Year in Review continues with focus on public safety funding, Open Meetings Act changes

Potential new funds for public safety and long-needed repairs to the state Open Meetings Act are two of several issues discussed in Part II of Podcast 83’s “Legislative Year in Review.”

Host Stephan Currie again welcomed the MAC advocacy team of Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson to review key county issues in 2023 and how some of them may change in 2024, including:

Open Meetings Act: “This has been a slow process this year,” said Fata. “Over 10,000 groups adhere to OMA. … The needs are all over the place. The goal for MAC is to be able to fully participate, including voting, remotely, as long as a physical quorum is present. At least two bills introduced … that are great for smaller organizations but for county commissioners still not where we want it to be.

“We just want that ability to participate remotely as long as physical quorum is present. … We don’t have any legislation that is meeting our needs,” she added.

Public Safety Trust Fund: “(The fund) is two-bill package, modeled after our Revenue Sharing Trust Fund bills,” said Bosworth. “They carve out percentage of state sales tax and allocate to pub safety trust fund. … Part of revenue (goes) to local units of government based on their portion of violent crime throughout the state. We have worked really hard to figure out how we could get counties recognized in that legislation.

“At this point, it has passed out of house and is awaiting action in Senate,” she added.

Designated assessor: Bosworth said MAC and counties are “in a good spot” regarding legislation to have the State Tax Commission hire designated assessors, freeing local governments from a long-standing struggle to find qualified individuals. The legislation will continue its path through the process in 2024, she added.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on Dec. 4, by clicking here.

Previous episodes, including Part I of the Year in Review, can be seen at MAC’s YouTube Channel.

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

 

Nearly 100 county leaders participate in Policy Summit

MAC President Jim Storey welcomes the in-person and virtual audiences for the 2023 Policy Summit on Dec. 7, as Executive Director Stephan Currie looks on.

Counties have an excellent opportunity to drive policy change in Lansing in coming months, if their leaders work with MAC at every opportunity, Board President Jim Storey of Allegan County told the nearly 100 attendees of the MAC Policy Summit on Dec. 7.

Storey’s remarks opened the one-day event at the Kellogg Center, which included presentations on:

The expected effects of the recently approved juvenile justice reform package, most notably the shift to a 75 percent reimbursement rate for community-based services for counties.

The politics and implications over the upcoming debate for a statewide septic code: Presenters explained there is a consensus among stakeholders — including local health departments and septic industry experts — that reform is needed. They added, though, that the final product will not look like the legislation that was introduced in Lansing this year.

National efforts to change federal law so that counties are not left with the health bills of jail inmates who have not yet been charged with a crime. Blaire Bryant of the National Association of Counties noted that county efforts were gaining traction on Capitol Hill to reform the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy.

The continuing work of a MAC-commissioned study on the services that each county provides to the local governments within its borders.

“We are thrilled by the turnout for the event — and by the extended Q&A segments in the sessions,” said Executive Director Stephan Currie. “I think the results speak to the quality of the presentations and to the eagerness of our members to stay current on policy questions so they can protect their constituents’ interests.”

Look for resources from the summit to post to MAC’s website by the middle of December.

 

NACo offers update on State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds’ Obligation Interim Final Rule

The U.S. Department of Treasury released a new interim final rule to address questions regarding the definition of “obligation” and to provide guidance and clarification for Obligation Interim Final Rule (IFR).

Treasury defined “obligation” as “an order placed for property and services and entering into contracts, subawards, and similar transactions that require payment.”

State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024, funds for Title I and Surface Transportation projects must be expended, by Sept. 30, 2024, and funds for most eligible uses must be expended by Dec. 31, 2026. SLFRF funds may only be used to cover costs incurred by Dec. 31, 2024. A recipient may use SLFRF funds to cover the costs of meeting the following: Reporting and compliance requirements, single audit costs, record retention and internal control requirements, property standards, environmental compliance requirements, and civil rights and nondiscrimination requirements.

Under the Obligation IFR, the definition of obligation is unchanged, but a recipient is also considered to have incurred an obligation by Dec. 31, 2024, when recipients incur costs related to the legal and administrative requirements of the SLFRF award funds. Recipient appropriation, budget, or allocation processes would not provide a standard that could be applied consistently across recipients related to the definition of obligation. Recipients can continue to charge indirect cost rates to SLFRF throughout the period of performance.

