Policy Watch List

A series of very concerning Michigan Senate Bills and House Bills were introduced in lame-duck session and we need your help opposing these dangerous bills! If passed, they will cause destruction of our lakes, streams, wetlands, forests, prairies, and the Great Lakes.  Read below for a summary of these bills.

Senate Bill No. 1188 and its progeny (1188-1194):

These bills would prohibit all local units of government from adopting or enforcing any ordinance that prohibits or restricts removal of trees and vegetation anywhere except on residential property. These bills may also prohibit planning commissions from requiring projects to have protected natural areas, regardless of whether the purpose is to manage stormwater, provide buffers, or preserve unique natural features. Many local governments in our watershed have ordinances and site plan review provisions to protect trees and vegetation, especially riparian vegetation that is so vital for healthy water and aquatic habitats.

Status: This bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Local Government.


Senate Bill No. 1211:

This bill would amend the state’s existing wetland (NREPA Part 303) and inland lakes and stream (NREPA Part 301) laws, which would weaken protection and enforcement of these resources and would limit Environmental Protection Agency oversight. This bill will leave half a million acres of wetlands, thousands of miles of streams, and thousands of inland lakes and impoundments without protection.

Status: This bill passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness.

House Bill No. 4205:

First introduced in February of 2017, this is known as the “No Stricter Than Federal” bill, which prohibits state agencies in Michigan from adopting environmental protections that are stronger than federal standards. That means we are leaving the health of our environment and our people in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PFAS chemicals are not federally regulated and, if passed, this would make it more difficult for Michigan to enact drinking water rules to address this crisis.

Status: This bill passed the Senate and has been postponed temporarily, but could be voted on by the House any day now.

House Bills No. 5752 & 5753

Although Michigan is the only state in the nation without a statewide septic code and inspection system, this bill appears to strip local governments’ ability to enforce already adopted Point of Sale and Time of Transfer septic ordinances and preempt local governments from doing septic related ordinances in the future. This bill only requires septic inspections under certain circumstances and provides inadequate funding for local health departments in charge of enforcement.   

Status: These bills have been referred to the House Committee on Local Government.

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! All of these bills have gained traction VERY QUICKLY.  Please consider emailing or calling your State Senator (find that information here) AND your State Representative (find that information here) to voice your opposition to these bills ASAP. Or you may contact the Committees who will vote next on these bills directly.

Below are talking points that may be useful:

Senate Bill No. 1188 and its progeny (1188-1194):

  • Communities that value trees and vegetation so crucial for healthy water and healthy land should be allowed to utilize zoning and planning tools intended to protect these resources.
  • These bills set a dangerous precedent for local control of local matters.

Senate Bill No. 1211:

  • This bill eliminates wetland protection for nearly 50% of our remaining wetlands so critical for healthy water, which have already been significantly reduced under current law.
  • Our small lakes and streams provide valuable fish and wildlife spawning and nursery habitat and this bill strips protection for over 5,000 lakes and nearly 36% of our small tributaries.

House Bill No. 4205:

  • Environmental and public health threats that are priorities in Michigan may not be a priority for the EPA – our state deserves the right to adopt standards that protect our people, our water, our land, and our air, despite federal actions.
  • The health of our communities should not be left up to a federal agency with a recent track record of unraveling laws and rules meant to protect people and the environment.

House Bill No. 5752 & 5753

  • A statewide septic code is an important step in protecting the health of our water and our people, though it should not be quickly jammed through a lame-duck session without careful consideration.
  • A statewide septic code should require frequent inspections so that all onsite septic systems are routinely evaluated for potential failures.
  • It is important that local governments have the ability to provide further environmental and public health protections beyond the state minimum.

Sample email:

Dear Senator/Representative,

There are a series of Senate and House Bills being considered that are dangerous for our water, our land, our economy, and our public health.

I strongly oppose State Senate Bill No. 1188 and its progeny, as they undermine local control over local matters and have the potential to greatly reduce tree and vegetation resources so crucial for healthy water, land, air, and people.  

I strongly oppose State Senate Bill No. 1211 as it eliminates wetland protection for nearly 50% of our remaining wetlands and many of our small inland lakes and ephemeral streams, all of which are critical nursery, spawning, and rookery habitat for our fish and wildlife.

House Bill No. 4205 defers critical decisions about the protection of our natural resources and public health to the federal government, which poses a threat to our people, our land, our water, and our air.

Finally, House Bills 5752 and 5753 are poor septic bill compromises that do not contain the inspection requirements needed to ensure our water and our public health remain protected.

Please do not vote for these bills. They are bad and dangerous policies. We need to ensure Pure Michigan means pure, clean water, robust ecosystems, and healthy people.


[Your Name]

Last updated 12-11-2018

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