Expansion of binding arbitration clears Senate committee

Legislation to extend binding arbitration to county correctional officers has advanced this week, despite opposition from MAC and others.

House Bill 4438, by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland), was approved by the Senate Labor Committee unanimously on Thursday. A substitute was adopted during the committee process to include all Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) certified law enforcement officers in binding arbitration, adding officers from universities and community colleges.

MAC has long opposed any expansion of binding arbitration to other bargaining units due to the cost of the process, the long-term liabilities associated with third-party decisions and the unequal treatment such a system provides to those bargaining units. The Michigan Public Employment Relations Act already provides for bargaining rights without tying the hands of the county in binding arbitration.

MAC submitted a letter to committee members expressing these concerns. However, the current Legislature has time and again demonstrated strong support for unions and collective bargaining units. HB 4438 has been referred to the Senate floor for a final vote before likely advancing to the governor’s desk for signature.

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


MAC brokers improvements on indigent defense bills

Following key revisions brokered by MAC, legislation to expand the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission’s (MIDC) work to youths has the support of counties, a MAC staffer told a special legislative hearing this week.

House Bill 4630, by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), and Senate Bill 424, by Sen. Sue Shink (D-Washtenaw), would have MIDC include youth indigent defense services.

In her testimony (19-minute mark of video), MAC’s Samantha Gibson detailed how MAC’s concerns about a compounding clause for the local share for MIDC services and disbursement rules were addressed. The compounding clause is gone, and the bills now would create the following disbursement model: 40 percent of the total annual grant amount upfront, and the remaining 60 percent of the grant will be disbursed in three equal increments.

MAC now supports this legislation, which is expected to be voted on in committee next week.

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


Lansing’s a legislative blur; Podcast 83 is here to bring issues into focus

Legislative work in Lansing is accelerating and MAC’s Podcast 83 team is your guide to everything going on at the State Capitol.

In their newest episode, host Stephan Currie and MAC staffers Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson detail the news, including:

  • A huge advance on revenue sharing reform, with a House committee giving unanimous and bipartisan support to MAC’s plan for a dedicated Revenue Sharing Trust Fund;
  • The debate over the scope of, and reimbursement for, property tax exemptions for veterans, which are now costing local governments around $100 million a year; and
  • MAC’s work to bring a reasonable approach to how Michigan regulates the siting of solar and wind energy projects.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on Sept. 18, by clicking here.

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

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


Counties asked to send shutdown impact data

With a federal government shutdown looming, MAC and the National Association of Counties need your help in collecting information on the impact of a shutdown on local public service delivery.

NACo will share this information with members of Congress and their staff as negotiations continue on Capitol Hill.

Please share any data/anecdotes or individual letters that outline the impacts during previous government shutdowns with MAC by emailing them directly to despins@micounties.org.

We appreciate your assistance on this matter.


Days dwindling to register for 2023 Annual Conference

County leaders still have a few days left to complete their online registration for the 2023 Michigan Counties Annual Conference in Kalamazoo County Oct. 1-3.

Click here for Attendee Registration

In honor of MAC’s anniversary year, the annual President’s Banquet will be capped by music in the ballroom of the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

Additional highlights for this year’s event are:

A two-part, two-day dive into the details of Public Act 51, the state’s road funding formula via workshops held on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning

Plenary sessions on affordable housing and bridging generational differences in the workplace,

MAC’s Annual Business Meeting, during which members will review and approve MAC’s policy platforms for the coming year

Exhibitor Bingo and special raffles that will offer cash prizes to lucky attendees

The schedule of the conference is carefully crafted to respect members’ weekly schedule, with conference registration opening around noon Sunday and events concluding prior to hotel check-out on Tuesday morning.

Commissioners who attend the conference will earn 3 credit hours for MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

Conference Registration Prices

  • Member* – Full Conference Rate: $490
  • Member* – Single Day Rate: $325
  • Non-Member – Full Conference Rate: $565
  • Non-Member – Single Day Rate: $385
  • Spouse/Guest Rate: $250

*The following are eligible for the member rate: county commissioners, county administrators, countywide elected officials, county staffers and staffers of MAC affiliates.


The Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center is now SOLD OUT. For other hotel options in the area, visit the website of the Kalamazoo Convention and Visitors Bureau


New data sources offered for opioid settlement planning

County-level data is available to assist with opioid settlement planning from new sources. These tools and existing data sources, found under “Local Level Data” in MAC’s Opioid Settlement Resource Library provide a strong basis for understanding local needs and the scope of the drug overdose crisis and associated areas. 

  • NORC at the University of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development have created a community assessment tool detailing county-level data highlighting socioeconomic factors in relative to the opioid crisis. The National Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool is interactive and provides data visualizations and tables for local use.
  • NORC and East Tennessee State University, funded by the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy have released the Recovy Ecosystem Index Mapping Tool. This tool looks at fourteen (14) indicators associated with a recovery ecosystem, such as the continuum of substance use disorder support and infrastructure, to assist with understanding the current landscape and needs.
  • Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and Third Horizon Strategies, funded by Elevance Health Foundation, developed another data tool to assist in planning efforts. The Opioid Abatement Needs and Investment Tool looks at five social determinants of health domains (healthcare, environment, economic, education, and social) and identifies a counties need in that area, while pointing to examples of strategies and programs to address those areas of need.

To understand more about what data local governments have access to through their local public health departments, register for our upcoming webinar, Overdose in Our Backyard: Resources and Collaboration for Opioid Settlement Spending.

For more information, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.


Operation Green Light will honor nation’s veterans

MAC Board President Stan Ponstein was among those participating in the 2022 edition of Operation Green Light.

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.  

To show support, counties are encouraged to use this template to pass a resolution declaring your county’s participation in Operation Green Light.

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


Governor’s speech carries concerns for county governments

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke in Lansing on Aug. 30, 2023, about her legislative priorities for the fall. (Photo: Bridge Magazine)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her fall legislative priorities that included a push for clean energy, streamlined permitting and increased election security in a speech on Wednesday. While the governor traditionally delivers a State of the State Address annually in January, her presentation this week felt very much like a second act to her 2023 address.

As MAC reported last week, in a bid to enact a 100 percent clean energy standard, the governor plans to empower the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to regulate solar and wind projects and pre-empt local control. As the industry begins to transition away from traditional carbon energy and toward renewable energy, it is vital that local governments play a central role in the planning process and buildout of infrastructure. MAC is opposed to statewide siting of wind and solar projects and will work with the legislature to ensure local voices are not lost in this process. (See the item below on how you can speak out against the governor’s plans against local control.)

While discussing election security, the governor advocated for improved safety measures for voters and poll workers. Without identifying specific legislation or next steps, she highlighted the expansion of voting rights as a top priority.

MAC is seeking clarity from the governor’s team on other items that could potentially impact counties:

She addressed paid family leave as something she hopes to expand for small businesses, and it remains unclear whether local units of government will be included in this proposal.

Additionally, she acknowledged weaknesses in our permitting processes and advocated for a more streamlined approach. MAC understands this to mean permitting at the state level, which would have little to no impact on locals.

MAC will watch these proposals closely to ensure counties are not impeded in anyway. 

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


Learn all you ever wanted to know about road funding at conference

As the summer driving season winds down, no Michigan resident, or public leader, needs to be reminded of the state’s ongoing infrastructure challenges.

The 2023 Annual Conference will feature a special two-part, two-day workshop focused on the central state law governing Michigan roads: Public Act 51.

On Oct. 1, Ed Noyola of the County Road Association of Michigan, a MAC affiliate, will review how the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) serves as the distribution model for road funding in Michigan. Through an intricate formula crafted over many years, the MTF allocates funds to state, county, and municipal road agencies to maintain, repair and improve our roadways.

On Oct. 2, Noyola will continue his review by taking a closer look at the county’s expenditures of the Michigan Transportation Fund, touching on such topics as operations, contracting and adhering to federal and state standards. The Monday session will provide a more technical, hands-on perspective for managers and county commissioners to understand their role in Michigan’s local transportation network.

This is a “must” session for any county leader who wants to understand how Michigan funds and fixes its road network.

For times of these sessions, and more details, check out the conference agenda.

Registration continues for the 2023 Michigan Counties Annual Conference to celebrate MAC’s 125th Anniversary.

