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Governor Whitmer Signs Legislation Growing Maritime Economy and Other Legislation


July 19, 2022 



Governor Whitmer Signs Legislation Growing Michigan’s Maritime Economy, Other Legislation

LANSING, Mich. - Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed 15 pieces of legislation, bringing the total number of bipartisan bills signed to 919. The bills she signed today includes legislation to expand Michigan’s commercial maritime ports, growing Michigan’s economy. 

“In Michigan, our waters define us, and we every Michigander is committed to protecting lakes—Great and small—for future generations,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today, I am proud to sign bipartisan legislation to grow Michigan’s maritime infrastructure and economy. Getting this done will help us stay focused on growing Michigan’s economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs. I will work with anyone to protect Michigan’s waters and invest in every region of our great state.”

Maritime and Port Facility Assistance Grant Program Act

Together, Senate Bill 744 and House Bill 5291 establish the Maritime and Port Facility Assistance Grant Program Act, to award grants to owners of port facilities and expand Michigan’s commercial maritime ports, growing Michigan’s economy. The Maritime and Port Facility Assistance Office in the Michigan Department of Transportation will create the Port Facility Improvement Fund to implement and administer the program. Michigan’s ports are an underutilized asset that could contribute to the state's growing economy if given more investment.

“Our bipartisan bills present a historic opportunity for Michigan to become more competitive with other states by investing in the maritime industry,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang, D – Detroit. “I serve much of the Detroit Riverfront and know that Michigan's location near the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway System is a competitive advantage we need to take care of. These bills signed into law by Governor will provide maritime improvement grants to allow ports to make necessary infrastructure upgrades, while also incentivizing port terminals to protect local communities, our water and our air."

“It has taken nearly a decade of advocacy to reach this monumental accomplishment for the sustainability of Michigan’s Ports and commercial shipping industry,” said Paul LaMarre, Port Director - Port of Monroe. “Through Senator Chang’s leadership and advocacy of Senator Zorn and Representative O’Malley our legislature has shown that the Great Lakes shipping industry merits bipartisan support and is critical to our State’s economic prosperity.  

“Governor Whitmer’s memorialization of this legislation is a testament to the many people of the “Great Lakes State” who have championed our cause and begun a new chapter in Michigan’s freshwater legacy,” continued Paul LaMarre, Port Director - Port of Monroe. “As the Chairman of the Governor’s Port Advisory Committee, it is my humble honor to express our sincerest thanks as a committee, port, and industry. I salute the Governor for all she has done to ensure that our State’s ports prosper and continue to serve as vital links to our regions broader transportation network.”

“This legislation is a game changer for Michigan ports and will allow the state to be more competitive in the shift toward greener modes of transporting goods and building a more resilient and innovative supply chain,” said Jonathan C. Kinloch, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Chairman. “Our thanks go out to Senators Chang and Schmidt and Representative O’Malley, and of course Governor Whitmer, for their leadership on behalf of marine transportation in Michigan.”

House Bill 5291 was sponsored by Rep. Jack O’Malley, R – Lake Ann, and a copy can be found here

Senate Bill 744 was sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Chang, D – Detroit, and a copy can be found here.

Funding the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund

Senate Bill 1028 appropriates $45.6 million for 117 projects recommended by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board. The appropriation would include 22 acquisition projects ($22.3 million) and 95 development projects ($23.3 million). These projects will be funded with state restricted revenue from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Since its inception in 1976, the MNRTF has been used to fund 2,715 projects totaling $1.3 billion.

Senate Bill 1028 was sponsored by Sen. Mark Huizenga, R - Walker, and a copy can be found here.  

Active Shooter Alarm Penalty

House Bill 4698 would make it a 1-year misdemeanor and $1,000.00 fine for raising a false active shooter alarm in a public place, such as a school.

House Bill 4698 was sponsored by Rep. Thomas Albert, R – Lowell, and a copy can be found here

Making Low-Income Housing More Affordable 

House Bill 4812 would update the General Property Tax Act to lower property tax obligations for low-income families purchasing homes from a charitable housing non-profit and expands eligibility to those making no more than 80 percent of the statewide median gross income.

House Bill 4812 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Alexander, R – Hanover, and a copy can be found here.

Updating Storage Tank Policies to Protect Water

Senate Bill 991 would prohibit an individual from installing an underground storage tank within a certain number of feet of an existing water well, ensuring all those with well water have continued access to safe and clean drinking water. The bill also clarifies when LARA should approve replacement tanks. 

