Skip to main content
Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Legislative updates for February 2024

Image credit: Getty Images
Date Posted: February 1, 2024

State Issues

Environmental Oversight

SB 393 and 394 introduced by Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Keego Harbor) would eliminate the Environmental Science Advisory Board and the Environmental Permit Review Commission​. HB 4824 introduced by Rep. Donovan McKinney (D-Detroit), HB 4825 introduced by Rep. Jen Hill (D-Marquette) and HB 4826 introduced by Rep. Sharon MacDonnell (D-Troy) would eliminate the Environmental Rules Review Committee. Farm Bureau opposes the legislation as our policy supports oversight of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s regulatory authority and specifically supported the 2018 legislation creating the oversight bodies. 

The Senate passed SB 393 and 394 on Nov. 2, and while both bills have received hearings in the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee, they have not yet moved to the house floor. House Bills 4824-4826 passed the Senate Regulatory Affairs Committee on February 6 and await an impending vote by the full Senate. 

Contact: Ben Tirrell

EGLE Rulemaking Authority 

House Bill 5205 introduced by Rep. Emily Dievendorf (D-Lansing) and Senate Bill 663 introduced by Sen. Sue Shink (D-Ann Arbor) would rescind the prohibition on the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to promulgate rules under Part 31 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act related to water quality. The bills have been referred to House Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation and the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment respectively. HB 5205 was taken up in committee on January 18 (for testimony only), with Michigan Farm Bureau speaking in oppositionRead the related Michigan Farm News story

Contact: Ben Tirrell

Ag Commodity Marketing Groups

Senate Bill 691, sponsored by Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), would amend the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act to reduce auditing requirement for commodity organizations with collected producer assessments of less than $40,000 to only one audit per referenda (when producers vote to continue the program). Michigan Farm Bureau supports the bill referred to the Senate Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee.

Contact: Rebecca Park

Craft Beverage Council 

Introduced by Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), House Bill 5327 would modify representation on the Craft Beverage Council to increase inclusivity of small wine makers, micro brewers, brewers that are not micro brewers, and both large and smaller distillers.  

Farm Bureau policy supports the council's efforts in encouraging the utilization of Michigan ag products, so we support the bill's concept. The bill has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee. 

Contact: Rebecca Park 

Grape and Wine Council 

House Bill 5270, introduced by Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Watervliet), would reestablish the Grape and Wine Council within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The council existed several years ago but was then merged with the Craft Beverage Council. Farm Bureau policy supports the concept of the bill referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee. 

Contact: Rebecca Park 

Federal Issues

Farm Bill 

In November, House and Senate Ag Committee leaders brokered a deal to extend the 2023 Farm Bill through September 30, 2024. Read our Michigan Farm News coverage: Farm bill extension clears Congress, MFB urges prompt action on 5-year bill

Members of Congress and their staff continue to negotiate on a new farm bill. Farm Bureau continues to advocate for completing the bill in early 2024, ahead of the election and before Senator Stabenow retires. 

Michigan’s top priorities include maintaining and improving crop insurance, increasing baseline funding commitments to farm programs as they have not kept up with inflation, maintaining a bipartisan and unified farm bill, funding for agriculture research, marketing and pest management, and maintaining funding for voluntary, working lands conservation programs. 

Contact: John Kran 

Ag Workforce 

Michigan farmers using the H-2A visa program are required as of January 1 to pay $18.50/hour, not including the costs they pay for housing and transportation. This is the 10th year in a row that the wage rate has gone up. Nationally, our AEWR is fourth highest behind California’s $19.75, the Pacific Region's $19.25 and Hawaii's $18.74. Michigan’s AEWR is more than $11.25 higher than the current federal minimum wage and greater than 83% higher than the $10.10 state minimum wage. 

Farm Bureau actively worked to get 75 members of the House to send a letter to appropriators urging a multiple year H-2A wage rate freeze and repeal of the damaging 20203 DOL rule that disaggregated wages for various H-2A job functions. Joining Rep. Bill Huizenga on the letter were: Reps. Bergman, James, Kildee, McClain, Moolenaar, Slotkin, and Walberg. 

Michigan Farm Bureau recently worked with Rep. John Moolenaar to introduce H.R. 7046, Supporting Farm Operations Act. The bill would freeze the AEWR at the December 2023 level through the end of 2025 and create a primary duties test. The test would help address concerns with wage rate disaggregation for most workers. Reps. Bergman, Huizenga, McClain and Walberg have cosponsored the bill. 

Contact: John Kran 

John Kran headshot

John Kran

National Legislative Counsel
517-679-5336 [email protected]
Rob Anderson headshot

Rob Anderson

Manager, Government Relations
517-679-5343 [email protected]