Remember, special early-bird pricing for this event expires on Sept. 8, so register now!

For questions about MAC events, contact Tammi Connell at connell@micounties.org.


County leaders urged to speak against attack on local control

A clean energy plan being promoted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could take local control over renewable energy buildout out of the hands of local governments. As part of her top legislative priorities for the fall, Whitmer plans to grant all siting authority for solar and wind developments to the state, stripping local control over such projects.

The plan would allow the Michigan Public Service Commission to work directly with electric utilities and independent developers to determine the location and size of solar and wind farms. It mirrors previous attempts by the Legislature to preempt local control over aggregate mining operations.

MAC opposes any plan that preempts local governments from having a say in local development projects. As industry leaders, federal entities, and state officials have vowed to transition away from traditional carbon energy and toward renewable energy, it is vital that local governments play a central role in the planning process and buildout of infrastructure.

Elected county leaders are urged to use the link below to send your own email of opposition to your legislators today!

Click here to send your email statement in support of local control.


ICYMI: Check out all of Podcast 83’s special summer episodes on key issues

With the Legislature generally out of Lansing since May, MAC’s Podcast 83 team used the summer to present a variety of special episodes on key topics before county government.

If you missed them when first released, fear not, you can view them 24/7 at MAC’s YouTube channel:

  • Septic Code legislation with guest Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-Kent County)
  • Materials management changes
  • Revenue Sharing Trust Fund efforts
  • Needed changes in Chapter 22 of the state’s Drain Code
  • Juvenile justice reform work

Expect to see regular Podcast 83 episodes resume in mid-September as the Legislature returns to Lansing for its fall meeting days.

And if you have a suggestion for a future episode topic or guest, let us know via email to melot@micounties.org.


Transportation asset conference set for Sept. 26

Registration is now open for the 2023 TAMC Asset Management Conference, to be held Sept. 26, 2023, in Grand Rapids.

The conference is sponsored by the state’s Transportation Asset Management Council. Kelly Jones of Ingham County is the MAC representative on that panel, which reports to the Michigan Infrastructure Council and the State Transportation Commission.

Among topics to be discussed at the conference are:

  • Tips & Recommendations on How to Build a Quality Chip Seal
  • Michigan Infrastructure Council Update
  • National State of Practice on Local Asset Management
  • 2022 PASER Data Analysis and Update 

Check out the full agenda. Note: The room block of $85 per night at the DoubleTree hotel expires on Sept. 5. You can book your room(s) online or by calling 616-957-0100; mention that you are booking your room as part of the Asset Management Conference (group code: XMG).

Registration fee is $65 per person and all sessions are in-person only. Deadline to register is Sept. 17.


MAC offices closed for Labor Day

Murray Local No. 2 float in Labor Day parade in Detroit in 1942. (Photo: Library of Congress)

MAC’s Lansing offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4 to observe the federal holiday on Labor Day.

Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 8 a.m.

“In 1894 President Grover Cleveland created Labor Day by signing federal legislation declaring the first Monday in September a national holiday,” notes the Walther Reuther Library in Detroit. “Yet the origins of Labor Day predate his action by many years. As the number of trade unions grew in America during the mid- to late-19th century, their members began to hold periodic parades, rallies, picnics and other events to demonstrate the talents and accomplishments of American workers.

“For more than 100 years, Michiganians have participated in Labor Day parades and other celebrations. One of the first Michigan labor parades took place on July 4, 1865, when more than 4,000 union members — on their way to a picnic —marched down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, carrying banners, tools and other symbols of their trades. By the turn of the 20th century, similar demonstrations were held in urban centers across the state.”


Board approves 2023-24 platforms for final member review

The MAC Board of Directors reviews policy platforms during its summer meeting on Aug. 9, 2023.








The MAC Board of Directors, at its summer meeting, reviewed the association’s policy platform drafts for 2023-24 and approved them for final review by the membership at the 2023 Annual Conference.

