Michigan LCV Lame Duck Priorities
The “Lame Duck” session is the last several weeks of the legislative session after an election when we typically see increased legislative activity from outgoing lawmakers. In years past we’ve seen bad bills get expedited through the legislative process and signed into law without discussion or debate, or the public’s knowledge.
It’s been busy in Lansing the last few weeks as legislation moved through the Capitol during lame duck, but yesterday the legislative session informally came to a close for the year. Because you took action and used your voice to contact your lawmakers, we saw several environmental wins this lame duck session.
Thousands of members contacted their lawmakers to advocate on these bills. Thank you for contacting your lawmakers over the past few weeks to fight for our air, water, and public health and promote environmental justice. Your actions made a difference.
Here is a breakdown of the conservation wins in Lame Duck 2020:
Securing running water in Michigan households during the pandemic
The bill: Water Shut Off Moratorium (SB 241)
Summary: Senate Bill 241 codifies the moratorium on water shut offs to ensure all Michiganders have access to running water in their homes during the pandemic through March 31.
Outcome: This bill passed and awaits the Governor’s signature; the Governor supports this legislation and has indicated she will sign the bill.
Stopping a bill that would have stripped local governments of their authority to oversee gravel mining operations that can cause environmental damage in their communities
The bill: Aggregate Mining (SB 431)
Summary: Senate Bill 431 would have removed local governments’ oversight over sand and gravel mining operations in their communities, which threatens natural water supplies and the surrounding environment. This legislation would allow the aggregate mining industry to operate with little oversight at any level of government, putting the mining companies’ profits over the health and quality of life of our communities. Stopping this bill protects the land and soil, and protects drinking water sources from harmful pollutants.
Outcome: Died in the Senate
Dodging a bill that would prevent small electric vehicle manufacturers from making direct sales in Michigan
The bill: Anti-EV Legislation (HB 6233)
Summary: HB 6233 would have created significant barriers for the direct sale of electric vehicles in Michigan. Previously, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel settled a lawsuit allowing Tesla (and potentially other advanced electric vehicle manufacturers) to sell automobiles directly to consumers in Michigan. This bill redefines the definition of ‘sale’ to prevent those direct sales. Increasing Michigan’s EV fleet will help us meet our goals in the MI Healthy Climate Plan, and this bill would have hampered growth in our state’s EV sector.
Outcome: Died in the Senate
Striking down the broken bottle bill which would strip funding from contaminated site cleanup efforts
The bill: Broken Bottle Bill (HB 5423)
Summary: This bill would have originally stripped money away from contaminated site cleanup. Having blocked the original bad legislation, Michigan LCV and other environmental groups agreed to a deal dedicating a small, capped portion of these funds to bottle bill fraud study and prevention — a policy that purportedly would return more funds than it would cost.
Outcome: Died in the House; contaminated site cleanup funding will continue in an unaltered manner.
Suspending a bill that would allow property owners to bypass permits put in place to protect the shoreline
The bill: Temporary Erosion Structure Permit Removal (SB 714)
Summary: Originally, this bill would have allowed shoreline property owners to bypass the state permitting process that ensures ecologically friendly and hydrologically sound shoreline stabilization construction practices. An improved, amended version found support from Michigan’s Department of Great Lakes, Energy, and the Environment, but an insufficient number of lawmakers supported it.
Outcome: Died in the House
A few bad outcomes from this year’s lame duck:
An effort for increased recycling statewide that died in the House
The bill: Part 115 Recycling (HB 5812 – HB 5817)
Summary: This bill package would have shifted the focus to seeing solid waste as a resource and ensuring recycling access for all Michigan citizens, increasing the recycling rate across the state.
Outcome: Died in the House
Underhanded efforts to allow transportation of hazardous materials across the Ambassador Bridge, piggybacking off the Covid Relief Bill, passes
The bill: Covid Relief Bill (SB 748)
Summary: Some dangerous language slipped through the cracks on the heels of Senate Bill 748, a needed and positive Covid relief bill, that passed yesterday with added language allowing for hazardous materials to be transported across the Ambassador Bridge. It’s an unfortunate consequence of Lame Duck, when legislation is passed quickly with little time to deliberate, and public transparency in short supply.
Outcome: This bill passed and awaits the Governor’s signature
All in all, this year’s lame duck session had some solid wins and several bad bills stalled out or were changed. Thank you all for your continued support and for using your voice for change!