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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Legislative updates for November 2023

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Date Posted: November 1, 2023

This update includes recently introduced bills and those moving through the legislative process. Michigan Farm Bureau’s positions are rooted in the organization’s member-developed policy. 

State Issues

Energy Siting

House Bills 5120-5121, legislation to take away local zoning control for commercial wind, solar and energy storage projects and transfer it to the Michigan Public Service Commission, was finalized by the House and Senate on Nov. 8 and awaits the Governor's approval. Farm Bureau opposed the legislation that passed the Legislature on party-line votes. View details about the legislation here.  

Thank you to the more than 2,100 members and supporters who sent more than 4,200 messages to representatives and senators in opposition to the bills. See the response by MFB district and county Farm Bureau

Contact: Andrew Vermeesch

PA 116 and Solar Operations

Senate Bill 277, sponsored by Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), enacts the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development plan allowing farmers to rent their land for solar operations while keeping that land in the farmland preservation program under Public Act 116. Farm Bureau was neutral on the legislation. The bill has been ordered enrolled and awaits the Governor’s approval.

Contact: Andrew Vermeesch

Renewable Energy

Senate Bills 271, 273, and 502 amend the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) law. Having been approved by both the House and Senate, the legislation has been ordered enrolled and awaits the Governor’s approval. Farm Bureau opposed the legislation that does the following:

  • Requires electric providers regulated by the MPSC to achieve a renewable energy credit portfolio of at least 15% through 2027, 50% in 2030 through 2034, and 60% in 2035 and beyond.
  • Requires an electric provider to achieve a clean energy portfolio of 80% in 2035 and 100% by 2040 and beyond.
  • Categorizes digesters and biomass systems as renewable energy resources. Only biomass systems operational by the effective date are eligible; there are no restrictions on digesters.
  • Modifies the distributed generation program by raising the current cap of 1% and increases it to 10%. A distributed generation program allows customers to install residential renewable energy to offset their bill.
  • Requires electric providers to have an energy waste reduction plan that has been approved under the requirements of the Michigan Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act.
  • Requires the MPSC to identify environmental justice communities as well as encourage grant making to the communities with the highest energy burden.
  • Requires the MPSC to whether an integrated resources plan would make adequate progress towards the elimination of adverse effects on human health due to generation or if the plan would adequately reduce harm to the health, safety, and welfare of environmental justice communities. 
  • Requires prevailing wages and project labor agreements for the construction and maintenance of clean energy projects. 

Contact: Andrew Vermeesch

Environmental Oversight

Senate Bill 393-394 and House Bill 4826, sponsored by Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D- Keego Harbor) and Rep. Sharon MacDonnell (D-Troy) respectively, would eliminate the state’s Environmental Science Advisory Board, Environmental Permit Review Commission and 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 393-394 on Nov. 2 and await consideration by the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee. House Bill 4826 passed the House on Nov. 9 and awaits consideration by the Senate Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee. Read the related Farm News story.  

Contact: Ben Tirrell 

Land Division

Introduced by Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), Senate Bill 480 would amend the land division act to specify if a parcel has not been farmland in the preceding three years, a local government may authorize further partitioning or splitting of the parcel into a greater number of parcels than previously allowed. Farm Bureau policy supports creating dense communities and therefore supports the legislation. SB 480 passed the Senate on Nov. 8 and awaits consideration by the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee.

Contact: Rebecca Park

Deer/Elk Baiting License

Introduced by Sen. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton), Senate Bill 612 would allow individuals to purchase a deer/elk baiting license at a cost of $15 for Michigan residents and $30 for nonresidents.

Farm Bureau has concerns with the bill in its current form and has not yet taken a position. SB 612 has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee. 

Contact: Andrew Vermeesch

4-H Foundation License Plate

House Bills 5056 and 5058, sponsored by Reps. Reggie Miller (D-Van Buren Twp) and Matthew Bierlein (R-Vassar), would authorize the secretary of state to develop and issue a fundraising license plate recognizing the Michigan 4-H. Funds generated by plate purchases would be directed to the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Farm Bureau supports the legislation. Both bills passed the House on Nov. 8 and await consideration by the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  

Contact: Andrew Vermeesch

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Rob Anderson

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