Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President
and Industry Relations

Legislature Approves Revised Judicature Act Change
The Michigan Senate and Michigan House of Representatives have passed a bill to amend the Revised Judicature Act in a section of the law relating to unlawful interference with a tenant’s possessory interest. Senate Bill 112 changes a provision in the law that protects a property owner from a violation of a tenant’s possessory interest in cases where the owner believes in good faith that the tenant has abandoned the premises. The legislation adds language that, in addition to the owner, a determination of abandonment could be made by a court officer, bailiff, or deputy sheriff. The original version of this legislation, sponsored by Senator Peter J. Lucido (R-8th District), actually replaced the ability of the owner to determine abandonment with a requirement that it be a court officer, bailiff, or deputy sheriff. After discussing the issue with Sen. Lucido, the original ownership determination of abandonment was added back. This is an important provision in the law, as a property owner found in violation under this section is subject to damages. The legislation now goes to Governor Whitmer for her approval.

Amendment to Elliott-Larson Act Proposed
A bill has recently been introduced in the Michigan Senate to amend the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act. Senate Bill 351 would amend all relevant sections of the act (title, scope, employment, real estate, etc.) to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression among the protected classes under the law. Currently, Michigan’s civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial status, and marital status. However, last year the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) ordered the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) to investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. MCRC interpreted the word “sex” in Elliott-Larson to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Posted in 2019, July 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Severe Weather And Evacuation Tips For Office and Home

Written By AJ Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

Tornadoes are the most erratic, most unpredictable and most violent of storms. They can happen anytime…anywhere, but are most common in Wyoming from May through September.

The tornado funnel may range from a few yards to nearly a mile in width. It may travel slowly or as fast as 60 mph. It may skip along or even make a U-turn. It may move along the ground a few hundred feet or several hundred miles. Learn the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.

Tornado Watch:
Indicates that conditions are right for a tornado to develop and that the sky should be watched. Be alert to changing weather conditions.

Tornado Warning:
Indicates a tornado has been sighted or that radar indicates one has developed or could develop within minutes. Warnings will give the location of the tornado and the area immediately affected by the warning. When a warning is issued, move quickly to shelter.

Immediate Dangers:
The immediate threat from tornadoes is danger to life and property from violently whirling winds and debris hurled through the air by the winds. Wind speeds in tornadoes can exceed 250 mph.

Long Term Dangers:
Long-term risks include the possibility of building collapse, fallen trees and power lines, broken gas lines, broken sewer and water mains, and the outbreak of fires. Agricultural crops and industries may be damaged or destroyed.

Straight-line Winds:

  • Responsible for most thunderstorm wind damage
  • Winds can exceed 100 mph!
  • One type of straight-line wind, the downburst, can cause damage equivalent to a strong tornado and can be extremely dangerous to aviation.
  • During the summer in the western states, thunderstorms often produce little rain but very strong wind gusts and dust storms.

Thunder Storm Facts:

  • Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared with hurricanes and winter storms.
  • The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes. Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring at any moment around the world. That’s 16 million a year!
  • Despite their small size, all thunderstorms are dangerous.
  • Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.
  • Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding.
  • Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some thunderstorms.
  • Of the estimated 100,000 thunderstorms that occur each year in the United States, only about 10 percent are classified as severe.
  • Your National Weather Service considers a thunderstorm severe if it produces hail at least 3/4-inch in diameter, wind 58 mph or higher, or tornadoes.
  • Take the time now to understand these dangers and learn basic safety rules!

