Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > June 30, 2023 | This Week in Government: Dems on Budget Day: We’re Reinvesting in Michigan

June 30, 2023 | This Week in Government: Dems on Budget Day: We’re Reinvesting in Michigan

June 30, 2023
Detroit Regional Chamber Presents This Week in Government, powered by Gongwer, Michigan's home for Policy and Politics news since 1906

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, provides members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more.

Dems on Budget Day: We’re Reinvesting in Michigan

Democratic leaders ushered through a 2023-24 fiscal year spending plan on Wednesday that they said would invest in the state and work for its people, while Republicans saw a bloated bureaucracy and a lack of sustainability.

The Legislature on Wednesday – the last day of session in the House before summer break – moved HB 4437 and SB 173 from conference committees to the final floor votes.

Also, key on Wednesday: both bills received immediate effect in the Senate, which has a no attendance, no voting session on Thursday before adjourning until July.

While Democrats said the process was transparent, noting the House, Senate, and Executive Office all had spending proposals out in public before Wednesday’s passage, the process was similar to the last several years.

Indeed, the three spending plans have been public for months, but several new items made their way into the budget. And with conference committees meeting at 3 p.m. and final votes finished shortly after 10 p.m., the content of the $81.7 billion budget was available publicly for just hours before adoption.

There was some bipartisan support, however. Both bills received immediate effect in the Senate. Five Republicans voted yes on HB 4437, the omnibus budget, as it passed the House 61-47. In the Senate, the bill passed 26-10. SB 173, the education budget, passed 58-50 in the House and 29-8 in the Senate.

“The Make it in Michigan budget will build a bright future for our state,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “It lowers costs on health care, preschool, meals for kids, higher education, housing, and workforce training. It will help us keep fixing the damn bridges, replacing lead pipes, and protecting public safety. And it will power ‘Make it in Michigan,’ our comprehensive vision for economic development so we can win more projects, invest in people, and revitalize places. I am so grateful to the new leadership in the Legislature for getting this done. Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator.”

House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) said the Democrats have put people first, and the budget passed Wednesday reinvests in Michigan.

“Our residents sent us here not only to deliberate, which we do, not only to build relationships, which we have but also to take action,” he said. “If we go back home, our constituents will ask us, ‘What have you done for us? How have you made our lives better?’ This budget does that.”

Tate called Republican no votes “perplexing.”

“Democratic leadership and the Legislature, we went through the process, the same process, when there was a different majority, and again, you saw the results on the board, the disappointing results on the board, of members that refused to actually support the job of the Legislature,” he told reporters Wednesday night.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) said the budget is the culmination of hundreds of conversations with residents of Michigan ranging from small business owners to those met at the grocery store.

“I know that the narrative will be that perhaps we spent too much federal funding. But if you talk to men, women, and children in the state who have not received their fair share, they would beg to differ,” she said. “But we did so in a fiscally responsible manner. We utilize this once-in-a-generation funding to actually pay down debt and put money in the state’s savings accounts. Now we are not just envisioning a better future for Michigan. We are funding it. We’re materializing it. And we do so responsibly.”

The budget includes increases in education, revenue sharing, and environmental funding, among other things. And, of course, many one-time projects are funded.

In the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity budget, $764.6 million is included for grants covering community enhancement, economic development, health care, public infrastructure, public safety, and workforce development. The budget includes another $181.6 million in critical infrastructure projects. And then millions in the K-12 budget for specific school projects.

Overall, the $81.7 billion budget includes $57.4 billion for the state’s departments and agencies – $13.4 billion of that being General Fund – and $24.3 billion for education. K-12 schools will see $21.5 billion ($18.4 billion School Aid Fund), community colleges will see $544.5 million (all School Aid Fund), and universities are set to see $2.3 billion ($482.3 million School Aid Fund and $1.7 billion General Fund).