See relevant “case studies” from Treasury.

“The IFR was submitted for publication on Nov. 9, 2023, and will become effective when published. That will also begin the 30-day comment period. You may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should be captioned “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Obligation Interim Final Rule Comment.” Please also include your:

  • Name
  • Organization affiliation
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number

Comments received will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov, without change, including any business or personal information provided. Comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, will be part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Do not enclose any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

 

Podcast 83 begins look back at 2023 legislative year

Legislative successes on juvenile justice reform, property tax reimbursements and revenue sharing highlight the first of two episodes of Podcast 83 that are looking back at 2023 in the State Capitol.

Host Stephan Currie and the MAC governmental affairs team of Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson reviewed the county perspective on the following:

Passage of a huge juvenile justice reform package, which notably did not include an extension of juvenile services under the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission. “MIDC will remain exactly as is,” Gibson said.

Release of Personal Property Tax (PPT) funds for local governments, which are losing revenue due to expanded tax exemptions for small businesses approved by the state two years ago. “There’s been $75 million set aside, and they are required to set aside $75 million each year to go out to local units to reimburse them,” Bosworth explained. “We are pretty happy about that.”

A new, dedicated Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, which was approved overwhelmingly by the House and now awaits action in the Senate in 2024. “It’s a true sharing of the state’s revenue,” Bosworth said of the long-standing MAC priority. “It’s a straight carve-out of the sales tax … and allows for growth.”

View the full video of the episode, recorded on Nov. 28, by clicking here.

The Legislative Year in Review will continue with Part II, set to be released on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

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

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

 

Check out new estimates on opioid settlement payments

An Opioid Settlement Payment Estimator was released this week by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office.

The worksheet outlines the estimated totals for opioid settlements in counties, other local governments and the state. Outside of estimated total amounts by settlement, local governments can see estimates for payments expected from each settlement in each calendar year.

The updated dollar amounts provided in the worksheet also have been updated on MAC’s Opioid Settlement Resource Center dashboard and a link to the payment estimator is provided.

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

 

State offers Dec.15 webinar about new juvenile justice laws

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services invite county officials to join an informational webinar to learn more about the recently passed Justice for Kids and Communities bill package. The bill package is the result of the work of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform and will bring significant changes to the juvenile justice system that will improve outcomes for youth and families and strengthen public safety across the state.

MAC supported this package during the 2023 legislative sessions.

The webinar will provide a detailed overview of the legislation. We will also be collecting your outstanding questions about the provisions for review and discussion at a future training opportunity. Please find logistical information to join the webinar below:

For more information on MAC’s advocacy work on juvenile justice issues, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAC president ‘visits’ Capitol Hill:

A friend of MAC recently visited the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman John James of Michigan and noticed President Jim Storey also “there” via the cover of the October 2023 edition of Michigan Counties. MAC distributes more than 1,500 printed copies of the magazine every two months to county, state and federal officials.

 

Three Midland County employees finish NACo leadership program

MAC congratulates the August 2023 NACo Leadership Academy graduates from Michigan. They join more than 10,000 graduates and current participants from across the country benefitting from the 12-week online program enabling existing and emerging county leaders to achieve their highest potential:

  • Chris Gaumer, equalization director, Midland County
  • Jessica Gilkins, board administrative assistant, Midland County
  • Marisa Boulton, community corrections coordinator, Midland County

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the High Performance Leadership Academy with a special training deal: each county can enroll 10 leaders for $15,000 in 2024. Our next cohort starts Jan. 8.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND ENROLL

Developed by General Colin Powell, the Professional Development Academy and NACo, the High Performance Leadership Academy is an online 12-week program that helps your workforce develop fundamental, practical leadership skills to deliver results for counties and residents.

 

Registration deadline approaches for Dec. 7 Policy Summit

A MAC-commissioned report on the services that counties provide to other local governments will be reviewed at the MAC Policy Summit set for Dec. 7, 2023.

Online registration remains open until Nov. 30.

The fee to attend the summit at the Kellogg Center (219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing, 48824) is $50. This includes registration, lunch and continental breakfast. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with welcome remarks at 9:30 a.m.