Senate Bill 991 was sponsored by Sen. Rick Outman, R – Six Lakes, and a copy can be found here

Address Labor Shortage

House Bill 5695 builds on previous legislation, Public Act 122 and 123, to allow a minor employee who is at least 16 years old to build a display of certain brands of alcohol, mark the price on those brands, rotate them, and place them on shelves under certain conditions. 

House Bill 5695 was sponsored by Rep. Pauline Wendzel, R – Watervliet, and a copy can be found here.

Uniform Voidable Transaction Act

House Bill 4618 updates the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA), which works in tandem with the Qualified Dispositions in Trust Act to add protections for qualified trustees in Michigan by increasing the burden of proof on creditors and prevents creditors from using “Choice of Law” provisions in other states to avoid the UVTA and QDTA.

"Federal tax laws are complex and constantly changing,” said Rep. Jim Haadsma, D - Battle Creek. “These two bills signed into law by Governor Whitmer update our tax law and ensure Michigan residents have the same options as people from other states when making major financial decisions for their families." 

House Bill 4618 was sponsored by Rep. Jim Haadsma, D – Battle Creek, and a copy can be found here.  

Personal Property Trust Perpetuities Act

House Bill 4619 will help make Michigan a more competitive and desirable state for estate planning purposes by allowing a federal estate tax rule, called the Delaware tax trap, to be used purposefully in Michigan in a more financially attractive manner for trust owners. 

House Bill 4619 was sponsored by Rep. Jim Haadsma, D – Battle Creek, and a copy can be found here.

Updating Funeral Arrangements Procedure

House Bill 5117 updates the chain of responsibility to authorize funeral arrangements to include county and state officials, if initial family members are unable or unwilling to make arrangements for the deceased within a certain timeframe. 

House Bill 5117 was sponsored by Rep. Rodney Wakeman, R – Frankenmuth, and a copy can be found here.

Mental Health Transportation Panel

Senate Bill 101 authorizes a county commission to establish a mental health transportation panel to contract with a private security company to transport a person, after first being taken into protective custody by a peace officer. The company would transport the person in custody to a facility for mental health screening or, under a court order, to transport the person to a facility for mental health treatment.

“Involuntary mental health transport operations are extremely expensive and potentially leave communities, especially small U.P. communities, vulnerable for days at a time,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “Giving communities the option of contracting qualified professionals to transport people with severe mental impairment is not only good for our communities and police departments, but also for those in need of better care, and this new law provides that opportunity. I would like to thank Director Hertel and the administration for their willingness to work on this issue.”

Senate Bill 101 was sponsored by Sen. Ed McBroom, R – Waucedah Township, and a copy can be found here

Michigan Department of Corrections Transfer Policies

Senate Bill 406 would require a person convicted of first-degree murder to be committed, immediately following a conviction, to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for incarceration in a State correctional facility instead of a county jail. Additionally, it requires the court to hold a sentencing hearing within 45 days of the conviction. This will enhance public safety because local law enforcement who are often not equipped to house these individuals.

Senate Bill 406 was sponsored by Sen. Tom Barrett, R - Charlotte, and a copy can be found here.

Drug Test Defrauding

Senate Bill 134 makes it a criminal offense to sell, deliver, distribute, or possess with the intent to sell, a substance used to mask the presence of drugs in urine or saliva. Since many drugs can impact a person’s judgement or physical dexterity, it is imperative for worker safety that accurate drug test results are collected. This bill should make it more difficult to access such products by pursing those who profit from selling and distributing products to defraud drug tests. 

“Employers need to be assured that the tests submitted by their employees are accurate and true, for the safety of the employee and their coworkers, as well as for those required to test by the legal system,” said Senator Curtis VanderWall, R-Ludington. “I am thankful Governor Whitmer agrees and has signed this bill.”

Senate Bill 134 was sponsored by Sen. Curtis Vanderwall, R - Ludington, and a copy can be found here

Streamlining Income Tax Payments 

Senate Bill 248 streamlines reporting and paying process for state income tax made for or by partners and streamlines corresponding partnership-level audits. 

Senate Bill 248 was sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad, R – White Lake, and a copy can be found here

Updating Insurance Code

Senate Bill 624 would amend section 4072 of the Insurance Code, known as the Standard Nonforfeiture Law for Individual Deferred Annuities, to change the minimum interest rate used in determining the minimum nonforfeiture value of individual deferred annuities.

Senate Bill 624 would change the Standard Nonforfeiture Law for Individual Deferred Annuities from 1% to .15%, which would expand access to these annuity products for consumers.

Senate Bill 624 was sponsored by Sen. Lana Theis, R – Brighton, and a copy can be found here.