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Legislative Update: Detroit Public Schools Funding, Energy Reform Discussions Underway

The state Legislature wrapped up its summer session with a rush of activity, passing several major reforms including a $617 million funding package and restructuring plan for Detroit Public Schools. While lacking the breadth of oversight advocated by the Chamber and other business leaders, the legislation provides much-needed debt relief, district and operational reform, and transition funding.

The Legislature also approved Gov. Rick Snyder’s fiscal year 2016-17 budget, which allocates more funding for Michigan’s universities and community colleges, skilled trades training, and emergency funding for Flint’s infrastructure.

Discussions to address Michigan’s 2008 energy law, including a replacement for the state’s renewable energy standards that expired at the end of 2015, are ongoing. The Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee met on June 20 with Sen. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), bill sponsor and chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. In addition, the Chamber’s Tax Committee will host representatives from the city of Detroit on June 22 to provide information on changes to city income tax reform and collection efforts.

The Chamber is also engaging with members of Congress on relevant issues such as the Energy Policy Modernization Act at the federal level, as well as proposed solid waste and zoning ordinances in the city of Detroit. For more information on legislative activity, contact Jason Puscas, director of government relations, at 313.596.0348.