Capital Catch-Up, March 12
ICYMI: Environmental Legislation This Week
More Bad Bottle Bills Heard in House Regulatory Reform Committee
Michigan’s bottle deposit law has been a critically important pollution prevention tool for decades. Not only does the law prevent beverage containers from being littered on our land and in our waters, but it increases the amount of high value plastic and metal that is recycled across the state. More, 75 percent of unclaimed bottle deposits go towards contaminated site cleanup programs! Unfortunately, these funds are once again under attack from special interests.
HB 4443 and HB 4444, introduced by Rep. Jim Lilly (R – Macatawa) and Rep. Kevin Hertel (D – St. Clair Shores), enable the shifting of money dedicated to the state’s bottle deposit fund towards beverage distributors, reducing funds for cleanup of Michigan’s 24,000 registered contaminated sites. Together, the bills would allow bottle distributors to claim a ½ cent income tax credit for every returnable container they sell and allow the Treasury to take money from contaminated sites to pay for that tax credit. The House Fiscal Agency found that this legislation would cost the state at least $20 million annually.
We encourage you to send a message to your state representative urging them to oppose this legislation. We have an action alert set up with a pre-written message to get you started. As always, we encourage you to customize your message and share this action alert with others.
Important Bill Introductions
Bill to Rewrite Solid Waste Program Seeks to Increase Recycling
A bill package to rewrite Michigan’s solid waste laws and increase recycling were introduced this Tuesday, and the bills are expected to be a major focus of the House Natural Resources Committee this session. HB 4454-4461 are based on years of stakeholder work and recommendations from Governor Snyder’s Recycling Council and Solid Waste and Sustainability Advisory Panel, which was formed to reshape Michigan’s materials management program. The package would change Michigan’s disposal-based waste management system to focus on seeing solid waste as a resource that promotes economic vitality, ecological integrity, and improved quality of life.
HB 4454-4461 will increase recycling access across the state, revitalize the materials management planning process, create a level playing field for materials management facilities, and increase the recycling rate.
Labelling PFAS-Containing Products and Packaging
Senator Rosemary Bayer (D – Bloomfield Township) introduced legislation on Wednesday seeking to increase consumer knowledge of PFAS-containing products. SB 217 would require warning labels on products that contain PFAS or are packaged in materials containing PFAS. This important piece of legislation would force companies to be more transparent about their usage of dangerous PFAS chemicals, and would make it easier for consumers to choose contaminant-free products.
Additional Environmental Action in Lansing
Bad Elections Bills Pass House; Michigan LCV*, American Civil Liberties Union, Secretary Of State in Opposition
Several bad election bills passed the House this past Tuesday and will be headed to the Senate Elections committee next week. HB 4127 and 4128 would remove registered voters from the qualified voter file if they do not have a confirmed date of birth with the Secretary of State’s office, or if they have not voted in a general election since 2000.
HB 4134, which also passed on Tuesday, was amended to consolidate precincts in municipalities that have less than 4,000 registered voters, and two year. Michigan LCV and others went neutral on the bill because it ensures every precinct will have an absentee ballot counting board, and allows voters to remain on absentee ballot voter rolls for the entire calendar year instead of every election – making it easier to vote by mail.
Michigan to Receive $10.1B in Federal COVID Aid Amidst Budget Battle
Congress’ passage of the American Rescue Plan this Saturday continued to complicate the state’s budget process as lawmakers learned that Michigan would receive roughly $10 billion in federal funds amidst an already boiling budget/pandemic-powers showdown.
Late last week, the legislature sent Governor Whitmer several bills tying COVID-relief funds to limits in the executive branch’s powers. The partisan move resulted in the Governor striking about $650 million sent to her desk with line item vetoes, which the legislature tried (and failed) to override. Governor Whitmer also fully vetoed another bill that would limit the Department of Health and Human Services’ ability to close K-12 schools during an emergency.
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.