LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would allow state agencies to create water quality regulations that are stricter than federal guidelines. The new Senate Bill 14 would repeal Public Act 602 of 2018, which Senate Democrats say will “allow state government to set the highest and best standards for Michigan’s drinking water.”

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) who called the existing law “restrictive.”

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“I was very concerned when the 2018 law passed because federal standards across the board are usually set to the lowest common denominator,” McCann said. “Michigan, because of its unique place nestled in the heart of Great Lakes, needs the authority to set higher standards for the protection of our natural resources, especially water.”

Current laws allow state agencies to adopt rules more stringent than federal regulations only if there is a clear and convincing need, or if a state statute specifically authorizes the rule. This is subject to an emergency rule and a provision exempting the amendment of special education programs and services rules. In a press release, the Senate Democrats said this “requires state officials to spend time and taxpayer dollars building a case for better protections any time they exceed the national standard, which delays the adoption of best practices and leaves residents vulnerable.”

According to the Bill Analysis published by the legislature, the new bill should have no fiscal impact on either state or local government.