Legislative Update 6-10-22

Mid-year Legislative Status Report

MAC makes case for PPT reimbursement reforms

Deena Bosworth, left, discusses PPT reform legislation before a Senate committee this week as MML’s John LaMacchia and MTA’s Judy Allen look on.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth joined other proponents this week in testifying in favor of bills to fully reimburse local units for their losses associated with the expansion of Personal Property Tax exemptions that is estimated to hit locals with a $75 million loss annually.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee took its first look at Senate Bill 1060, by Sen. Mark Huizenga (R-Kent), SB 1061, by Sen. Kimberly LaSata (R-Berrien), and SB 1062, by Sen. Michael McDonald (R-Macomb), which would create a Local Government Reimbursement Fund to which the state would deposit $75 million annually.

The reimbursement package is a result of the House Bill 5351, by Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Kent), adopted in December 2021. That bill lifted of the PPT exemption threshold for small taxpayers from $80,000 to $180,000 in true cash value. Lawmakers did also vote for a $75 million reimbursement for the first year of this exemption scheme (which starts in 2023), but they did not provide for the years beyond.

Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs, led the testimony of the local government groups that have been working to resolve this problem.

MAC will continue to support the bill package and monitor its progress through the legislative process. A vote out of committee and the full Senate is expected before the Legislature breaks for summer.

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


FOIA bills clear House committee over MAC’s opposition

Legislation that alters the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in ways detrimental to county government passed out of the House Oversight Committee this week. MAC needs your voice to urge the House to set aside this ill-advised package.

House Bills 5921-25 have numerous problems and create unanswered questions for the local officials charged with complying with FOIA. Among the problems are:

  • Provisions to impose penalties on public bodies when mistakes are made
  • An inevitable increase in costs for compliance with the act
  • The removal of the anonymity of task force members when serving their communities

MAC remains opposed to all but one of the bills. MAC’s Deena Bosworth, alongside the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Association of School Boards, testified in opposition this week.

MAC urges county leaders to use our advocacy platform to send a pre-drafted message of opposition to your House member. The bill package awaits consideration on the House floor.

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


MAC-backed bill on public notices gets committee nod

A MAC-supported bill to modernize state law on public notices passed out of House Oversight Committee this week. The legislation will save counties time and money and create more avenues for our citizens to receive public notices. 

House Bill 6062, by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D-Wayne), is the first in what will be more than 100 bills dealing with the modernization of public notices for public bodies. HB 6062 sets up the framework, while other pieces of legislation will amend each state statute requiring the notice to be published in a newspaper.

HB 6062 would allow local units to put public notices on their websites, but not require them to be published in a newspaper. In addition, and to ease the concerns about transparency, the bill requires the public body to send a copy of the notice to the newspaper, to post the notice in a conspicuous place and to create an annual mailing list for those residents wishing to have notices mailed to them via first class mail.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth previously testified in support and MAC will continue to support a fair and transparent process of reporting public notices and monitor HB 6062’s progress through the Legislature.

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


Rules changed on some mental health service payments

Changes to the financial liability guidelines for mental health services are on their way after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed reform legislation.

House Bill 5165 (now Public Act 91 of 2022), by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), states that the ability to pay for adult inpatient psychiatric services of less than 61 days, all nonresidential services and all services to minors must be determined solely on family size and income in accordance with the most current federal poverty guidelines.

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


State courts take Juneteenth holiday, memo details county options

Following the announcement by the Michigan Supreme Court that the judicial branch of Michigan would observe the Juneteenth holiday on June 20, 2022, MAC has received numerous inquiries from members about what that means for county government offices.

A memo by the firm of Cohl, Stoker & Toskey P.C. in Lansing was received by MAC this week and details both the legal background of the Supreme Court’s order and options that counties have to respond to this sudden change in the work calendar.

“It is important to note that the Supreme Court’s Order only applies to Courts and Court employees and not to the employees of the County (this includes the employees of the county-wide elected officials for which the County, through the Board of Commissioners, is a co-employer with the responsibility for determining the economic terms and conditions of employment which includes the number of paid holidays),” the memo states. “Counties have options:

“1. To remain open even though the Courts are closed;

“2. Offer to unions Juneteenth for 2022 (June 20th) as a paid holiday on a one-time, non-precedent setting basis;

“3. Offer to unions to substitute Juneteenth for a different holiday on a one-time or permanent basis; or

“4. Offer to unions to add Juneteenth as an additional holiday without restriction.”

