Legislative Update 4-5-24

Time grows short to register for 2024 Legislative Conference

If you plan to join your fellow county leaders for two days of policy presentations, legislative discussions and networking in Lansing this month, now is the time to act.

The 2024 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference starts April 29, but MAC’s special room rate at the DoubleTree Hotel expires today. Attendees may be able to still obtain lodging there, but they will be paying the full retail rate.

The next nearest hotel is the Courtyard Marriott (see map). Their room rates are $159 for the night of April 29 and $189 for the night of April 30. Click here for more information or to book a room there.

Digital conference registration continues until April 19 for the event. Leading in times of crisis and change will be the theme of its keynote address.

Retired Adm. Peter Cressy, director of Executive Leadership Programs at the Washington Leadership Institute, will speak on:


“Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Churchill: A Strategic Approach to Leading in Times of Crisis and Change: Washington and these other great leaders manifested eight common characteristics in leading during times of crisis and change, ranging from visibility and communication to planning and collaboration. This popular session will explore examples of these traits during the times of crisis each of these outstanding leaders faced, which remain relevant today.”

Additional plenary sessions will feature:

  • A Legislative Panel discussion with key lawmakers from the House and Senate
  • Remarks from National Association of Counties (NACo) President Mary Jo McGuire of Ramsey County, Minnesota
  • MAC Legislative Update
  • Remarks from MAC President Jim Storey of Allegan County
  • Presentation of certificates to the 2024 graduating class of County Commissioner Academy

Breakout sessions on current challenges for county leaders, including broadband funding updates, lessons learned from the opioid settlements, impact of renewable energy siting legislation, options for infrastructure funding to address the expansion of electric vehicles and much more!

For any conference-related question, send an email to connell@micounties.org.


New law expands hotel/motel tax authority for 8 counties

Eight counties gain an expanded ability to tax temporary lodgings under a 2023 bill finally signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week.

House Bill 5048, by Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Kent), uses population thresholds that qualify these counties to increase what they can charge on hotel and motel rooms. The counties are Calhoun, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Saginaw and Washtenaw. 

MAC had backed a bid for this option for all 83 counties to give them another economic development tool. Leaders in Kent County, in particular, pushed hard for change as they are seeking revenue for a new sports complex and an aquarium.

MAC’s broader efforts were opposed by the Restaurant and Lodging Association and convention and visitors bureaus, leading to this more restricted law.

These projects hold immense promise for Kent County, not only in terms of providing recreational and cultural amenities but also in driving economic growth through increased tourism and job creation. The sports complex promises to be a hub for sports enthusiasts, attracting both local fans and visitors from afar. Similarly, the aquarium offers an immersive experience for residents and tourists alike, showcasing the region’s aquatic biodiversity and educational opportunities.

Under the law, an increase will require a vote of the people to increase the excise tax from 5 percent to 8 percent for eligible counties. A separate provision for an additional 2 percent excise tax by local governments is limited to Kent County.

MAC will continue to advocate for the ability of all counties to raise revenue to fund economic growth and to provide for the public safety needs that come along with increased tourism and recreation in this state. 

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


Legislation introduced to return local control on tobacco sales

Legislation to allow counties to place tighter restrictions on the sale of tobacco products is now before the Senate Regulatory Affairs Committee. Senate Bill 647, by Sen. Sue Shink (D-Washtenaw), is one piece of a larger package enforcing limitations on tobacco product sales.

SBs 647654 would ban all sales of flavored tobacco products, require tobacco retailers to be licensed and create an excise tax on e-cigarettes and vapes with nicotine. The package would also repeal current statutory penalties on youth for possessing tobacco products.

MAC has taken a position of support for SB 647 due to its focus on returning control to counties for the regulation of tobacco sales.

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


CoPro+ program can be ally in procurement work

Were you aware that a MAC program offers your procurement team more than 150 contracts for goods and services, all pre-negotiated and in full compliance with state law?

MAC’s CoProPlus subsidiary, now entering its second decade of service to public entities, stands ready to assist MAC members in expansive ways, explained CoPro+ staffers in a new episode of MAC’s Podcast 83.

“One thing that makes us unique is that we will go into an entity that needs our services and offer a full range of end-to-end procurement services,” said Penny Saites of CoPro+. “(We offer) everything from writing bid specs, to writing the bid document, to assisting through the procurement process and all the way to evaluation and contract execution.”

“Any public agency is eligible to participate in the program,” added Chuck Wolford. “And that could be a county, a city, a township, a public school, a college or a university. And you can use the contracts at absolutely no cost to you and save you the time for procuring it again, we’ve already done the work for you. It’s already been vetted. And you’re always going have something that’s done the right way through this program.”

While the figure changes regularly, CoPro+ has about 150 contracts in place. About 20 counties have made use of at least one such contract.

“We have contracts in commodities, IT professional services and maintenance and repair type contracts. So, if you’re a facility guy, you’re going want to look at some of those building services contracts that we have, like we have a really nice overhead door contract where those vendors also do HVAC and other building services,” Saites explained.

“We are looking at some of the professional services contracts; grant writing I know is one of them. We get a lot of questions from MAC (on that issue),” Saites added. “There’s also compensation studies available on there, if folks would like to engage with that group.”

View the full episode, recorded on Feb. 28, 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.


EGLE event will focus on environmental compliance challenges

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will host the 2024 Michigan Environmental Compliance Conference (MECC) June 5-6 at the Lansing Center. The MECC is EGLE’s premier compliance assistance event designed to help businesses, municipalities, and environmental professionals across Michigan comply with their environmental requirements.

Get up-to-date information on regulatory topics, environmental requirements, best practices, EGLE hot topics and more.

Network with regulators, clients, and potential customers from around the state.

Choose from more than 70 concurrent technical presentations delivered by program experts on topics related to air quality, hazardous waste and materials management, drinking water requirements, water quality regulations, remediation, and emergency planning.

Take advantage of opportunities for specialized one-on-one assistance from EGLE staff and get your questions answered.

A full conference registration is $200. The deadline to register is May 27. See more details at Michigan.gov/EGLEevents.


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