MAC’s advocacy work is guided by these policy platforms, which are developed through meetings of MAC’s six policy committees each year:

  • Agriculture and Tourism
  • Environmental and Natural Resources
  • Finance and General Government
  • Health and Human Services
  • Judiciary and Public Safety
  • Transportation and Infrastructure

The next step in this annual process will begin on Friday, Aug. 25 when the policy drafts post to the MAC website for member review. According to the by-laws, MAC members may offer amendments in two ways:

  • Submit an amendment to the MAC offices at least five (5) days prior to the opening day of the MAC Annual Conference (or Sept. 26 this year); or
  • Submit an amendment from the floor during the Annual Business Meeting on Oct. 3.

Please note that amendments submitted in advance require a majority vote on the floor for approval, while amendments submitted on the floor during the session require a 2/3 vote of members attending.

For any questions on the platforms, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

To submit an amendment, email the finished text to despins@micounties.org.


Podcast 83 episode focuses on 2023 Annual Conference details

Details about the 2023 Annual Conference in Kalamazoo County are the focus of a special episode of Podcast 83, MAC’s podcast about all things related to Michigan’s 83 counties.

Guest Tammi Connell, MAC’s director of member events, provides a rundown of the conference mechanics, including the timeline for registration, when to show up at the conference venue, the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo, and even what music you can expect to hear at the Gala following the traditional President’s Banquet on the night of Monday, Oct. 2.

Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs, provides more conference details, including on this event’s workshops for county leaders, including a special two-day dive into the exceedingly complicated – and important – road funding formula found in Public Act 51.

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

For additional details on the Annual Conference, click here.

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

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


MAC creates resolution template for Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month

August and September highlight a time to recognize the lives lost to drug overdose and celebrate recovery from substance use disorders. Overdose Awareness Day is recognized internationally on Aug. 31 annually to raise awareness of drug overdose, stigma associated with overdose deaths and acknowledge grief experienced by families and friends remembering those lost and injured as a result of drug overdose. To find out more information, you can visit https://www.overdoseday.com/.

Recovery Month is recognized nationally throughout the month of September to promote new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the strength and resilience of the recovery community and highlight the providers and communities that support recovery from substance use disorders. To find out more information, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery-month.

MAC has created a template overdose awareness day and recovery month proclamation which counties can customize to highlight their commitment to addressing stigma and overdose, honoring the lives lost, celebrating those in recovery and sharing that recovery is possible.

For more information on MAC’s services regarding the opioid crisis, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.   


Fees and fines are focus of next ‘Fiscally Ready’ webinar

“Nuts and Bolts: Fees, Fines, Purchasing and Receipting” is the theme for the next “Fiscally Ready Communities” webinar hosted by the Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension.

Registration is now open for this free webinar series, which is offered on these dates:

  • Aug. 17, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Sept. 11, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Oct. 11, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET
  • Nov. 7, 10 a.m.  to 11:30 a.m. ET

The training is designed to assist appointed and elected officials.

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.

For more information, contact Eric Walcott at walcott3@msu.edu.


Transportation asset conference set for Sept. 26

Registration is now open for the 2023 TAMC Asset Management Conference, to be held Sept. 26, 2023, in Grand Rapids.

The conference is sponsored by the state’s Transportation Asset Management Council. Kelly Jones of Ingham County is the MAC representative on that panel, which reports to the Michigan Infrastructure Council and the State Transportation Commission.

Among topics to be discussed at the conference are:

  • Tips & Recommendations on How to Build a Quality Chip Seal
  • Michigan Infrastructure Council Update
  • National State of Practice on Local Asset Management
  • 2022 PASER Data Analysis and Update 

Check out the full agenda.

Registration fee is $65 per person and all sessions are in-person only. Deadline to register is Sept. 17.


State releases broadband plan to spend $1.55 billion

Michigan has released its draft plan to spend $1.55 in federal funds to expand broadband access across the state.

You can review the plan in its entirety here. The state is now taking public comment until Aug. 4. It will use this feedback to shape the final version of its “Five-Year Action Plan.”

Developed by the Michigan High Speed Internet (MIHI) Office, the plan follows the announcement that Michigan would receive the fourth-largest allocation in the nation from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

The draft plan highlights MIHI’s key priorities: reduce barriers to broadband deployment; maximize the use and reach of federal funds; promote digital equity and inclusion; advocate for resiliency and sustainability for broadband infrastructure development; and empower communities through engagement and involvement.

