AT THE CAPITOL

Our policy experts analyze proposed laws and regulations, meet with stakeholders and lawmakers, and advocate for public policy decisions to protect the health of Michigan's people and natural resources.

The COVID-19 pandemic may keep us indoors for the good of public health, but it does not keep away environmental bills that can impact our health, economic growth and environmental resilience. Michigan Environmental Council works each day to keep the state and people healthy by shaping policy with lawmakers, departments, coalitions and member organizations. 

Below is the legislation MEC is shaping this legislative session. Included are basic information on the bills and MEC’s stances. The link attached to each bill number provides the official bill document. Links attached to legislators’ names provide their district and biographical information.

Each bill aligns with the larger public policy goals MEC believes will make Michigan stronger and more vibrant for generations to come. Read what statewide policies MEC advocates for through these easy-to-read one-pagers below:

Our energy policies

Our health policies

Our mobility policies

Our resource management policies

Our water quality policies

 


IN THE LEGISLATURE

HEALTHY HOMES, HEALTHY LIVES ECO-ECONOMICS HEALTH OUTSIDE THE HOME
Lead testing  Solid waste law rewrite Water filters in schools
Lead oversight  'Powering Michigan Forward' PFAS research and response
Asbestos safety  'Bottle Bill' expansion PFAS and firefighting foam
Well testing  Corporate accountability Recreational passports
Stormwater utilities  Solar tax breaks  
Basement back-ups  EV charging stations  
Senior housing    

 


 

HEALTHY PEOPLE, HEALTHY HOMES

With everyone at home to prevent COVID-19’s spread, the importance of a healthy house has been emphasized. Fortunately, MEC and its allies have been working with the Legislature long before a pandemic to create a home with safe, clean, reliable water, sanitation, energy and infrastructure.

 

Lead testing

The “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families” bill package expands lead testing measures.
   To support health care, lead poison screenings for minors would be required and placed on immunization records. The level of lead in a water system for the state to take action would be halved.
   To support residents, the burden of proof for lead hazards would shift from tenant to landlord. Lead-based paint inspections would be required by landlords before older properties are sold or transferred.
   To support industry, tax credits would be given to properly licensed lead professionals. An excise tax on architectural paint would fund lead reduction.
   To protect consumers, adulterated cosmetic products could not be created, sold, distributed and housed.

Our involvement: Supporting
These bills provide a holistic approach to keeping people, water and homes healthy. They put Michiganders first by addressing lead poisoning head-on through health care, consumer protection, industry and housing, all of which have a key role in helping eliminate the poison from our state’s infrastructure. 

More info:
House Bill 5359 was introduced by Rep. Rachel Hood (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5360 was introduced by Rep. Sarah Anthony (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5361 was introduced by Rep. Leslie Love (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5362 was introduced by Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5363 was introduced by Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5364 was introduced by Rep. Alex Garza (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5365 was introduced by Rep. John Cherry (D) Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5366 was introduced by Rep. Hood Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5367 was introduced by Rep. Hood Jan. 21, 2020
House Bill 5406 was introduced by Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D) Jan. 21 2020

 

Lead oversight

This bill package requires drinking water tests at veteran facilities and facilities that house vulnerable populations. A commission on lead poisoning prevention and control would be established. Suppliers would notify residents if their water is served by a lead line. The effects of lead poisoning on children’s health would be studied, and the state’s current lead poisoning prevention program would be reviewed. Across Michigan, public water suppliers would analyze source water and report results if water supplies were to change. 

Our involvement: Supporting
When community health crises like lead and PFAS contamination rear their head, action from people, businesses and all levels of government are needed. This bill package provides oversight, tools and guidance to leaders to address the health of Michigan’s people and ecosystems.

More info:
House Bill 4742 was introduced by Rep. Gary Howell (R) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4743 was introduced by Rep. Joseph Tate (D) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4744 was introduced by Rep. Leslie Love (D) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4747 was introduced by Rep. John Cherry (D) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4748 was introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4749 was introduced by Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4750 was introduced by Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D) June 20, 2019


Asbestos safety

This bill package creates an asbestos inspection program, an asbestos inspection fund and a yearly report on asbestos programming and inspectors. Contractors wishing to complete public asbestos abatement projects would disclose any criminal environmental law violations. Violations less than criminal would be subject to restrictions and public hearing.

