Legislative Update 1-3-20

$1 billion on books unlikely to lead to state spending surge

Michigan will have about $1 billion left over on its books from the fiscal 2019 budget year, but legislative leaders and budget analysts downplayed any surge in state spending.

The Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) announced the FY19 results on Dec. 30 as part of its regularly required Economic Outlook and Budget Review.

Nevertheless, state leaders quoted by the MIRS News Service this week took a cautious tone.

“(T)he slowing economic recovery detailed in the SFA document doesn’t give (Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas) confidence that the state’s going to have a ‘whole lot of extra money’ to be spreading around,” MIRS reported. “Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-ClarkLake) isn’t looking to go on a spending spree. ‘The least amount spent is the best service we can provide taxpayers,’ said Shirkey Press Secretary Amber McCann. ‘His goal is be fiscally responsible with an eye on the budget long term.’”

And before Christmas, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned that the state’s General Fund situation would be tight in the current budget year (FY20) and for the upcoming one (FY21).

The SFA report, along with data from the House Fiscal Agency and the executive branch, will be used to set revenue estimates to guide work on the FY21 state budget. On Thursday, the Department of Treasury said the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference will start at 9 a.m. on Jan. 10 in Lansing.

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

 

Start saving dates for MAC events in 2020

Please start marking your calendars or making notes for the following MAC events in 2020:

  • Early February – Delivery of the 2020 MAC Membership Directory to all county commissioners and county administrator offices; these directories are free to our members
  • April 15-17 – Legislative Conference, Lansing Center and Lansing Radisson Hotel; attendee registration will open on Feb. 5; please note that this year’s event will run Wednesday-Friday
  • June-July – MAC Regional Summits in four locations around Michigan; dates and sites TBD; registration for these one-day sessions will open in May
  • Aug. 16-19 – Annual Conference, Kalamazoo Radisson Hotel; attendee registration will open June 10
  • November-December – New Commissioner Schools (conducted in partnership with MSU Extension) in four locations around Michigan; dates and sites TBD; registration will open in the fall

For all of the latest updates on MAC events in 2020, be sure to visit our calendar page and our conferences page and download the free MAC app.

 

DHHS sets public forums on direction of behavioral health

County leaders are encouraged to attend public forums set up by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on the state’s specialty behavioral health system and its the future.

The first of the forums is Jan. 8 in Detroit. Click here to register.

MDHHS will host five forums in January and February. All events will run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Registration is not required, but strongly encouraged to help us best prepare for the events.

Dates, locations and registration for future events:

  • Register for Grand Rapids on Jan. 9 here
  • Register for Marquette on Jan. 22 here
  • Register for Saginaw on Jan. 30 here
  • Register for our virtual forum on Feb. 6 here 

Please review the MDHHS flier for additional details or visit www.michigan.gov/FutureOfBehavioralHealth

In December, MDHHS Director Robert Gordon spoke to legislators about the MDHHS vision for the future of the state’s public behavioral health system after the decision to end the Section 298 pilot project.

For more information on MAC’s work on mental health issues, contact Meghann Keit at keit@micounties.org.

State court office suggests court changes in 2020

Some Michigan trial courts have too many judges, while others have too few is the assessment of the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) in its 2019 Judicial Resources Recommendations (JRR) report submitted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature today.

To address these trends, SCAO is recommending:

  • The Legislature consider eliminating three judgeships by attrition;
  • Create a probate court district and eliminate one probate judgeship;
  • Add nine new judgeships;
  • Create a four-county circuit and district court, then reverse a pending reduction; and
  • Create a probate court district, then reverse a pending reduction.

SCAO said the recommendations are based on an analysis of each court’s caseload, followed by a secondary analysis of local factors, such as population trends. The report’s methodology was developed by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in conjunction with the Judicial Resource Advisory Committee.

For more information on MAC’s advocacy on court issues, contact Meghann Keit at keit@micounties.org.

 

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