Continued... 

January 6, 2016


State Department Leadership Changes Announced

The resignation of Dan Wyant, director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was announced last week. The announcement comes after months of harsh criticism and a recent task force report regarding the department’s handling of the elevated levels of lead found in the city of Flint’s drinking water. Read full story
State of Emergency Declared in Genesee County

As a result of the ongoing health and safety issues caused by elevated levels of lead in the City of Flint’s water, Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Genesee County. The declaration makes available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery operations. Read full story



Michigan Public Service Commission Welcomes New Chairwoman

On Monday, Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Sally Talberg as chair of the three-member Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). Ms. Talberg will replace current Chairman John Quackenbush, who intends to return to the private sector. Read full story

Governor Signs Elimination of Straight Ticket Voting

This week, Governor Rick Snyder signed a piece of legislation eliminating straight ticket voting in Michigan. Under the newly enacted law, a vote must be cast for each partisan race on a ballot, instead of casting one vote by party for all partisan races on the ballot. Read full story

Governor Approves Changes to Campaign Finance Act

This week Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill reforming aspects of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. Prior to final passage, the bill saw significant changes on the last day of session leading to confusion amongst members on the content and repercussions of the new language. Read full story


   

December 18, 2015

Straight Ticket Voting Elimination Passes

On Wednesday, after several contentious days of negotiation, the House and Senate came to an agreement on a bill that would eliminate straight ticket voting in Michigan. Read full story





 
 

November Unemployment Rate Increases

According to numbers released this week by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2015 increased slightly to 5.1%, an increase of one-tenth of a percentage point. Read full story




 
 

Approval Given for Healthy Michigan Waiver

On Thursday morning it was announced that the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the state’s waiver to the Healthy Michigan Program. Read full story





 
 

Data Center Tax Break Headed to the Governor

This week the House passed and the Senate concurred in a package of bills that would provide a fifteen year tax exemption for data centers in Michigan from the General Sales Tax Act and the Use Tax Act. Read full story





  
 

Recall Petitions Denied

Recall petitions filed against Governor Rick Snyder and Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) were denied this week by the Board of State Canvassers. Read full story







 

December 11, 2015

House Passes Legislation Amending Michigan Voter Laws

This week the House passed two bills making changes to Michigan’s voting laws. The first bill would eliminate straight ticket voting, thus removing the ability to cast one vote for a single party in all partisan races. Read full story







Extension to the Health Insurance Claims Assessment Passes

On Tuesday, the House passed an extension to the sunset on the Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA), a tax levied on health and medical services claims paid by health insurers, health maintenance organizations, other categories of insurance carriers, and third party administrators. Read full story







Campaign Finance Laws Passed by the Senate

This week, the Senate passed legislation making changes to the state’s campaign finance laws. Read full story








Changes to County Executive Elections Reported from Committee

On Wednesday, the House Elections Committee reported a bill that would move county executive elections from presidential to gubernatorial election years. Read full story








State Board of Education Adopts Strategic Goals

On Tuesday, the Michigan State Board of Education adopted seven strategic goals to make Michigan a top ten education state in ten years. Read full story






MLC Capitol Update

November 4, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association

MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS

SPECIAL UPDATE

    
SPECIAL PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

In addition to seventy four counties holding local elections, special primary elections were held for three vacant seats in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Below you will find the unofficial results from these House races - the winners of these special election primaries are in bold. The winners will move onto the special general election set for March 8, 2016. The candidates who win the general election in March will serve the remainder of the terms, ending on December 31, 2016.

75th House District – A portion of the City of Grand Rapids. This seat was left vacant when former Representative Brandon Dillon resigned after being elected Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. The 75th District is one of the most Democratic in west Michigan with a 73 percent Democratic base.

Democratic Candidates:
• David LaGrand
• Michael Scruggs

Republican Candidate:
• Blake Edmonds

80th House District – Includes three-quarters of Allegan County. This seat was left vacant after then-Representative Cindy Gamrat was expelled from the House in September. Ms. Gamrat was running in this special primary election. The 80th District is a heavily GOP district at over 62 percent.

