Water Affordability Proposal Introduced

Oct 6, 2023

by Liz Gullett

As MLC’s Communications and Social Media Manager, Liz Gullett keeps clients informed and up-to-date on the goings on in Lansing and the Capitol.

Legislation aimed at ensuring all residents can afford drinking water was introduced this week in both chambers. The proposed reforms come from the work undertaken by a workgroup convened by Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), which was comprised of water providers, local government officials, clean water advocates, environmental groups, community action agencies, and staff from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Key Points:

    • The legislation creates a low-income water residential affordability program, which would ensure water bills for low-income households don’t exceed 3% of that household’s income. It includes tiers developed for lower thresholds based on a percentage of the federal poverty limit.
    • The proposal includes forgiveness for past-due arrearages up to $1,500 in the first year, an additional $1,500 in the second year, and more if there is a demonstrated extreme need.
    • A Low-Income Water Affordability Fund would be created, funded through a $2 per meter monthly funding factor on water bills.
    • The legislation makes changes to water shutoffs, requiring a provider to notify a customer who is facing a shutoff at least four times. It also protects residents from a shutoff if they have a health condition requiring access to water.

Next Steps:

    • The Senate bills were referred to the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee.
    • The House bills were referred to the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Committee.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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