blog, articles & publications

Legislative Alert - Two Notable Bills Headed to Governor's Desk

Two pieces of legislation are headed to the desk of the Governor and, if signed, could impact Michigan’s municipalities.  Read More

Freedom of Information Act Deadline - July 1, 2015

PA 563 of 2014 ("PA 563") amended the Michigan Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") effective July 1, 2015.  PA 563 amends FOIA in several major respects including the manner in which fees and costs may be charged for responding to FOIA requests.  Pursuant to PA 563, all municipalities in Michigan must have in effect by July 1, 2015 new written procedures and guidelines to implement the amended FOIA.  If a municipality does not comply with these new requirements by July 1, 2015, that municipality will still be required to process and respond to FOIA requests but will not be permitted to charge fees and costs for those responses unless and until the municipality comes into compliance.  If your municipality needs assistance with establishing and implementing the new procedures and guidelines required by PA 563, please contact Bloom Sluggett Morgan, PC.  Read More

Public Meeting Invocation Decision:

Recently, in Town of Greece, New York v Galloway, the United States Supreme Court considered whether a prayer given before monthly town board meetings violated the Establishment Clause.  Since 1999 the town of Greece began inviting local clergy to deliver an invocation before the town board meeting.  The local clergy, all of who were unpaid volunteers, were selected from a local directory of congregations and were free to determine the content of their invocations.  While the town maintained that any minster or layperson was welcome to give the invocation; from 1999-2007, all the participating minsters were Christian.  Read More

Urban Farming: Better Direction

The degree to which a local government can regulate or restrict urban farming has, until recently, been unclear. However, in April the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development approved the 2014 Site Selection Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices (“GAAMPs”) under the Michigan Right to Farm Act, which provide better direction for local units of government.  Read More

LEGISLATIVE ALERT - ORV Regulation - Public Roads

The Legislature has enacted several laws that affect the regulation of Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) on public roads.  Public Acts 117-119 of 2013 amended various sections of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to expand the areas where ORVs may be allowed on county roads and state highways from certain northern counties to the entire state.  As a result, the authority to permit ORVs on public roadways has now been extended to all “southern counties” which are defined as Muskegon, Kent, Ionia, Clinton, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, or Macomb counties and any other county lying south of those counties.  Public Acts 117-119 address the authority of all counties, cities, villages, and townships throughout Michigan to permit the operation of ORVs on public roadways and to close county roads to ORVs when otherwise permitted by county or local ordinance.     Read More

New Medical Marijuana Ruling

On January 29, 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the uncompensated transfer of marijuana between registered qualifying patients constitutes protected "medical use" of marijuana as permitted by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act ("MMMA").  See People v Green, Docket No. 308133 (January 29, 2013), which can be found here.  While the Court of Appeals reaffirmed that patient-to-patient sales of marihuana are still not protected under the MMMA, Michigan v McQueen, 293 Mich App 644, 653; 811 NW2d 513 (2011), the decision in Green will not only impact enfocement of state statutes regarding the transfer or delivery of marijuana, but could have significant local impacts as well.  Our attorneys have extensive experience with the MMMA and drafting and reviewing local ordinances, including ordinances addressing medical marijuana dispensaries.  If your municipality is interested in discussing the Green decision or any other medical marijuana issues, please contact our office.  Read More

LEGISLATIVE ALERT-Open Meetings Act-Special Meeting Notice Requirements

The Michigan Legislature recently amended the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”) regarding the notice requirements for special meetings.  Effective December 28, 2012, PA 528 amended Section 5 of the OMA to provide that if a public body directly or indirectly maintains a website that includes monthly (or more frequent) updates of public meeting agendas or minutes, the public body must post the notice of a special meeting in a prominent and conspicuous place on its website (in addition to posting the notice at its principal office) at least 18 hours before the meeting.  Read More

LEGISLATIVE ALERT - Recall Petitions and Elections

The Legislature recently approved HB 6060 and HB 6063 which make significant changes to the procedure for recall petitions and recall elections.  The bills were signed by the Governor on December 20 and are now in effect as Pubic Acts 417 and 418 of 2012.  Below is our summary of the bills and the provisions as they relate to the recall of local elected officials:  Read More

LEGISLATIVE ALERT: Personal Property Taxes

The Legislature passed a package of bills on December 14 to eliminate personal property tax (PPT) and to provide a mechanism for reimbursement to local taxing units for lost PPT revenues.  The bills were signed by Governor Snyder on December 20.  Certain aspects of this legislation are complicated and remain under review.  Thus, check back for further updates.  In the meantime, we hope that you will find this preliminary summary of each of the bills in the legislation (including the Public Act number assigned to each of the bills) helpful.  Please note that as the result of last minute amendments, the bills eliminating the PPT (marked with an asterisk below) provide that they will be repealed or will not take effect if voters do not approve HB 6026 at a State-wide vote in 2014.  (HB 6026 is the bill that amends the Use Tax Act to provide for reimbursement of local taxing units from a portion of the Michigan use tax.).  Read More