Read the full memo here.

In an informal and ongoing survey conducted by MAC this week, 23 counties reported they would observe the holiday this year, 39 said they would not and 15 were still reviewing the situation.


Secondary Road Patrol funding package gets Senate committee backing

A legislative package to to improve Secondary Road Patrol (SRP) funding via the state liquor tax advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), approved House Bill 5773, by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Genesee), HB 5732, by Tommy Brann (R-Kent), and HB 5772, by Rep. David Martin (R-Genesee). These bills would require that $15 million annually from the 4 percent excise tax on liquor go to SRP. At present, the fund receives a $10 assessment from civil infractions, so funding is dependent on the number of written traffic citations. Under the bills, the assessment levied on those traffic citations would be reduced by $10 (from $40 to $30) to account for the portion of the assessment that would no longer be distributed to the Secondary Road Patrol and Training Fund.

MAC supports these bills, as they would create a more stable funding stream for sheriffs to finance road patrols. The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association also supports the package, as do a number of individual county sheriffs.

The bills are now on the Senate floor for consideration.

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


House committee reviews mental health transport bill

A MAC-supported bill to allow county mental health transportation panels received a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee this week. The bill previously passed in the Senate.

Senate Bill 101, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), would allow the panels for the purpose of alternative transportation services for individuals needing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.

The bill would set forth a description and responsibilities of the panel, should a county choose to establish one, and outline contract and liability requirements. Any private security company considered to provide the transport services must meet certain requirements in order to enter into contract, including maintaining certain insurance coverage and providing to security transport officers a specialized training program for best practices when working with an individual with severe mental illness.

The bill also creates the Mental Health Transportation Fund, which, if funded by the Legislature, could help counties carry out functions of these mental health transportation services.

MAC supports the bill as an important tool for counties to secure alternative transportation services, so county law enforcement staff and resources are not tied up in long transport times.

A full analysis of the bill can be found here.

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


Senate looks at regulatory burdens on medical care facilities

Legislation supported by the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC) to ease the regulatory burden of certifications, surveys and evaluations of nursing homes received a hearing in the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee this week. The bill previously passed the House.

House Bill 5609, by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee), aims to improve the timeliness and consistency of the state’s survey process of nursing homes under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Among the changes is the removal of the annual reporting requirement of complaints to the legislature, the average length of time it takes for the agency to respond to a nursing home complaint, and the number of citations disputed through information dispute resolutions.

The legislation calls for on LARA to employ and individual to serve as a quality improvement officer to ensure fairness and accuracy. The officer would be required to present findings of the survey and enforcement process to an advisory workgroup at each semiannual training session for nursing home surveyors.

The full analysis can be found here.

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


Unfunded mandates measure doing circle in Senate committees

A bill to protect local units of government against unfunded mandates received a hearing this week and vote this week. Although it was voted out of the Senate Oversight Committee, it was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee, instead of being presented to the full Senate for consideration.   

Senate Bill 449 by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), creates the Headlee Unfunded Mandates Prohibition Act and is the latest attempt to implement the recommendations stemming from the Unfunded Mandates Commission that were issued more than a decade ago.

MAC supports the legislation.

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


‘Fiscally Ready’ webinar on June 14 will look at capital planning

The next free webinar in the “Fiscally Ready Communities” series put on by the Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension will be held on June 14. The session is designed to assist appointed and elected officials and will focus on “Capital Asset Management and Planning.”

Recurring annual expenses are simple to budget, but repair and replacement of big-ticket items can be much more difficult. A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will help your local government organize those major projects and forecast the expenses to make long-term planning simpler. This session will cover the basics of a CIP, best practices, and give participants a chance to share techniques that have worked for their community, as well as policies, procedures, and accounting for capital asset management and planning.

The webinar will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 13.

Register here.

For more information about Fiscally Ready Communities, please check out the Treasury Fiscally Ready Communities webpage. This webpage includes Treasury’s 32-page Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practices document, which we encourage all local officials to review.

For questions, email TreasLocalGov@michigan.gov with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”

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