Legislative Update 2-2-24

MAC sets federal legislative priorities in 2024

In advance of next week’s National Association of Counties gathering in Washington, D.C., MAC has finalized its legislative priorities for 2024 on Capitol Hill. (Click here for downloadable PDF of the list.)

“Proper funding for PILT, of course, is a perennial agenda item for MAC, as Michigan has the second-largest amount of untaxable land of the states east of the Mississippi River,” said Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs. “And we will be pushing hard, along with NACo, for Congress to reform the Medicaid Exclusion Policy that leaves county taxpayers footing the bill for health services for jail inmates who have not received adjudication.”

Full Funding for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program

  • MAC and NACo support restoring full mandatory funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which compensates counties for untaxable federal land.
  • The Permanently Authorizing PILT Act (H.R. 3043) would permanently authorize the PILT program.
  • R. 3043 would add boilerplate to U.S. code to permanently and automatically fund PILT.
  • The PILT Reauthorization Act (S. 2480) would authorize federal PILT for 10 years.

Reasonable Health Care Cost-sharing for County Jail Inmates

  • Access to federal health benefits for non-convicted individuals would allow for improved coordination of care and decrease short-term costs to local taxpayers and long-term costs to the federal government.
  • Providing access to federal health benefits for those awaiting trial and verdict decisions would help counties break the cycle of recidivism caused or exacerbated by untreated mental illness and/or substance use disorders, thereby improving public safety.
  • While federal legislation to address necessary reforms to the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP) is under way, MAC supports requiring the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to apply for a Medicaid Section 1115 re-entry waiver to reinstate Medicaid benefits for incarcerated individuals prior to release from county jails.

Renewal of the Affordable Connectivity Program

  • The Affordable Connectivity Program launched in 2022, which offers discounted broadband service to low-income households, is set to expire in April 2024.
  • More than 20 million eligible households have enrolled. Broadband is essential for accessing health care, education, and employment.
  • MAC and NACo urge Congress to extend funding for the program so low-income households can continue accessing the internet at a reduced rate.

For questions on MAC’s federal advocacy efforts, visit our advocacy center or contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.


Tweaked House maps won’t shift state partisan landscape, expert says

Changes to Michigan House lines mandated by a federal court will result in more compact districts in the city of Detroit, but they will not fundamentally alter the current partisan balance of the House of Representatives, an elections expert said in the latest episode of Podcast 83.

Matt Grossman, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, discussed with host Stephan Currie the ongoing map work by the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission. “(F)ederal courts struck down several districts in the Detroit area in the state House … for violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by predominantly using race as a reason to draw those districts,” Grossman explained. “So now the commission has been asked to go back and redraw those districts and anything else that is reasonably necessary surrounding those districts to get new house maps for use in the elections this year.

Grossman expects the new lines to result in fewer districts reaching out from Detroit “across Eight Mile Road” and the changes to be confined to the city of Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs.

What won’t really come into play with the changes, Grossman said, is the knife’s-edge partisan balance of the Michigan House, which shifted to a 56-54 Democratic majority after the 2022 elections that used the commission’s original maps.

“The new maps led to the statewide winner of more votes, which was the Democratic Party in the last election, getting a majority in the Legislature to match that statewide majority. … We don’t expect this redrawing to affect that. … We’re talking about — at the most — a half a district difference in partisan composition between the maps that are done now and the maps that will be done after this. … There’s a belief that Detroit was divided up in order to achieve that statewide partisan fairness; that’s not really true,” Grossman said.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on Jan. 30, 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.


State to get nearly $12 million in latest opioid settlement

The state of Michigan is expected to receive an additional $11.7 million from a national settlement with Publicis Health, a global marketing and communications firm. Funds from this settlement will only be directed to the state government and do not include a requirement to distribute funds to the community.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the settlement Thursday with Publicis Health to resolve investigations into the global marketing and communications firm’s role in the prescription opioid crisis.

“The filings in the Wayne County Circuit Court describe how Publicis’ work contributed to the crisis by helping Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers market and sell opioids,” the Attorney General’s Office stated. “Court documents detail how Publicis acted as Purdue’s agency of record for all its branded opioid drugs, including OxyContin, even developing sales tactics that relied on farming data from recordings of personal health-related in-office conversations between patients and providers. The company was also instrumental in Purdue’s decision to market OxyContin to providers in patient’s electronic health records.  

“According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, between the years 2000 and 2020, the opioid death rate in Michigan increased on average 13.9 percent each year. These deaths — and the impacts on thousands who have struggled with opioid addiction — have created considerable costs for our health care, child welfare and criminal justice systems.”

For more information on MAC’s opioid settlement advisory work, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.


MDOT will pay you $10 for your views about infrastructure

The Michigan Department of Transportation is studying possible changes to how our transportation infrastructure is funded. “As we move toward a low-emission future with electric vehicles and new types of fuels, we need to explore fairer, more sustainable ways to continue to fund and maintain our roads, bridges and public transit systems,” the department says. “This study explores road usage charges, which means that instead of paying state fuel taxes, you would pay a few cents for each mile you drive. To learn more about road usage charges, complete the survey, which includes an informative video.”

The study is currently seeking input from the public. “We want to hear from you regarding the fairest ways to pay for our transportation system. Michigan residents aged 18+ who complete the survey will receive a $10 gift card to thank you for your time.”

Terms and conditions apply. Read the full terms and conditions.


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