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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update - week of 5-01-06

Last week, the seed preemption bill (SB 777) passed the House, the Senate voted to concur with House changes, and it was presented to the Governor.  If signed by the Governor, this bill will take away the ability of local governments to regulate genetically engineered seeds and eliminate important tools to protect farmers from contamination.


Next Tuesday, May 9, the House and Senate Natural Resources Committees will take public testimony on the DEQ’s report on the impacts of beach grooming.




On the calendar:

**HB 5453 – A bill to require timber sales on all timber land evaluated by the department within 18 months of the evaluation. 

SB 912 – A bill to provide for tax incentive for managing private forestland by exempting them form the school mileage – with the state required to make up the difference.

SB 913 - A bill to establish a qualified forest property recapture tax for properties that received property tax breaks under the property tax act, but then were converted to other uses.

SB 914 - A bill to exempt qualified forest property from most property taxes – leaving them similar to homesteads.


HB 5456 – A bill to define which facilities would be eligible for new forest products renaissance zones.


SB 919 – A bill to create 20 new forest products renaissance zones.


SB 337 - A bill to create a tax credit for historical buildings renovations. The bill however creates them as SBT credits, which although generated by nonprofit groups would be sold to SBT tax payers. A grant program to the nonprofits could serve the same purpose directly.


SB 1167 – A bill to create an agricultural roundtable to discuss the commercialization of agricultural products. 


SB 1168 – A bill to establish a grant and revolving loan program for the commercialization of agricultural value-added products, processes, and services.


SB 1169 – A bill to create and administer the agricultural development fund. 



SB 1051 – A bill to provide a cap on the collection of transportation fund revenue administrative expenses. 

In Committee:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs will meet on Tuesday (5/2) at 3:00 pm to take up a number of bills, including:


HB 5554 – A bill to establish criteria for the designation of a school as a “green school”.

SB 1107 – A bill to revise county road commissions’ method of approving final plat. 


HB 5192 – A bill to reduce the minimum age for firearm hunting licenses.

SB 1105 – A bill to create and increase license fees for apprentice hunting license for persons without hunter safety training.


HB 5408 – A bill to eliminate, under certain circumstances, the requirement for hunting license for transporting firearms and bows and arrows. 


SB 1183 – A bill to create a board of review to review decisions denying a hunting or fishing license.


Transportation will meet on Tuesday (5/2) at 1:00 pm to take up:


SB 1224 – A bill to clarify the rights of bicyclists to operate on public roads and sidewalks.

SB 1225 – A bill to include a training component for drivers regarding safety for bicyclists on the road during driver training.


Finance will meet on Wednesday (5/3) at 12:00 pm to take up bills including:


SB 1004 – A bill that would provide a tax break for people who donate property for conservation purposes.


Appropriations: Agriculture will meet on Thursday (5/4) at 3:30 pm to take up:

-Department of Agriculture Budget


Appropriations: Transportation will meet on Tuesday (5/2) at 2:00 pm to take up:

-Michigan Department of Transportation Budget

-Intercity bus and rail passenger service




**SB 777 – A bill to preempt local governments from regulating seeds, including genetically engineered seeds.


HB 5674 – A bill to authorize the Mackinac Island state park commission to sell property and accept gifts.


On the calendar:

HB 4647 – Provide for a Single business tax credit for a production tax credit for wind energy from wind turbines.

HB 4648 – Provide for a definition and outline the regulation of wind energy systems by townships.

HB 4649 – Provide for a definition and regulation of wind energy systems by counties.

**SB 538 – A bill to make methane digesters and similar technologies eligible for small business pollution prevention loans. The use of methane digester is only viable for large scale confined animal feeding operations, many of which have been shown to be chronic violators of environmental laws, or as designed, are expected to become violators during certain weather conditions. The Michigan Environmental Council opposed the legislation because we do not believe scarce state resources should be used to subsidize these types of farms.

**HB 5711 - Presumption of compliance with environmental law for farm participating in MAEAP program.

**HB 5712 – This bill excludes CAFOs registered in the MAEAP from the requirement to get a water discharge permit. 

HB 5713 - Require Department of Environmental Quality to publish a booklet that explains laws and rules that farms must follow to comply with environmental laws.

HB 5714 – Require complainants name to be given when filing a complaint concerning a farm with the Department of Environmental Quality and subject those people to costs if they file more than two unverified complaint.

HB 5715 -16  - Designate the Department of Agriculture to oversee the Clean Water Fund Nonpoint Source Program.


Public Lands/Forests:

HB 5960 – A bill to authorize townships to regulate public access sites on inland lakes and streams.


SB 248 – A bill to revise procedures to establish and issue vehicle fund-raising registration plates. 

**HB 5560 – A bill to allow a public transit authority to levy taxes up to 25 years.

Land Use:
HB 5817-5820 – Bills to modify how payments are made to residential occupants who move due to condemnation actions.


HB 5294-5296 – Establish grace period and limit fines for zoning ordinance violations for cities and villages, counties, and townships.

HB 5565-5567 – A bill to expressly allow for mixed use zoning in townships, counties, and cities and villages. 

In committee:


Government Operations will meet on Tuesday (5/2) at 10:30 am to take up a set of bills including:


HB 5821 – A bill to revise procedures regarding just compensation and notice to occupants of property.

HB 5060 – A bill to prohibit the use of eminent domain by state or local government to take private property for the primary benefit of a private entity.

SB 693 – A bill to prohibit the use of eminent domain to transfer private property to private entities.

Local Government and Urban Policy will meet on Thursday (5/4) at 9:30 am to take up:


HB 5885 and 5886 – Bills to shorten the period for counties to review municipal and township plans.

Appropriations: Natural Resources will meet on Wednesday (5/3) at 10:30 am to take up:

-DNR Budget for FY 2006-07 Subcommittee Recommendation

-HB 5788 – A bill to appropriate the DNR with zero budget for FY 2006-07

Appropriations: Environmental Quality will meet on Tuesday (5/2) at 1:30 pm or after session to take up:

-DEQ Budget for FY 2006-07 Subcommittee Recommendation

-HB 5779 – A bill to appropriate the DEQ with zero budget for FY 2006-07

Submitted by:

James Clift
Kate Madigan
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Ste 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539