Democratic Candidate:
• David Gernant

Republican Candidates:
• Eric De Witt
• Cindy Gamrat
• Bill Sage
• James Siver
• Jim Storey
• Shannon Szukala
• Kevin Travis
• Mary Whiteford

82nd House District – Lapeer County. Then-freshman Representative Todd Courser resigned this seat in September prior to the House holding a vote to expel him. Like Ms. Gamrat, he was also running in this special election. This is a Republican district with a 57 percent Republican base.

Democratic Candidates:
• R. D. Bohm
• Margaret Guerrero DeLuca
• Eric Johnson

Republican Candidates:
• Russell Adams
• Todd Courser
• Jake Davison
• James Dewilde
• Rick Guerrero Jr.
• Gary Howell
• Iam Kempf
• Allan Landosky
• Jan Peabody
• Sharna Cramer Smith
• Chris Tuski


ROAD FUNDING PLAN PASSES LEGISLATURE

Yesterday the Senate passed and the House concurred in a package of legislation that will provide additional infrastructure funding for Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bills into the law. Under the package, the gasoline and diesel taxes will increase to 26.3 cents/gallon on January 1, 2017. The taxes per-gallon will have an inflationary increase beginning January 1, 2022. This increase is projected to generate an additional $400 million in revenue for roads and bridges. The registration fee will also see an increase of 20% on January 1, 2017, which will bring in an additional $200 million in revenue. The package also incrementally increase the amount of dedicated funds from the General Fund that will go to infrastructure funding, ultimately getting to $600 million in the 2021 Fiscal Year. The package also includes some tax relief for citizens. The income tax would rollback if and when the General Fund growth exceeds the rate of inflation, multiplied by 1.425, beginning January 1, 2023. The Homestead Property Tax Credit will also increase under the package. Further details will be included in this Friday’s MLC Capitol Update. As always, please contact a member of our team with questions.

MLC Capitol Update
October 9, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association

MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS
SPECIAL UPDATE

October 9, 2015

Governor Announces that the City of Flint Moving Back to Detroit Water System

On Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder held a press conference announcing that the City of Flint would be reconnected with the Great Lakes Water Authority for the city’s drinking water until the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline is complete. He called on the legislature to supply half of the $12 million needed to reconnect Flint to the authority, while the City of Flint will provide $2 million and the remaining $4 million needed will be provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The move will help resolve some of the issues with Flint’s drinking water, however, the city remains plagued by aging infrastructure and lead service lines. Going forward, state and local authorities will continue testing the water supply, using faucet filters and providing residents with accurate information on the steps being taken to eliminate lead exposure. The Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services have committed an additional $3.5 million for water filters, free lead testing for Flint water customers, and hiring additional staff to conduct health exposure monitoring. Additional information can be found at www.michigan.gov/flintwater.


Governor Signs Bills Allowing Electronic Proof of Insurance

This week, Governor Snyder signed legislation allowing drivers to present proof of auto insurance to a law enforcement officer using a mobile device. “The ability of driver’s to use an app on their mobile phones for proof of auto insurance is another step this Governor is taking to modernize all levels of Michigan government and practices,” stated Sean Mann of MLC. The law also includes language prohibiting officers from searching or manipulating the electronic device.


Juvenile Justice Reforms Legislation Announced

A package of twenty one bills was introduced this week making reforms to the state’s juvenile justice system. The bipartisan package calls for several reforms, including ending the current practice of trying all seventeen year olds as adults, prohibiting placing an offender under the age of eighteen in an adult jail or prison, and providing age appropriate rehabilitation. The package of bills were referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. Chair of the committee, Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), stated they would begin taking up the bills soon.


Senate Committee Reports Court E-Filing Bills

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week reported three bills allowing for electronic document filing for all courts in the state. Prior to reporting the bills, Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano testified before the committee on the efficiency this move could provide courts. The new system is estimated to cost between $40 million to $45 million over five years. To cover the cost, the legislation includes an e-filing fee when filing a civil action. An amendment was adopted in committee to sunset the fee after five years. The legislation has been sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.


House Passed Medical Marijuana Regulation

This week, the House passed a package of three bills allowing for the purchase of medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries, and allows for its use in either topical or edible form. The legislation includes a 3% excise tax on the gross income of the dispensaries, in addition to the 6% sales tax at the point of sale. Under the House-passed version, local communities would need to enact ordinances to allow for the dispensaries in their community. The legislation creates a structure of five licenses; growers, processors, testing labs, secure transporters, and dispensaries. Local governments, along with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, would both be allowed to enact licensing fees. The bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.