Along with the 2023-24 spending plan, the bills passed on Wednesday include 2022-23 spending through a $5.3 billion supplemental and more than $2 billion in School Aid supplemental funding for the current fiscal year.

Some budget highlights include a lack of a new appropriation to the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund. Whitmer wanted another $500 million. Annual deposits of up to $500 million were already approved through the 2024-25 fiscal year under HB 4001. Whitmer also announced that the fund will now be called the Make It In Michigan Fund.

The budget does deposit $100 million into the Rainy-Day Fund.

In K-12 spending, lawmakers decided on a 5% increase in the foundation allowance and keeping cyber charter schools flat rather than seeing a 20% cut. An expansion in the Great Start Readiness Program gets the governor closer to universal preschool, and community colleges and universities will see operations increases.

The LEO budget does include Whitmer’s request for a $10.2 million General Fund increase to the Michigan Reconnect program, her proposal for $50 million in grants to aid the rehabilitation of vacant and blighted structures, and $50 million for expanding access to affordable housing and revitalizing downtown areas.

In the Department of Corrections, there is $12 million for signing and retention bonuses for corrections officers. The House had proposed $16 million. This was not an item in either the governor’s recommendation or the Senate-passed budget.

For the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, $287 million was approved for the new Make It In Michigan Competitive Fund.

The Department of State Police is set to graduate 50 troopers under the budget, along with receiving $1.5 million for community-based response pilot grants in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Kalamazoo. The conference report also provides $500,000 for distribution of gun safety equipment to the public and law enforcement agencies and $1.3 million for active shooter response training.

In the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the budget would provide $4.4 million for the Cannabis Regulatory Agency Reference Laboratory and $21.3 million for grants to be used for natural gas facilities and vehicle fast-charging infrastructure. Another $900,000 is included to increase pay for elevator inspectors and $619,700 for rate increases for skilled trades workers.

The budget also spends down the surplus as expected, something Republicans say is unsustainable. At the beginning of the year, the state had a $9 billion surplus which was reduced to $7 billion after the tax changes. Now, there is about $300 million General Fund left on the balance sheet and $100 million in the School Aid Fund.

“This is irresponsible,” Sen. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) said on the Senate floor. “No prudent person would spend like this within their own family budget. It is also irresponsible within the state government. This budget grows big government and establishes programs that could be in financial jeopardy shortly after they begin if the economy worsens and revenues fall.”

Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Springport), minority vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the budget addresses many of the shared priorities between the Republicans and Democrats.

“While this budget may not be perfect, I recognize and appreciate its many strengths … and hope that we can have more fruitful conversations moving forward into the next budget year,” she said. “And the last thing I wanted to say is we came here to serve our constituents. And I just ask that you think about that. Take it to heart and vote your conscience.”

Per-Pupil Rise, Bump for Higher Ed Mark $24.3B Education Budget

Michigan’s education budget will rise to new heights in the upcoming fiscal year, with the Legislature approving Wednesday a 5% per-pupil foundation allowance increase while providing a slew of new or increased funding items within the first budget crafted under Democratic control in nearly 40 years.

The total per-pupil foundation allowance for 2023-24 is to be set at $9,608 per pupil, an increase of $458 per pupil, during the 2023-24 fiscal year under the education omnibus budget approved with bipartisan support.

Democrats hailed the final product, which also includes funding for universal school meals and full funding of special education. Funding for mental health supports, increased spending for the Great Start Readiness Program, and significant funding for at-risk students were also included. A student loan repayment program for school employees was provided as well.

Universities and community colleges also will see increased resources under SB 173, with universities in line for a 6.4% rise in operations funding and community colleges a 4.9% uptick for such monies.

Lawmakers also for universities and community colleges set a 4.5% cap on raising tuition and fees.

The total funding contained in SB 173 as passed was $24.3 billion. Of this total, $19.4 billion was from the School Aid Fund and $1.76 billion General Fund, as well as $2.2 billion in federal funds.

