Legislative Update 6-17-22

Senate passes big supplemental bill tied to mental health privatization

The Senate passed a mental health supplemental budget this week, but tie-barred a portion of the funding to the passage of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s mental health integration package.

Senate Bill 714, by Sen. Shirkey (R-Jackson), provides $565.5 million in funding for the current fiscal year to the behavioral health system. $548.7 million would come from what the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act and $17.5 million would be directed from the state’s General Fund.

However, the following line-item appropriations are conditional upon the passage of Senate Bill 597 and  Senate Bill 598, two bills that MAC and others strenuously oppose due to the loss of local control they would create:

  • Requires Medicaid Mental Health Services be used to replace local match with GF/GP.
  • Requires the Clinical Integration Fund be used to provide grants to facilities and providers that integrate their setting with physical and behavioral health services and providers.
  • Requires the funding for Community Mental Health Services Program (CMHSP) Integration Readiness be used to support CMHSP efforts to make information technology, staff, and administrative improvements for integration.
  • Requires the funding for DHHS integration readiness be used to make one-time investments to support implementation of SBs 597-98.
  • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to appropriate $15 million of part 1 funding for Integrated Care Center to the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network to implement a centrally located integrated service center to provide physical and mental health services.
  • Directs the funding for Jail Diversion Fund be allocated to the Jail Diversion Fund, which would be administered by the Mental Health Diversion Council. Directs the Council to distribute grants to local entities to establish or expand jail diversion programs, with 50.0% going to community-based mobile crisis intervention services that include full integration with 911 dispatch centers, include both co-responder clinicians and peers, have access to residential treatment facilities, include telehealth response and follow-up services, and employ mental health professionals independent of law enforcement. Directs that the other 50.0% go to pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion programs for individuals with behavioral health needs, with priority given to nonurbanized areas.

MAC will continue to oppose any move to shift toward privatization of our local public mental health system. A total of 62 counties have voiced their opposition by passing resolutions in opposition to the mental health integration plan. We also encourage commissioners to use our Advocacy Tool to voice your opposition to your senator.

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


Treasury releases new guidance on P&E reports for July deadline

The National Association of Counties reported this week that, “Treasury released updated reporting guidance for the Project and Expenditure (P&E) Reports and a new template for the Recovery Plan Performance Report (Recovery Plan) ahead of the July 31, 2022, reporting deadline. The new requirements outlined below will impact all counties regardless of population size and award amount.

“Key updates to the compliance and reporting guidance outlined by Treasury include:

  1. Additional programmatic data for capital expenditures: When using Recovery Funds for capital expenditures projects, counties need to report the type of expenditure based on a list of enumerated uses. Examples of enumerated uses are COVID-19 vaccination sites, job and workforce training centers, and public health data systems. A full list of enumerated uses is available on pages 27 to 28 of the updated guidance.
  2. Written justification for capital expenditures: Counties are required to provide a written justification for capital projects of any category that cost at least $10 million and for projects in the “other” (i.e., project not explicitly enumerated by Treasury) category that cost at least $1 million. Previously, counties needed to create a written justification for these projects but were not required to submit them as part of regular reporting.
  3. Description of labor requirements for capital expenditures: Counties are required to provide additional labor reporting. For projects that cost at least $10 million, counties will need to report on the strength of the project’s labor standards, including information on the presence of a project labor agreement, community benefits agreement, prevailing wage requirement, or local hiring. This new required information is outlined under Infrastructure Project on pages 30-31 of the updated guidance.
  4. Project information for broadband projects: The updated guidance requires counties to provide detailed project information for broadband infrastructure investments. Counties need to report what kind of technology is involved in the project (i.e., fiber optic cables, coaxial cables, etc.), the total miles of fiber deployed over the project, and the total number of funded locations served broken out by both speed of connection and type of location (i.e., residential, business, or community). This new required information is outlined under Broadband Projects on pages 32-33 of the updated guidance.
  5. Moving of Recovery Plan Performance Report data into P&E Report: Under the updated guidance, some of the data that was previously only required for the Recovery Plan Performance Report (Recovery Plan) is now required for large counties (i.e., populations above 250,000 and/or above $10 million in awards) on their quarterly P&E Report. For example, large counties investing in housing security programs must now report the number of households receiving eviction prevention services. A full list of changes to programmatic data requirements for large counties is available on page 33 of the compliance and reporting guidance.
  6. Updated template for Recovery Plan: The updated guidance also provides a template for the Recovery Plan due for large counties on July 31, 2022, reflecting the expenditure categories and other changes made by the Final Rule.”

