Michigan environmental bills pushed to 2024, a legislative stalemate

Michigan environmental bills pushed to 2024, a legislative stalemate

The Legislative Agenda for Michigan in 2024

Michigan lawmakers in 2023 passed important legislation, including restrictions on gun ownership and expanding early in-person voting. The Democrats also adjourned the session a month early in a procedural move to allow Michigan to hold its presidential primary on Feb. 27 in 2024. However, there is a lot of work to be done when lawmakers resume in 2024, with several bills awaiting them.

Clean Water Advocates: Statewide Septic Code

For several years now, clean water advocates have pushed for the establishment of a statewide septic code governing the design, construction, installation, and maintenance of on-site wastewater systems in Michigan. In April 2024, Democrats introduced a bill package to fulfill this goal. The proposed legislation, if passed, will address the lack of septic regulations that have long frustrated the environmental and clean water advocates. All the bills are, however, still in committee.

Environmental Protection: Pollution Cleanup

The state’s environmental remediation program is going through an overhaul if the suite of bills introduced by the Democrats in October 2024 is passed. The primary objective of the bills is to prioritize physically cleaning up and removing environmental contaminants rather than leaving them in the ground, thus shifting the cost burden off taxpayers and onto responsible entities. However, the overhaul has been met with opposition from Republicans and business groups who believe the legislation will quell redevelopment. As of writing, the bills are still in committee.

Water Affordability: Residential Affordability Program

In an effort to address the affordability of water, Democrats introduced legislation in October 2024 to create a low-income water residential affordability program within the state health department. The proposed program recognizes access to drinking water as a human right and has remained in committee since it was introduced.

Fishing Statute: Commercial Fishing Allowance

In October 2024, Representative Jason Morgan, D-Ann Arbor, introduced a bill aimed at overhauling Michigan’s outdated commercial fishing statute. The bill proposes that popular game fish such as walleye, lake trout, and yellow perch be added to the state’s Great Lakes commercial fishing allowance. Commercial fishing proponents view the bills as a lifeline, but recreational angler and conservation groups oppose this bill and are developing a competing piece of legislation.

Sand and Gravel Mines: Permitting and Oversight

A bipartisan legislation introduced in May 2024 looks to transfer permitting and oversight of the sand and gravel mines from local governments to the state. Aggregate miners claim that this move is necessary to reduce road construction costs, but environmental groups like Sierra Club argue that it would lead to wetlands degradation. The proposed legislation has remained in committee.

Regulatory Standards: Hunting and Fishing Licenses

In March 2024, Democra

Originally Post From https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2023/11/legislative-leftovers-michigan-environmental-bills-pushed-to-2024.html

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