“We are creating a budget that is going to change the lives of so many students for a generation,” Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), who chairs the Senate Appropriations PreK-12 Subcommittee, said prior to Wednesday’s vote.

Senators voted 29-8 in support of SB 173, with all 20 Democrats in support and nine Republicans crossing over.

Republicans who voted for the education budget in the Senate were Sen. Joseph Bellino of Monroe, Sen. Jon Bumstead of North Muskegon, Sen. John Damoose of Harbor Springs, Sen. Roger Hauck of Mount Pleasant, Sen. Mark Huizenga of Walker, Sen. Ed McBroom of Vulcan, Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt of Porter Township, Sen. Rick Outman of Six Lakes and Sen. Michael Webber of Rochester Hills.

Critically, each Senate Republican who voted yes for the bill except for Hauck also voted to grant the budget immediate effect. This prevented any scenario where the Democratic majority may have had to take a major step, such as adjourning sine die for the year to ensure the budget were to go into effect by the October 1 beginning of the new fiscal year.

In the House, the vote for SB 173 was closer, with two Republican votes enabling its passage by a 58-50 margin. GOP members who sided with the Democrats were Rep. Graham Filler of Duplain Township and Rep. Mark Tisdel of Rochester Hills.

Bumstead, prior to the vote on SB 173 and the general government omnibus budget HB 4437, urged support for both, which he said had “come a long way from the majority rejecting the 176 amendments from this side of the aisle.”

“No budget is perfect, and this budget is no exception. It spends too much, it grows state government, it all but eliminates our record surplus,” Bumstead said. “But unlike the budget that the first chamber passed, it does incorporate many Republican priorities. We’re paying down debt; we’re limiting tuition increases at our universities and community colleges; we’re making our schools and our neighborhoods safer. And, just as Republicans did for many years in the majority, this budget makes a record investment in our schools.”

One notable area without an increase in funding was for cyber charter schools, with per-pupil funding being left at $9,150 per pupil. However, both Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Senate recommended cutting funding for cyber charters by 20%.

Notwithstanding the cyber charter funding level, the education budget was laden with new or existing line items and programs receiving significant monies.

Per-pupil mental health grant funding in the budget comes to $328 million ($18 million General Fund) for districts, intermediate school districts, the schools for the deaf and blind, and nonpublic schools. The intent is for at least 50% of the monies to be spent on mental health.

An increase in special education funding of $310.3 million School Aid Fund was included. Of this funding, $170 million would be for revised cost estimates and $140.3 million to reduce the amount of a special education pupil’s foundation allowance that counts toward special education costs to 0%. Total special education spending in the budget would come to $2.2 billion.

A total of $245 million is to go into a School Consolidation and Infrastructure Fund for grants for schools and ISDs for the initial costs of consolidating services, which also includes physical consolidation costs.

One-time spending of $225 million School Aid Fund would allow for student loan repayments to employees who work directly with students. The payments would be capped at $200 per month or $400 per month for employees who work in a district in which 85% of students are economically disadvantaged.

Funding for at-risk students will be increased by $204.5 million School Aid Fund in fiscal year 2023-24 to a total of $952 million School Aid Fund.

Payments for at-risk pupils would be prorated to an estimated range of 11.5% to 15.3% of the target foundation allowance. An opportunity index will be put in place that would provide higher per-pupil payments to districts with larger numbers of economically disadvantaged students.

Within the budget is $160 million for universal school breakfast and lunches for all Pre-K-12 students, with $100 million being School Aid Fund and $60 million from the School Meals Reserve Fund. The budget allows for additional funding to the latter fund if funding proves to be insufficient.

Early literacy grants were provided for at $140 million School Aid Fund. The funding would be one-time for districts and ISDs in equal amounts for PreK-5 pupils to improve literacy practices.