Lightning:

  • Occurs with all thunderstorms.
  • Averages 93 deaths and 300 injuries each year.
  • Causes several hundred million dollars in damage to property and forests annually.
  • While the flashes we see as a result of a lightning strike travel at the speed of light (670,000,000 mph) an actual lightning strike travels at a comparatively gentile 270,000 mph.
  • This means it would take about 55 minutes to travel to the moon, or around 1.5 seconds to get from London to Bristol.
  • 1,400,000,000 strikes every year

Develop a Plan:

  • Pick two places to meet: A spot outside your home for an emergency and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend as your “family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated.
  • Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.
  • Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
  • Plan on how to take care of your pets and livestock.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Working with neighbors can save lives and property.
  • Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together before, during and after a disaster until help arrives.
  • Things to consider: Special skills (medical, technical), how to care for those with special needs (disabled or elderly), and child care in case the parents aren’t home or can’t get home.

Practice and Maintain Your Plan:

  • Quiz your kids and family every six months so they remember what to do.
  • Conduct emergency drills at Home and Work.
  • Replace stored water every three months and food every six months.
  • Test and Check your Fire Extinguishers.
  • Test your Smoke Detectors monthly.
  • Check the batteries in your flash lights and in your radio at least once a year.

Should you require assistance with understanding or applying the OSHA or MIOSHA Standards, please contact AJ Hale, CompOne Administrators Inc./Rizikon, at 269-789-9166 or ajhale@compone.net

Posted in 2019, JUNE 2019 | Comments Off on Severe Weather And Evacuation Tips For Office and Home

Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Water Billing Legislation Introduced

  • A Democratic effort in the Michigan Senate proposes significant water billing changes for local governments that own or operate a water or sewage system. Here are a few of the changes proposed under Senate Bill 271:
  • Municipalities must include on a bill the consumption in gallons (or provide a conversion factor) as well as the local water or sewerage rates for each component of the bill.
  • An option must be provided to customers to choose “levelized billing” which is a rolling average of customer water and sewerage use for the trailing 12 months.
  • Local government systems must eliminate fees based on the type of payment a customer makes or interest for past due bills.
  • Municipalities must adopt a dispute resolution process for a customer to dispute a bill. If the customer disputes a bill, the customer can withhold payment during the dispute, will not accrue interest during the dispute, and the municipality shall not turn off service during the dispute. Costs associated with one dispute per calendar year shall be borne by the municipality, with additional disputes to cost the customer 50% of the dispute resolution cost.
  • Requires municipal monitoring and notification for customer-side leaks.
  • Allows for civil remedies for municipal violation of the act.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee for consideration.

Take Advantage of AAM Resident Relations & Fair Housing Training

Over the years, AAM has provided member companies with many outstanding Fair Housing training seminars. Given the continued evolution of Fair Housing enforcement and changing points of emphasis, apartment owners and their employees need reliable and regular education. Please join us June 19th for our next Fair Housing program.
The fast paced workshop will cover site specific scenarios that your entire on site team faces every day. The presentations will include a Fair Housing overview, highlights of recent changes and a Q & A. Facilitators for the training are Kathleen Mabie of Success On Site and Matthew Paletz of Paletz Law.

The training will be held from 9 a.m. to Noon at Association offices in Bingham Farms. The cost is $69 per AAM or HBA member or $85 per guest.
Limited seating is available. Register early, online at www.apartments.org
or by calling 248-862-1004.

Posted in 2019, JUNE 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Common Sense and Accident Prevention Go Hand in Hand

Written by A J Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

Generally speaking, we’re not born with common sense, we acquire it throughout life. Common sense is really our life’s experiences (and training) put into action depending on the circumstances. Safety experts say at least 80 percent of workplace accidents are caused by the unsafe acts of employees – and not by unsafe conditions.

Common Sense Is Affected When The Following Conditions Exist

  • In A Hurry – Sometimes there is more concern for completing a job quickly than safely. Take time to do a good job and a safe job.
  • Taking Unnecessary Chances – Daring behavior or blatant disregard for safe work practices can put you and your co-workers at risk. Follow all company safety rules and watch out for your fellow employees. Risky behavior is never appropriate on the job and sometimes can lead to disciplinary action.
  • Mentally Preoccupied – We all have other “things” going on in our lives – family issues, financial issues, thinking and planning for things outside of work. But not concentrating while on the job can get you seriously hurt or even killed. Focus on the task at hand. If your mind is distracted while at work, you’re at far greater risk for an on-the-job injury.