Fast Fact
Michigan has one hundred and sixteen lighthouses and navigational lights.


Looking Ahead to the Week of October 10 – 16

The House and Senate are scheduled to be in session Tuesday – Thursday.

On Tuesday, October 13, the Michigan Supreme Court will hear its first case of the 2015-16 term.

On Tuesday, October 13, MLC will celebrate our 50th Anniversary!

On Tuesday, October 13, the first Democratic Presidential Primary Debate for the 2016 election will be held in Las Vegas. The debate begins at 9 p.m. on CNN.

Content created by Michigan Legislative Consultants, one of Michigan’s oldest and most respected lobbying firms. For more information about MLC, please visit www.mlcmi.com.
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Content created by Michigan Legislative Consultants, one of Michigan’s oldest lobbying firms.  For more information about MLC, please visit www.mlcmi.com.



MLC Capitol Update
October 1, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association


MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS

SPECIAL UPDATE


September 30, 2015

Joan LarsonEarlier today, Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointment of Joan Larsen to the Michigan Supreme Court.  She will be succeeding Justice Mary Beth Kelly, who is resigning from the court effective October 1.  Ms. Larsen is currently a professor and special counsel to the dean at the University of Michigan Law School.  Previously, she was a deputy assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department and a law clerk for both U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle.  Ms. Larsen will need to seek election to the seat in 2016 to serve the remainder of Justice Kelly’s eight year term, which ends in 2018.  At that time, Ms. Larsen could run for a full eight-year term on the bench.  Ms. Larsen’s appointment belongs to the governor alone under the state constitution.
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Content created by Michigan Legislative Consultants, one of Michigan’s oldest lobbying firms.  For more information about MLC, please visit www.mlcmi.com.


MLC Capitol Update
September 25, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association


MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS

SPECIAL UPDATE


September 25, 2015
Governor Snyder Meets with Chinese President
 
This week, Governor Rick Snyder was part of a bipartisan delegation of U.S. governors that met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and six Chinese governors in Seattle to discuss economic development opportunities that could benefit both nations.  The event comes one month after Governor Snyder visited China for an investment mission.  “During Governor Snyder’s terms in office he has made five investment missions to China, signifying the importance he places on the relationship between China and the United States, especially Michigan” explained Tony Des Chenes of MLC.  Also participating in the meetings were business leaders who discussed areas of shared interest, such as energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy technologies, smart and modernized electric grids, and clean transportation.  The six U.S. governors signed an agreement to work together to advanced and sustain renewable energy and clean technologies in conjunction with economic development.  In addition, although he was unable to attend, Governor Brian Sandoval (R-Nevada) also signed the agreement.
 
 
Speaker Announces Committee Changes
 
This week, House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) announced the creation of a new subcommittee in the House Appropriations Committee to mirror the new structure of Michigan’s departments that occurred when Governor Rick Snyder combined the Department of Community Health and the Department of Human Services, now the Department of Health and Human Services.  The Speaker also announced new committee assignments to fill the vacancies created by the resignations of Todd Courser and Brandon Dillon, along with the expulsion of Cindy Gamrat.  The new committee assignments are below:
 
Replacing Todd Courser:
•         Agriculture – Representative Holly Hughes (R-White River Township)
•         Criminal Justice – Representative Chris Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Township)
•         Education – Representative Lisa Lyons (R-Alto)
•         Military and Veterans Affairs – Representative Ben Glardon (R-Owosso)
•         Regulatory Reform – Representative Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston)
 
Replacing Cindy Gamrat:
•         House Appropriations Department of Education Subcommittee – Representative Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis)
•         House Appropriations Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee – Representative Laura Cox (R-Livonia)
•         House Appropriations Military and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee – Representative Edward Canfield (R-Sebewaing)
•         House Appropriations Natural Resources Subcommittee – Representative Earl Poleski (R-Jackson)
 
Replacing Brandon Dillon:
•         House Appropriations Committee - Representative Pam Faris (D-Clio)
•         House Appropriations Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee – Representative Pam Faris
•         House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee – Representative Pam Faris
 
