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Senate committee to consider exception to governmental immunity

Posted on May 4, 2012 by sharkins

On Tuesday, May 8 the Senate Energy & Technology Committee is holding a hearing on Senate Bill 1084, a bill that would create an exception for governmental immunity for a municipal corporation with respect to its obligations under the MISS-DIG Act.

The bill redefines “proprietary function” as an exception to governmental immunity and specifically defines acts under the MISS-DIG Act to be proprietary functions rather than governmental functions. This would create liability on behalf of our communities that damage a utility’s underground storage facility even while undertaking quintessential governmental functions such as replacing sewer lines, rebuilding roads, etc.

At a time when the legislature has repeatedly cut funding and is currently considering a repeal of personal property tax, this legislation will impose greater financial hardships on our communities.

The League will be testifying in opposition to this legislation as it fundamentally departs from the long-established statutory and judicial interpretations of governmental immunity.

We encourage you to contact your Senators and ask them to oppose this legislation.

Samantha Harkins works for the Michigan Municipal League handling municipal services and energy and technology issues.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org

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