The MIHI team has spent nearly a year traveling around Michigan to identify the needs of each region. They have determined that nearly 500,000 households are unserved or underserved by high-speed internet. The objectives outlined in the plan include expanding infrastructure, promoting affordable broadband services and increasing digital skills.

Stakeholders have been divided into three separate classes: core, enabling and external. Counties have been placed in the enabling class, meaning they will play a key role in “identifying barriers to infrastructure deployment and developing and implementing solutions to overcome these barriers.” Counties will also be involved in developing policies that contribute to successful program implementation.

Local permitting and county rights-of-way and drains have already been identified as significant barriers in the deployment of infrastructure, according to MIHI. The plan suggests a desire to standardize the permitting process, making it easier for broadband providers to expand into unserved and underserved areas.

MAC has not taken a position on the plan but encourages members to review it carefully as soon as possible.

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


Podcast episode reviews work on Revenue Sharing Trust Fund

MAC’s work to enact a dedicated Revenue Sharing Trust Fund is the focus of a special and new episode of Podcast 83.

Host Stephan Currie delves into the details of the trust fund effort with MAC’s governmental affairs director, Deena Bosworth.

Late in June, lawmakers did approve a $17.6 million boost in county revenue sharing, which will bring the total in FY24 to $263.4 million. However, the MAC pair noted, the trust fund initiative will relieve much of the uncertainty about funding and tie payments to the growth of sales tax revenue.

Among key points made during the discussion, taped July 11, are:

  • Legislative term limits have disrupted the institutional knowledge of revenue sharing’s purpose in Lansing.
  • There is now a strong group of former county commissioners in the Legislature, however, who are well-positioned to aid in the trust fund effort.
  • The version of the legislation that has the “most momentum” is in a House committee.
  • The only stumbling block, Bosworth says, is the lack of buy-in, so far, from the State Budget Office.

“It’s called revenue sharing for a reason,” Bosworth noted. “They are supposed to be sharing the state revenue. It was established years ago because we gave up our own local taxing authority.”

View the full video of the episode, recorded on July 11, by clicking here.

For additional details on MAC’s trust fund proposal and to send a pre-drafted email of support to your lawmakers, visit MAC’s Advocacy Center.

See county-by-county revenue sharing estimates for FY24.

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

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


Counties can now sign up for Walgreens settlements

Local governments can now participate in the opioid settlements with Walgreens. If local governments choose to participate, they will need to complete a participation form and submit it no later than Sept. 6.

This settlement will align with other pharmacy settlements and funds will be directly distributed to the local governments. Eligible local governments should receive forms by today (July 28).

Forms can be signed electronically or signed physically, scanned, and emailed back.

For more information on this issue, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.


MAC president featured in latest edition of NACo’s County News

Stan Ponstein, Kent County commissioner and MAC president, is featured in the “Profiles in Service” section of the July 17, 2023, edition of County News, the publication of the National Association of Counties.

Among the tidbits Ponstein shared with the NACo writers were:

  • His favorite movie is “The Sound of Music.”
  • He has a culinary arts degree.
  • The three people (living or dead) he’d invite to dinner are: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, chef Anthony Bourdain and Susan Butcher, Iditarod Sled Dog Race champion.

To see the full feature, click here.

To watch Ponstein’s remarks at MAC’s 125th Anniversary Celebration in Lansing on Feb. 1, go to our YouTube channel.


Board seats up for election at 2023 Annual Conference

At the 2023 Michigan Counties Annual Conference (Oct. 1-3 in Kalamazoo County), MAC members will vote on four seats on the MAC Board of Directors. Commissioners wishing to serve on the Board, whether incumbents or new candidates, have until Sept. 1 to file official notice of their intent to run.  (The application form is found by clicking here.)

The MAC Board of Directors is the key body in guiding the legislative and organizational strategies of MAC. Board terms are three years in length and individuals may serve up to three terms.

2023 Board seats

  • At-large Seat A – Board President Stan Ponstein of Kent County is the incumbent
  • CORRECTION: Region 1 Seat B – Joe Bonovetz of Gogebic County is the incumbent
  • Region 2 Seat B – Director Richard Schmidt of Manistee County is the incumbent
  • Region 3 Seat B – Board First Vice President Jim Storey of Allegan County is the incumbent

The regional caucuses for these elections will be held Oct. 2 at 3:15 p.m. during the 2023 Annual Conference at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. To identify your region, consult the map at right or click here.