Grants for an electric school bus program were included in the budget, with a $125 million School Aid Fund. The grant program is one-time and also allows for alternative fuel vehicles and for use to provide infrastructure, including charging stations.

A $90.9 million gross increase to the Great Start Readiness Program was in the budget, raising total funding to $543.3 million ($600,000 General Fund).

For this increase, the per-child allocation would be increased in line with the $9,608 per pupil level for full-day and $4,804 for half-day students. The Great Start Readiness Program extended programs, and funds will be set at $11,530 per child under the budget.

Eligibility for the program will be increased from 250% to 300% of the federal poverty guidelines and from 300% to 400% if all eligible children have been served.

The education budget also includes funding for an educator compensation pilot program ($63.8 million School Aid Fund), funding for mentoring grants for the retention of new teachers, counselors, and administrators ($50 million School Aid Fund), and for before and after school programming ($25 million). All three items were one-time spending, using School Aid Fund.

Multiple fiscal year 2022-23 supplemental funding items were also included.

A total of $150 million in one-time School Aid Fund monies was provided for a MI Kids Back on Track plan to address unfinished learning.

Another $94.4 million School Aid Fund was also included for the Detroit Public Schools Community District settlement in Gary B. v. Whitmer case for literacy-related programs.

Camilleri, prior to the vote on SB 173 spoke of his experience as a new teacher nearly a decade ago in Detroit, where he quickly learned about “how much disinvestment so many of our classrooms had received at that time.”

He said there were no textbooks or curriculum, and he became a department chair immediately where he taught. From then on, he said he decided he would do the best job he could and be a voice for those in his profession.

“We are not only fixing what I had to go through as an educator, but we are creating generational change for the hundreds of thousands of Michigan students who all they want is to be able to dream big and live the life that they want right here in the state,” Camilleri said.

Camilleri pointed out items he was excited to have included in the budget, such as the 5% foundation allowance increase, school meals for all students, fully funding special education, and a 50% increase for English Language Learners.

“We have so much to be proud of, not to mention the fact that … we are expanding opportunities for Pre-K students and putting money in the bank to create a sustainable school budget for years to come,” Camilleri said.

For higher education, the state’s 15 public universities will receive $2.29 billion during the upcoming fiscal year, with institutions being set to receive a 6.4% operations funding increase. Of total higher education funding, $1.68 billion is General Fund, and the remaining $482.3 million is School Aid Fund.

Under the higher education budget, $99.2 million is provided for university operations, a 6.4% increase.

Of this operations funding increase, a $77.6 million General Fund ongoing increase is provided for operations grants for universities, with each institution receiving a 5% increase. Another $21.4 million General Fund will increase a $4,500 funding floor based on fiscal year equated students, to be phased in over two years instead of three years. The final $257,200 General Fund is an increase in the North American Indian Tuition Waiver program.

Tuition and fee increases are capped at 4.5% or $676 to qualify for the operations increases outlined in the budget.

Funding for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship funding would be increased by $50 million to $300 million General Fund. For the Tuition Incentive Program, a funding increase of $2.5 million to $73.8 million total in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families monies is included.

Under the budget, the Michigan Competitive Scholarship program contains $26.9 million, a reduction of $3 million.

University funding for the Infrastructure, Technology, Equipment, Maintenance, and Safety program totals $79 million in General Fund. The monies are for repairs, improvements, or maintenance of existing facilities and infrastructure, as well as for debt and school safety measures.

In fiscal year 2022-23 supplemental funding, the budget includes $200 million School Aid Fund for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System contributions for the seven universities with MPSERS employees.

Community colleges under SB 173 will receive $544.5 million; all School Aid Fund, under the budget passed Wednesday that includes a 4.9% increase in operational funding.

The net increase in operations funding for community colleges is a $16.7 million School Aid Fund. This puts total operations funding at $357.9 million.

For community colleges, performance funding increases would be contingent on capping tuition and fee increases at 4.5% or $205.

