Appropriations & Legislative Update
It is Appropriations season downtown and the target date for having budgets done and signed is July 1. We are actively working on four-line items. The first is a request for $250,000.00 for a construction workers compensation safety grant. The second is a 10M grant for local municipalities to receive assistance if they redo their zoning or master plan to make their community housing friendly. The third is a 20M grant to pilot a 50% CIT credit for employers who make a qualified investment in housing for those earning up to 120% AMI. The fourth is on behalf of the Skilled to Build Michigan Foundation in the amount of $2.7M. These funds would be used to distribute Billy the Builder Bear Builds a House to students in grades K-2, an activity book to students in grades 3-6 and the Build Your Future book to students in 8th grade.
Legislative packages we are engaged in at the moment are series of bills dealing with a Statewide Septic Code, the Drain Code, Aggregate Mining, and of course the Tax Increment Financing bills. We are also reviewing a package of bills introduced by the senate democrats that focus their Michigan Clean Energy Future Plan.
Statewide Septic Code – a two bill package was introduced in the house to create a statewide septic code. The sponsors are Representative Skaggs (D – Grand Rapids) and Rheingans (D – Ann Arbor). Senator Singh (D East Lansing) introduced similar legislation in the senate. The introduced bill packages define septic systems, or “onsite wastewater treatment systems,” and require their regular inspection, along with establishing a technical advisory commission within EGLE to advise the department, legislature and local health departments on scientific standards for septic tanks.
Under HB 4479 and SB 299, local health departments would create an onsite wastewater treatment system program to maintain and enforce the code set up by EGLE. EGLE would establish a permitting process for installing or altering septic systems, with permits accompanied by a $3000 application fee. Under HB 4480 and SB 300, the technical advisory committee would be established under EGLE. This committee would be comprised of five regional health department representatives, including one appointed by the governor, one by the house speaker, one by the house minority leader and one by each of the Senate Majority and minority leaders. Other gubernatorial appointees include a hydrogeologist, two professional engineers, one university representative, one onsite system product manufacturer, one onsite wastewater system installer, one service provider, two EGLE representatives, one state epidemiologist, an individual representing users of onsite wastewater treatment systems and a state organization representative specializing in the protection of public health and the environment.
These bills are currently in the Senate Energy and Environment committee and the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation committee. We supported this legislation when it was introduced in 2018.
Drain Code legislation has been re-introduced from last year. This two-bill bi-partisan package (introduced by Representative Morse and VanderWall). House Bills 4382 and 4383 would rewrite Chapter 22 of the Drain Code, which pertains to water management districts and subdistricts. The bills would establish procedures for the creation of a water management program, which would require the creation of a water management district and plan via a petition process, and for the creation of apportionments between and within counties for assessments to finance the program. The water management board would be responsible for all water management program operations and for maintenance of a water management district. House Bill 6318 would repeal several current sections of the chapter, and the two bills would amend (and in most cases rewrite) all the remaining sections. The two bills are tie-barred together, which means that neither bill can take effect unless both bills are enacted.
These are currently in the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee. Last session we opposed these bills, and we are currently working with Representative VanderWall to see if we can find a solution.
Aggregate Mining Legislation – the Home Builders Association of Michigan continues to participate in a coalition supporting HB 4526, 4527 and 4528. These bi-partisan bills represent a push to modify aggregate mining regulations in the state. The sponsors are Representatives Witwer, T. Carter and P. Outman. These bills will help fix Michigan’s road building supply chain crisis, stretch infrastructure dollars further, and support jobs and professional tradespeople, and protect the environment with CO2 reductions.
Tax Increment Financing Legislation – SB 129, 130, 131 and 132 passed out of the state senate with bi-partisan support before the legislature went of break for spring. Currently the legislature is focusing on the budget process, but we are pushing for the committee on economic development and small business in the house to take these bills up when they shift their focus to policy issues. These bills will allow residential construction to be allowed under the brownfield redevelopment process. Currently the infrastructure is included, these bills will clarify that residential construction would also qualify.