Our involvement: Supporting
Creating additional layers of low-cost oversight and disclosure will go a long way in keeping asbestos’ detrimental health effects away from unsuspecting people. Those who break environmental law should receive punishment, and those who champion it should be rewarded. 

More info: 
House Bill 5046, introduced by Rep. Gary Howell (R), passed the House July 23, 2020
House Bill 5047, introduced by Rep. Julie Brixie (D), passed the House July 23, 2020
House Bill 5048, introduced by Rep. Scott Van Singel (R), passed the House July 23, 2020
House Bill 5049, introduced by Rep. William Sowerby (D), passed the House July 23, 2020
House Bill 5050, introduced by Rep. Howell, passed the House July 23, 2020
House Bill 5051, introduced by Rep. Sowerby, passed the House July 23, 2020

 

Well testing

If local health departments require well testing, this bill requires them to send their results to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The department would create an interactive map displaying test results, groundwater contaminant locations, where contamination exceeds standards, how to mitigate contaminants and health hazard information.

Our involvement: Supporting
Clean drinking water is not divided by urban and rural lines. This bill ensures that by giving rural landowners and state employees the oversight, support and research they need on water quality.

More info:
Senate Bill 252 was introduced by Sen. Ruth Johnson (R) April 9, 2019

 

Stormwater utilities 

A bill regulates the creation of stormwater management utilities and ordinances in municipalities. A local government would note the cost allocation of planning, constructing and operating; establish and collect stormwater utility fees; require fee charges for delinquent payments; create an appeal process; and outline powers and duties.

Our stance: Opposing
While MEC supports a clear way to regulate stormwater and protect people from overflows, it should be done in an equitable way. This bill creates little transparency between ratepayers and utilities, and it can lead to low-income residents being unable to pay off months of compounded charges. With a better payment plan and better transparency on how stormwater fees will be used, this bill could be a win for safer sanitation.  

More info:
House Bill 4691 was introduced by Michael Webber (R) June 5, 2019.

 

Basement back-ups

House Bill 4692 allows residents to seek compensation for property or bodily damage resulting from a sewer overflow or backup. The sewer event must be caused by a defect in a system that follows state standards, and the waterfall that caused the backup was at least 1.7 inches in one hour or 3.3 inches in 24 hours.

Our involvement: Opposing
While this bill is good at heart, it makes it near impossible for homeowners and tenants to be compensated for the damage to health and homes sewer overflows create. Overflows are rarely caused by defects, and rainfall rarely falls at the rate the bill specifies. To maximize this bill’s commitment to environmental justice and economic equity, this bill should loosen its strict guidelines.

More info:
House Bill 4692 was introduced by Alex Garza (D) June 5, 2019

 

Senior housing

House Bill 5370 would prohibit smoking in senior housing facilities. 

Our involvement: Supporting
Poor air quality makes everyone susceptible to viruses and lung diseases, especially those elderly or with underlying conditions. Better air, better health.

More info:
House Bill 5370 was introduced by Abdullah Hammoud (D) Jan. 21, 2020



ECO-ECONOMIC GROWTH

Needed emergency measures are keeping Michigan residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some people are struggling to make ends meet. As we recover from this crisis together, and as the Capitol grapples with a reduced budget, we need laws and funding that will help people find good employment and save money. We’re working to make that happen.

 

Solid waste law rewrite

When solid waste laws were written in the 1990s, they made obtaining landfill space easier at a time when it was scarce. Now, with plenty of landfill capacity available because of those laws, this bill package levels the playing field for businesses that give value to what was once thought of as waste – compost sites, material recovery facilities and new and emerging technologies – by legitimizing them in law and offering them better siting opportunities. Among other improvements, the package would also better county materials management; better post-closure care of facilities; better licensing fees; and better protect taxpayers from paying for contaminated site remediation.