Replacing Representative Pam Faris, who is moving to the Appropriations Committee:
•         Financial Liability Reform – Representative Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit)
•         Military and Veterans Affairs – Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland)
 
Replacing Representative Rob VerHeulen:
•         House Appropriations Judiciary Subcommittee – Representative Earl Poleski
 
House Appropriations Department of Health and Human Services Subcommittee:
•    Rep. Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker) – Chair
•    Rep. Earl Poleski – Vice Chair
•    Rep. Chris Afendoulis
•    Rep. Joe Bizon (R-Battle Creek)
•    Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo
•    Rep. Edward Canfield
•    Rep. Laura Cox
•    Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg)
•    Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township)
•    Rep. Mike McCready (R-Bloomfield Hills)
•    Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) – Minority Vice Chair
•    Rep. Brian Banks (D-Detroit)
•    Rep. Pam Faris
•    Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton)
•    Rep. Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights)
 
 
Third Grade Reading Legislation
 
On Thursday, the House Education Committee reported a bill on a bipartisan manner, which aims to increase Michigan’s third grade reading proficiency.  Under the legislation as reported by the committee, schools would screen students in kindergarten through third grade at least three times per school year, to assess their reading level.  The bill calls for an early intervention system that would provide literary coaches and individual reading plans for students that are falling behind.  The legislation has been sent to the House floor for further consideration.
 
 
Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee this week reported a bill that would provide compensation for a person wrongfully imprisoned.  Compensation would only be provided to a person who could prove they were convicted and served time in a Michigan prison, but who later had the convictions that sentenced them to that prison time reversed or vacated.  The individual would receive $60,000 per year for the time they were in prison and damages for lost wages, attorney fees, and reimbursement for any fees that were collected under the State Correctional Facility Reimbursement Act.  In addition to monetary compensation, the criminal records regarding the crime that they had been wrongfully convicted of would be expunged.  By receiving the compensation, the individual could not file an action against the state on the same matter.  According to the bill sponsor, Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren), thirty other states and the federal government offer compensation for wrongful imprisonment.  The bill has been sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.
 
 
Medical Marijuana Regulations Reported from Committee
 
This week the House Judiciary Committee reported three bills regulating medical marijuana sales in the state.  Under the package, medical marijuana sold at provisioning centers would have an 8% excise tax, in addition to a 6% sales tax.  Of the excise tax collected, 40% would go to the state, municipalities and counties would each receive 27.5%, and 5% would go to law enforcement.  The legislation also requires those working in the industry to receive background checks and training, seed-to-sale tracking, and regulation of marijuana-infused products.  In addition, it lays out a system where a secure transporter would move the product from the grower to the centers, and they would enter each transfer into the state’s database used for tracking purposes.  The bills have been sent to the House floor for further consideration.
 
 
Senator Green Introduces Recycling Reporting Legislation
 
On Thursday, Senator Mike Green (R-Mayville) introduced a bill to set up a framework for reporting the rate of state-wide recycling.  Early in 2014, Governor Snyder announced his plan to increase recycling throughout the state, however there currently aren’t reporting requirements, something this bill aims to change.  The legislation has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
 
 
Fast Fact

Battle Creek is known as the cereal capital of the world.  The Kellogg brothers accidentally discovered the process for producing flaked cereal products and sparked the beginning of the dry cereal industry.
 
 
Looking Ahead to the Week of September 26 – October 2
 
The House and Senate are scheduled to hold session Tuesday – Thursday.
 
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Content created by Michigan Legislative Consultants, one of Michigan’s oldest lobbying firms.  For more information about MLC, please visit www.mlcmi.com.

MLC Capitol Update
September 11, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association


MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS

SPECIAL UPDATE


September 11, 2015
New State Medicaid Director Named
On Thursday, it was announced that effective October 12, 2015, Mr. Chris Priest will become the new Deputy Director for the Medical Services Administration and Director of the State Medicaid Office which are housed in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Chris currently serves as Governor Snyder’s Deputy Director of Strategy, where he advises the Governor on issues such as health care and insurance. He previously served as Director of the Bureau of Medicaid Policy and Health System Innovation in the former Michigan Department of Community Health (now MDHHS), which was responsible for many aspects of the Medicaid program and other health reform issues.  He also served as the project manager involved with the health insurance exchange in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.  Chris received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University.  MLC’s Brendan Ringlever stated, “Chris will hit the ground running on day-one.  He’s been part of every health care and Medicaid discussion and reform for years and will be a leader nationally in his new capacity.  On behalf of MLC and our clients, we wish him the very best in the new role and look forward to continuing our great relationship.”
 

