News - Advocacy Update
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Penal Fines Distributed to Public Libraries

October 28, 2021

While it is true that penal fines have never been intended to be a primary source of a library’s budget, some Michigan public libraries rely on penal fines as an important and reliable “piece of the pie.” Linked here is the chart of penal fine distributions for public libraries compiled by Kathy Webb at the Library of Michigan.

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Call to Action - Contact Your Representatives to Oppose Legislation That Diverts Penal Fines

October 14, 2021

House Bills 4535 and 4536 were introduced earlier this year by Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord. House Bill 4535 (HB 4535) would prohibit wheeled vehicles from driving on snowmobile trails between December 1 and April 1. House Bill 4536 (HB 4536) would direct the fines from these violations to be deposited into an account for the further maintenance of the snowmobile trails.

On Thursday, June 17, both bills passed out of the Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation to the Michigan House of Representatives on a unanimous vote, despite MLA testimony in opposition. Today, the bills were read for a second time in the House and are headed to a vote next Tuesday, October 19. This is a Call to Action by MLA to oppose House Bill 4536.

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State of Michigan Budget Updates

September 23, 2021

Last week, legislative leadership and Governor Whitmer’s administration issued a joint announcement that a budget deal had been finalized for the FY22 state budget.  On Tuesday, Sept. 21, legislative leaders moved a massive $50 billion spending plan out of a joint House-Senate conference committee that has shaped the FY22 general government omnibus budget.  On Wednesday, Sept. 22, the House and Senate, in separate votes,  gave quick approval to the spending plan. The Governor has indicated she will sign it in time for it to take effect for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Linked here is the summary of the General Omnibus Conference Report which outlines the updates and changes to the General Fund: https://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/Summaries/21s82s3cr1_General_Omnibus_Conference_Report.pdf

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State of Michigan Budget Updates

July 22, 2021

With summer recess in full swing, work on the state of Michigan’s general fund budget continues. The Senate also voted to push back the state’s budget deadline for this year to September 1 (from July 1) so we continue to hope for an increase in state aid to libraries. The Governor’s and House version of the budget called for a flat budget for state aid. The Senate version called for a $2M increase. Our hope is that the Senate version will be adopted (of course!) and we will continue to advocate for this increase when legislators return to work.

While we wait for consensus-building on the general fund budget, Governor Whitmer has already signed into law the School Aid budget. In early July, House Bill 4411 marked a historical moment for the state by reaching the goal of eliminating the funding gap between districts at the minimum and maximum foundation allowances, as set forth by Proposal A of 1994. The bill finalizes the fiscal year 2022 School Aid budget, which totals $17.1 billion including $85.4 million from the state’s general fund and provides cost adjustments and supplemental funding for the current 2021 year. 

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MLA Opposes House Bill 4536

June 24, 2021

House Bills 4535 and 4536 were recently introduced by Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord. House Bill 4535 (HB 4535) would prohibit wheeled vehicles from driving on snowmobile trails between December 1 and April 1. House Bill 4536 (HB 4536) would direct the fines from these violations to be deposited into an account for the further maintenance of the snowmobile trails.

On Thursday, June 17, both bills passed out of the Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation on a unanimous vote, despite MLA testimony in opposition.

Penal and civil fines, which are variable across each of our counties, along with state aid to libraries, are the only legislatively directed sources of revenue for libraries. Between 2016 and 2020, in counties in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula where snowmobiling is most prevalent, per capita penal fine rates have dropped by as much as 100% (Arenac, Bay, Kalkaska, Montmorency, Schoolcraft) with a median loss of 26.6%.

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