UPDATE: The Senate has passed these bills. SB 1083 (S-4) and HB 1084 (S-1) each passed on a 26-12 vote.
The Senate will be taking up SB 1083 and SB 1084 today. The bills as passed by the Senate Energy and Technology Committee rewrite the MISS-DIG Act to create a structure to incent municipalities to comply with the Act. In those versions, if a local unit of government fails to comply with the Act it is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). A second violation results in a fine of up to $10,000. A third violation carries a fine of up to $15,000 and actual property damages. All of these fines are preventable by calling MISS-DIG. If facilities are mis-marked, that is not the fault of the local unit of government. The League opposed these in the Senate.
The S-3 substitute is below for SB 1083. Here are the changes:
1. Add effective compliance date for agricultural excavators of “not later than May 1, 2014”.
2. Provide for an “agriculture project ticket” that is good for 36 months provided:
a. Call to MISS DIG is made to mark the agricultural property;
b. Any facilities marked are located by the excavator pursuant to Section 5;
c. The excavator creates a map or diagram of all facilities including their depth at soft excavation interval sites;
d. The agricultural landowner keeps map as part of farm records and informs any employees working the fields of the location of all facilities and provides a copy of the location map to any lessee who works the field.
3. Exempt MI Dept. of Transportation from requirement to mark ITS facilities. (Note: MDOT is NOT exempt from the requirement to call MISS DIG when doing excavation nor from the municipal provisions of Section 12.
4. Possible new Section 10(?) or include elsewhere: “Notwithstanding other provisions of this act, and excavator that complies with this act shall not be responsible for damages that occur to an underground facility that is improperly marked, not marked, or that is determined to be within the “safe zone” as defined in this act.”
5. Page 12, line 15; delete “the location of”
6. Page 18, lines 3-4; the MPSC is suggesting the language of subsection (4) be changed to read something like: “A party to a complaint under Section 11 or Section 12 may file an appeal of a commission order under this Act in the Ingham County Circuit Court.” The reasoning is that all appeals of orders in complaint cases would go to the ICC, not just those arising out of the Sec. 12 process.
Samantha Harkins is Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at [email protected]