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Governor Snyder Leads Investment Mission to Japan and Germany
On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder began his third investment mission to Japan and Germany, this time focusing on strengthening trade relationships, attracting job-creating business investments, and looking to expand markets for Michigan-made goods. On his 8-day journey, he will be accompanied by members of his staff, several executive members from the MEDC and several state business leaders.  He will be meeting with government and company leaders to discuss trade relations. He plans to promote Michigan’s auto industry and will tell Michigan’s story at the Midwest U.S.- Japan Association meeting in Tokyo in addition to meeting with Japanese auto company leaders. The Michigan delegation will then travel to Germany in time for the 66th Frankfurt Auto Show where they will discuss international business opportunities with Michigan.  Since Governor Snyder’s first investment mission, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment have come from both Japan and Germany and into Michigan’s economy.
 

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Gamrat Expelled, Courser Resigns from Michigan House of Representatives
A little over a month after the scandal broke, the fate of Michigan’s two lawmakers – State Representatives Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) and Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) – has been decided. A grueling 16 hour House Session concluded Friday morning at 4:26 a.m. with the passing of HR 141, a resolution to expel Gamrat. An hour earlier before the 91 – 12 vote cast Gamrat’s fate, Courser took the matter into his own hands when he resigned. The expulsion makes Gamrat the fourth lawmaker in Michigan’s history to be dismissed from office.
 
 
Gov. Rick Snyder: Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board to help ensure protection of Great Lakes and Natural Resources
Last Thursday, Governor Snyder signed Executive Order 2015-12 to create the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board. Additionally, he announced an agreement with Enbridge Energy Company to ensure heavy crude oil will not be allowed to pass through the straits of Mackinac. “While pipelines are an efficient way to deliver necessary energy to power our homes, our communities and our economy, pipeline spills also have negatively impacted our natural resources in the past,” Snyder said. The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board along with the state will continue to work on implementation of recommendations to further preserve and protect Michigan’s environment and distinct natural resources.
 

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Senate Unanimously Passes Tax Notice Reform Bill
Legislation allowing county clerks more flexibility in sending out delinquent property tax notices passed the Senate with unanimous support on Wednesday. As of now, unpaid taxes notices are sent out June or September 1st.  Under Senate Bill 349, sponsored by Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland), county treasurers would be allowed to send certified abandoned property notices "on or within 60 days before" notice dates in the state statute.  The bill has been referred to the House Tax Policy Committee for consideration.
 

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Senator Hertel Introduces Bill to Protect Children Bussing to School
Motorists speeding past school busses while the bus lights are flashing lights will see additional penalties under legislation introduced by Senator Curtis Hertel (D-Meridian Twp.) this week. There is roughly 18,000 busses transporting 860,000 students daily to and from school. Unfortunate data reports that 327 children died in school- related transportation crashes and another 42 children while walking to school between the years of 2004 to 2013. The legislation would change two sections of Michigan’s Vehicle Code by: 1) Giving the Secretary of State the ability to suspend licenses of second time offenders and 2) increasing the fines for first offenders to $150 from the old $100 to $250 range and adding second offender’s penalties to $500 - $1,000.
 
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Fast Fact
Singing sand can be found on the beaches of Grand Haven. The sand particles make a whistling sound as you walk upon them.
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Looking Ahead to the Weeks of September 14th – 18th
The Michigan House and Senate will not hold session on Tuesday, September 15 in honor of Rosh Hashanah. 
 
House and Senate Session will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at their respective times.
 
The Michigan Republican Mackinac Policy Conference will be held from Friday, September 18 – Sunday, September 20 on Mackinac Island.
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Content created by Michigan Legislative Consultants, one of Michigan’s oldest lobbying firms.  For more information about MLC, please visit www.mlcmi.com.

