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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update - 12/14/01

Directional Drilling

HB 5118 (Shackleton) – This bill provides a ban on directional drilling below the Great Lakes unless the legislature passes a resolution declaring an energy emergency.   The bill was reported by the House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee on Tuesday (12/11).  No action was taken by the House before recess.  Action is expected by the full House when the legislature returns in January.   Amendments are pending to repeal the ban as of October of 2003 (Voorhees), and to remove the exception for the declaration of an energy emergency (Dennis)

Sewer Overflow

The Senate finished action on the following bills:

SB 105 -  Earmarks a portion of the budget stabilization fund to match any increase in funding from the federal government for sewer infrastructure improvements.

SB 106 - Refines the eligibility requirements for sewer infrastructure funding to encourage voluntary upgrades.

SB 109 – Outlines the circumstances under which municipalities will be liable for sewer backups into basements, and provides a procedure for making claims.

The Senate has yet to take action on SB 107, a bill that would require the testing of septic systems at the time of sale of a home.

The House passed HB 4926, a bill to formally establish a water quality monitoring program and allow the use of bond money to fund it.  The bill was referred to the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Regional Transportation Authority

The House passed HB 5467 (Kilpatrick) to establish one authority to oversee busing and other transit issues in Southeast Michigan.  Although it does consolidate the current SMART and DDOT systems, it does not merge the organizations.

Designation of “game” species

HB 5478 (C. Brown) – This legislation that would transfer from the legislature to the Natural Resources Commission the power to designate a species as game was not taken up by the House and remains on its calendar.

Notice of Planning Activities

The following bills were passed by the Senate and enrolled by the House:

HB 5038 - Ruth Johnson - Provides for notice to other jurisdictions of the adoption of township plans

HB 5252 – Koetje - Provides for notice to other jurisdictions of the adoption of county plans

HB 5267 – Birkholz - Provide for notice to other jurisdictions of the adoption of municipal plans

MEC is disappointed that after years of work on trying to get the legislature to adopt the
Coordinated Planning Act the best they could do was legislation to provide notice, but no
coordination of efforts among adjourning communities.

Scrap Tires

SB 27 – The current fee of $0.50 on scrap car titles was extended until April of 2002.  The increase was removed until action can be completed on HB 5380

HB 5380– Scrap Tire Regulation – This bill that places greater restrictions on the collection and disposal of scrap tires passed the House on Thursday (12/6).  It was referred to the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee that will take up the issue next year.  MEC opposed the final version of HB 5380 because it lowered the bond requirements for the operators of whole tire collection sites from $100,000/acre to $25,000/acre.

Natural Resources Trust Fund

SJR T and SBs 796-801 – Natural Resources Trust Fund / Parks Endowment Fund – This
Constitutional amendment (must go to the ballot) and bills do basically four things; raise the overall cap on the Natural Resources Trust Fund from $400 million to $500 million;   raise the trigger for relying on interest only (they currently can now also spend 1/3 of each year incoming revenue stream plus interest) from $200 million to $500, increase the amount of money that can be diverted from the State Parks Endowment Fund from
$5 million a year adjusted for inflation to $6.5 million a year adjusted for inflation and allow investments in these and other related funds in all investment types currently allowed for the state retirement system.  These bills remain in the House Conservation and Outdoor recreation Committee.

Submitted by:

James Clift, Dusty Fancher, Conan Smith
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539