriate $192.6 million from the state’s General Fund to county road commissions and $107.4 million to cities and villages to backfill any lost revenue from the sales and use tax suspension.

The package now moves to the House. MAC will continue to track the legislation.

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

 

Key measure for medical care facilities heads to governor

After months of steady progress, House Bill 5875 has cleared the Legislature. This week, the full Senate approved the three-year extension to the county maintenance of effort (MOE) rate for county medical care facilities (MCFs), a key legislative priority for the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC).

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

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

MCMCFC had partners in support, including MAC, the Health Care Association of Michigan and LeadingAge Michigan. MCMCFC greatly appreciates the work of bill sponsor, Rep. Kahle, and her staff for championing this important issue for facilities.

The bill now heads to the governor for final approval.

 

Report outlines options on spending opioid dollars

In late 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) contracted with the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT) to analyze results from a survey of key Michigan respondents about the best ways to use opioid settlement dollars within state and federal guidelines.

CHRT’s team analyzed qualitative and quantitative survey results in collaboration with state partners then reported back to MDHHS to share its analysis, which is the first step toward making recommendations to support policymakers’ decision process.

Respondent priorities for the use of settlement funds included:

  • Recovery support services, including peer support and wrap-around services for individuals with substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health diagnoses
  • Prevention programming
  • Expanding access to medications used to effectively treat opioid use disorder (MOUD) and other opioid-related treatment

The full report can be found here.

 

Two counties earn green recognition from state group

Two counties were recognized by the Michigan Green Communities program for taking the Michigan Green Communities Challenge. The program is designed to promote environmental sustainability and development in communities across Michigan.

Local units of government that chose to participate in the challenge completed actions in 2021 related to energy efficiency, climate adaptation, resilience, recycling and environmental justice. Ten communities received bronze certification, 12 received silver certification and 22 received gold certification. Among them were:

  • Oakland County, receiving silver certification
  • Monroe County, receiving bronze certification

The program is open to all local governments in Michigan at no cost.  For more information, contact Danielle Beard, Michigan Green Communities program coordinator, at dbeard@migreencommunities.com or Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@miounties.org.

 

State looking for foster care volunteers

Michigan needs more loving foster families to temporarily care for children while the state works to reunify them safely with their biological parents, a point made by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in proclaiming May as Foster Care Month in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recognizing foster families for their contributions while raising awareness of the need for more foster homes. There are about 10,500 children in foster care in the state. There is a particular need for families to foster older children, sibling groups and youth with special needs.

“We are facing an increased need for foster families to provide stable and safe care for children due to the department’s commitment to provide family homes for children and reduce the use of congregate care settings, as well as a significant loss of foster homes during the pandemic,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “I want to thank the 4,928 foster families in Michigan who have stepped up because they want to help children who deserving loving homes.”

In most cases, MDHHS’s goal is to reunify the children with their families after providing resources to them. If that’s not safe, MDHHS looks to find them permanent homes through adoption.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can call a Foster Care Navigator at 855-MICHKIDS or visit www.fcnp.org. Navigators are experienced foster care parents who can answer questions and guide prospective foster parents on their journey. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/hopeforahome.

 

MAC offices closed on Monday, May 30

MAC’s offices in Lansing will be closed on Monday, May 30 to observe the Memorial Day holiday.

Normal office hours will resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31.

MAC joins our members and the rest of the United States in honoring the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.

 

Tax cut legislation includes property tax reimbursements for counties

In swift action this week, the House and Senate put forth and passed an income tax cut bill that would also allocate funding to local governments for their losses due to the veterans property tax exemption. Such reimbursements are a key MAC policy priority in 2022.

Under House Bill 4568, by Rep. Matt Hall (R-Kalamazoo), the state’s income tax rate would fall from 4.25 percent to 4 percent in 2023. The legislation also increases deductions for seniors, tax credits for dependent 19-year-olds and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

As far as the reimbursements for veterans property tax exemptions, the plan is consistent with and tie-barred to Sen. Jon Bumstead’s plan in Senate Bill 784, a plan which is supported by MAC, other local government associations and the veterans group. See previous coverage on the legislation by clicking here. To send a message of support for Bumstead’s legislation, click here.

