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Here’s What You Missed: State Allocates More Funding for Roads

Prior to the end of the year, several legislative bills were signed into law supported by the Detroit Regional Chamber that positively impact the growth of the region and state. As part of that, a supplemental spending bill for road improvements will allocate an additional $114 million this year and $143 million next year. Take a look at some of the key legislation that impacts Southeast Michigan.

Supplemental Appropriations Includes Detroit Development: $1.26 billion in supplemental spending was approved (SB 601) and included $20 million for economic development efforts in Detroit, as well as other Chamber-supported initiatives such as $20 million to expand access to broadband services in rural areas and another $11.3 million to address PFAS contamination and the public health response.

Road Funding: Although unable to secure additional long-term funding for road infrastructure, a supplemental spending (HB 4991) bill was signed that increases distributions to the Michigan Transportation Fund for the 2018-19 fiscal year and the 2019-20 fiscal year by $114 million and $143 million, respectively. While approximately $2.1 billion short of the annual increase needed per the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission recommendation, the Chamber was supportive of the additional investment and will continue to encourage the Legislature to get serious about fixing Michigan’s roads through sustainable funding sources such as increased user fees.

Citizen Petition Signature Collection: HB 6595 adds additional signature requirements in order to place a citizen initiative on the Michigan ballot; specifically, the new law mandates that only 15 percent of eligible signatures gathered for a proposal can come from any one of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts. The new requirement is intended to ensure that all corners of the state are engaged on potential petition initiatives and keeps large, out-of-state donors from coming to Michigan to get their priorities on the ballot.

A-F Grading in Schools: HB 5526, supported by the Chamber, requires Michigan schools to annually assign a letter grade to schools based on five categories related to student achievement and performance. The newly enacted grading system will provide a report card that provides transparency for parents and communities and holds schools to a higher level of accountability.

LGBT Discrimination: An executive order expanding protections from discrimination for Michigan’s LGBT community was signed. Specifically, the order prohibits all state departments from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in procurement contracts and loan and grant programs, which will help ensure Michigan remains a welcoming state to all people and continue to strengthen regional talent attraction efforts.