Legislative Update 2-17-23

Sens. Stabenow and Peters brief MAC delegation at NACo Legislative Conference

The National Association of Counties (NACo) hosted its annual legislative conference earlier this week. Michigan was well represented at the conference with nearly fifty commissioners in attendance, as well as several MAC staff members. The Michigan delegation had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow to discuss their priorities and hear more about federal policies.

Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP) was discussed with both senators. Currently, the use of federal funds, including Medicaid and Medicare, cannot be used for inmates. This means that counties are financially responsible for the medical care of all inmates, including pretrial detainees who are presumed innocent under the constitution. Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Jeff Merkley of Oregon are leading a bipartisan effort to reform the MIEP, and the MAC group encouraged Sens. Peters and Stabenow to support their efforts.

Executives from the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council shared with the senators the crisis they face in attracting and retaining staff. Sen. Peters expressed interest in pursuing broader immigration policies as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that he believes could be a solution to this problem.

President Joe Biden made an appearance at the conference speaking to a general session on Tuesday. As a former Delaware county commissioner, he acknowledged a need for a more direct line from the federal government to county government. This was what led to him to create the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), giving $65.1 billion directly to counties. He said ARPA was responsible for creating 12 million jobs in just two years. Senator Stabenow echoed this sentiment during her meeting with the Michigan delegation and expressed a desire to continue working on job creation in the state.

The NACo legislative conference is always a great opportunity to swap ideas and learn from other states how they have tackled issues that Michigan is facing. It is a platform for learning more about federal programs and connecting with Michigan’s federal legislators. Please consider participating in 2024!


Podcast 83 talks foreclosure litigation

In this special episode of Podcast 83, MAC talks with Ted Seitz, an expert in property tax law, about ongoing litigation on tax foreclosures on property and the resulting proceeds from tax sales.

Host Stephan Currie and Deena Bosworth, MAC Governmental Affairs Director, discuss with Seitz all of the potential turns in the litigation and what that could mean to county governments.

See the full video, recorded on Jan. 25.

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

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


Michigan Supreme Court sets hearing date for trial court funding case

This week, the Michigan Supreme Court announced its March 2023 oral arguments session docket. Oral arguments in the case to decide the constitutionality of trial court judges levying fees against criminal defendants, People of MI v Travis Michael Johnson, are scheduled for March 1.

Prior to 2014, trial courts were able to impose operations fees on defendants. As a result of a 2014 Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) ruling, trial courts were no longer authorized to levy such costs without statutory authorization by the Legislature. In response to said ruling, the Legislature amended the current statute to allow trial courts to place “reasonably related” costs of prosecution on defendants but included the legislative sunset.

Currently, Michigan trial courts have the authority to impose fees, a critical funding element, until May 1, 2024. The legislature is currently working to implement the recommendations of the Trial Court Funding Commission before the May 2024 sunset date arrives. 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 through the State Court Administrator’s Office. The system will maintain judicial discretion for ordering fines, will reduce costs and increase efficiency.

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


NACo seeks applications for 2023 Achievement Awards

Counties have until March 3 to get the best fee on their applications for a 2023 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award.

The program is a non-competitive awards program recognizing innovative county government programs. One outstanding program from each category will be selected as the “Best of Category.” Below, find resources to help you begin your application and explore past winners.

Only county governments and state associations of counties are eligible to submit applications. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by a single entity. Regional partners are welcome to submit applications for a collective project; however, submitters must identify a single county or state association to submit the application on the group’s behalf.

To be eligible, programs must accomplish one or more of the following:

    • Offer new services to county residents, fill gaps in the availability of services, fill gaps in or tap new revenue sources
    • Improve the administration of an existing county government program
    • Upgrade the working conditions or level of training for county employees. Enhance the level of citizen participation in, or the understanding of, government programs
  • Provide information that facilitates effective public policy-making
  • Promote intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing shared problems

The fee for each application submitted by March 3, 2023, is $75. The fee for each application will increase to $100 from March 4-April 7, 2023. Any application received without payment will not be judged or awarded.

For complete details, visit the Achievement Awards page.

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