Gov. Rick Snyder has signed several bills that strengthen communities and protect taxpayers.
"These new laws recognize the vital importance of financially stable, economically vibrant communities to Michigan's future," Snyder said. "They also respect the needs of citizens and taxpayers by delivering greater oversight and efficiency. Our reinvention of government is delivering meaningful reforms that will keep Michigan on the path to prosperity."
Senate Bill 865, sponsored by state Sen. Phil Pavlov, creates the tools needed to effectively address financial emergencies in local governments and school districts. If an independent review team finds a situation of financial emergency and the governor concurs, local units have four choices: a consent agreement, an emergency manager, a neutral evaluation process or Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings. This strengthens the current financial manager law to handle severe financial stress in some municipalities, but also takes into account voters' concerns regarding the previous emergency manager law expressed during the November election. The bill is now Public Act 436 of 2012.
"This legislation demonstrates that we clearly heard, recognized and respected the will of the voters," Snyder said. "It builds in local control and options while also ensuring the tools to protect communities and schools districts' residents, students and taxpayers."
The governor also signed three bills to strengthen fiscal oversight on school district loans and ensure continuation of the School Bond Loan Program and the School Loan Revolving Fund. The legislation caps the outstanding loan value at $1.8 billion and also prevents schools from rolling over debt and creating an unsustainable situation by establishing a single, final repayment date. SBs 770, 771 and 772 - sponsored by state Sens. John Pappageorge, Howard Walker and Pavlov, respectively - are now PAs 437-439 of 2012.
In addition, 15 bills adopt recommendations from the Office of Regulatory Reinvention.
SB 1281, sponsored by state Sen. Darwin Booher, alters the definition of payroll debit cards to include cards issued by a third party on behalf of a bank or credit union. The bill is now PA 440.
SB 1305, sponsored by state Sen. Joseph Hune, changes the factors permitted for use by automobile and home insurers to set premiums. The bill is now PA 441.
A three-bill package excludes loans not used for personal, family or household purposes from the definition of "mortgage loan." The bills were sponsored by state Sens. Mike Green (SB 1283), Mike Nofs (SB 1284) and Jim Marleau (SB 1285). They now are PAs 442-444.
SB 1308, also sponsored by Marleau, revises the internal grievance procedure requirements for health insurers and health maintenance organizations. The bill is now PA 445.
SB 1328, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, streamlines the regulatory approach to evaluating sites of environmental contamination. The bill is now PA 446.
Two bills eliminate Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration commissions that no longer effect standards but instead create unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. SB 1336, sponsored by state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, eliminates the Occupational Health Standards Commission. HB 5917, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Graves, eliminates the Construction Safety Standards Commission. SB 1336 and HB 5922 complete the MIOSHA reforms, and were previously signed Dec. 20. The bills are now PAs 447-448.
A five-bill package repeals the obsolete Savings and Loans Act of 1980. The bills were sponsored by Reps. Nancy Jenkins (HB 5836), Kevin Cotter (HB 5837), Matt Huuki (HB 5838) and Ray Franz (HB 5863). The bills are now PAs 449-452. A fifth bill, HB 5835, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Farrington completes the package and will be signed and filed later this week.
HB 5890, sponsored by state Rep. Deb Shaughnessy, eliminates the $3 fee for an insurance agent to change his or her mailing address on file with the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, and instead requires they notify the commissioner of his or her email address. The bill is now PA 453.
HB 5891, sponsored by state Rep. Pete Lund, eliminates unnecessary requirements for automobile insurance providers. The bill is now PA 454.
"Michigan is on the right path to a more prosperous future," Snyder said. "By bringing innovation and efficiency to government, coupled with the improvements we have made in our budget, tax, and regulatory environment, we are helping create a bright future for Michigan families."
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.
For an infographic breaking down the new emergency manager process, visit http://1.usa.gov/10nn11q.