Michigan Legislative Update – 2015 Year in Review

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Michigan State Capitol (Credit: Jan Davis Ruthig)

Michigan State Capitol (Credit: Jan Davis Ruthig)

This is our monthly legislative update tailored for Michiganders who work on challenges related to vacancy, abandonment, and community development. We’re tracking bills in the state legislature to help you stay in the loop on relevant policy activity!

Since our November 2015 update, two new bills of interest were introduced (see Senate Bill 673 under Local Government and House Bill 5077 under Property Tax: Assessment), and Governor Snyder signed into law Senate Bill 349, clarifying when county treasurers may send their twice-yearly notices of property tax delinquency.

Details on these December updates and all 24 bills that we have been tracking in 2015 are below, including 5 bills that were signed into law in 2015. We have organized the legislative updates under the following categories for ease of reference. Please note that the categorization is approximate and subject to change as bills move through the legislative process.

The 19 bills currently pending in committee or on the floor of the state House or Senate at the end of 2015 will remain pending when the legislature reconvenes in 2016 on Wednesday, January 13. Stay tuned for more updates from Community Progress during the second half of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session

2015 Legislative Updates

Land Banks

House Bill 4984 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would require that delinquent tax payments on properties subject to land banks’ 5/50 tax collection be enforced through the general property tax foreclosure process. Rep. Tom Barrett (R, House District 71) introduced this legislation on Oct. 13, 2015.

Local Government

Senate Bill 394 (Pending, Floor of the House) – Would amend state law to allow smaller municipalities (by population) to do rental inspections under Michigan Housing Law. Sen. David B. Robertson (R, Senate District 14) introduced this legislation in the Senate on June 11, 2015. Approved by the House Committee on Local Government on Dec. 9, 2015.

Senate Bill 673 (Pending, Senate Committee on Economic Development and International Investment) – Would extend the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) through 2026. OPRA is a development-incentive tool that local units of government can use to spur rehabilitation of vacant commercial properties, including multi-family rental housing, by granting property tax exemptions for a certain time period. OPRA is currently set to expire at the end of 2016. Sen. Ken Horn (R, Senate District 32), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Dec. 15, 2015.

House Bill 4075 (Passed – Public Act 39) – Restricts the fees that county treasurers can charge for responding to public records requests. Rep. Bruce Rendon (R, House District 103), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on January 27, 2015. Signed into law by Governor Snyder on June 2, 2015. Governor Snyder stated, “Any Michigan resident who wants to obtain property tax information should be able to do so, easily and without high cost. This new law ensures real estate transactions will be affordable and transparent statewide.”

House Bill 4681  (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would allow units of local government to charge user fees for public services that are underfunded through current revenue collected from property taxes. Rep. Scott Dianda (D, House District 110), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on June 4, 2015.

House Bill 4897 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would revise formula for calculating just compensation for the taking of a qualified principal residence through eminent domain. Rep. Erika Geiss (D, House District 12), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Sept. 22, 2015.

Property Tax

Assessment

Senate Bill 524 (Pending, Senate Committee on Finance) – Would amend the method by which property tax assessors determine “true cash value” of a parcel. Sen. Tom Casperson (R, Senate District 38), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Sept. 29, 2015.

Senate Bill 537 (Pending, Senate Committee on Finance) – Would revise the qualifications to be a member of the state tax tribunal. Sen. Rick Jones (R, Senate District 24), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Oct. 1, 2015.

House Bill 4211 (Pending, Floor of the House) – Would eliminate the State Education Tax levied as an ad valorem tax on real property. Rep. Lisa Lyons (R, House District 86) introduced this legislation on Feb. 17, 2015. Approved by the House Committee on Tax Policy on June 17, 2015.

House Bill 4213 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would limit when a property’s taxable value may increase due to a rise in property value. Rep. Lisa Lyons (R, House District 86) introduced this legislation on Feb. 17, 2015.

House Bill 4681 – See full description under Local Government.

House Bill 5077 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would increase the length of notice from 14 days to 30 days that tax assessors must provide under current law to property owners when there is a potential increase in a property’s state equalized value or taxable value. Rep. Kurt Heise (R, House District 20), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Nov. 10, 2015.

