MICHIGAN GOVERNMENT RELATIONS- August 2017

Please take the time to go to www.legislature.mi.gov and register for alerts on different bills.  Click on that link and you can also check on any bill listed below or search for a bill using a key word. You can contact us for help at bob.funkey@hotmail.com or cathy.funkey@hotmail.com.  This report will be posted on the State web site.

HEALTH POLICY COMMITTEE

1.       HB 4171,4173 and 4174 – 3 Bills will Clarify Do Not Resuscitate directives.  Passed the House on 6/20/17 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policies 6/21/17.

2.       HB 4269- would require an ambulance and appropriate medical professionals at school athletic games. Still in Committee.

3.       HB 4260-  Would develop a protocol and guidelines for concussions in young athletes. Still in Committee

4.       SB 0057, 0058. 0062 – Establishes a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Commission, directives for the Commission and modifications of the law governing lead paint in rental homes- still in Health Policy Committee as of 1/24/17. 

5.       HB 4120, 4124- will regulate lead tests in water sources for schools and child care centers. 2/1/17 in committee.

6.       SB 0047, 0166, 0167, 270, 273 and 274: These bills will regulate Schedule II-V prescription drugs and sanction Doctors who fail to report prescriptions to the Michigan Automated Prescription System/MAPS. Physicians will also be required to have a documented Doctor/Patient relationship before they can prescribe Schedule 11-V drugs.  All these bills are targeting prescription drug abuse. The bills passed the Senate on 6/22/17 and were referred to the Committee on Health Policy on 7/12/17.

ENVIRONMENT/NATURAL RESOURCES/RECREATION

1.      HB 4199, 4202, 5958, 5974, 5479, and 5975- Three additional bills were introduced on 6/20/17- HB 4876, 4877 and 4778.  All of these bills would regulate drilling for gas and oil well leasing and drilling/ hydraulic fracturing- “fracking”.  They regulate setbacks for drilling and wells in residential areas, ban the use of flowback water as dust control on roads, and would institute methane gas recapture protocols.  Violations of the methane gas bill could result in a fine of $100,000 and loss of the drillers license if he does not comply within 90 days.  and other rules for hydraulic fracturing, “fracking”.   The bills are being referred to Committees.

2.      The Asian Carp issue is back on the front page after an adult fish was caught in the Calumet River, only nine miles from Lake Michigan. A Bi-partisan committee of 38 US Senators from eight Great Lakes States co-sponsored legislation, the Stop Asian Carp Now Act of 2017, to force the President to release a report from the Army Corp of Engineers that could offer a range of options to control the carp threat. These fish can grow to 100 pounds, leap out of the air and cause damage to watercraft and humans. The Illinois and Fox Rivers are overloaded with these fish.  Asian carp cause serious damage to the native fish populations in the lakes and rivers that they infest because they out-compete other fish for food and space. Carp are also thought to lower water quality, which can kill off sensitive organisms like native freshwater mussels (Wildlife Federation).  On July 29th MLive reported that the Army Corp of Engineers will release a draft plan to stop Asian Carp from reaching the Great lakes at the Brandon Road Locks and Dam which is a choke point for numerous invasive aquatic species. Please contact your Michigan Senators and Representatives and your US Senators and Representatives in support of their Act.

3.      HB 4013- This bill became PA 59 of 2017 and allows an electronic or digital copy of your vehicle registration and proof of insurance.  The act only allows a police officer to view the certificate, not anything else on your device.

TRANSPORTATION:

9&10 News:  8/2/2017:   Some much needed work to one of the Soo locks has been approved, and the task has been awarded to a local company. The Army Corps of Engineers picked Morris-Wallace Construction from Cheboygan to replace some existing blocks with steel blocks to upgrade the aging infrastructure in the Poe Lock.  The majority of the $2.4 million project will take place while the locks are closed from mid-January to mid-March. It’s expected to be completed in June 2018.

IRS/TAXATION

1.       SB 0221 of 2017: would amend the General Property Tax act to allow property owned by Masonic Associations to be tax exempt. A 2016 bill expired, but there are already some Masonic Lodges that are tax exempt and this bill would clarify that issue for all Masonic Associations in Michigan. Referred to the Committee on Finance in March.

2.       HB 4815 of 2017: would limit School Millage elections to November instead of holding special elections. The bill was just introduced and if passed it would take effect in January 2018.

GAMING

 1.       HB 4081: has passed the Senate in a modified form.  The bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole and has stalled there.  The bill must be brought to the House Floor to be read three times before the House can vote on it. 

2.       HB 4261- still in the Regulatory Reform Committee. This bill would allow sports betting at casinos.

3.       SB 203 and 204- would create the “Lawful Internet Gaming Act”.  There is a lot of controversy surrounding internet gaming. SB 203 would require tribes to waive their sovereign immunity, including subjected themselves to state law and paying gaming fees and taxes.   Both bills were referred to the Committee of the Whole in March.

 Federal Initiatives:  

  1. Two resolutions were introduced in the Senate to recognize the 100th anniversary of Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the Ft. Custer Training center.
  2. There is a bi-partisan effort to ask Secretary of Defense Mattis to consider a pilot program to improve access to and reduce the cost of prescription drugs in the TRICARE program which serves active duty military, National Guard, reservists, retired service members and their families.

 Local News: Crain’s Business Weekly:

DTE files plan to build $1 billion gas-fired plant in East China Township

1.       The Detroit-based energy company's project in St. Clair County, which will break ground in 2019, will produce enough electricity to power 850,000 homes by 2022.

2.       Michigan delays posting proposed health insurance rates

The state Department of Insurance and Financial Services was supposed to publish the proposed 2018 rate hikes Tuesday, but it secured a 30-day extension from the federal government because of uncertainty over the President’s threat to stop billions of dollars in payments to insurers.

3.       On August 1st,  Crittenton Hospital in Rochester Hills became Ascension Crittenton Hospital, the  first hospital in the 141-hospital St. Louis-based Ascension Health family to receive a new name under the nonprofit health system's rebranding strategy.  Over the next 12 months, 14 other Ascension hospitals in Michigan will add Ascension to the beginning of their names, Ascension executives said in a statement. For example, Providence Hospital in Southfield will soon be known as Ascension Providence Hospital and St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit will become Ascension St. John Hospital.

Other regional Ascension hospital groups include Borgess Health in Kalamazoo; Genesys Health in Grand Blanc; St. Joseph Health System in Tawas City; and St. Mary's of Michigan in Saginaw. Last year, Ascension eliminated local hospital and regional boards and created the Southeast Michigan Hospital Board, the West Michigan Hospital Board, the Mid-Michigan Hospital Board and the Michigan Market Board that oversees all Ascension properties in the state.