This bipartisan bill package, nearly five years in the making, is based on recommendations made by the state’s Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel, which MEC was part of from its inception. 

Our involvement: Supporting

While we remain neutral on House Bill 5814 -- which could go further to protect taxpayers from businesses walking away from contaminated sites -- this bill package would upgrade Michigan’s economy and environment to the 21st century. It brings greener priorities, businesses and resident protections to a 30-year-old law.

More info
House Bill 5812 was introduced by Gary Howell (R) June 2, 2020 
House Bill 5813 was introduced by William Sowerby (D) June 2, 2020
House Bill 5814 was introduced by Yousef Rabhi (D) June 2, 2020
House Bill 5815 was introduced by Jack O’Malley (R) June 2, 2020
House Bill 5816 was introduced by Scott VanSingel (R) June 2, 2020
House Bill 5817 was introduced by Joseph Tate (D) June 2, 2020

 

‘Powering Michigan Forward’

The “Powering Michigan Forward” bill package requires electric utilities to purchase excess electricity without a cap from customers who generate their own through systems such as solar panels and wind turbines. Utilities would also need to increase pay to people they’re purchasing from. 

Our involvement: Supporting
This bill package is a win-win-win. It allows utilities to better reach statewide renewable energy goals. It gives Michigan clean air while mitigating climate change, and it gives more money to people who have made an investment in the environment. Coupled with other bills that make renewable energy more accessible, residents could live healthier and wealthier.

More info:
House Bill 5143 and 5144 was introduced by Yousef Rabhi (D) Oct. 23, 2019
House Bill 5145 was introduced by Gregory Markkanen (R) Oct. 23, 2019
Senate Bill 596 was introduced by Tom Barrett (R) Oct. 23, 2019
Senate Bill 597 was introduced by Ed McBroom (R) Oct. 23, 2019
Senate Bill 598 was introduced by Jeff Irwin (D) Oct. 23, 2019

 

‘Bottle Bill’ expansion

This bill expands the types of items that can be recycled for a 10-cent return to all bottles, save for milk and milk alternatives. An extra five cents would be placed on the cost of these products to be distributed to state programs.

Our involvement: Supporting
Recycling rates on bottles are near 90%. This bill brings many products from a low recycling rate to high one. This would decrease plastic pollution and give Michigan residents more opportunities to earn money back on their purchases and finds. 

More info: 
Senate Bill 701 was introduced by Sen. Sean McCann (D) Jan. 8, 2020

 

Corporate accountability 

This bill package eliminates some private sector board insight at the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; allows EGLE to exceed federal environmental standards; makes leaders of corporations liable for pollution occurring under them; calculates pollution violations as a percentage of revenue; and eliminates limitations for recovering cleanup costs. 

Our involvement: Supporting
Corporate leadership needs to be held accountable for the environmental health they threaten, and EGLE needs to have the freedome to act quickly, thoroughly and without corporate influence. These bills would hardly impact Michigan’s limited budget and would greatly impact how our state punishes and dissuades polluters. 

More info:
House Bill 5452 was introduced by Rep. Padma Kuppa (D) Feb. 4, 2020
House Bill 5453 was introduced by Rep. Jim Ellison (D) Feb. 4, 2020
House Bill 5454 was introduced by former Rep. Isaac Robinson (D) Feb. 4, 2020
House Bill 5455 was introduced by Rep. Cynthia Johnson (D) Feb. 4, 2020
House Bill 5456 was introduced by Rep. William Sowerby (D) Feb. 4, 2020
House Bill 5458 was introduced by Rep. Tanisha Yancey (D) Feb. 4, 2020

 

Solar tax breaks

House Bill 4068 excludes from property tax assessments alternative energy systems that produce less than 150 kilowatts of electricity. It complements a law MEC helped shape that gives tax breaks to the installation, replacement and repair of similar-sized systems.

Our involvement: Supporting
These tax breaks make clean, reliable energy affordable to more Michigan residents. That is especially important as energy rates rise and renewable energy becomes cheaper to produce and purchase.

