blog, articles & publications

JEFF SLUGGETT TO SPEAK AT THE MICHIGAN MUNICIPAL LEAGUE CAPITAL CONFERENCE

Jeff Sluggett will be a speaker March 21-22 at the Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference, a conference for state and federal issues affecting local communities.  The Conference is sponsored by the Michigan Municipal League and will be held in Lansing at the Lansing Center. Jeff will be speaking on telecommunications issues.  For more information please visit http://www.mml.org/home.html.  Read More

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

Jeff Sluggett to Speak at Local Government Academy in Lansing

Jeff Sluggett will be a speaker on May 18th at the Local Government Academy, a three-day seminar for  newer lawyers sponsored by the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. The Academy is held in Lansing. Jeff will be speaking on public right of way issues.  Read More

Sign Regulation/U.S. Supreme Court Decision

Recently, in Reed v. Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a sign ordinance under the First Amendment in a case that may have broad implications for local sign regulations.  Although the case arose in the context of temporary sign regulations, the case may affect any local sign ordinance that distinguishes between signs based on the content of signs.  In light of Reed v. Gilbert, it is important for municipalities to review their sign ordinances to determine if the regulations differentiate between signs based upon the message conveyed by signs.  If so, those ordinance provisions should be reviewed for possible amendment to minimize the risk of legal challenges under the First Amendment.  Please let us know if we can assist you.  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

BSM Client Prevails in Property Tax Exemption Case

BSM recently represented the City of Kentwood in the case of SBC Health Midwest, Inc v City of Kentwood (Michigan Tax Tribunal No. 416230).  The petitioner was claiming a property tax exemption going back to 2011 for approximately $600,000 of personal property that it owned and used in the operation of a for-profit college (Sanford Brown).  The City denied the exemption on the grounds that for-profit schools are not entitled to property tax exemptions under state law.  The property owner appealed and, after careful consideration of the legal arguments and evidence presented by the City, the Michigan Tax Tribunal agreed with the City that for-profit schools are not entitled to the exemption.  The Tax Tribunal’s decision was reprinted in the November edition of the Michigan Assessor Magazine, which you can read hereFor more information about this case, how it may impact property in your jurisdiction, or to discuss how BSM may be able to help you with other property tax related questions, please contact Crystal Morgan at BSM.   Read More

Bloom Sluggett Morgan Partners Recognized as Super Lawyers for 2013

The peer review group Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters, has again named Cliff Bloom and Jeff Sluggett as Super Lawyers in the practice area of Government/Municipal Law.  We thank our clients for making this recognition possible.  Read More