State of Michigan Legislative Updates: Fair Housing in Continuing Education Bill Passed by State House and Senate, Land Division Act Passed by State Senate, Understanding the Clean and Renewable Energy Bills passed by the State House and Senate
There was a flurry of activity this past week as the Michigan State Legislature will be adjourning for the year at noon on Tuesday, November 14th after passing “sine die” (legislative proceedings that have been adjourned with no appointed date for resumption) legislation (Detroit Free Press). This action will enable legislation passed to move the Michigan presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to the fourth Tuesday in February after a 90-day window (covered in item 3 of the Oct. 16th GAD Top 3). This activity included two wins for Michigan REALTORS®, the passing of the Fair Housing Continuing Education Bill and the Michigan Senate passing the Land Division Act. This week we will also provide some context for the Clean and Renewable Energy Bills passed as well which have been grabbing a lot of the headlines of the State legislation passed last week.
1. Fair Housing in Continuing Education Bill Passed by State House and Senate
Passed with strong support from both the Michigan State House and Senate the Fair Housing in Continuing Education Bill (House Bill 4717) will now head to the Governor’s desk for her signature and its enactment. Assuming this bill is signed by the Governor, it will require all real estate licensees to complete at least one hour of continuing education focused on Fair Housing Law each calendar year. This change will not add to the existing requirement to take 18 hours of continuing education during a 3-year licensing cycle. With the enactment of this bill, the mandatory 18 hours of CE during a 3-year licensing cycle CE requirements will adjust to:
- 6 hours of Legal Education (2 hours annually)
- 3 hours of Fair Housing Law (1 hour annually)
- 9 hours of Elective Continuing Education
2. Land Division Act Passed by State Senate
The Michigan State Senate on Wednesday, Nov. 8th passed the Land Division Act (Senate Bill 480) which would “increase, from four to 20, the number of parcels that the first 10 acres of a parent parcel or tract could be divided into.” It would also allow a municipality to authorize further partitioning or splitting of land into a greater number of parcels if the land meets the standards established by the municipality in which it is located. According to testimony, this allowance could decrease the cost of lots by $15,000 to $20,000 if the lot had already made legal splits under the current statute. This will hopefully be another step forward in incentivizing more construction of affordable housing (Summary of Bill 480 reported from committee).
3. Understanding the Clean and Renewable Energy Bills passed by the State House and Senate
The talk of the town in Lansing was the passing of a package of clean energy bills, which includes one of the most aggressive state-level clean energy targets in the nation. This clean energy bill package includes Senate Bills 271, 273, 502, and 519 and House Bill 5120. The key bill is Senate Bill 271 which would require electric providers regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to achieve a renewable energy credit portfolio of at least the following:
- 15% through 2029
- 50% in 2030 through 2034
- 60% beginning in 2035
Senate Bill 271 will also require an electric provider to achieve a clean energy portfolio of at least the following:
- 80% in 2035 through 2039
- 100% beginning in 2040
The other big energy bill in the package is House Bill 5120, which would give the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) permitting authority for all solar projects and battery projects over 50 megawatts and wind projects over 100 megawatts (source: Michigan just passed one of the country’s most ambitious clean energy bills) Although local units of government are given some role in the approval process of clean-energy projects, the ultimate authority rests with the MPSC. Renewable energy projects have stirred a lot of controversy in the Northwest Lower Michigan region and now these projects may be implemented without local approval. Some concerns have been raised about what this energy bill package will do to energy reliability and if it may drive up energy costs. Something to keep an eye on as Michigan moves forward with these clean energy goals.