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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - 5/27/04



Title:
Bigger Better Bottle Bill Coalition releases poll showing 73% of Michigan residents support expanding the bottle bill -- call on legislature to move legislation to add water, juice and iced tea containers to law.

Angry House Republicans go on the offense against the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Chester in House budget hearing.  Budget cuts include cutting travel by 50% -- hurting enforcement/compliance efforts. Hearings continue next week.
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Senate

Passed:

SB 722 -- To expand the definition of small business making more companies eligible for pollution prevention loans.

SB 723 -- To expand potential loan for pollution prevention assistance from $50,000 to $150,000 from the revolving loan fund.

On the calendar:

HB 5509 -- The budget for the Department of Agriculture for fiscal year 2004-2005. The main problem is related to the use of $3 million in Environmental Response Funds for activities not related to environmental cleanups (the legislatively mandated purpose of those funds).  Meanwhile, no new sites of environmental cleanup are being addressed this year due to funding shortfalls.

SB 926
- A bill to extend the prohibition of feeding deer and elk in certain parts of the state.

SB 1132
-- This bill will require the Auditor General to do a performance audit of state laboratories and to compare their costs with private labs. 

SB 1133 -- Creates a voluntary Laboratory Data Quality Assurance Program that labs in Michigan could participate in, possibly making them more attractive to use by the state or private entities. 

SB 1135 -- Creates the Laboratory Data Quality Assurance Council

HB 4729 -- Amends the statute controlling aquatic nuisances to enhance sanctions for violations.

HB 4730  -- Amends the statute controlling aquatic nuisances reduce the regulation applied to the applicants of aquatic pesticides and limits the reasons that the department could deny a permit.  Any permit not acted on within 15 days is granted.  The Michigan Environmental Council opposes this bill.

SB 953 - This bill directs the state to invest "surplus funds" in underwriting qualified agricultural energy production loans.  Loans could be made systems such as methane digesters, biomass gasification technology and ethanol plants.  A farmer who had been guilty of a criminal violation or responsible for a civil violation of water discharge laws would not be eligible for a period of one year.

SB 955 -  The bill exempts from property taxes methane digesters electric generating systems. 

SR 143 -- A resolution to encourage the further utilization of methane digestion in Michigan.

SB 217 - The bill to amend the drain code was reported from the Agriculture Committee. (referred back to Ag committee)

Recycling bills:

SB 532 and SB 533-- anti-littering legislation

SB 853  -- Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-river program

SB 854 - creates statewide recycling coordinator position

SB 855 - Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-shoreline program

SB 856 - Requires the state to conduct a comprehensive study on littering and create a marketing program to reduce litter

SB 857 - Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-trail program

SB 858 - Reporting on the nature and the amount of litter collected under the adopt-a-park program

SB 860 - Establishes a 1-800 number for reporting littering violations

SB 861 - Sets statewide goals for recycling rates (30% by 2009, 50% by 2014)

In committee:

Finance will meet on Tuesday (6/1) at 1:00 pm top take up: 

Continued Discussion on Manufactured Home Legislation

SB 13 - Prohibit under certain circumstances assessment increases for new construction, mobile homes, or structures used to house a senior citizen family member. 

SB 477 - Establishes a value-based tax for mobile homes.

SB 478 -- Assesses mobile homes as real property.

SB 486 - Establishes a value-based tax for mobile homes.

SB 707 - Eliminates sales tax collections on mobile home sales.

SB 708 - Assesses mobile homes as real property. 

Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs will meet on Tuesday (6/1) at 3:00 pm to take up:

Department of Environmental Quality Report - Hydrogeology and Simulation of Regional Groundwater Level Declines in Monroe County

Oversight of PA 148 of 2003 (SB 289)

HB 5681 – Establishes penalties for the destruction to vegetation or property in Mackinac Island state park.

House

Passed:

HB 5660 -- The bill would amend the Revised School Code to specify that a school board could not build or expand a school without first submitting a site plan to the local zoning authority for review.  The bill exempted charter schools resulting in higher than expected opposition.

On the calendar:

HB 5876 - This bill similar to a dozen others -- requires that the state issue permits within an agreed time limit or fees are refunded to the applicant.  This bill deals with 44 different programs within the Department of Environmental Quality.  The Michigan Environmental Council opposed the bill -- due to the fact that the legislature at the same time is cutting the MDEQ budget (down to $38 million from $101 million in 2001). 

HB 4106 -- Provide for state real estate transfer tax on transfer of certain manufactured homes.

HB 4879 -- Provide for exemption from sales tax on used manufactured homes.

HB 4882 -- Eliminate use tax on manufactured home sales.

HB 4880 -- Create and implement a manufactured housing specific tax.

HB 5844 -- Include for homestead property tax credit calculation amounts paid for Michigan manufactured housing specific tax.

HB 4111 -- Exempt from property taxes manufactured housing subject to specific tax.

HB 4868 -- Create a mobile homes manufactured home owners residency act.

HB 4869 -- Establish and clarify owners rights under the manufactured home owners association act.

HB 5035 -- Revise membership of the mobile home commission.

HB 5034 -- a bill to access mobile homes as real property.

HB 4358 -- To increase the length limit for trucks to 65 feet.

SB 510 -- a bill to establish stormwater fees.

HB 5312 -- allows hunters to donate an additional $1.00 when purchasing hunting or fishing licensing to support the sportsmen against hunger program

SB 193 -- Provides for a  specialty license plates for ducks unlimited

HB 5709-10 -- Provides for a single business tax credit for businesses that sell replacement trees to municipalities affected by emerald ash borer.

HB 5711 -- Provides a income tax credit to homeowners who remove and replace certain infested trees.

In committee:

Agriculture and Resource Management will meet Tuesday (6/1) at 10:30 am to take up a number of bills regarding discounts for fees if permits are not issued in a timely manner (similar to HB 5876 above).

Appropriation Subcommittees:

Natural Resources and Environmental Quality will meet on Tuesday (6/1) at 9:00 AM to take up: SB 1066 -- The Department of Environmental Quality for the fiscal year 2004-2005 to take public testimony and start making decisions.  Last week's testimony included the chair Rep. Pastor and other Republican members criticizing the MDEQ efforts to protect public health in Saginaw and other areas of the state.  Committee members were short on specifics -- long (winded) on the rhetoric.


Submitted by:

James Clift
Conan Smith
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539
www.mecprotects.org