Funding for the Infrastructure, Technology, Equipment, Maintenance, and Safety program was set at $32.8 million.

Education groups, in statements, thanked the Legislature for the increases in funding within the budget.

“Thanks to the hard work of Gov. Whitmer and leaders in the state House and Senate, our local schools will continue to make progress in attracting and retaining qualified educators who can help our students succeed,” Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart said. “It’s critical that we keep great educators on the job and attract talented people into this noble profession, and this budget agreement provides our schools with much-need resources to help accomplish these goals.”

Michigan Community College Association President Brandy Johnson was also pleased.

“Michigan’s community colleges are proud to be providing the skills and education needed to close the skills gap. The investment in this year’s budget will help us accelerate our efforts,” Johnson said. “These investments are a great start to ensure our colleges can position themselves to meet student, employer, and community needs.”

Lawmakers Approve $750M+ in Grants, Plan Website to Reveal Sponsors

The Legislature earmarked more than $750 million in the final budget for specific projects throughout the state for community enhancement grants, health care grants, housing grants, public infrastructure grants, public safety grants, and workforce development grants.

Lawmakers also approved new boilerplate language outlining requirements for departments issuing the grants and requiring information on the grants, including the legislative sponsor, be posted to a website by September 30, 2024.

House Appropriations Chair Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) said that funding was given to specific projects to address a backlog of need.

“People came to us with great projects that they’ve been working on in, and their government officials and the people in their areas came to us and requested funds that worked out for the programs that the state wanted to fund,” she said.

Many of the places that received funding were large cities, including Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Detroit.

“Big cities in the state of Michigan received a large amount of help to improve their streets, to improve their downtowns, to improve their communities … and yes, our large urban cores are mostly Democratic,” Witwer said. “It’s been a very long time since we’ve had a Democratic majority, and they have been ignored.”

Funding for Michigan’s cities, especially Detroit as the state’s most populous city, is important, House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) said in a statement from the Detroit caucus sent out celebrating investments made in the city.

“A budget is a statement of our priorities. As Detroit legislators, we know that what benefits our city will benefit all of Michigan,” Tate said. “The investments we made today– including more than $10 million in added revenue sharing and more than $20 million for Belle Isle–will improve lives, create meaningful opportunities, and make the city we love a better place to live, work, learn and raised a family.”

Senate Appropriations Chair Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) said that providing funding to specific projects and groups instead of setting up funds for a competitive grant process allowed the Legislature to give money to organizations with a proven track record.

“What I heard loud and clear from our colleagues, both on the Democratic side and the Republican side, is that if there are trusted entities and organizations that have a track record for doing good work but maybe have not been prioritized, those are entities that we wanted to ensure had the resources to serve our various communities,” she said. “You don’t have to leave it up to chance if we know that there’s an organization that has a 20- or 30-year track record.”

The boilerplate language included in the budget requires information on each grant or project, including the receiving entity and grant sponsor, to be posted on a public website. That likely won’t happen until next year, however.

Lawmakers have until January 2024 to submit a letter on their sponsorship. The state has until September 30, 2024, to post the information on the website.

“We have taken major steps to address transparency in this budget,” Anthony said in a floor speech. “For the first time in the state’s history, we are making investments more easily accessible so that taxpayers can see where their money is being utilized.”

Republicans criticized the appropriations, saying the spending was wasteful.

“If it’s spending that is designed just to make a small group of people happier in one district, one town, one place, at the expense of the general welfare, then it’s irresponsible,” Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale) said. “I don’t think there’s a single project in my district, but my people got taxed just as much as everybody else. So how is this a fair and legitimate governmental process?”

More than $122 million was granted for community enhancement. Some of the larger projects include $5 million for the Canton Charter Township Youth Center, $5 million for a Special Olympics Center in Grand Rapids, $5 Million for capital improvements to the Western Michigan Hispanic Chamber, and $5 million for redevelopments to the Fisher Building in Detroit.