While guest rooms at the Kellogg Center are sold out, members wishing to stay in the Lansing area the night before the summit might consider two nearby hotels:

For members who cannot make it to mid-Michigan, MAC will offer digital access for the $50 fee. (Please note, however, that digital access will be viewing only, not interactive.)

In addition to the services report, the event will include presentations on:

  • The effects of juvenile justice reform legislation
  • The ongoing challenge of providing health care to county jail inmates
  • Proposals to create a statewide septic code

To register and for more details on the presentation topics, click here.

This is the last MAC educational event for 2023 and is worth 1 credit “hour” in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

 

Review flurry of legislative activity with MAC

Before adjourning officially earlier this week, the Michigan Legislature pushed through a flurry of actions affecting counties in the months and years ahead, such as pre-empting local control on energy facilities and advancing much needed juvenile justice reforms.

To catch up on these actions, members can review:

Also, after the Thanksgiving holiday look for alerts for a special Podcast 83 “Year in Review” episode.

 

Opioid settlements webinar set for Dec. 7

On Thursday, December 7, The next webinar in the Opioid Settlement Technical Assistance Learning Series, “Evaluation Strategies for Projects Funded by Michigan’s Opioid Settlements,” will be held on Dec. 7 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The series is hosted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University as part of their Technical Assistance Collaborative. The webinars are intended to provide information from experts for officials and representatives from counties, municipalities and townships, including community members, to aid in their opioid settlement investment processes.

Register at Wayne State’s website.

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

 

MAC offices to close for Thanksgiving holiday 

MAC’s Lansing offices will close at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 22 to observe the Thanksgiving holiday.

Normal office hours will resume on Monday, Nov. 27 at 8 a.m.

Executive Director Stephan Currie and the entire MAC staff wish all county officials and their families a safe and pleasant holiday weekend.

 

Staff picks

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 gibson@micounties.org.

 

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 gibson@micounties.org.

 

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 gibson@micounties.org.

 

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 gibson@micounties.org.

 

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 oac@legislature.mi.gov 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 despins@micounties.org

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

 

House passes Revenue Sharing Trust Fund Bills – Senate needs to act NOW

In a promising development for Michigan’s counties, the state’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) bills have passed the House this week with overwhelming bipartisan support.  By a vote of 106-4, HB 4274 sponsored by Rep. O’Neal (D-Saginaw) and HB 4275 sponsored by Rep. Tisdel (R-Oakland) now advance to the Senate for consideration.  The timing of Senate action on these bills is critical.  Without a vote in the Senate this week the bills will not go into effect before the next budget cycle.

It is imperative that county commissioners contact their Senators and urge them to vote on the bills that are now in the Senate. 

These bills, if enacted would:

Create a separate “Revenue Sharing Trust Fund” to receive and hold dollars solely for the purpose of fulfilling the state’s promise to local governments on revenue sharing;

Require that 8 percent of the revenue generated by 4 percentage points of the state’s sales tax rate; and

Result in $601.1 million in statutory revenue sharing for all local governments across Michigan based on the May Consensus Revenue Estimate for sales tax. 

Counties would receive 46.14 percent of this total in the first year, $277 million, which would be an increase of nearly $31 million from the current total.

MAC has long sought to create stability and fairness in the revenue sharing system by removing the statutory portion of it from the annual appropriations process and by designating a steady revenue source.  For more information on this issue, please contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org

House passes solar siting legislation

Legislation to preempt local control and grant siting authority for renewable energy facilities to the Public Service Commission (PSC) advanced with some major changes. Following two, twelve-hour session days and more than twenty amendments, House Bill 5120 by Rep. Aiyash (D-Wayne) passed the House just after midnight on Thursday along party lines.

The new amendments require a developer to go through a local unit of government first if the local unit has a “compatible renewable energy ordinance.” The local unit will then have 120 days to either approve or deny the project. If the local unit denies or fails to act on the proposal, then it is escalated to the PSC for review. This applies to all solar projects with a nameplate capacity greater than 50 megawatts, and all wind projects greater than 100 megawatts. 

