LANSING, Mich. (2/12/13)--Sponsors of state legislation that reintroduces proposed fines and other sanctions for blight violations issued by qualified municipalities are working with the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates and other groups to modify the bill.
The modifications to Senate Bill 35-39 would be based on recognition that the legislation is designed to target "bad actors" and that financial institutions largely are not the cause of damage to neglected properties, said the league (Michigan Monitor Feb. 11).
"Michigan has gone through extremely tough times over the past several years, and issues related to blight must be addressed in comprehensive fashion," said MCUL CEO David Adams (Michigan Monitor Feb. 11). "This includes a necessary recognition that financial institutions need to be partners in this effort, and not just deeper pockets to target for fines."
The legislation "must also include a larger discussion about abandoned property, the length of the foreclosure process and resulting property damage, criminal activity and enforcement capacity for protecting vacated homes," he added.
The state Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5 took testimony on S.B. 35-39., whose key sponsor is Sen. Virgil Smith (D-Detroit). Gov. Rick Snyder had called for action on the legislation in his State of the State address, said the league.
The legislation may become part of an umbrella initiative on blight, which includes stronger regulation of the scrap metal industry to prevent the stripping of metal from residential property, procedures to identify abandoned property and expedite its foreclosure, and possible reforms to the foreclosure process, said the league.
"We applaud Sen. Smith and his colleagues for their recognition of the broader issues involved, and the positive role that credit unions can and do play in this process," Adams said.