A total of $66.2 million in economic development grants were also allocated in the budget. Of that, $12 million will go to the Midtown Cultural Center Planning Initiative, $10 million for the Marygrove Development, and $10 million for the Adrian Workforce Development Center.

The Legislature appropriated $91.1 million in health care grants. Just more than $30 million will go toward building the Saginaw Economic Development Medical Center, and $20 million will go to the Henry Ford Health Center. Detroit will get $10 million to support health care for its firefighters, and Lansing will get $6.8 million for prevention and treatment services and a warming center.

Just under $40 million was appropriated for housing grants. Detroit Blight Busters will receive $1.45 million, with $1 million for Orchard Village Apartments and $450,000 for tiny homes. The Grandmont Rosedale Mixed-Use Development in Detroit will receive $1 million. The largest housing project to receive funding was the Muskegon Saw-Walker Housing Development, which will receive $18 million.

There were 69 public infrastructure grants that received funding, totaling $234.4 million. Among them were $50 million for downtown Pontiac, $20 million for Greektown Corridor development, $20 million for infrastructure development in the City of Wyoming, $15 million for water infrastructure in Midland, and $10 million for an economic development site readiness project along 5 Mile in Wayne County. One of the smaller, more niche projects to receive funding was $900,000 for cricket fields in Troy.

The Legislature earmarked $176.4 million for public safety grants. The Macomb County Jail will receive $40 million, Grand Rapids fire stations will receive $35 million, and $15 million will go toward freeway cameras. Bloomfield Hills will receive a $15 million grant for public safety.

Finally, the Legislature allocated $35 million for workforce development grants. Among the projects to receive funding were $10 million for the Henry Ford Student Success Center, $5 million for the AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute, and $5 million for the Global Michigan Talent Initiative.

AG Budget Includes Permanent Job Court Program, Backlog Review

Money to establish a permanent job court program and address backlog reviews of convictions and sentences warranting a second look were among areas funded for the Department of Attorney General in the 2023-24 fiscal year spending plan.

The department’s new budget of $142.8 million ($75.7 million General Fund) was part of the $81.7 billion budget passed by the Legislature on Wednesday night as it moved HB 4437 and SB 173 from conference committees to final floor votes (See Gongwer Michigan Report, June 28, 2023).

Spending in HB 4437 for the attorney general’s office represents a 20.7% gross (47.2% General Fund) increase over the previous fiscal year and includes 62 additional full-time employees.

The job courts program launched recently is to become a permanent program administered by the department under the spending plan, while another area increases the department’s ability to address backlogs of applications for review by the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Other areas of note include money for addressing backlogs in consumer protection complaints, to help implement a confidentiality program to conceal identifying information to protect victims of stalking, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and money to support prosecutions of sexual assaults and other assistance to prosecutors when requested.

Attorney General Dana Nessel, in a statement issued Thursday, said the budget reflects Gov. Gretchen Whitmer‘s and the Legislature’s recognition of “the great work our department is doing and all we’ve accomplished for the state over the last four years with limited and hard-fought resources.”

“This funding will expand the job court program, creating and transforming opportunity for employers and low-level, nonviolent offenders alike, process more of our consumer protection complaints to better protect Michigan residents from scammers and thieves, bolster the efforts of our conviction integrity unit to review potentially unjust convictions and sentences, and better implement the vital Address Confidentiality Program to protect witnesses and victims speaking out against their abusers, especially survivors of domestic violence,” Nessel said. “This budget increase for the Department of Attorney General will better protect Michigan residents in countless ways.”

Nessel went on to thank legislative leaders for “ensuring we have the resources to continue building on the successes of our programs and initiatives.”

“I’m grateful to Representatives Felicia Brabec and Angela Witwer, and Senators John Cherry and Sarah Anthony, for advocating for these program dollars that better position the Department of Attorney General to best protect Michigan residents, consumers, and crime victims,” she said.

