Governor Signs 24 Bills; No Action Yet on Unemployment Extension
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer used a 1945 law to keep state government under her total control for more than six months. The justification was that an elected legislature can’t act quickly enough to do what needs to be done. But the State Supreme Court disagreed in an October 2nd decision, and they ruled 10 days later that the end of the Governor’s Emergency Powers were immediate. The Governor’s office said Monday's ruling means hundreds of thousands of Michiganders could lose their unemployment benefits "in a matter of days."
Well, the Michigan House and Senate have been busy, plugging the gaps and sending a flurry of legislation to the Governor. Today, the Governor signed 24 bills into law, and vetoes three others.
Still waiting for her signature are bills to fix keep the unemployment extension in place, and also some providing liability protections to health care workers, businesses, and employees during the pandemic as well as separate legislation that changes nursing home policy on COVID-19 admissions and visits. Whitmer is expected to sign most of the bills, but her office noted she still is reviewing those connected to nursing homes.
Here’s a summary of what Governor Whitmer did sign, as well as the bills she vetoed.
House Bill 4851 amends the General Property Tax Act to make it easier for a disabled veteran or their un-remarried surviving spouse to receive and keep a property tax exemption. It will also cut down on delayed exemptions. The bill modifies the definition of qualified error to include an issue beyond the control of a disabled veteran or his or her un-remarried surviving spouse that caused a denial of an exemption. The bill was sponsored by Representative Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton.
House Bills 4926-4930 amends the Local Community Stabilization Authority Act to make technical changes and clarify personal property tax reimbursement calculations. House Bill 4926 was sponsored by Representative Lynn Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township. House Bill 4927 was sponsored by Representative Hank Vaupel, R-Fowlerville. House Bill 4928 was sponsored by Representative Hank Michael Webber, R-Rochester Hills. House Bill 4929 was sponsored by Representative Tenisha Yancey, D-Harper Woods. House Bill 4930 was sponsored by Representative Karen Whitsett, D-Detroit.
House Bill 5289 amends the Public Health Code to prohibit the State Registrar from charging a fee for a search for a record of stillbirth. It also provides that 2 certified copies or authenticated copies of a record of stillbirth will be provided without a fee. The bill was sponsored by Representative Julie Alexander, R-Hanover.
House Bill 5334 amends the Michigan Memorial Highway Act to designate the portion of US-10 in Warren Township in Midland County in honor of Corporal Casey P. Zylman. Corporal Zylman grew up in Midland County and was a graduate of Coleman High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 2005 and was killed on May 25, 2007, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while driving in Tallafar, Iraq. He was 22 years old. The highway will be known as the "Cpl. Casey P. Zylman Memorial Highway." The bill was sponsored by Representative Roger Hauck, R-Beal City.
House Bill 5336 expands Michigan’s adoption of the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act (henceforth the “Receivership Act”) to depart from the uniform system of rules. This bill would expand Michigan’s Receivership Act to apply to commercial personal property and fixtures in addition to the commercial real property to which it already applies. The bill was sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo Township.
House Bill 5482 requires schools to print the number of a local, state, or national suicide prevention hotline on each student identification (ID) card provided to a pupil in grades 6 to 12. The bill also requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop or adopt model information materials regarding suicide prevention services, suicide, depression, and anxiety, and to provide the model information materials to a school district, ISD, or PSA upon request. The bill was sponsored by Representative Andrea Schroeder, R-Independence Township.
House Bill 5490 and 5491 together amend the Michigan Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act to require the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) to extend the court-ordered receivership process to Michigan’s marijuana industry. The bills provide a state-level remedy for those in the marijuana industry that are unable to take advantage of federal bankruptcy courts. Under the new law, the MRA is required to promulgate rules and establish procedures for approving a receiver to operate a medical marijuana facility or a marijuana establishment. The bills were sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo Township.
Senate Bill 132 amends the Michigan Memorial Highway Act to designate the portion of US-12 in Lenawee County in honor of Michigan State Trooper Rodger M. Adams. Trooper Adams was the twenty-fifth Michigan State Police officer to die in the line of duty when he was killed in an automobile crash while responding to an emergency. He was 26 years of age. The portion of highway US-12 in Lenawee County beginning at highway M-25 and continuing west to Monagan Highway will be known as the “Trooper Rodger M. Adams Memorial Highway”. The bill was sponsored by Senator Dale Zorn, R-Ida.
