Advocacy News – Nov. 16, 2022
The Legislature will return to Lansing post-Thanksgiving for their annual “Lame Duck” session. However, it is expected this post-election session, which typically runs from late November to mid-to-late December, will be unlike the lame duck sessions of the last decade. This is because Democrats have gained control of the State House and Senate and will control the gavel going into 2023.
While the typical lame duck session has brought a flurry of legislative activity on big issues, the Chamber is only working on a handful of issues going into the November/December session. Here’s a recap:
Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a collection of bills – Senate Bills 362, 364, 422, and 432 – that tackles more affordable and attainable housing here in the Great Lakes State. Although certainly not a silver bullet to a compounded and long-standing national crisis, this package of bills aims at expanding and implementing various locally driven, flexible incentives for workforce housing.
The package is broken down by the following:
- SBs 362/422 are modeled on Commercial/Industrial Facilities Exemptions,
- SB 364 extends Neighborhood Enterprise Zones (NEZ) to allow all local units to use them with some added language to protect against sprawl, and
- SB 432 allows for local PILOTS (or PILTS) for workforce housing without requiring state or federal subsidies or programs.
To read previous comments and actions from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, click here.
Passage of this legislation is timely as the state and country continue to face a housing crisis. We are hoping to see the Michigan Senate take these bills up for a concurrence vote during the lame duck period, allowing the governor to sign these vital pieces of legislation before the end of this legislative session.
Utility Easement Reform
In House Bill 6370 sponsored by Rep. Roger Hauck — is key to helping ensure public health and continuity in easement right of ways. The bill will also save ratepayer dollars that would have to be dedicated towards compliance with a 2018 law requiring all titled property owners to follow certain reporting measures.
The Marketable Record Title Act was intended to help make the process of insuring or providing financial assistance to properties easier by consistently updating a title’s chain of custody. But for utility infrastructure easements with records that often date back multiple decades, or environmental restrictive covenants that were set into place for perpetuity unless remediation occurs, this can wreak havoc.
The bill passed with over 100 votes in the House and we are hopeful the Senate will take it up before the end of the year.
Solid Waste and Recycling Bill Package
Taken together, House Bills 4454-4461 would amend Part 115 (Solid Waste Management) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to revise, rewrite, and reorganize the laws regulating solid waste, including coal ash and recyclables, in Michigan. The bills would create topically organized subparts, described below, within Part 115.
Michigan has historically underperformed in its recycling rate and capacity, with an 18% recycling rate compared to the national average of 34%. Many attribute this to current regulations, which focus primarily on disposal capacity and landfills due to the extraordinarily low disposal costs. Some believe that Michigan has the capacity to recycle 45% of household waste. The bill package seeks to prioritize productive, valuable and beneficial uses of discarded materials through increased diversion of materials towards recycling facilities through a more robust materials management plan, including the incorporation of important advanced recycling technologies.
The bill packaged passed the House in April and has been sitting in the Senate Regulatory Reform committee. Recently there has been indication that the package may move forward before the end of the year.