Discussion - Inside Michigan's Road Funding
August 23, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association


MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS

SPECIAL UPDATE

 
August 21, 2015

Movement Made on Transportation Funding
 
Despite movement this week on the House Republican’s plan to generate additional revenue for infrastructure funding, the House adjourned Wednesday evening without a resolution.  On Tuesday, the House voted not to concur in changes to the legislation made by the Senate and sent three of the bills to conference committee.  On Wednesday morning the conference committee, comprised of three members from the House and Senate, briefly met but never adopted a conference report.  The solution being floated by the Speaker would raise the $1.2 billion needed for roads and bridges through $600 million in new revenue and redirecting $600 million in the General Fund to infrastructure funding. 
 
In order to pass this proposal, some members of the House Democratic caucus would need to vote favorably for the package.  However, House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) has stated that he is very concerned with the large cuts to the state’s General Fund.  While Republicans hold the majority in the House, too few of the members would vote favorably for the package due to the $600 million in new revenue. 
 
A portion of the package remains on the House floor awaiting a concurrence vote on changes made by the Senate.  The three bills that were voted on by the House this week remain before the conference committee.  It is unlikely there will be any movement before next month, as the next session day for the House is September 9 and although the Senate has scheduled session for the next two weeks, it’s not anticipated it will hold session.  However, the principals will continue to work behind the scenes on a solution that could gain the approval of a majority of House and Senate members.
 
 
Detroit Income Tax Bills
 
On Wednesday, the House Tax Policy Committee reported two bills aimed at helping Detroit collect city income taxes.  Specifically, it would require employers throughout the state to withhold city income taxes from employees pay if they reside in the city of Detroit.  The bill provides an exemption for businesses with less than ten employees and who paid $500,000 or less in total wages during the prior calendar year.  The package also allows the Department of Treasury to enter into an agreement with a city, for the department to collect unpaid city income taxes on their behalf.  “Often times cities have difficulty collecting outstanding city income taxes, Treasury has a robust procedural system in place that allows them to more effectively collect overdue taxes” explained Tim Ward of MLC.  Prior to reporting the bills, the committee heard testimony in support of the legislation from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.  Mayor Duggan estimates the legislation would bring in an additional $10 million in revenue to the city.  The package has been sent to the House floor for further consideration.
 
 
July Unemployment Rate Declines
 
According to numbers released this week by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.3%, the lowest it’s been since August 2001.  However, that could be attributed to a net reduction of 12,000 in Michigan’s workforce for the month.  The rate is significantly lower than the July 2014 unemployment rate of 7.0%.  The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s rate also declined in July, from 6.1% to 5.8%.  To view the full release, please click here.
 
 
Justice Kelly Announces Departure
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly announced this week that she will be leaving the Supreme Court to return to private practice, effective October 1, 2015.  Prior to being elected to the Supreme Court in 2010, Justice Kelly served as a Wayne County Circuit Court Judge from 1999 – 2010, serving three terms as Chief Judge of the court.  Prior to her time on the bench, she worked as a lawyer and commercial litigation partner at Dickinson Wright in Detroit.  Governor Rick Snyder will appoint her replacement in the coming months.
 
 
House Creates a Special Committee
 
On Wednesday, House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) introduced a resolution creating a six member special select committee to examine the qualification of Representative Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) and Representative Todd Courser (R-Silverwood) to determine their fitness to continue to hold office.  Specifically, the committee will meet to determine if the two Representatives used their staff, funded by taxpayer dollars, to cover up their extramarital affair.  If the committee determines they should be expelled, two-thirds of the House members elected and serving would have to vote to agree.  Speaker Cotter also stated that instead of expulsion, the special committee could find that they should instead face disciplinary actions.  The resolution was adopted by the House on a voice vote.  The members of the committee have not yet been announced.  It’s not known at this time when the committee will hold hearings, that determination is awaiting the completion of the investigation by the House Business Office into the allegations.
 
 
Fast Fact
 
The Upper Michigan Copper Country is the largest commercial deposit of native copper in the world.
 
 
Looking Ahead to the Weeks of August 22 – September 4
 
On Wednesday, August 26 the Senate Energy and Technology Committee is scheduled to hold a testimony only hearing on SB 438, which makes several changes to the Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act of 2008.
 
