Legislative Update 10-1-21

Conference draws more than 300 to Mackinac Island; President Kuyers urges unity

More than 300 county leaders from across Michigan converged on Mackinac Island this week for the 2021 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, which culminated with the swearing in of Ottawa Commissioner Phil Kuyers as MAC Board president.

The conference, which was held at the Grand Hotel Sept. 26-28, featured plenary sessions, policy breakouts and the MAC Annual Business Meeting, where commissioners approved policy platforms for the 2021-22 year.

Kuyers, who is starting his third term on the MAC Board, is the 113th person to hold the president’s position.

In his speech after taking the oath on Monday, Sept. 27, Kuyers pledged to “raise up MAC as an example of unity, of bipartisanship, of civility and of common sense” in a time of controversy and high passions.

“You are here tonight and at this conference because you believe in the value of MAC. I urge you to lean on this organization like you never have before. Our comfort zone is gone, another victim of the pandemic. Expectations of county government are rising on new fronts from broadband service to affordable housing,” Kuyers continued. “MAC stands ready to help each of you, and your colleagues who are not here tonight, with navigating these new issues. But we must work together.”

Keynote addresses at the event included presentations by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall and Dave Lorenz, who leads the highly popular Pure Michigan travel campaign.

Kuyers will lead a board that gained one new member via elections held at the conference: Melissa Daub of Wayne County. She will fill one of the three at-large seats on the MAC Board of Directors.

As the conference closed, the MAC Board confirmed officers for the 2021-22 term. Joining Kuyers are Stan Ponstein of Kent County (first vice president) and Eileen Kowall of Oakland County (second vice president). Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County moves to the role of immediate past president.

“We were pleased with the attendance at our first in-person conference in two years,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “It speaks to the quality of the policy breakouts and keynote presentations that more than 300 county leaders set aside the time to join us.”

 

Governor calls mask-budget links unconstitutional in budget message

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the FY22 state budget this week, but only after a few line-item vetoes and deeming certain boilerplate provisions unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The budget presented to the governor included language that “unappropriated” funding of local public health departments if a heath officer has an emergency order in place authorized under the Public Health Code- unless a county board of commission votes to support the order.

In a letter to lawmakers, the governor stated that penalizing local health departments for using their power given to them by the Public Health Code violates the Michigan Constitution. The letter cites both Article 3, section 2 and Article 4, section 25, which provide for separation of powers and no act is to be amended by reference, respectively.  

For more information on this issue, please see the text of the transmittal letter or contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

U.S. Treasury resets key deadline on ARP reporting

The U.S. Treasury has revised its timeline for counties to submit their Project and Expenditure Reports for the Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Treasury has set aside the original deadline of Oct. 31, 2021, citing comments and feedback gathered during the Interim Report and Recovery Plan Performance Report process.

The Project and Expenditure Reports will now be due on Jan. 31, 2022, and will cover the period between award date and Dec. 31, 2021. Further instructions will be provided at a later date, including updates to existing guidance as well as a user guide to assist recipients to gather and submit the information through Treasury’s Portal. 

Please visit the Treasury’s website at www.Treasury.gov/SLFRPReporting for the latest information.

 

Presentations from 2021 Annual Conference now available

Presentation slides from all of the plenary sessions and MAC policy breakouts at the 2021 Annual Conference are now available on the MAC website.

Among the highlights are:

  • A breakdown of the state budget process by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall
  • The MAC Legislative Update
  • A primer on Michigan’s voting process by Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck
  • Research studies on the problems with, and potential solutions for, Michigan’s local taxation system

Also on the conference page, you will find Facebook videos of three of the breakout sessions.

 

  • 2021 Annual Conference Sponsors
  • CoPro Web Ad 2018
  • Enbridge Banner Ad 2018
  • MMRMA Web Banner 2019
  • NACo Live Healthy Ad 960x200px
  • Nationwide Ad For Mac Site