Capital Catch-Up: December 17, 2021
Goodbye 2021! Here’s What MLCV Will Be Working on in 2022
With the legislature wrapped for 2021, this will be our last issue of the Capital Catch-Up of the year. At the federal and state levels, Michigan LCV has notched a number of key victories in our fight to advance conservation issues. Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve accomplished together, and a heads up to what we’ll be tracking in the new year!
- Congress passed both the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). These federal relief bills on top of a rapid economic recovery left Michigan with nearly $20 billion of budget surplus. Early in 2022, Michigan LCV will work to ensure robust funding of environmental priorities, including SB 565, which invests $3.3B in our state’s crumbling water infrastructure. You can help by telling your lawmaker to Fund MI Water and pass SB 565!
- Throughout the year, Michigan LCV pushed for electoral maps emphasizing partisan fairness before the newly-created Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. In 2022, we’ll be working to educate voters on their new maps, and of course, working to elect new conservation champions.
- In support of Gov. Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate plan, an ambitious goal of achieving a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, Michigan LCV staff and board members worked on the plan as part of the Council on Climate Solutions. We look forward to working with the administration to implement that plan and move the needle on aggressive climate action. Read more about the Council and its draft recommendations here.
- After several extreme weather events in southeast Michigan left more than 10% of Michiganders without power this summer, Michigan LCV launched a utility and lawmaker accountability campaign in support of community solar and distributed generation legislation. We will continue to hold our lawmakers accountable, and advocate for policies that usher us into the clean energy future.
Gov. Whitmer and State Legislators Fund Additional Lead Abatement in End-of-Year ARP Supplemental
On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), and State Budget Director Chris Harkins jointly announced an end-of-year budget supplemental that includes $36.3 million in additional funding to help communities tackle lead through water distribution, inspections, and blood testing.
This new investment is welcome and represents the broad support for clean water investments as the House of Representatives considers SB 565, a transformational $3.3 billion water infrastructure bill.
On the policy front, a bipartisan group of lawmakers lead by Rep. Rachel Hood (D – Grand Rapids) and Rep. Calley (R – Portland) also recently introduced a ten bill package, collectively referred to as the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, which would revise the standard for elevated blood levels for lead, provide for continuing education programs for healthcare workers to identify lead poisoning, and require older homes to certify that there is no lead-based paint. The Act was most recently heard in the House Health Policy Committee on December 9.
Lead sponsors Rep. Hood pictured on the right, and Rep. Calley on the left.
Senator Stephanie Chang: A Lifetime Conservation Champion!
As part of our ongoing commitment to holding decision-makers accountable for their record on conservation and democracy issues, Michigan LCV maintains a legislative scorecard to track how each lawmaker has voted on key environmental priorities each session. The legislative scorecard is part of Michigan LCV’s accountability suite, which also includes our executive scorecards, How Green is Your Governor and How Green is Your Attorney General, and our judicial scorecard, the Green Gavels tool.
In this week’s scorecard highlight, we will be showcasing Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). Senator Chang is among the best of the best conservation lawmakers – she has both a session and lifetime score of 100% for conservation!
Sen. Chang is a tireless environmental advocate, and has continually pushed the needle on advancing critical environmental priorities across the state. Throughout her terms in both the Michigan House and the Senate, she’s introduced bills to address pollution in overburdened communities (like her hometown of Detroit), led the introduction of a progressive and ambitious climate resiliency package earlier this year, and has led the introduction of a package to secure affordable water access for all Michiganders. She is the perfect example of what it means to be an environmental champion!
As we enter into another election year, public accountability is more important than ever before. To learn more about Sen. Chang and her voting record, or to check your own lawmaker’s score, check out our digital scorecard!
Public Service Spotlight — Brooke Hansen!
In the Public Service Spotlight Michigan LCV features decision-makers, public interest advocates, and staff working in Lansing and across the state engaged in state Government policy-making. If you know of someone who works tirelessly in the public interest, please send your nominations to Tim Cohn at [email protected]. At the end of the 2021 session all nominees will be entered into a contest for Michigan LCV lawmaker and top public servant recognitions. Stay tuned for more!
Brooke Hansen works as Legislative Director for Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Twp.). Michigan LCV would like to recognize her for her excellent work helping to introduce and push conservation priorities! In particular, Brooke supported Rep. Brabec’s effort to expand the commercial PACE statute, which funds clean energy and energy efficiency projects, to include water upgrades. Brooke has also worked to increase the percentage of low-income energy assistance dollars that goes towards weatherization. Brooke’s work on these policies serve to advance Michigan’s water quality, reduce air pollution, and help at-risk families across the state mitigate their household energy burden and health risks. We are lucky to have her in Lansing as she tirelessly works to address these important issues!
Q: What environmental issues do you think are most important statewide?
Living in the Great Lake State, I think protecting our drinking water is a top priority. Whether it’s PFAS, lead in the water supply, or the rise of harmful algae blooms – there is no shortage of threats facing our freshwater. Protecting our waterways and drinking water from pollutants is important for the benefit of future generations.
Q: What environmental issue are you most proud of working on?
When I worked for a previous legislator, I had the opportunity to help secure funding for preventive repairs to a PFAS-contaminated landfill in our district. Through our work, we reduced the potential for leachate to contaminate nearby drinking water. Contaminant leaks, whether large or small, are a threat to the health of our community and our environment. I was proud to be a part of a solution meant to prevent contamination before it affected our drinking water.