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Gongwer News Highlights, October 11, 2017

Jon Harrison
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Governor Opposes Driver Responsibility Amnesty Bills

Another fiscal showdown between the Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder could be taking shape as a bipartisan and bicameral group pushes legislation to repeal and forgive current driver responsibility fees that would cut $35 million from the budget.

Senate OKs Dental Therapists Bill

A bill to allow dental therapists to perform some routine procedures now handled by dentists passed the Senate Wednesday.

Colbeck Stripped Of Committee Assignments

Long-festering tensions between Sen. Patrick Colbeck and his fellow Senate Republicans erupted this week as the Senate majority leader stripped him of all committee assignments, with both having differing explanations for the move.

Oral Anticancer Medication Bill Reported Over Objections

Senate Insurance Committee members rejected concerns by a string of opponents testifying Wednesday and reported a bill that would require anticancer medications taken orally not to be treated any differently than those taken intravenously.

Heise Announces For 11th Congress

Kurt Heise, the Plymouth Township supervisor and former House member, announced Wednesday he is throwing his hat in the ring for the 11th U.S. House District GOP nomination.

No Early Warning Changes Needed As Fewer Districts See Deficit

The early warning system for spotting financially troubled school districts enacted two years ago is working well and the number of distressed districts it uncovers is falling, Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston and Deputy Treasurer Eric Scorsone told the two education appropriations subcommittees Wednesday.

Supporters Of Fantasy Sports Want To Clear Up Gray Area In Law

More than 1.6 million Michigan residents who participate in fantasy sports leagues could be caught in a legal gray area, supporters of a proposed legislative fix told lawmakers Wednesday.

Court: Counties Dissolving Road Commissions Assume Their Functions

If a county government decides to dissolve its road commission the county government then assumes the responsibilities and the county commissioners become "successors in interest" of the road commissioners, the Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

Consumers Rate Hike Upheld By Appeals Panel

A 10.3 percent rate hike authorized for Consumers Energy by the Public Service Commission in 2015 was upheld Wednesday by the Court of Appeals.

Fuel Retailers Raise Concerns Over Coming Cleanup Rules

Fuel retailers warned the Senate Natural Resources Committee that new cleanup rules being proposed by the Department of Environmental Quality would mean leaving spill sites open until better contaminant measures are available and reopening sites that have already been closed.

Marquette Veterans Home Won't Be CMS Certified By June 1

The D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans is not on track to be certified by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by June 1, 2018 as previously planned, Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Redford told the House Appropriations Military and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday.

Local Officials Say Finances Improves Slightly

A survey of local government leaders shows that they believe their communities' fiscal health has improved in the last year.
The survey from the University of Michigan shows 35 percent of local government leaders say they can better meet their governments' fiscal needs now than a year ago and 18 percent said they are less able.

Executive Order Cleans Up Legal Confusion

Governor Rick Snyder issued an executive order that administration officials said helps clean up potential legal confusion regarding which department oversees which functions.  On first blush, EO 2017-7 seems to be a significant order, moving a number of major functions between the Department of Health and Human Services and three other departments. Included in that is a suggestion that oversight of health occupations licensing will be moved to the department from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Mr. Snyder had moved that licensing from the then-Department of Community Health to LARA in 2011.  But, in fact, the movement is for licensing of emergency medical service and not all health care providers.  The order also calls for functions such as oversight of radioactive materials to the Department of Environmental Quality and of migrant housing to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. But those moves had already been taken.  What the order does is clarify that the transfers were from or to DHHS and not from the former DCH.

PSC Integrated Resource Plan, Capacity Demonstration Cases Started

The Public Service Commission opened a comment period Wednesday to take comments on draft rules for integrated resource plans as part of the state's new energy law.  Draft integrated resource plan filing requirements have been drafted by the PSC, outlining what rate-regulated utilities will be required to provide when filing their plans with the state. Comments on the draft rules can be mailed or emailed to the PSC by 5 p.m. October 27, with responses due November 9.

Casino Revenues

The three Detroit casinos overall saw revenue increase in September from September 2016 and from August, but the improvement was not universal. And aggregate revenue fell for third quarter from the same period in 2016.

Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #56, Report 199, October 11, 2017.

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