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THE 2018 LAME DUCK SESSION – THE GOOD, THE NOT SO GOOD, AND OTHERWISE

By January 21, 2019 No Comments
By: Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Our December 2018 Newsletter provided information about the 2018 Lame Duck Session, which was like no other in terms of the volume of bills coming up for consideration that could undermine protections for Natual Resources or have an impact on Riparian Property Owners in Michigan.

The following provides the status of several legislative bills that might be of interest:

SB 1136 – AIS ERADICATION AND CONTROL FUND

Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the bill into law on December 28, 2018.  The bill provides for funding from “any source” and the details of funding have to be worked out in the future. 

HB 4205 – No Stricter than Federal This bill would prevent Michigan state agencies from adopting rules that are more protective than federal standards. Some Riparians believe it is important that Michigan officials decide what’s best for our state, and not rely on federal minimum standards to dictate how we protect our waterways, drinking water, and air. Several changes were made during the session and Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the final version into law on December 28, 2018.

SB 1211 – Changing Protections for Wetlands and Inland Lakes – This bill would have removed protections for about 600,000 acres of Michigan wetlands and around 4,500 inland lakes. Amendments were made during the session to reduce the scope and range of impact.  Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the final version into law on December 28, 2018.

SB 1188-1194 Legislation to Pre-empt Local Control of Trees and Other Vegetation

The bill passed out of the Michigan Senate and was awaiting action in the Michigan House.  The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) opposed these bills stating that Local Ordinances covering these matters reflect the decisions by local communities and should be respected. These bills died in committee and did not become law in 2018.

SB 1244 – Part 201 Cleanup Standards for Contaminated Sites

The legislation places new requirements on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality when moving to update current cleanup standards based on new health studies. Without new resources, these additional requirements will divert money from current efforts to protect Michigan residents from exposure to contaminated sites. The legislation requires the DEQ to use chemical toxicity values from a U.S. Environmental Protection database – unless the agency undergoes a lengthy process that includes public notices and meetings with “stakeholders.” Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the final version into law on December 28, 2018.

HB 5752 and HB 5753 – Inspecting and identifying failing septic systems by creating a statewide septic code (These bills died in committee during 2018)

SB 943 – Renew Michigan

This bill provided a sustainable funding source for environmental issues such as contaminated site cleanup and water quality monitoring (e.g. CLMP). It also provides much needed funding for contaminants of concern like PFAS. Governor Snyder reportedly supported this bill.  This bill died in Committee during 2018.

STATE CONTROL FOR SHORT-TERM RENTALS of RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

Bills were introduced in 2017, but this proposed legislation, removing local control of such matters, was not re-introduced in 2018, nor in the Lame Duck Session.

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