Collections

House Bill 4370 (Passed – Public Act 179) – Expands the homestead income tax credit as part of the state road-funding package. Signed into law by Governor Snyder on Nov. 10, 2015.

Exemptions/Credits

Senate Bill 81 (Pending, Floor of the House) – Would amend current MI law that allows banks to claim a homestead exemption on property that the bank acquires through foreclosure or forfeiture under certain conditions.  Legislation would reduce the number of years from 3 to 2 that a bank may claim the exemption and would eliminate the requirement that a bank pay an amount equal to the taxes it would have paid, to the local tax-collecting unit for school operating expenses. Sen. Jack Brandenburg (R, Senate District 8), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation in the Senate on Feb. 5, 2015. Approved by the House Committee on Tax Policy on March 25, 2015.

Senate Bill 673 – See full description under Local Government.

House Bill 4370 (Passed – Public Act 179) – Expands the homestead income tax credit as part of the state road-funding package. Rep. Holly Hughes (R, House District 91), primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Mar. 24, 2015. Signed into law by Governor Snyder on Nov. 10, 2015.

House Bill 4620 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would allow for a principal residence exemption (PRE) reduction in property tax to be applied retroactively in instances when a resident was first denied for PRE but then won an appeal. Rep. Dave Pagel (R, House District 78) introduced this legislation on May 19, 2015.

House Bill 4871 (Pending, Floor of the House) – Would expand the homestead income tax credit. Rep. Martin Howrylak (R, House District 41), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Sept. 16, 2015. Approved by the House Committee on Tax Policy on Oct. 21, 2015.

House Bill 4921 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would expand the homestead income tax credit. Rep. Christine Greig (D, House District 37) introduced this legislation on Sept. 29, 2015.

Notice of Delinquency

Senate Bill 349 (Passed – Public Act 202) – Clarifies when country treasurers may send the June 1 and September 1 notices of delinquent property taxes. Sen. Jim Stamas (R, Senate District 36), primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on May 21, 2015. Signed into law by Governor Snyder on Dec. 1, 2015. According to the bill analysis completed by the Senate Fiscal Agency, this law change resolves the question of whether county treasurers may send notices in advance of June 1 and September 1 or must send notices on the exact dates.

House Bill 4039 (Passed – Public Act 190) – Allows county treasurers to publish notice of delinquent property taxes in publications other than newspapers, or online if no print publication is circulated in the county where the property is located, and authorizes that publication be made only twice (for two weeks) instead of three times (for three weeks). Rep. Jon Bumstead (R, House District 100) introduced this legislation on Jan. 21, 2015. Signed into law by Governor Snyder on Nov. 16, 2015.

Property Tax Foreclosure

Senate Bill 17 (Pending, Senate Committee on Local Government) – Would require that tax auction sale proceeds that exceed the amount of delinquent taxes, interest, penalties, and fees must be refunded to the previous homeowner in certain situations. Sen. Rick Jones (R, Senate District 24) introduced this legislation on Jan. 20, 2015.

House Bill 4984 – See full description under Land Banks.

Occupied Properties

Senate Bill 394 – See full description under Local Government.

House Bill 4038 (Passed – Public Act 36) – Allows landlords to deliver electronic notice of eviction under certain conditions and with the tenant’s consent. Rep. Anthony Forlini (R, House District 24) introduced the legislation on January 21, 2015. Signed into law by Governor Snyder on May 21, 2015.

House Bill 4673 (Pending, House Committee on Judiciary) – Would impose additional requirements on property owners when evicting occupants who are there without the owners’ permission. Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D, House District 7), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on June 2, 2015.

House Bill 4897 – See full description under Local Government.

Commercial Properties

Senate Bill 524 – See full description under Property Tax: Assessment.

Senate Bill 673 – See full description under Local Government.

House Bill 4909 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would create new state law to prohibit deed restrictions that limit redevelopment and reuse of certain vacant commercial properties. Rep. John Kivela (D, House District 109), the primary sponsor, introduced this legislation on Sept. 29, 2015.

House Resolution 133 (Pending, House Committee on Tax Policy) – Would urge a statewide impact study conducted on the current and future effects of methods used by some commercial property owners to reduce or avoid their property tax obligations. Rep. Scott Dianda (D, House District 110), introduced this resolution on Sept. 9, 2015.