Capitol Catch-Up: February 27, 2023
Celebrating Black History Month and the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus
Last Friday evening, our Partnerships team hosted Michigan LCV Celebrates Black History: Resistance Through Accessibility, Collaboration, and Legislative Power – an event to honor Black History Month, Black leaders in Michigan and the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus!
Sen. Erika Geiss (center) with Michigan LCV’s Partnerships Coordinator Roslyn Ogburn (left) and Partnerships Director Shannon Rochon (right)!
Rep. Helena Scott with Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak!
Left to right: Michigan LCV Board President George Davis, Sen. Erika Geiss, and Rep. Stephanie Young!
Along with partners from our work on democracy, water, and environmental justice priorities, we were joined by members of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. Lawmakers in attendance including Sen. Erika Geiss, Sen. Mary Cavanagh, Sen. Sylvia Santana, Rep. Stephanie Young, Rep. Jason Hoskins, and Rep. Helena Scott!
Rep. Jason Hoskins (center) with Michigan LCV’s Bentley Johnson (left) and Amani Johnson (right)!
Thank you to everyone who joined us last Friday!
Ice Storm Leaves Hundreds of Thousands in the Cold
Last week’s ice storm caused widespread power outages across lower Michigan, leaving more than 763,014 homes and businesses without power once again highlighting a fragile grid and subpar reliability from Michigan’s top corporate utilities.
Click here for real-time outage tracking.
A map of the outages stemming from last week’s storm (Credit: PowerOutages.us).
Over the weekend, Michigan lawmakers voiced support for holding DTE and Consumers Energy accountable for poor service, outages, and lengthy restoration times, especially as the utilities tout record profits. Some lawmakers, including Sen. Darrin Camilleri, called for hearings to get to the bottom of the outages. Sen. Camilleri was quoted in a ClickOnDetroit article as saying, “There will be hearings,” and that he has been in contact with Sen. Sean McCann, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment.
House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash added via Twitter:
As of today, some Michiganders in Ann Arbor and other southeast Michigan communities remain without power. As temperatures continue to fluctuate, the outages present a danger to human health while leaving Michiganders on the hook for the cost of spoiled food, running generators, and life-saving medical equipment at home.
With power outages becoming more frequent in recent years, it is clear that DTE and Consumers Energy must invest into a clean, resilient energy grid to improve service and reliability instead of prioritizing profits for their shareholders.
In response to the outages, Michigan LCV released a statement underscoring how our state’s corporate utilities continue to provide subpar service while raking in record profits for their shareholders.
Read Michigan LCV’s full statement here.
Line 5 court case shifts back to Michigan
Last Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that a previous court decision to move Attorney General Nessel’s Line 5 pipeline case from state court to federal court needs further review. Instead, the case will now head to an appeals court, a move that could help reassert Michigan’s sovereignty and bring us closer to a decision on the future of Line 5.
Important Bill Introductions
Last week, a pair of bills known as “Filter First” were introduced in Lansing. Filter First legislation – aimed at ensuring clean, safe drinking water in Michigan schools and childcare facilities – has been introduced previously, and there is already allocated funding for the legislation. The newly-introduced bills would do the following:
Senate Bill 0088
Would require the installation of water filtration systems in childcare centers.
Senate Bill 0089
Would create a new act mandating drinking water quality standards in schools and childcare facilities.
Update From Washington
…Michigan LCV held a “Lunch & Learn” briefing on the status of the effort to remove Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 oil pipeline – a potentially catastrophic ticking time bomb that sits on the bottom of the Great Lakes at the Straits of Mackinac (“the worst place in the Great Lakes for an oil spill”).
Riyaz Kanji and Bruce Wallace – two legal experts that happen to also be Michigan LCV board members – reviewed the facts on Line 5, including Enbridge’s terrible track record of spills and lies, and gave a report on several legal cases moving through the courts that could result in an orderly shutdown of the pipeline at specific locations where Line 5 poses a threat.”
Read the full article here.