Michigan Legislative Update

Made in Michigan Bill • No Fault Auto Refunds • Water Infrastructure

    icon Dec 29, 2021
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The state Senate on December 9th approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata aimed at strengthening the future of manufacturing in Michigan and making the state more competitive for future investments. While Michigan has been king of the manufacturing hill for over a hundred years, neighboring states have been trying to steal the hill out from underneath us. This legislation will help cement our historical manufacturing ties and secure Michigan as a home for new and growing industries.

According to State Senator Ken Horn, "We’ve lost major investments to other states in recent years and we’re ready to fight back. With these bills, we can compete and attract new investments that bring with them hundreds, even thousands of high-paying jobs. They hold investors accountable to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, and if conditions are not met, companies must repay the money they received."

"The Make it in Michigan plan encourages both businesses and families to put down their roots in Michigan. With these bills, we have the means to grow traditional manufacturing and expand industrial, pharmaceutical, aerospace and other crossover technologies," continues Horn. "Michigan is on the precipice of a modern Industrial Revolution. Our actions will set the stage for our grandchildren’s futures. This is the first step in the process and a major step in the right direction. With passage of these bills, we are helping secure Michigan's future as a hub for “Made in the USA” products and good-paying jobs.

The even better news is that the bills creating and funding the Make it in Michigan Plan have now been signed into law by Gov. Whitmer. 

Senate Bill 769, sponsored by LaSata, would create the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund, which has the ability to receive funds through a legislative appropriation. Those dollars could then be transferred into the Michigan Strategic Site Readiness fund (MSSRF) or the Critical Industry fund (CIF).

Senate Bill 770 would create the MSSRF, which would have the ability to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for eligible applicants throughout the state. Money in the fund would be used to create investment-ready sites for future development.

Senate Bill 771 would create the CIF, which would also be able to receive money from the SOAR fund. Funding could then be used for qualified investments for eligible businesses to create new jobs or make capital investments.

Senate No-Fault Reform Leads to MCCA Refunds for Michigan Drivers

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) has announced a plan to refund Michigan drivers $400 per vehicle early next year.

The refunds come as a direct result of landmark reforms passed by the Legislature in 2019 to reform Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system. As part of the 2019 reforms, the Legislature directed the MCCA to issue refunds to drivers every three years following an audit by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS); the first refunds were previously expected to be issued following a 2022 audit.

The MCCA levies assessments each year to cover claims for those catastrophically injured in car accidents. The association’s surplus has grown from $2.4 billion at the end of 2020 to $5 billion by June 30. The MCCA board voted on Nov. 3 in favor of issuing refund checks following an analysis that found about $3 billion of the surplus could be returned to policyholders. Refunds will be issued to every Michigan resident with an auto insurance policy in force as of 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31.

MCCA will turn over surplus funds to insurance companies by March 9, 2022, and the insurers will be responsible for issuing checks to eligible policyholders 60 days after the transfer of funds.

Historic Water Infrastructure Plan

The Michigan Senate has passed legislation to invest $3.34 billion in making critical improvements to the state’s water quality and infrastructure.

Senate Bill 565 would use $2.37 billion in federal funding, $680 million in state resources and $290 million in repurposed state bond funds to improve Michigan’s dam infrastructure, wastewater systems and groundwater protection and provide clean drinking water.

The bill features $1 billion to replace lead pipes throughout the state, $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities, $100 million in grants to remove PFAS chemicals from “orphaned” sites, $50 million to help well owners connect to a community water system or increase the depth of their well if their water was contaminated or their well failed after a disaster, and $85 million for filtered water stations in schools.

SB 565 would also designate $680 million for dam infrastructure, including $650 million for projects prioritizing dam risk reduction, $15 million for emergency response activities by the state where a dam owner fails to pay for necessary work, and $15 million for a grant program for dam rehabilitation or removal.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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