Michigan Municipal League Honors Representatives Ellison and Yaroch as 2021 Legislators of the Year
League Statement on U.S. Senate Passing Stimulus
ANN ARBOR, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League honored State Reps. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) and Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) recently as the League’s 2021 Legislators of the Year.
Rep. Ellison and Rep. Yaroch received the recognition this week during the League’s 2021 virtual Capital Conference.
Rep. Ellison represents the cities of Royal Oak and Madison Heights in the 26th State House District. Rep. Yaroch represents the 33rd House District in northeast Macomb County. Both are in their third and final terms in the State House.
“Both Rep. Ellison and Rep. Yaroch came to the State Capitol with extensive experience in local government,” said Westland Mayor and League Board President William Wild. “It should be no surprise that their backgrounds have led to them being staunch and effective advocates, not just for their own communities, but on behalf of municipalities across the state.”
Rep. Ellison was first elected to the Royal Oak City Commission in 1991 and followed that with seven consecutive terms as the city’s mayor. Rep. Yaroch followed a similar path, serving 17 years on the Richmond City Council from 1999 to 2016 prior to his election to the state Legislature.
During the 2019-2020 legislative term, Rep. Ellison was co-chair of the bi-partisan Legislative Municipal Caucus, a group of more than 30 House and Senate legislators who previously served in an elected or appointed capacity in their municipal government. He worked tirelessly in that capacity to support the League’s municipal finance reform efforts.
The hearings he helped organize on critical issues like revenue sharing and the interactions of Headlee and Proposal A led to his introduction of House Bill 6454 in December which would have restored the opportunity for Headlee roll-ups and removed “pop-ups” from the rollback formula to allow local governments to recover more quickly from drops in property values.
In his role on the House Tax Policy Committee, Rep. Ellison has worked closely with the League in opposition to tax cut proposals that would negatively impact local government finances. He also helped develop proposals that identified opportunities for local communities to develop new revenue sources.
“As someone who has spent more than 20 years in local government, I have felt it to be my responsibility to offer my on-the-ground experience to my colleagues in the Legislature,” said Ellison. “I’ve always appreciated the work the League has done to educate local elected officials on important policy issues, and I have appreciated the opportunity to now work with them in my time as a legislator to craft policies that help our communities remain great places to live, work, and visit.”
Rep. Yaroch earned a reputation for proudly wearing his local government hat while serving as a key member of the House Appropriations Committee where he would constantly share with his legislative colleagues the importance of local control and the need to restore revenue sharing. Yaroch also championed legislation to reimburse local governments for revenues lost due to the state-imposed disabled veteran property tax exemption. He also sponsored legislation in consultation with the League for more oversight and local authority over mobile home parks and key parts of the League-supported public notice reform package.
Rep. Yaroch has also been a strong advocate for the need to provide additional local authority over issues like fireworks, as well as reforming the state’s emergency management laws and for changing the PA 51 distribution formula for road funding to better reflect more urbanized areas.
His 27 years of experience as a firefighter/paramedic allowed him the ability to provide valuable insight to League staff on policy issues impacting our first responders. The League worked together with Yaroch to champion legislation that banned the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS for training exercises. Thanks to his efforts, all Michigan firefighters will now be trained on the risks of foam containing PFAS, which will help protect Michigan communities from the threat of future contamination.
“Every legislator brings their personal experiences to the job in Lansing, and I am proud to be able to offer my insights as a first responder and local elected official,” Yaroch said.
“I have not forgotten that I came from local government and I will continue to advocate for our hard-working local leaders who must deal with unfunded mandates and the burdensome regulations of state government,” said Yaroch.
For additional information contact the League’s Matt Bach, assistant director of strategic communications, at (810) 874-1073 (cell) and [email protected].
Michigan Municipal Leagueis dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at mml.org.