Capital Catch-Up, Feb. 19
ICYMI: Legislative Action in Michigan This Week
DG (Rooftop Solar) Cap Bill Receives Hearing in House Energy
HB 4236, a bill that would eliminate the artificial 1% cap on the amount of energy produced from non-utility owned sources (mainly rooftop solar installations and bio-digesters), received a hearing in the House Energy Committee Wednesday. House Energy Chairman Joe Bellino (R – Monroe) has publicly expressed support for passing the bill. (Watch: Rep. Bellino discussed the bill on Facebook Live event February 11 at 5PM
During the hearing rooftop solar businesses, environmentalists, and clean energy advocates voiced their support for the bill, while representatives from DTE and Consumers Energy expressed their opposition. Dan Scripps, Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) testified that the legislature and PSC have already taken action to address the subsidy issue, and that there is ‘no engineering’ or ‘economic’ reason to maintain the cap. The Public Service Commission overall expressed support for the bill in concept.
Michigan LCV submitted written testimony in support of the bill at committee this week, and will work with lawmakers and partner organizations to see its passage.
Other Legislative Activity This Week:
- The House Elections and Ethics committee heard testimony on several bills this Tuesday. Among them were HB 4134, which would consolidate precincts in small municipalities, and HJR A, which would require bills to receive a ⅔ vote in both chambers to pass during lame duck. MLCV opposed HB 4134 in committee because we are concerned it could produce long lines during high voter turnout hours, and we supported HJR A to require a broad, bi-partisan consensus for bills moving during lameduck.
- Sen. McCann (D – Kalamazoo) introduced a bill (SB 147) to repeal the “no stricter than federal” law. No stricter than federal prohibits Michigan from imposing environmental regulations that are stricter than the federal standard. Read more on Sen. McCann’s bill in a press release here.
- Bi-cameral legislation was introduced on Thursday by Rep. Anthony (D – Lansing) and Sen. Santana (D – Detroit) addressing the inclusion of incarcerated individuals in redistricting population counts. We support both HB 4267 and SB 151 because it would use incarcerated individuals’ pre-incarceration addresses in determining population counts for redistricting purposes
- SB 103, a bill regarding the rights of energy transmission companies, received a hearing in Senate Energy. We are watching this bill to ensure it doesn’t unfairly consolidate power in incumbent transmission companies like ITC.
Other Action in Lansing This Week:
Public Service Commission Releases Renewable Energy Report
The PSC released two reports on renewable energy and energy waste reduction this week, detailing progress in the clean energy sector. The first report demonstrated the viability of wind and solar installations in the state, showing that they are the fastest growing sources of renewable energy with over 1,100 megawatts of new power projects planned for 2021 and 2022. The second report highlighted the success of the Public Service Commission’s energy waste reduction program, which is estimated to save Michigan ratepayers $1.2 billion over the course of the 12-year program.
Michigan LCV Sets FY2022 Budget Priorities
Last week, Governor Whitmer released her FY2022 budget recommendations. After analyzing her plan, we’ve pulled some highlights that we will be tracking and advocating for. Michigan LCV’s budget priorities for FY2022 include:
- $290 million total for the MI Clean Water plan, which will address failing septic systems, sewer overflows, and stormwater infrastructure upgrades
- $40 million for High Water Resilient Infrastructure Grants to address flooding issues caused by rising lake levels and increased precipitation
- $55 million for Filter First legislation so schools can provide safe drinking water
- $25 million for the Mobility Futures Initiative, which will build out electric charging infrastructure and support purchasing of electric vehicles across the state
- $5 million for a Green Revolving Fund to provide funds for energy efficiency upgrades in state buildings; and $5M for Michigan Saves (all general fund), to leverage private investment in clean energy improvements for Michigan’s residents and businesses
Check your Legislator’s Work with the Digital Accountability Suite:
We’re keeping our eye on what goes on in Lansing so we can keep you informed. Track your lawmaker’s progress on environmental legislation by using our accountability suite. Learn who values and acts to protect our land, air and water in our state government; hold elected officials accountable for their actions; and track decisions and legislation that impacts our natural resources and communities.