Capital Catch-Up: February 6, 2023
In today’s edition of the Capital Catch-Up:
- Camp Grayling: DNR extends public comment period
- Elections: Funding Proposal 2 early voting
- Michigan LCV in Action: Sen. McCann’s community coffee hour
Take Action: We need your help to tell the DNR to reject the proposed expansion
Since last year, Michigan LCV has been tracking the National Guard’s proposed expansion of Camp Grayling, located near the Au Sable and Manistee rivers.
The Department of Natural Resources has extended the public comment period until Wednesday, February 8, at 5 pm.
The National Guard is responsible for widespread PFAS contamination at Camp Grayling, but has done nothing to clean up the mess since it was discovered five years ago. The expansion would more than double the size of Camp Grayling And threaten the nearby Au Sable and Manistee rivers that Michiganders and local communities rely on for fishing, hunting, kayaking and more.
Secretary Benson, Attorney General Nessel Testify on Proposal 2 Implementation
Last week, Michigan LCV’s state government affairs team was closely monitoring Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel’s testimony before the House Elections Committee outlining their proposals to implement Proposal 2.
Michigan LCV’s State Government Affairs Director Nick Occhipinti (left) looks on as Secretary Benson (blue) and Attorney General Nessel (red) testify before the House Elections Committee.
Voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2 in November, which expands voting rights and enshrines them in Michigan’s constitution.
Secretary Benson affirmed Michigan already has one of the nations strongest election systems, and that the implementation of Proposal 2 is integral to ensuring access to the ballot. Her testimony focused on three key points:
- Legislation that details Proposal 2 implementation for local election officials
- Aligning current laws with constitutional amendments, which includes the need for early tabulation of all votes and automatic voter registration at 18
- Fully funding local clerks including for nine days of early voting
Secretary Benson reiterated the importance of proper election funding including an additional $30-$50 million per year on top of current annual costs of $100 million. Her plan calls for $20-$30 million to cover local clerk expenses, and an additional $20 million for her office, including $12 million for secure drop boxes, $5 million for technology upgrades, and $3 million for postage.
Michigan LCV’s Bob Allison, Nina Wimberley and Ethan Petzold gathering signatures to get Proposal 2 on the ballot in 2022! Michigan LCV was a key partner of Promote the Vote 2022. Our team collected tens of thousands of signatures.
Last week’s hearing marks the start of negotiations that will take place over the coming months. With Michigan attempting to move its presidential primary to February 27, 2024, the Legislature must allocate funding for Proposal 2’s provisions as quickly as possible.
Michigan LCV is an active member of Secretary Benson’s Election Policy Working Group.
Michigan LCV In Action: Sen. McCann’s Community Coffee Hour
Michigan LCV’s Jace Bylenga joined Sen. Sean McCann (D – Kalamazoo) at the senator’s community coffee hour last week in Mattawan, MI.
Michigan LCV’s Jace Bylenga (far right), Sen. McCann (right) and representatives from the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition, Citizens Climate Lobby, and the League of Women Voters.
A third of the 21 people who introduced themselves stated they were there to advocate for meaningful action in Michigan to address the climate crisis; Sen. McCann recognized the large interest in addressing climate and applauded the advocates for their level of organization.
EGLE receiving record water infrastructure community funding requests
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) says Michigan communities requested over $5 billion for stormwater and infrastructure upgrades following the passage of state and federal infrastructure legislation last year. This is the largest amount requested of EGLE in a single year.
Whitmer signs first law of new term, fastest of any MI governor
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a $1.1 billion supplemental spending bill last week, the first of her second term and the earliest bill signing of a legislative session since 1947. The bill contains $50 million for affordable housing, $25 to prevent water shutoffs, and more.
Update From Washington
A recent poll shows support for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) remains strong, as the investments from the historic law begin to flow to states and communities. That makes sense since the IRA contains $369 billion for clean energy and climate justice programs alone! But, like a lot of things in life, it is overwhelming to think about where to start taking advantage of all that opportunity.
That’s why our team here at Michigan LCV is dedicated to feeding our readers some digestible bites of IRA info and our Inflation Reduction Act web page is a great resource to find ways to plug in and educate your own networks. Now that we are one month into the new year, we curated a list of some of the best new tools as well as some new programs (especially for environmental justice) announced by the Biden Administration – check it out below.”
Read the full article here.