The tax proposal passed both chambers and will be sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a matter of days for her consideration. However, a vote on Senate Bill 784 has not taken place in the House yet due to the constitutional rule for a five-day layover in a chamber before lawmakers can take action on it. 

From all indications, the Whitmer administration and the legislative Democrats would prefer a very different tax relief option. So, this legislation will likely be struck by the governor’s veto pen.

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

 

Newest estimate shows billions more for state coffers

Tax dollars continue to flow into state coffers at unexpected high rates, the May session of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference reported Friday. These trends will provide the state with an extra $1.7 billion in General Fund revenue for the current budget year (FY22) and an extra $1.1 billion for the upcoming budget (FY23), as compared to the consensus estimates at the last conference in January 2022.

State lawmakers now will work from final consensus totals for the FY23 General Fund of just under $14 billion. As recently as FY14, the General Fund was barely $9 billion. Still, adjusting for inflation, the General Fund is well below where it was at the turn of the century.

Forecasters from the Treasury Department and the fiscal agencies of the House and Senate also see continued growth in General Fund revenues in fiscal years 2024, 2025 and 2026.

It remains to be seen in coming weeks whether these increased state resources will be deployed in investments in public services at the state and local levels or converted to tax cuts or one-time cash rebates to taxpayers.

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

 

MAC testifies in favor of new public notices bill

MAC’s Deena Bosworth testifying for HB 6062 during House committee meeting on Thursday.

After a decade of working on the issue, MAC is pleased to announce the introduction of legislation to modernize public notices law, save counties time and money and create more avenues for our citizens to receive public notices. 

MAC’s Deena Bosworth was among those testifying Thursday in support of House Bill 6062 before the House Oversight Committee. The bill, by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D-Wayne), is the first bill in what will be more than 100 dealing with the modernization of public notices for public bodies. The bill sets up the framework, while other pieces of legislation will amend each state statute requiring the notice to be published in a newspaper.

HB 6602 would allow local units to put public notices on their websites, but not require them to be published in a newspaper. In addition, and to ease the concerns about transparency, the bill requires the public body to send a copy of the notice to the newspaper, to post the notice in a conspicuous place and to create an annual mailing list for those residents wishing to have notices mailed to them via first class mail.

Even with these stipulations, the Michigan Press Association, whose members have long relied on fees charged to counties and others for publishing such notices, opposes the bill. 

MAC’s Bosworth, however, detailed the extensive protections for public transparency with the new system. “We are not trying to hide our public notices from the public,” she noted.

The bill makes it beneficial for counties to navigate our new media landscape in a way that is fair to local government and gives options to community members on how they choose to receive information on public notices.

HB 6062 is a welcome contrast to two other public notice measures that were recently signed into law. Senate Bill 258, by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason), and SB 259, by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Wayne), unfortunately did not curb the cost of the postings on local taxpayers or alleviate any unnecessary details of many of the posting requirements.

MAC will continue to support a fair and transparent process of reporting public notices and will continue to monitor HB 6062’s progress through the Legislature.

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

 

State Supreme Court still studying court costs case

The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) is still considering a case that challenges the authority of trial courts to impose costs on defendants.

On April 6, 2022, the MSC heard oral arguments on the application for leave to appeal in People v Travis Michael Johnson, which challenges state law by which a judge can impose “any costs reasonably related to the actual costs incurred by the trial court.”

On May 13, the court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs within 21 days, addressing three discrete issues:

(1) whether MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) violates the separation of powers by assigning the judicial branch “‘tasks that are more properly accomplished by the Legislature,“

(2) whether MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) violates due process by creating a “potential for bias” or an “objective risk of actual bias,” and

(3) if the Court finds MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) to be facially unconstitutional under either theory, what remedy should follow.

Thus, the court is still considering whether to grant leave to appeal and has requested additional briefing on the constitutionality of the statutory subsection on two broad constitutional grounds, i.e., separation of powers and due process, focusing more particularly on certain narrowly described reasons as to why the statute may violate those constitutional principles, i.e., improper assignment of legislative tasks to the judiciary and judicial bias concerns. 