Two allocations of $10 million each would go toward system data integration for local prosecutors and to address the Detroit and Wayne County gun case backlog – items added in by the conference committee that were not included in the executive, House, and Senate budget recommendations.

The job court program would see a $5 million General Fund provided and makes it an ongoing line item as opposed to a one-time appropriation. Wayne, Genesee, and Marquette counties currently have the program.

Whitmer’s executive recommendation included the $5 million, but the House budget had provided only $8.6 million General Fund with $6.1 million one-time dollars. It also included 2.5 full-time positions for an increase of $3.6 million from the previous fiscal year. The Senate’s budget for the attorney general was in line with the governor’s recommendation, providing a $5 million General Fund but as one-time funding and did not include authorization for full-time positions.

The conference committee’s budget passed Wednesday, however, concurred with the executive recommendation.

Another $4.5 million would go toward consumer protection case support with authorization for 27 full-time employees. The money was not initially included in the executive, House, or Senate recommendations and was added by the conference committee.

A little more than $1 million General Fund would be provided to the Conviction Integrity Unit with authorization for six full-time employees. Funding there would help offset the removal of a $550,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance that helped with postconviction testing of DNA evidence.

The address confidentiality program would be provided $486,400 General Fund and authorizes two full-time employees.

EVs, Stricter Than Federal, Education Bills Pass House

Legislation to reduce regulations for electric vehicle charging stations passed the House on Wednesday.

HB 4706, sponsored by Rep. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy), would allow entities to charge for electric vehicle charging services on a volumetric basis, and it wouldn’t be considered a public entity.

It passed 100-8. Rep. Andrew Beeler (R-Port Huron), Rep. Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers), Rep. Jay DeBoyer (R-Clay), Rep. James DeSana (R-Carleton), Rep. Joseph Fox (R-Fremont), Rep. Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix), Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) and Rep. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) voted against it.

The House also voted to eliminate a prohibition on state agencies adopting rules that are more stringent than federal regulations.

SB 14, sponsored by Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), passed 56-52 in a party-line vote.

Currently, if there is a federally mandated standard, then a rule adopted by a Michigan state agency can’t exceed that standard unless the director of the agency determines that there is a clear and convincing need to exceed it and receives authorization.

The “no stricter than federal” statute was created in 2018 in response to business groups’ belief that Michigan was exceeding federal regulations in a way that was hurting the state’s standing nationally. Environmental organizations have opposed the current law because they say it makes it difficult for agencies to implement needed protections.

The House also passed HB 4573, which would amend sections of the Community College Act to add additional criteria for determining whether a job is eligible for a New Jobs Training Program and would extend a community college district’s authorization to enter new agreements.

Right now, for a community college and an employer to enter a jobs training program, the jobs must pay at least 175% of the state minimum wage or approximately $17.68 per hour. The bill also adds the county ALICE household survival budget for a household of one adult and one child.

The bill passed 85-23.

“It’s not just about wages. This is a win-win-win targeted training for welcoming jobs that open the door to future opportunities and helps us achieving our population growth goals with retention of employees,” said Rep. Carol Glanville (D-Grand Rapids), who sponsored the bill.

The House also passed HB 4752, sponsored by Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth). The bill would allow public school retirees to return to work at a school without endangering their pensions and retirement health care benefits.

The bill moved through committee last week and was reported by the House Education Committee on Tuesday (See Gongwer Michigan June 22, 2023). It passed 100-8.

Republicans Rep. Joseph Aragona (R-Clinton Township), Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton), Rep. Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers), Rep. Jay DeBoyer (R-Clay), Rep. Neil Friske (R-Charlevoix), Rep. Tom Kuhn (R-Troy), Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) and Rep. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) voted against the legislation.

Learn About Advocacy

Learn how the Chamber is advocating for business in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.