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E-M:/ Michigan Environmental Council Capitol Update 5-30-06

BUDGET: Last Week the House passed the omnibus budget bill (HB 5795) for FY 2006-07. Included in the budget are some major areas of concern, including: 1) the budget makes funding of the DEQ’s Land and Water Management Program contingent upon allowing beach grooming practices to continue; and 2) a floor amendment adopted to the budget strips $1 million from the DEQ’s NPDES program and gives it to the Department of Agriculture to administer the voluntary MAEAP program.


The House budget bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate budget bills are being taken up in the House Appropriations Committee this week. Differences between the packages will be hashed out in conference committee and the Governor will then be able to line item veto some additional budget issues.





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


HB 5454 – A bill that would reduce rates paid by property enrolled in the Commercial Forest Act program.


HB 5455 – A bill to modify eligibility criteria under the Commercial Forest Act.  There is problem with the bill related to whether the public is receiving public access to these properties as require by the law that grants the tax subsidy. 


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


SB 912 – A bill to provide for tax incentive for managing private forestland by exempting them from 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.


SB 917 - A bill that would authorize a lower tax rate for properties that provides sustainable forestry conservation easements on their property.


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


SB 499 – A bill to allow for purple paint marks to designate a no trespassing area.


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


On the calendar:

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.

In Committee:

Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs will meet on Tuesday (5/30) at 3:00 pm to take up bills including:


**HB 4892 – A bill that would exempt county road commissions from having to mitigate for wetlands destruction within the right-of-way of a road.


HB 5125 – A bill to transfer authority from the Department of Natural Resources to the Natural Resources Commission to designate or establish special rules on lakes.


SB 1159 – A bill to create a water improvement tax increment financing authority (TIF) for inland lakes. 


Technology and Energy will meet on Wednesday (5/31) at 3:00 pm to take up bills including:


HB 5181 – A bill to create a commission to promote the research and use of ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewable fuels.


HB 5751 – A bill to provide for a differential motor fuel tax rate for certain motor fuels.


HB 5752 – A bill to allow renaissance zones for renewable energy facilities.


HB 5754 – A bill to provide for economic development corporations for fueling infrastructure.


HB 5755 – A bill to establish standards and codes for the use of diesel, biodiesel, and hydrogen.




HB 5795 – The omnibus budget appropriations bill for FY 2006-07.


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 1074 – A bill to impose a temporary 12 cents per gallon tax on certain alternative fuels. 

SB 1075 – A bill to acquire a supply of alternative fuel by October 2006 so that all State-owned vehicles capable of using alternative fuels are able to use them. 

SB 1078 – A bill to designate up to 10 additional renaissance zones for renewable energy facilities. **A floor amendment was introduced to require that by-products of these facilities not be sold or distributed to CAFOs.


SB 1079 – A bill to extend regulations of certain fuels.


HR 249 – A resolution to express support for the 25 x 25 vision that by 2025, Michigan and American farmers and forests will provide 25% of the total energy consumed in the U.S.

HB 5952 – A bill that repeals the requirement that fuel meet ASTM standards. Tie barred to HB 1074.


**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 5711-5716 – These CAFOs bills have been re-referred to the House Agriculture Committee.


HB 5878 – A bill to require the DEQ to prepare a compliance booklet for agricultural processors.


Public Health:

HB 5851 – A bill to delineate conditions under which civil actions can be brought for damages that include asbestos and silicosis claims. 



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

SB 1182 – A bill to increase the limitation on funds that can be transferred from major street systems to local street systems.

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. 

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 limit the use of eminent domain to transfer private property to private entities.

In Committee:


Conservation, Forestry, and Outdoor Recreation will meet this Tuesday (5/30) at 8:30 am to take up:


SB 971 – A bill to require review and recommendation of the Natural Resources Committee for Michigan state parks before there is a sale of state park land, and to require legislative approval for any sales of state park land larger than 100 acres.


SB 972 – A bill to prohibit land within state parks from being designated surplus and being sold.


Appropriations will meet this Wednesday (5/31) at 10:30 am to take up a number of Senate budget bills including:


SB 1080 – The Department of Agriculture FY2006-07 Budget

SB 1086 – The Department of Environmental Quality FY2006-07 Budget


SB 1094 – The Department of Natural Resources FY2006-07 Budget


SB 1097 – The Department of Transportation FY2006-07 Budget


Energy and Technology will meet this Wednesday (5/31) at 9:00 am to take up a number of bills including:


SB 803 – A bill to include alternative energy systems in the definition of personal property, providing it favorable tax treatment.



Submitted by:

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