Government Affairs Update
Legislation (action since previous report)
Senate Bill 35 – Reintroduction of legislation to regulate charitable gaming millionaire parties. Passed by the Senate on February 9, 34 – 3. Referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee.
Senate Bills 36 and 38 – Legislation to allow inclusion of fingerprint/photograph of a person with special health care needs in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and statewide network of photos upon request of parent or guardian. Passed by the Senate on February 9, 37 – 0. Referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 4001 – Legislation to phase out Michigan’s personal income tax. House Republicans have begun to advance bills that would phase out the state’s personal income tax over a period of 40 years beginning January 1, 2018. HB 4001 was reported from the House Tax Policy Committee on Wednesday, despite strong reservations from Governor Snyder and a cool reaction from the state Senate. It’s estimated that if enacted as written HB 4001 would reduce state revenue by $680 million in FYH 2018, $1.12 billion in FY 2019, and $400 million more in each successive year. As written the bill does not create alternative sources of revenue to the phased-out income tax.
House Bills 4170, 4171, 4173 and 4174 – Legislation to create a Physician Scope of Treatment form and modify other sections of law, including orders to Do Not Resuscitate and guardians’ ability to execute POST forms under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, accordingly. All four bills were referred to the House Health Policy Committee.
House Bill 4225 – Legislation to add children in residential foster care who require any level of mental health treatment in the list of priority populations for community mental health service providers. Introduced by Representative Kosowski, referred to the House Health Policy Committee.
Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
Governor Snyder released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 on February 8. The Governor’s proposal is largely a continuation budget of the current year but does include some proposed spending increases of note (further detail below).
Legislative budget committees have now begun their schedules of department presentations, fiscal agency overviews and public testimony. Hearings will continue through March, with a goal of having subcommittees report out their recommendations before the legislative spring recess (March 31 through April 18).
The House DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hear public testimony on Monday, February 27, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The subcommittee has allocated specific blocks of time for various topic areas (link to hearing notice below). The Senate DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee has also scheduled public hearings that will include opportunity for public testimony (Medicaid, Tuesday, February 28 at 2:30; behavioral health, Thursday, March 2, at 2:30). Time and location of these hearings frequently change, so please stay in contact with The Arc Michigan if you plan to attend.
Below are links to the House Fiscal Agency review of the Governor’s proposal and a similar review prepared by the Senate Fiscal Agency. The Department of Health & Human Services budget is addressed on pages 34 – 37 of the House document, and on pages 20-21 of the Senate document
As previously noted, the Governor’s proposal is largely a continuation budget of the current year, particularly in the area of health and human services.
His proposal does assume continuation of, and provides full funding of, both traditional Medicaid and the Healthy Michigan Plan. In his presentation to the Legislature, he noted that if and when federal changes to Medicaid and/or the ACA occur, the budget would need to be reopened but that he doesn’t expect to impact FY 2018 in any case.
The Governor recommends $14.2 million General Fund ($45 million total) in new funding to support direct care workers in the community mental health system. This increase would provide an hourly increase of approximately $.50 per hour. Advocates for the increase acknowledge this proposal as an important first step but urge that the increase be $1.00 per hour each year for the next three years to meaningfully affect recruitment and retention of direct care workers.
The Governor also recommends $4.8 million General Fund ($7.2 million total) to add 72 acute care staff at four state psychiatric facilities and recommends construction of a new replacement facility for the Caro Center; estimated project cost is $115 million, to be financed by the State Building Authority.
The Governor recommends an increase of $6 million for the MI Choice/Home and Community Based Waiver.
In boilerplate language, the Governor’s proposal acknowledges the ongoing work of the Section 298 Stakeholder Workgroup but provides no further direction, except that the workgroup’s efforts must continue to build on the values of person centered planning with the expectation of high quality and consistent care statewide. Other boilerplate sections require that a CHMSP provide at least 30 days’ notice before reducing, terminating or suspending services (section 942); require MDHHS to work with PIHPs and others to include any state and federal wage and compensation increases that directly impact staff providing Medicaid-funded community living supports, personal care services, respite services, skill-building services and other similar supports and services in their rate-setting processes (section 920); and require MDHHS to work with community mental health service programs to determine and reallocate funds when there may be local funding shortfalls and surpluses (section 940).
This week the House Republican caucus released its 2017-2018 Action Plan. The document presents 5 broad themes (Governing Courageously; Partnering with Local Communities; Thriving Through Freedom; Valuing Our Culture of Life; and Training The Next Generation) encompassing 24 policy areas, but includes few specific initiatives or announcements of pending legislation. The document prioritizes “Lifting up the mentally ill and their families”, specifically in the context of preventing incarceration, but does not offer details.
Governor Snyder has called for a special election to replace Representative Brian Banks (1st district/Detroit). The primary election to fill that vacancy will be on August 8 and the general election will be on November 7. Rep. Banks resigned his seat earlier this month. Rep. Banks’ committee assignments have been replaced as follows: Rep. Tim Greimel assuming minority vice chair status of the House Insurance Committee: Rep. Abdullah Hammoud assigned to the House Insurance Committee; Rep. Jeremy Moss assigned to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules; and Rep. Terry Sabo assigned to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
State Senator Mike Nofs has replaced State Senator Goeff Hansen on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Health & Human Services.
Governor Snyder has announced Dick Posthumus as his new Chief of Staff. Mr. Posthumus had been serving as the Governor’s Director of Legislative Affairs; he will be succeeded in that position by Darin Ackerman.
The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services has announced that it is seeking public input on draft financing models for improved coordination of Medicaid physical and behavioral health services (the section 298 discussion). Input will be accepted until February 28 and can be provided through an online survey available at:
A public forum to gather comments is scheduled for February 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. A final report, including possible revised financing model proposals, will be submitted to the Legislature on March 15.