As part of its consideration of whether to grant leave to appeal, the court would also consider the proposed remedies that may be ordered if it were to ultimately determine that the statute is unconstitutional on its face, i.e., invalid under any circumstances.  Based on the framing of the issues in its latest order, it would appear the potential remedies for a finding of facial unconstitutionality could include the Legislature establishing more objective criteria for the imposition of costs in a criminal case.

If the application is granted, the case would likely continue with further briefing on the specific issues to be defined by the court in its order granting leave to appeal, followed by oral argument and the court’s final determination of the issue.

MAC will continue to closely monitor this case and the huge potential for it to disrupt local court financing.

 

Counties among recipients of first responder grants

Thirteen counties are among recipients of the First Responder Training and Recruitment Grant Program, the Michigan Treasury announced this week. The program was launched by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in January to assist local governments in addressing critical needs in recruitment and retention of first responders.

Among the 400 applicants seeking a portion of the $5 million allocated by the Legislature last December, the requests exceeded $29 million. The 13 counties will be among those receiving a total of $1.4 million. As instructed through budget boilerplate language, Treasury reviewed and ranked all applications according to intended use of the funds and those communities most in need.

Congratulations to the county recipients:   

  • Alger – $46,651
  • Allegan – $100,000
  • Chippewa – $78,939
  • Clare – $54,035
  • Delta – $170,000
  • Iron – $17,583
  • Keweenaw – $82,172
  • Marquette – $98,784
  • Menominee – $143,908.40
  • Montcalm – $170,000
  • Ontonagon – $100,000
  • Otsego – $100,000
  • Roscommon – $67,500

The counties must submit a letter of acceptance through the state of Michigan E-Signature process and include the amount awarded and signed by the recipient’s chief executive officer. The grant will be distributed on a reimbursement basis after adequate documentation has been provided to the department. Counties awarded the grant will receive further instructions via email. Procedures and information on documentation can be found on the First Responder Training and Recruitment Grants webpage.

MAC supports efforts to enhance first responder training, retention and development and will continue to provide resources to counties to address important public safety needs.

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

 

Senate advances bill on transporting mental health patients

A MAC-supported bill to allow county mental health transportation panels received unanimous support in the Senate this week and has moved to the House.

Senate Bill 101, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), would allow the panels for the purpose of alternative transportation services for individuals needing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. The bill awaits a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee.

The bill would set forth a description and responsibilities of the panel, should a county choose to establish one, and outline contract and liability requirements. Any private security company considered to provide the transport services must meet certain requirements in order to enter into contract, including maintaining certain insurance coverage and providing to security transport officers a specialized training program for best practices when working with an individual with severe mental illness.

The bill also creates the Mental Health Transportation Fund, which, if funded by the Legislature, could help counties carry out functions of these mental health transportation services.

MAC supports the bill as an important tool for counties to secure alternative transportation services, so county law enforcement staff and resources are not tied up in long transport times.

A full analysis of the bill can be found here.

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

 

Podcast 83 goes live again on May 23

MAC’s Podcast 83 team will again be live to discuss all the news and events out of Lansing on Monday, May 23 at 4 p.m.

Among the burning questions that will be addressed are: Who has been hanging out with polar bears? And who is MAC going to miss soon?

Some policy issues will be reviewed, too, and the team will answer audience questions live.

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

In this week’s episode, on May 16, MAC’s Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit-Corrion discussed a huge broadband funding opportunity on the horizon, the latest on the legislation to reimburse counties for veteran property tax exemptions and what’s coming up on the FY23 state budget.

 

DNR seeks county input on outdoor recreation plan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is updating the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). This plan, which is updated every five years, supports and directs Michigan’s use of its federal Land and Water Conservation Fund apportionment, among other things.

As one aspect of the SCORP update, the state is surveying land managers throughout the state who have information about publicly available outdoor recreation resources and facilities, and insights into key issues facing those resources.

The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your help in this important effort.

Contact Dustin Isenhoff, Michigan DNR, at 517-275-1468 or IsenhoffD@Michigan.gov with questions about this survey.

 

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