Legislative Update Week 11
We are in the home stretch with only two full weeks left of the regular session. It looks like they may even adjourn on time, with the last date being May 21.
Non-taxable land purchases 30-day Notification: The Omnibus Legacy Bill (HF 4167) included wording that any entity, private or public, that will purchase land using funding from the State’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, must notify the townships affected at least 30 days before the closing date. This was controversial, as representatives of DNR and some lawmakers fought to remove the notice provision. They argued the notice provision harmed private parties’ land transactions, but the provision remained because the parties’ purchases are made using State money and often the land becomes non-taxable.
Transportation: The House Capital Investment committee released its bonding bill (HF 4404), which included several township-related items. The bonding bill provided $72 million to the Local Road Improvement Fund, but that funding is distributed by a grant system in which towns must compete with other local roads. The bill provided $5,000,000 in the Local Road Wetland Replacement fund, which offsets the costs of building and maintain roads in wetlands (wetland credits).
The House and Senate Transportation bills are continuing their way through the legislative process.
Broadband: The proposed Broadband Grant Fund appropriation of $15 million survived attack on the House floor this week. The proposed amendment (SF 3656 A16) would have stripped all of the broadband funding. The amendment was not adopted, showing continued bipartisan support for the program.
Environment: The Senate Environment Committee’s proposal to exempt the non-urbanized portions of metro areas townships from the municipal stormwater rules (MS4), was included in the Senate Omnibus Bill (SF 3141).