For questions regarding COVID funds reporting, visit NACo’s information hub at https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/arpa-fiscal-recovery-fund.


PPT reimbursement plan moves to full Senate

Bills to fully reimburse local units for their losses associated with the Legislature’s massive Personal Property Tax exemption that was estimated to have hit locals with $75 million loss annually passed out of the Senate Finance Committee this week. The MAC-backed bill package now awaits a vote from the full Senate.

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), would create the 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), passed in December 2021. The bill lifted 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.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs, previously testified in support of the package before the committee. MAC had helped develop the process in SBs 1060-62 alongside other local government groups.

MAC will continue to support the bill package and monitor its progress through the legislative process.

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


Road agency liability measures get hearing in House

Bills to apply immunity to county road agencies from liability for failure to maintain highways in their jurisdiction received a hearing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week. The bills previously passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 39 and SB 43, by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), clarifies language in county road law regarding the liability of counties for failure to maintain highways to ensure provisions of the governmental immunity law apply to county road commissions.

MAC supports the bills and will continue to monitor the legislation.

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


Resolution opposing wilderness expansion clears Senate committee

A resolution to oppose the designation of 65,000 acres of additional national wilderness areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula passed out of Senate Natural Resources Committee this week.

Senate Resolution 150, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), expresses concern over the effort to designate new wilderness areas in the Ottawa National Forest. The designation would significantly limit access to recreational areas, thereby decreasing tourism and economic returns to the community and local government.

The resolution urges the Michigan Legislature to recommend Congress not to designate more national wilderness areas. MAC supports the resolution, which is now on the Senate floor.

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


MAC-backed measures on mental health transportation advance

A MAC-supported bill to allow county mental health transportation panels passed out of the House Health Policy Committee this week. The bill now awaits a vote on the House floor.

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.

House Bill 4414, by Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Dickinson), is identical to SB 101 and passed out of the House Health Policy Committee and now awaits a full vote from the House.  

MAC supports both bills 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.

For any questions on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.


House approves set of bills to bolster crime victims’ rights

Bills to better protect victims in the criminal justice system passed out of the House this week and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

House Bill 5679, by Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton), HB 5680, by Rep. Ken Borton (R-Otsego), HB 5681, by Rep. Greg Wan VanWoerkom (R-Muskegon), and HB 5560, by Rep. Julie Rogers (D- Kalamazoo), would require the expansion of offenses that would count as a serious misdemeanor, allow public video recordings of court proceedings to blur victims faces and allow victim impact statements to be made remotely.

MAC supports these bills to modernize and strengthen the rights of victims. MAC will continue to monitor the legislation as it moves through the legislative process.

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


MAC-backed bill on opioid treatments gets Senate hearing

A bill to create a standing order on the distribution of opioid treatment medication received a hearing in the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee the week of June 6. The bill previously passed the House.

House Bill 5166, by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), allows the state’s chief medical executive to expand the ability of community organizations to dispense FDA-approved medication for the treatment of a drug overdose to an individual. Any community organization providing substance use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, or harm reduction services would be allowed.

MAC supports HB 5166 and will continue to push for its passage in the Senate.

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


Justice Department conducting ADA reviews of courthouses in Pennsylvania

The association of counties in Pennsylvania has advised MAC that the U.S. Department of Justice has been visiting courthouses in the Keystone State to conduct assessments of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

According to the Pennsylvania report, one of these incidents involved “DOJ (sending) in an ADA expert who literally took a tape measure to check how far the sinks were off the floor, elevator buttons and much more.”

MAC is working to gather more information on the scope of this federal inquiry, but members are advised to be ready to respond promptly to such inspections.

For questions on this issue, contact Stephan Currie at scurrie@micounties.org.


MAC offices closed on Monday, June 20

MAC’s Lansing offices will be closed on Monday, June 20 to observe the federal Juneteenth holiday.

Juneteenth “has its significance in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued the Order Number 3, which stated the freedom of all slaves by the issue of Emancipation Proclamation, by Abe Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. The people of Galveston did not know they were free and found out after the order was issued by Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, two years after the original date of proclamation. Texas was the last state to recognize the proclamation and hence June 19th or ‘Juneteenth’ became the official day. The law was ratified after all the states agreed to free all forms of slavery within the Union of America which was completed on June 19, 1865.”

MAC’s normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, June 21 at 8 a.m.


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