Senate Bill 321 amends the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Act to include on the memorial the names of all of the following: each law enforcement officer and reserve law enforcement officer from Michigan who died in the line of duty; and each individual from Michigan who qualifies as an officer who died in the line of duty for purposes of inclusion on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The bill was sponsored by Senator Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township.
Senate Bill 432 amends the Michigan Strategic Fund Act to revise an exemption of certain property from taxes collected under the General Property Tax Act. The bill also adds to the exception for certain nonprofit entities supporting research and development in present and emerging technology for qualifying purposes until December 31, 2024. The bill was sponsored by Senator Kenneth Horn, R-Frankenmuth.
Senate Bill 435 amends the Michigan Memorial Highway Act to designate a portion of Highway M-81 located in Saginaw County in honor of Staff Sergeant Eugene H. E. Alex, a US Army Service Member who was injured in Iraq and died shortly thereafter after being airlifted to a military hospital in Germany. He died on September 2, 2006. He was 32 years old and left behind his wife and 3 children. The “Staff Sergeant Eugene H. E. Alex memorial Highway” would start at the intersection of M-81 and North Gera road and stretch east to the intersection of M-81 and South Van Buren Road. The bill was sponsored by Senator Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth.
Senate Bill 493 amends the Commercial Rehabilitation Act to extend, from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2025, the sunset date after which a new commercial rehabilitation certificate may not be granted. The Commercial Rehabilitation Act provides for the establishment of commercial rehabilitation districts. Certain qualified buildings in these districts are subject to property tax exemptions. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland.
Senate Bill 494 amends the Commercial Redevelopment Act to extend, from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2025, the sunset date after which a new certificate may not be granted. The Commercial Redevelopment Act allows a local governmental unit to establish a commercial redevelopment district. Certain qualified buildings in these districts are subject to property tax exemptions. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland.
Senate Bill 1066 amends the Michigan Strategic Fund Act to transfer and deposit $37.1 million from the Michigan Film Promotion Fund to the state's general fund for fiscal year (FY) 2019-20. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo.
Senate Bill 1067 amends the Michigan Liquor Control Code to transfer and deposit $476,500 from the Michigan Craft Beverage Council Fund to the state's general fund for FY 2019-20. The bill was sponsored by Senator Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.
Senate Bill 1068 amends the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to transfer and deposit $2 million from the Staff Account of the Solid Waste Management Fund and $4.0 million from the Scrap Tire Regulatory Fund to the state’s general fund, for FY 2019-20. The bill was sponsored by Senator Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.
Senate Bill 1069 distributes $3.4 million from the Sex Offenders Registration Fund to the state’s general fund for FY 2019-20. The bill was sponsored by Senator Adam Hollier, D-Detroit.
Senate Bill 1070 and 1071 amend the Michigan Vehicle Code and the Transportation Economic Development Fund law, respectively, to complete the required legislative actions necessary to transfer $13.0 million of restricted Transportation Economic Development Funds (TEDF) to the General Fund as part of a larger agreement between the Legislature and the Administration to balance the FY 2019-20 budget. The bills were sponsored by Senator Adam Hollier, D-Detroit.
House Bill 6119 amends the State Convention Facility Development Act. The bill transfers $10 million from the Conventional Facility Development Fund to the General Fund and distributes $4.0 million to the Michigan Strategic Fund to award grants to other qualified convention centers. The bill was sponsored by Representative Cynthia Neeley, D-Flint.
House Bill 4332 was vetoed by the governor. This bill would have allowed for the use of pneumatic guns during the bow-hunting season. The permitting system proposed by the bill, however, did not provide sufficiently clear standards for implementation. The bill was sponsored by Representative Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain.
House Bills 5339 and 5340 were vetoed by the governor. The bills would have amended the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act to make it easier and cheaper for for-profit property finders to get access to Michigander’s private data. The Department of Treasury maintains an effective system to return unclaimed property to its rightful owner. House Bill 5339 was sponsored by Representative Michael Webber, R-Rochester Hills. House Bill 5340 was sponsored by Representative Wendell Byrd, D-Detroit.