The Senate is scheduled to hold session August 25-27 and September 1-3.

Content created by Michigan Legislative Consultants, one of Michigan’s oldest lobbying firms.  For more information about MLC, please visit www.mlcmi.com.

Discussion - Inside Michigan's Road Funding
August 10, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association

MLC
MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANTS

SPECIAL UPDATE

 
August 7, 2015

Inside Michigan’s Road Funding – Past Efforts and Rising Alternative Proposals

For years, Michigan residents and elected officials have expressed the need to find a permanent solution to better fund and manage Michigan’s roads and infrastructure.  Earlier this year, the voters overwhelmingly turned down a ballot proposal that would have provided nearly $1.2 billion in new revenue earmarked for infrastructure.  On the heels of this defeat, the new Legislative leadership and the Governor have been working to find a solution that tries to meet the needs, but also balances the expectation and concerns that elected officials hear from voters.

As the debate continues, we prepared “Inside Michigan’s Road Funding:  Proposal 1 and Rising Alternatives”, to provide you with a historical perspective and insight to some of the proposed solutions presenting themselves at the State Capitol. We will continue to update this document as new proposals develop.  Additionally, we will share updates via our weekly “MLC Capitol Update.”

As always, please contact MLC with any questions or concerns regarding this document or on the road funding debate.

Download "Inside Michigan's Road Funding" here.

Updated Insurance list
February 19, 2015
Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association

Updated insurance list.

Police Assistant job.

Income Stabilization

Recently everyone received information regarding income stabilization. This is a benefit to keep retires from falling below the Federal poverty level as a result of the pension reductions under the Bankruptcy. We have attached a link to list of Frequently Asked Questions , you can also find additional information including a video and additional application forms on the General Retirement System web-site http://rscd.org/grsd/, you can also call the Income Stabilization Hotline 313-879-4771.

Income Stabilization FAQs.

Recent Bankruptcy decisions and upcoming dates;

The Bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment is approved and became effective December 10, 2014. It will still take some time to fully implement all parts of the Plan. It will take some time to calculate pay out for the Death Benefit and to set up the Healthcare VEBA as more information becomes available we will put it out.  The COLA reduction for Police and Fire Retires will begin on the March 1, 2015 pension checks. The COLA reduction in the Plan of Adjustment is effective as of July 1, 2014. On the August 1, 2014 checks all retirees that retired under the new plan (Post 1969) received their full COLA amount. Under the Plan of adjustment you were to receive .45% of the amount of COLA due. So on the March 1, 2015 check you will see a reduction in your pension check. Example; if you received a $100 increase on the August 1, 2014 pension check , on your March 1, 2015 pension check you see have a reduction of $55.00. On the August 1, 2015 check you will get another COLA increase once again at 45% of previous amount, so again if you were due $100 increase on the August 2015 check you will get a $45 increase.
Old Plan members (Pre 1969) did not get an increase on the August 2014 check so they are not affected and they will not have any reduction.  Old plan members should see their first increase August 2016. They should receive approximately 1% increase in their pensions.  This is based on the negotiated increases of the actives.
 
Under the Terms of the Plan of Adjustment, if the Retirement System has a return greater than 6.75% and the funding level of the Retirement System is estimated to reach an agreed to level; additional COLA restoration can take place. This is somewhat complicated so the Association will be monitoring the restoration funds available and will do our best to keep you informed. Currently based on current returns it is possible, depending on what happens over next few months some additional COLA could be restored as early as July of 2015.

Also included on this Home Page are all of the documents from the Plan of Adjustment. So if you want to take the time to read them you will have a much better understanding of the Plan of Adjustment, and how it may affect you. 

The following are copies of documents relating to the Detroit Bankruptcy, those that have direct effect on RDPFFA members. Included are;

PFRS Investment Committee Governance Policy

The complaint 8th amended Plan of Adjustment. (23  MB)

The Syncora Settlement Agreement, portion that affects VEBAs. (125 KB)

The RDPFFA “Term Sheet” settlement agreement. (257 KB)

The Police & Fire VEBA Trust Agreement. (190 KB)

The Bankruptcy Vote summary for Classes 10-11-& 12. (74 KB)


RDPFFA Offices
 
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