Seats representing regions are filled by the particular regional caucus, with each county in the region casting a single ballot. At-large seats are filled by the candidate that wins a majority of the six regional caucuses, with commissioners casting individual votes.

Any member wishing to run in the election must download the application form and return it by Sept. 1, 2023, at 5 p.m. to be eligible. Candidates are also encouraged to submit a statement of up to 400 words on why members should support them. These statements will be posted to the MAC website in early September.

If you have any questions about Board duties, please contact Executive Director Stephan W. Currie at 517-372-5374.


Michigan delegation participates in platform votes at NACo conference

About 50 county officials from Michigan joined counterparts from across the nation this month to work on key policy issues at the 2023 National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference.

The gathering was held July 21-24, 2023, at the Austin Convention Center in Travis County, Texas and featured addresses from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, broadcast journalist Joan Lunden and Allan Golston, president of U.S. programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Members also participated in policy committee hearings and voting to hone the American County Platform, which guides NACo’s work on Capitol Hill and with executive agencies.

“Our delegation received a warm welcome in Austin, and not just because the temperatures were soaring above 100 degrees,” said Stephan W. Currie, executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties. “Participation in NACo events is one of the best methods that Michigan commissioners have to stay current on public policy issues and provide input on federal policies.”


Staff picks

County leaders asked to contact Congress on Medicaid jail issue

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

Congress is currently negotiating the reauthorization of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-271), which expires on Sept. 30, 2023. 

The Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy is a federal statute that terminates access to federal health benefits at the time of arrest. These bills would allow continuity of care via access to critical health services for incarcerated individuals. The Due Process Continuity of Care Act would “allow pretrial detainees to receive Medicaid benefits at the option of the state and provide $50 million in planning grant dollars to states and localities for implementing the MIEP repeal, improving the quality of care provided in jails and enhancing the number of available providers to treat this population.” The Reentry Act would “allow Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to an eligible incarcerated individual during the 30-day period preceding the individual’s release.” MAC, along with other stakeholders, has requested the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services apply for a Section 1115 waiver  relating to the MIEP, allowing for Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated individuals prior to release.

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

As Congress works to reauthorize key programs within the SUPPORT Act, NACo and MAC urge you to contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators and ask them to support the inclusion of the following bipartisan bills that would address the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP): 

  • The Reentry Act (H.R. 2400/S.1165), which would allow Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to an incarcerated individual during the 30-day period preceding the individual’s release.
  • The Due Process Continuity of Care Act(H.R. 3074/S.971), which would allow pretrial detainees to receive Medicaid benefits at the option of the state.

Send a letter to your U.S. Senators and Representatives using the NACo letter template.

Access the new Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP) Advocacy Toolkit for talking points, sample social media posts and other advocacy resources.

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


National settlement announced on PFAS

Counties may soon be contacted regarding a national settlement over PFAS contamination. Chemical manufacturer 3M has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle lawsuits over the detection of PFAS in drinking water systems. The settlement will be paid over 13 years and could exceed the initial $10 billion.

In a press release from 3M, it was announced the settlement “provides funding for public water suppliers (PWS) nationwide that have detected PFAS in drinking water, as well as for eligible PWS that may detect PFAS at any level in the future.” The money can be used for remediation and prevention through filtering and testing.

PFAS is a harmful chemical found in food packaging, nonstick products and firefighting foam. Communities with airports, military bases, or plating factories may have higher levels of PFAS in their water systems due to runoff.

MAC has been made aware that some counties in Michigan have already been notified of a potential payout. There is limited information available publicly regarding next steps.

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


Juvenile justice reform efforts begin in Senate

The MAC-backed juvenile justice reform bill package has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety. The 20-bill package, Senate Bills 418437, are a result of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform’s recommendations provided last July. Identical bills, House Bills 46244643, have previously been introduced and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee.