MAC opposes the new provisions because they give the illusion of local control without providing any real authority. There is virtually no room to tailor an ordinance to the wants and needs of a community under this plan. A renewable energy ordinance is not considered compatible if the requirements are any more restrictive than outlined in the bill. Additionally, counties will be unable to amend their renewable energy ordinances or pass temporary moratoriums for any reason, or the projects will automatically go to the PSC.

Other amendments include a $2,000 per megawatt payment from the energy facility owner to the local unit to be used for police, fire, public safety, or other infrastructure, but it remains unclear if that means the city, village, township, or county.

MAC will continue to fight this legislation in the Senate. The language was drafted quickly and behind closed doors without proper stakeholder input, and is deeply flawed. Session is expected to adjourn next Thursday, November 9, meaning there are just three session days left for the Senate to approve this legislation and get it to the governor’s desk for signature.

For more information, please contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org 

House approves court reporter fee increase legislation

A bill to increase court reporter and recorder fees was approved on the House floor this week with bipartisan support.

Amendments made to House Bill 5046 by the Criminal Justice Committee to address concerns about “double dipping” with county-employed court reporters or recorders producing transcripts have shifted MAC from opposition to support of the legislation.

Sponsored by Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Macomb), the bill would increase the amount a court reporter or recorder would receive from $1.75 to $3.75 per page on an original transcript, and 90 cents per page for each copy.

The amendments include updates to what the county and court reporters or recorders shall provide in the capture and production of transcripts, and the prioritization of court-funded transcripts and transcripts produced on county time.

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

Medication Aide legislation passed by House

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

House Bills 4885 and 4923, sponsored by Reps. Donavan McKinney (D-Wayne) and Joseph 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.

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

Senate committee approves additional judgeships in Kent and Macomb counties

New judgeships could soon exist in Kent and Macomb counties after the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee passed House Bills 4823 and 4920, by Rep. Doug Wozniak (R-Macomb) and Rep. John 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.

MAC supports this legislation.

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

County-opposed staffing bill gets House committee approval

A bill to require minimum staffing levels as a mandatory subject of collective bargaining between a public employer and the representative of its employees was approved by the House Labor Committee this week.

House Bill 4688, by Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Calhoun), would amend the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) and specifies that “other terms and conditions of employment” would include minimum staffing levels within the bargaining unit and consider minimum staffing levels a condition of employment with respect to a bargaining representative’s collective bargaining responsibilities. The version voted onto the House floor included an amendment that would limit its application to only Public Act 312 employees, which was recently expanded to include corrections officers.

Making minimum staffing levels a mandatory topic of collective bargaining could increase staffing costs to counties. In addition to the potential for increased costs, many counties are facing staffing shortages. Implementing minimum staffing requirements when local governments are struggling to maintain fully staffed facilities will add to the difficulties counties already face when recruiting and retaining employees.

MAC opposes this legislation.

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

Liability concerns for counties raised in sexual conduct package

Legislation to alter the statute of limitations on criminal sexual conduct and sexual misconduct was approved this week by the House Committee on Criminal Justice.

Previously opposed by MAC due to the potential for broad, unintended consequences for counties, House Bills 4482–4487 affect private employers and educational institutions. House Bill 4486, by Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Wayne), in particular, previously affected local governments, however, the version approved in committee removed liability for governmental agencies. The bill now only holds public school districts, colleges, and universities liable.

MAC no longer has a position on this legislation, as counties will not be impacted under the most recent version of the bill.

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

‘Fiscally Ready Communities’ webinar rescheduled for Nov. 13

A free webinar for local officials focused on fees, fines, purchasing and receipting has been rescheduled to Nov 13. from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST.

The Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension co-host the “Fiscally Ready Communities” webinars to assist appointed and elected officials.

“Building a culture of fiscal sustainability is essential to local government fiscal health. Well-thought-out policies on fees, fines, purchasing and receipting lead to clear rules and fair treatment, which are essential pillars to that culture of fiscal sustainability. This webinar will include a deep dive into best practices related to fees, fines, purchasing, receipting, and more. It will cover what they are, why such policies are necessary, how they contribute to local fiscal health, and how to get started on implementation.”

Building a culture of fiscal sustainability, best practices and case study examples will be featured.

To register, click here.

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