Newsroom

Dec
02

The mParks legislative update provides an overview of proposed legislation, recent events, and related topics that affect Michigan’s parks & recreation industry.

Public Employees Retiree Health Care

In the current lame-duck session of the Michigan Legislature, Republicans in the state house introduced House Bills 6074-86 which address municipal retirees’ health care. The Michigan Municipal League has provided mParks the following synopsis of the proposals:

  • The proposal consists of 13 bills, solely focused on retiree health care. There is no proposal to address municipal pension systems.
    • Four main bills and nine trailer bills that will simply refer back to the changes made in the initial 4 bills
    • Four main bills will provide for a new act that specifies allowable retiree health benefits, a transparency/reporting bill, a PERA bill, and an amendment to PA 312 binding arbitration
  • The PERA amendment would state that retiree health benefit offerings are a prohibited subject of bargaining.
  • PA 312 (binding arbitration for police and fire) amendment would prohibit an arbitrator from issuing an order that includes retiree health benefits.
  • There is a trigger mechanism in the proposal so that it would only impact municipalities with a GASB-defined actuarially funded level for OPEB below 80%. No requirement for pre-funding for any community, regardless of current unfunded liability.
  • Package would address retiree health offering according to the type of employee
    • New hires after effective date could only be offered an employer contribution of a maximum of 2% of compensation towards a retirement health savings account. This offering is at the employer’s discretion.
    • Existing employees who do not retire before the expiration of current contract would be subject to a minimum cost share of 20% of their retirement health benefit. The specific cost share would be set by the city. Extensions or renewals of existing contracts could not include retiree health benefit offerings outside of the 80/20 cost share.For existing retirees, this same 80/20 cost share would be in effect, to the extent that the agreement they retired under does not offer a "vested" right to that benefit. This is a concept that is based on current case law and would allow changes to some, but not all retirees.
    • For existing retirees, this same 80/20 cost share would be in effect, to the extent that the agreement they retired under does not offer a "vested" right to that benefit. This is a concept that is based on current case law and would allow changes to some, but not all retirees.
  • Once a retiree qualifies for Medicare, the municipality could only offer to cover a Medicare supplemental insurance product at the same 80/20 cost share level.
  • Retirees would be ineligible to receive health insurance coverage from the municipality if health insurance coverage is available from another employer subsequent to their retirement from the municipality.
  • Based upon the remaining session schedule, a bill introduction on 11/30/16 would require committee action immediately following introduction with floor action in the House not eligible until 12/6/16 at the earliest. If the House moves the bills during the session week of 12/6-12/8, the bills would not be eligible to move in the Senate until the following week...12/13-12/15.
  • The bill package would have an effective date starting May 1 of 2017.

mParks Public Policy Committee will continue to monitor the bills in the remaining days of the current session and encourage you to investigate how this may affect your community. These bills are likely to move quickly in the few remaining days of this legislative session.

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund

On Wednesday, December 7, the MNRTF Board will award the 2016 acquisition and development grants. The final listing of the DNR Staff rankings for MNRTF, LWCF, and Recreation Passport can be found at

Preliminary estimates of the funds available for grants based on a spending rule of 2.5% of the Investment Fund balance(which is currently at $596,078,407) is projected to be $13,412,321.

  • 75% for acquisition = $10,059,000
  • 25% for development = $3,353,000

The Total Acquisition Projects Submitted = $31,614,300and total Development Projects Submitted = $28,616,400

At its November 18, 2016 meeting, the mParks Board of Directors, based on a recommendation of the Public Policy Committee, adopted a resolution encouraging the MNRTF Board to consider the increased use of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund stabilization fund for 2016 acquisition and development grants and if the stabilization funds are accessed for 2016, that there be an equitable allocation of funds for both acquisition and development projects. A letter has been sent to the DNR Grants staff and each member of the MNRTF Board urging their support of broader utilization of the stabilization fund.

Representatives of the mParks Public Policy Committee will be at the MNRTF Board on Wednesday morning. Updates will be provided in future eblasts.