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

The Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform was established by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2021 and was tasked with assessing Michigan’s juvenile justice data and identifying ways to improve the system. The bipartisan task force was chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and included members from all three branches of government and state and local level juvenile justice leaders and advocates. Two county commissioners served on the Task Force, each nominated by MAC. Alisha Bell of Wayne County represented a county with a population over 100,000, and Marlene Webster of Shiawassee County represented a county with under 100,000 in population. Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), a former county commissioner, also served on the Task Force.

The Task Force offered 32 recommendations to the Legislature last year. Six priority areas have been identified and translated into the bill package.

The first bill in the package, Senate Bill 418, by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Wayne), enhances the Child Care Fund (CCF) by establishing a minimum framework of juvenile justice best practices statewide, including the use of risk screening and assessment tools. The best practices will be supported by an increase in the reimbursement rate for community-based services from 50 percent to 75 percent These changes are essential to ensuring counties have the resources to implement and utilize these approaches.

Senate Bills 419423 require 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.

Senate Bills 424 and 425, by Sen. Sue Shink (D-Washtenaw), also a former county commissioner, would expand the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission to include development, oversight and compliance with youth defense standards in local county defense systems and expands the State Appellate Defender Office to include appellate services for juveniles.

Senate Bills 428431 eliminate most non-restitution fees and costs associated with juvenile justice system involvement. The bills do not include the elimination of restitution or fees related to the Crime Victims Fund. For restitution and fees related to the Crime Victims Fund, the bills establish a standard procedure for ability to pay, determination of payment schedule, and total to be assessed.

Senate Bills 432437 would strengthen and expand the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman for handling, investigating, and reporting incidents in juvenile facilities.

A committee hearing could take place before the end of summer. If not, hearings will resume this fall.

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

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


Michigan Supreme Court rules in trial court funding case

On Friday, July 7, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in People v. Johnson, placing the fate of trial court funding back in the hands of the Legislature. Currently, a court’s authority to impose court fines and fees on criminal defendants has a legislative “sunset” of May 1, 2024.

With this sunset, which has been extended three times since 2014, the Legislature must act prior to its expiration to implement proper trial court funding reform. In both concurring and dissenting opinions, The justices are urging the Legislature to act swiftly and provide a solution to this issue before the sunset date, specifically to address the recommendations provided by the Trial Court Funding Commission.

MAC and other stakeholders are working on legislation to adopt the Trial Court Funding Commission’s recommendations:

  • Establish a Stable Court Funding System
  • The State Shall Offer to Provide All Court Technology Needs
  • Establish Uniform Assessments and Centralized Collections
  • Move Toward a Uniform Employment System
  • Establish a Transition Plan for the New Court Funding Model

MAC members should make sure their legislators are aware of the financial burden that will be placed on counties without action from the state and the need for legislative action prior to May 1, 2024.

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


Webinar on July 27 focuses on treating Opioid Use Disorder in jails

On July 27, the next webinar in the Opioid Settlement Technical Assistance Learning Series will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will provide a discussion on treating opioid use disorder in jails.

The series is hosted by 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.

See the flier and register by clicking “Register Today.”

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


MAC releases RFP scoring template for opioid settlement spending

MAC has created supplemental documents to the Michigan Opioid Settlements Funds Toolkit: A Guide for Local Spending. The new template being released is the Request for Proposals (RFP) Scoring Template to be used in combination with the existing RFP Template and RFP Budget Template. To see all templates created by MAC, visit the Opioid Settlement Resource Center.

To request new templates, or if you have questions, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.


Treasury webinar reviews state budget, economy

A Michigan Treasury webinar, co-sponsored by MAC and other local government groups, was held on Thursday.

Specific topics covered were:

  • State of Michigan Budget Update – State Treasurer, Rachael Eubanks 
  • Michigan Economic Update
  • FY2024 Budget Changes for Local Governments
  • Local Budget Planning Tips

Presentations and recordings from this webinar, along with previous webinars, can be found on the Bureau of Local Government and School Services – Learning Center webpage.


Staff picks

  • CoPro Web Ad 2018
  • Enbridge Banner Ad 2018
  • NACo Live Healthy Ad 960x200px
  • Nationwide Ad For Mac Site
  • MMRMA Ad 2023
  • Gallagher Banner Ad 2023