The “It Will Never Happen to Me” Belief System

Maybe you’re experienced and good at your job and you’ve done a certain job or task hundreds of times the same way. So, what if you’re breaking the safety rules – an accident will never happen to you. Or will it?

Angry or In A Negative Mindset
Being angry or in a bad mood can lead to a serious on-the-job injury because anger almost always rules over caution, and sometimes can cause aggressive behavior or actions. Keep your “bad mood” in check and stay cool and in charge of your emotions while at work and you’ll be far less likely to get hurt.

What’s Similar about 8 Out of Every 10 Accidents?
Broken down even further, statistics state that at least 8 out of 10 workplace accidents are the result of unsafe acts, many of which are actions we take even though we know the safe procedure. This is kind of strange if you think about it. We have more to fear from our own actions than from any other job hazards around us. So why do we deliberately expose ourselves to injury every day? The two following “excuses” are the most popular answer to that question:

  1.  It Won’t Happen To Me
    Many of us are just thinking about getting the job done and we may not give much thought to the risk of getting injured. We know we’ve done this task or job the same way many, many times before and we’ve not gotten hurt. No matter what we hear at company safety meetings, or when mentioned by our supervisor, we think to ourselves – “it won’t happen to me.”It will happen to you – maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. But if you continue to work unsafely, you will get hurt. Don’t take chances and don’t use the “It won’t happen to me” excuse.
  2. We Take Shortcuts
    Another popular excuse I hear often from employees breaking a safety rule is “this job will only take a few moments, I don’t need my safety equipment” – so we take a safety “shortcut.” For example, not putting on our safety glasses because the task is short and your glasses are all the way back at your truck, or not sloping back that trench because we’ll soon finish work at the bottom of the trench and start backfilling.
    Just like the “It won’t happen to me” excuse, the safety “shortcut” excuse will eventually get you hurt.Why take a chance in the first place? Accidents can happen to you – and eventually they will happen if you continue to take safety shortcuts. Do the right thing and put safety first in every job or task you do and you won’t need any excuses.

Should you require assistance with understanding or applying the OSHA or MIOSHA Standards, please contact AJ Hale, CompOne Administrators Inc./Rizikon, at 269-789-9166 or ajhale@compone.net

Posted in 2019, May 2019 | Comments Off on Common Sense and Accident Prevention Go Hand in Hand

Advocacy Update

Written by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Whitmer Signs Eviction Legislation

One of the first bills introduced in the 2019-20 legislative session is now law. Senate Bill 3 – now Public Act 2 of 2019 – amends a section of the Summary Proceedings to Recover Possession of Premises chapter of the Revised Judicature Act. The new law revises the list of individuals a court could command to restore a plaintiff’s possession of premises following a judgement, and further specifies the procedure for removing personal property. Under existing law, a court entering a judgement for possession in a summary proceeding must issue a writ commanding a sheriff, or other officer authorized to serve process, to restore full possession. The new law expands the individuals the court can assign to include bailiffs of the issuing court, deputy sheriffs of the county in which the court is located, or an officer of a law enforcement agency of the local unit of government in which the court is located. The bill then specifies that all personal property from the premises must be left in an area open to the public or in the public right-of-way, or by delivering the property to the sheriff as authorized by the sheriff. The new law will take effect on July 2, 2019. This legislation was the second bill signed by Governor Whitmer since she began her term in office.

Take Advantage of AAM Fair Housing Training
Over the years, AAM has provided member companies with many outstanding Fair Housing training seminars. Given the continued evolution of Fair Housing enforcement and changing points of emphasis, apartment owners and their employees need reliable and regular education. Please join us on June 19th for our next Fair Housing program. After May 1, you can register at www.apartments.org.

Posted in 2019, May 2019 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update