Legislative Update 3-24-23

MAC-backed revenue sharing bills introduced

Two different packages of bills that create a state Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and direct the expenditures of such a fund have been introduced in the Legislature.

Senate Bills 229230, by Sen. Veronica Klinefelt (D-Macomb), are backed by MAC and carve out a portion of the state’s sales tax for deposit into the fund (10% of all funds collected by 4 percentage points of the sales tax rate).

The bills also:

  • Stipulate the money in the fund does not lapse to the state’s General Fund
  • Allocate an even split of the funds between counties and CVTs (cities, villages and townships)

A dedicated fund helps protect revenue sharing dollars from being raided during the annual appropriations process. The 10 percent collection rate would boost current allocations to counties and reflect the true intention of revenue sharing by requiring a portion of the state’s revenue to be shared with local governments. In this system, if sales tax revenue goes up, revenue sharing would go up, if the sales tax revenue fell, so would the money in the fund. 

Legislation advanced by the Michigan Municipal League (House Bills 427475 and SBs 182183) takes a slightly different approach.

That package would create a base in a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund of the Fiscal Year 2024 recommended revenue sharing amounts and distribute funds on the current allocation method. The fund could accept additional monies but would not require additional deposits into the fund. While this approach would help insulate local governments from further raids on revenue sharing by the Legislature, it does not build in a system for growth. 

The current revenue sharing system is overly complicated and not well understood. For example, many don’t know that counties don’t share in more than $1 billion in constitutional revenue sharing that all CVTs receive per capita. For a quick primer on the revenue sharing program, check out this slide deck prepared by the House Fiscal Agency.  

Parity on the statutory side of revenue sharing, as reflected in Sen. Klinefelt’s bills mentioned above, is appropriate given the fact counties serve 100 percent of the state’s population and have significantly more mandated services to provide to our residents than other local governments.

MAC also is advocating for an increase in the amount in the fund to ensure no local government is faced with reductions in their allocation and to ensure the state supports the work done at the regional and local levels.

A survey recently conducted by MAC found members would use additional revenue sharing dollars to invest in communities in ways long supported by the Legislature, such as infrastructure; unfunded liabilities; customer service improvements; attraction and retention of employees; economic development; and cybersecurity.

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. Reform of revenue sharing is one of MAC’s top legislative priorities for 2023.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.


Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force testifies before Senate panel

Members of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform testified before the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety this week on the 32 recommendations they provided to the Legislature last July.

Of these recommendations, two tiers of priorities have been identified.

The first tier, consisting of six priorities, will be introduced in an approximately 15-bill package later this spring. This package would include expansions to the County Child Care Fund (CCF), including an increase in reimbursement rates to counties from 50 percent to 75 percent for community-based services; expanding eligibility for diversion; and requiring the use of risk and needs assessments.

(UPDATE: Please see clarification on CCF rate changes in the Aug. 25, 2023, Legislative Update.)

In addition to expanding the CCF, the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission would be expanded to implement youth defense standards in local county defense systems, the State Appellate Defender’s Office would be required to oversee a system of appellate defense for juveniles and court fines and fees for juveniles would be waived.

MAC supports this bill package and will continue working to implement the recommendations of the task force.

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


New rules on materials management loom for counties

On March 29, new state legal provisions kick in requiring counties to update their Materials Management Plans (MMP) and increase recycling rates in Michigan.

(NOTE: If you listened to this week’s Podcast 83, be advised that timetables shared there were incorrect; see correct information below.)

A 180-day window for counties to determine whether they planned to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) does not officially begin until the director of the EGLE initiates it.

After those 180 days, if a county declines to prepare a new MMP, EGLE will create one for them and the county will then be responsible for implementing the plan. If a county decides to file an NOI and prepare their own MMP, they will have 36 months to plan and receive approval from EGLE. Counties have the option to collaborate with neighboring counties to create regional plans.

Counties that file an NOI will be provided funding from the state to prepare their plans. Each county will be granted a base of $60,000, plus 50 cents per capita, up to $300,000. An additional $10,000 will be given to each county that enters a multi-county plan.

Until the EGLE director initiates the process, counties can consider their waste capacity limits, their willingness to draft their own MMP and whether they would like to partner with other counties.

In the meantime, EGLE will be hosting monthly webinars to walk counties through the process. We encourage each county to have at least one representative participate in these discussions. The meetings are typically held on the third Wednesday of each month; however, April’s meeting has been cancelled.

The next scheduled meeting will be from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 17. To be included in future meeting notices, please email egle-mmp@michigan.gov.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.


Wayne County addresses Senate panel on juvenile facility crisis

Wayne County officials were called to testify this week before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in the wake of news reports of major problems at the county’s juvenile center.

Every county in Michigan is suffering from a bed and/or staffing shortage within the juvenile justice system. Incidents like those in Wayne can and should be avoided with the help of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Without proper funding of our juvenile justice system, staff go underpaid and overworked, then leave. Youths go without the services they need and deserve, and risks to public safety are posed.

Court-involved youth in Michigan are currently staying in short-term detention facilities, such as Wayne’s, for months or, in some cases, even years. The staffing shortage has led to countless empty beds in residential facilities that would otherwise be in use. Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula do not have access to a local facility and are forced to send youths to Southern Michigan or out of state. This issue has become a crisis, and the time is now for our state to provide funding to alleviate the burden on this system.

MAC has requested that the state fund staff recruitment, retention, and training to resolve the current staffing shortage crisis, as well as funding for the creation of an additional facility to serve northern counties who do not have access.

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


Podcast 83 looks at juvenile justice, solid waste, revenue sharing

Major changes are looming for three significant areas of county responsibility, MAC’s Podcast 83 team said this week.

Host Stephan Currie and the MAC Governmental Affairs Team of Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson took in-depth looks at the following issues in Lansing:

  • Juvenile justice reform legislation, with Gibson saying a large packet of bills would constitute “a whole juvenile system overhaul”
  • Revenue sharing reform, with Bosworth detailing her recent testimony to multiple legislative panels on MAC’s plan to create a protected fund for revenue sharing payments and create parity between counties and other local governments on such appropriations
  • Materials management, with Fata reporting that the clock is ticking for counties to make a big decision on whether, under state law passed last year, they will write new solid waste plans or let the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy do so (Correction: Some of the timing mentioned in this week’s podcast on this issue is incorrect; please refer to the written item in this Legislative Update for proper details.)

See the full video, recorded on March 20, 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.


Opioid Advisory Commission releases annual report

The Michigan Opioid Advisory Commission released its 2023 Annual Report: A Planning Guide for State Policy Makers on Thursday (March 23). The report provides a comprehensive overview of the background of the opioid epidemic in Michigan and the national landscape in which the opioid settlements are taking place. The report details the state of Michigan’s intended uses of current settlement funds and outlines approved uses of funds as provided in Exhibit E.

The report looks specifically at the Principles for the Use of Funds From the Opioid Litigation and provides a scorecard for Michigan’s adoption of these principles, identifying strategies and gaps. The final section of the report outlines the commission’s findings and recommendations, as well as the Opioid Advisory Commissions strategic plan and planning considerations.

As a reminder, local governments have been given an opportunity to participate in national Opioid Settlements with Teva, Allergan, CVS and Walmart. To participate in these settlements, counties must complete a participation form and return the form by April 18. We encourage all counties to participate in these additional settlements.

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


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