More info:
House Bill 4068 was introduced by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R) April 15, 2019

 

EV charging stations

A bipartisan bill package allows electric vehicle charging stations in state parks, harbors and ride-share sites; gives tax credits for installations to multi-unit residential properties and small businesses; and creates the Michigan Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.

Our involvement: Supporting
Michigan’s motor industry drives the world. This bill package will help Michigan pave the way in the electric vehicle field. Expanded charging station infrastructure makes clean, reliable cars more reasonable to purchase, especially as EV prices begin to drop, our motor industry makes big investments in the industry and battery storage capacities rise.

More info:
House Bill 4786 was introduced by Rep. Tim Sneller (D) June 26, 2019
House Bill 4787 was introduced by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D) June 26, 2019
House Bill 4788 was introduced by Rep. Julie Alexander (R) June 26, 2019
House Bill 4789 was introduced by Rep. Joseph Bellino (R) June 26, 2019

 

 

HEALTH OUTSIDE THE HOME

As Michigan fights and recovers from COVID-19, low-cost steps can be taken to improve life outside the home -- our schools, businesses, land and water. MEC is working on legislation that improves environmental health and saves -- or even makes -- residents and the state money over time.

 

Water filters in schools

The bipartisan "Filter First" bill package would install filtered water fountains in all public schools and filtered water fountains or filtered taps in some day care centers. All schools would develop a drinking water safety plan with EGLE's guidance — this would outline the location and maintenance of drinking stations, and guidelines if contaminants are found in the stations. EGLE would also provide additional funding for additional needs, such as replacement filters, to daycares and schools that serve low-income communities.

Our view: Supporting
Lead poisoning damages a child’s development, and this bill package helps mitigate the issue. A few months of planning and financial support could positively impact generations of Michigan’s youth.

More info:
Senate Bill 589 was introduced by Sen. Jim Aninich (D) Oct. 15, 2019
Senate Bill 590 was introduced by Sen. Curtis VanderWall (R) Oct. 15, 2019
House Bill 5104 was introduced by former Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D) Oct. 15, 2019
House Bill 5105 was introduced by Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R) Oct. 15, 2019

For the economic benefits of Filter First, click here

 

PFAS research and response

These bills create a PFAS action response team. Surveys of PFAS in groundwater would also be initiated. Across Michigan, public water suppliers would analyze source water and report results if water supplies were to change. 

Our involvement: Supporting
As scientists continue to study the effects this family of chemicals has on people and the environment, policies like these can help them by expanding research and response protocols. Having a plan and a database to back it up is essential when addressing a potential environmental health crisis.

More info:
House Bill 4745 was introduced by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4746 was introduced by Rep. Beth Griffin (R) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4742 was introduced by Rep. Gary Howell (R) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4743 was introduced by Rep. Joseph Tate (D) June 20, 2019
House Bill 4749 was introduced by Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R) June 20, 2019
Senate Bill 402, introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R), unanimously passed the Senate Feb. 25, 2020

 

PFAS and firefighting foam

A bipartisan bill package requires firefighters to receive additional training in firefighting foam with PFAS concentrate, including best environmental and health practices for containment, disposal and decontamination. Reports to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy detailing why, where and how much foam was used at one time and a set of rules for usage would be required, too.

Our involvement: Supporting
As long as PFAS-contaminated firefighting foam is legal under federal mandate, laws that limit its use and inform others of its effects are needed. This bill package continues to place Michigan at the forefront of fighting a family of compounds with emerging environmental and health impacts.

More info:
House Bill 4389, introduced by Rep. Sue Allor (R), was signed by Gov. Whitmer July 8, 2020
House Bill 4390, introduced by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R), was signed by Gov. Whitmer July 8, 2020

 

Recreational passport

A bipartisan bill would sign Michiganders up for state park and state public access passports with driver’s license issuance or renewal unless they opted out. Each park and public access site would have more discretion on how the license fees are used. 

Our involvement: Supporting
These bills emphasize the value and beauty of our public land, encouraging residents to explore it and boosting their physical and mental well-being. Our preserved land should be made easier to access.

More info:
House Bills 4486 and 4775 were introduced by Rep. Gary Howell (R) Nov. 12, 2019