Proposal lets the Governor transfer land without first going through Legislature*
LANSING - State Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) and Pam Faris (D-Clio) today voted against House Bill 5725, which was reported by the House Appropriations Committee which allows the administration to do a run around the legislature when it comes to conveying ownership of state property to other organizations.
“This bill cuts the Legislature out of the approval process and lets the governor and administration officials make a mockery of our checks-and-balance system by allowing the transfer of most state-owned property without approval from the Legislature,” said Tlaib, who is Democratic vice chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. “We regularly vote on land transfer bills, but this bill means that we would only hear about transfers when the fair market or appraised value is more than $250,000. This is a power grab by the governor and we should stop it.”
Currently, when agencies want to transfer surplus state-owned property, the Department of Technology Management and Budget (DTMB) has to have a bill allowing that transfer introduced and voted on by both the state House and Senate. HB 5725 would allow DTMB to convey this property without legislation. In certain cases, DTMB would only have to notify the House and Senate Appropriations Committees of their intent to transfer ownership.
“The people of Michigan deserve to know what the state is doing with publicly-owned land, but under this bill, they won’t have any idea of what land is being transferred or sold and who is getting it,” said Zemke, who is a member of the Appropriations Committee. “It goes against the very idea of democracy for Gov. Snyder to try to hide this information from the Legislature and convey it without the input the people of Michigan.”
“Changing the way state-owned land is transferred to another owner or organization is yet another example of this administration acting in the shadows,” said Faris, also a member of the Appropriations Committee. “From his skunk works committee to revamp education, to steering contracts to his cousin, and now to wanting to give away state-owned property without a vote of the Legislature, this governor continues to do things his way at the expense of transparency. State-owned land means that it is owned by the people of Michigan, and they deserve to know what will happen to the land and property the governor wants to give away.”
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State Representative Adam Zemke
55th House District