Legislature in Overdrive to Address Many Long-Standing Issues
Friday, June 17, 2011
The Republican-led legislature is conducting business at a frenzied pace with summer recess quickly approaching and much unfinished business still pending. State policymakers spent the first six months of the year balancing the state budget and revamping the state tax code. Now that those issues have been addressed, they have an opportunity to tackle other priorities on individual legislators’ wish lists.
MITA testified in support of legislation (SB 351) that would earmark a portion of the state sales tax on fuel to roads. Currently none of this money is directed to roads. The bill passed Senate Committee this week 6-0. It sets the stage for a larger debate on reprioritizing existing state revenues to upgrade Michigan’s infrastructure without requiring a tax increase.
Legislation to build the New International Trade Crossing (SB 410-411) was being debated in Senate Committee this week. The opposition from certain members has been strong, but MITA believes this would be a tremendous shot in the arm for the industry. The legislation allows Canada to finance $500 million to build and upgrade adjacent infrastructure around the border crossing. The bills remain lodged in committee and face an uncertain future.
Legislation was also passed in the House this week that would allow sales taxes on conduit or fitting products used in the collection and distribution of water or sewer to be paid on a quarterly basis rather than on a monthly basis. This bill (SB 118) is being supported by MITA and was aggressively lobbied by staff because of its potential positive effects for the industry. The bill returns to the Senate for final concurrence and the administration has indicated that they will support the bill.
Legislation to ban Project Labor Agreements on public works projects (SB 165) received final approval in the state Senate this week. It is likely to be considered in the House in the next two weeks.
Legislation is pending that will not allow material specifications that call for sole source suppliers on public work projects. MITA testified in House Commerce Committee on the bill (HB 4694-95) and is working on providing some amendments to improve the language in the bill. Proponents of the legislation are seeking committee approval next week.
Other bills being considered in the legislature are:
HB 4746 and SB 470 that call for relaxed local zoning ordinances for aggregate pits. SB 401 and HB 4730 that are attempting to address prompt pay issues but are being delayed for now as new MDOT bid specification rules have recently been adopted.
MITA is working with Sen. Tom Casperson on drafting legislation extending allowable trailer lengths for lowboys.
For questions, comments or more information about any of these areas, feel free to contact Mike Nystrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Keith Ledbetter at
email@example.com or call the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.