Legislative Update 1-6-23

MAC establishes state legislative priorities for 2023     

Each year, MAC establishes legislative priorities for the upcoming year. These items are based on input and feedback from our membership and center around the more pressing issues our counties are facing. Some items are hold overs from the previous legislative session, and some are new items brought to our attention.

2023 Legislative Priorities

The list covers only a portion of the issues we will work on this year, but these six issues areas are where we will take the lead:

Revamping the Open Meetings Act to allow for pre-pandemic virtual participation in meetings.

Prior to the changes made to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) in 2020 during the pandemic, members of a public body could attend, participate and vote remotely at county board sessions, so long as a quorum of the public body was physically present at the meeting location. The statutory change to allow for full board meetings to be held remotely due to the pandemic expired Dec. 31, 2021, and impacted the pre-pandemic rules by now barring remote participants from voting, even if a quorum is physically present in the meeting room. For questions on this topic, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

Establishing a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund.

Revenue Sharing is the most flexible form of state aid to counties, which makes it the most effective method to fund generational investments in public services — with decisions made at the local level. The legislation will seek to create a statutory earmark of the state sales tax. The money deposited into the fund would stay in the fund for distribution to counties, cities, villages and townships and not lapse to the state General Fund at the end of each fiscal year. The money in the fund would be split, with 50 percent going to county revenue sharing and 50 percent going to revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships; this distribution could potentially increase county revenue sharing in the first year by more than 40 percent. The legislation’s method of carving out a percentage of the sales tax for the fund is what revenue sharing was originally designed to do — share in the state’s revenue. If sales tax revenue goes up, local allocations go up, if sales tax revenue falls, so do allocations, just like it does for constitutional revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Implementing the Trial Court Funding Commission’s recommendations for a more equitable and stable funding mechanism for our trial courts.

Local court funding remains caught in a looming statutory sunset, which now is set for May 2024, and is the subject of ongoing litigation before the Michigan Supreme Court. To ensure our local courts do not face a financial emergency, MAC supports the creation of the Trial Court Fund to distribute funding to trial courts based on operational requirements while maintaining local discretion over trial court operational decisions and the establishment of uniform assessments and centralized collections for all trial courts through the State Court Administrator’s Office. The system will maintain judicial discretion for ordering fines, will reduce costs and increase efficiency. For questions on this topic, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

Increasing resources for juvenile justice services.

A lack of staff, training and facilities has left a critical shortage of resources to house those in the juvenile justice system. MAC will be seeking an increase in funding for staff recruiting, retention and training, direct funding for additional facilities and an increase in the per diem rate for foster care parents. For questions on this topic, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

Compensating local governments for funds diverted by the Veterans Property Tax Exemption.

Since the enactment of the Disabled Veterans Property Tax exemption in 2013, counties have sought reimbursement from the state for the lost local revenues, a hit of tens of millions of dollars each year. MAC supports continuing the exemption — but with the state making up those local losses through a refundable income tax credit payable to local governments. This method of reimbursement was approved in previous legislative sessions by both the Senate and supported by veterans organizations but was never fully enacted. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Revamping the Personal Property Tax (PPT) Exemption to provide annual reimbursement to local governments.

As part of the economic development deal struck at the end of 2021, the Legislature and governor enacted an increase for the PPT exemption for small business, thereby reducing revenue to local governments by approximately $75 million each year. This exemption begins this year without a defined method for reimbursement for local governments that receive PPT funds. MAC worked with the 101st Legislature on a reimbursement methodology, but the bills were not brought up for a vote in the House during the last days of session. MAC will seek the same legislative reimbursement mechanism in new legislation in 2023. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Please watch for MAC advocacy campaigns throughout the year on these items and others so we can succeed helping counties better serve their residents in 2023 and beyond. For more information about MAC’s advocacy strategies, contact Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.


Three Michigan counties picked for national opioid abatement effort

Three counties in Michigan have been chosen to participate in the NACo Opioid Solutions Leadership Network, a cohort of 30 county leaders from around the country focused on opioid abatement strategies for settlement funding. The three counties participating are Genesee (Marlene Collick, director of community corrections, Jackson (Debra Kubitskey, assistant administrator) and Gladwin (Karen Moore, commissioner).

The network will work over one year to participate in peer-to-peer learning and receive support from both NACo and Vital Strategies, a global public health organization working with U.S. county governments in response to the opioid crisis. This network will increase coordination and allow for scaling of strategies utilized in other areas of the country across the continuum of care (prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery).

For more information on this issue, visit the Opioid Solutions Leadership Network (naco.org).


Keep track of opioid settlements on MAC website

Tracking of opioid settlement funds coming to Michigan are now available on the “Settlement Tracking” link at the MAC Opioid Settlement Resource Center. The Settlement Tracking link will lead to a spreadsheet document that will be updated as new information about settlements becomes available.

The document includes information about the company with which the settlement is occurring, the year of the settlement, national total, global abatement amount, Michigan total, state share, subdivision share, maximum number of payments, notes and reporting requirements.

The global abatement amount refers to the amount of funds used for opioid abatement and remediation purposes distributed to state and local governments. The state share refers to the funding awarded to the state and the subdivision share refers to the funds allocated to participating subdivisions, including counties, cities and townships.

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


Special podcast episode delves into MAC’s services on opioid settlements

In the inaugural 2023 episode of Podcast 83, MAC’s video discussion of all things related to Michigan’s counties, host Stephan Currie discussed MAC’s expanding services on opioid settlement details with staffers Samantha Gibson and Amy Dolinky. Among the details discussed were:

  • From the two largest settlements (J&J and Distributors) there is around $776 million coming into the state, with a 50/50 split between state and local governments. Additional funds are expected to be received through Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt PLC. Settlements also are expected in the future with pharmacies. Michigan has signed on to the Walmart, Teva and Allergan settlements.
  • Tracking of settlements can be viewed at MAC’s Opioid Settlement Resource Center website (updated regularly).
  • Reporting for J&J and Distributors settlements will only occur through the payment portal, but this is expected to change for other settlements. It can be expected that surveys from external organizations will take place to gauge the full impact of the dollars and that community members will expect transparency.

See the full video, recorded on Jan. 4.

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

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


Last chance to apply for a MAC committee in 2023

The work of MAC’s seven policy-making committees, which serve a key role in our annual policy platforms each year, will resume in earnest in February 2023.

If you wish to participate in this work, you still have time to apply.

Please send in your application form by Jan. 12, 2023, for consideration.

For any questions about committee applications or service, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.


Connell joins MAC as director of member events

As part of its ongoing efforts to expand and improve its educational offerings to Michigan’s 619 county commissioners, the Michigan Association of Counties recently created and filled a staff position dedicated to planning and executing member events.

Tammi Connell, CMP, became MAC’s new director of member events on Jan. 2, 2023, MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie announced.

“As we enter our 125th anniversary year, I think this investment in member service could not be more appropriate,” Currie said. “Tammi’s extensive experience, with event planning generally and with many of our members specifically, means she will have an immediate impact on the quality of our events in 2023 and beyond.”

Connell, CMP, joined MAC in 2023 as the Director of Member Events. Connell’s previous experience includes conference services manager with the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing and sales manager with the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau. She also founded Keystone Management Concepts – an association management company that has served nonprofit associations, including MAC from 2014 to 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cornerstone University.

“It’s exciting to join — or, in a way, rejoin — the team at MAC,” Connell said. “I’m committed to putting together exceptional educational events and doing great things for our members.”

Connell can be reached at connell@micounties.org.


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