Bill eliminates partisan law passed in 2018 that significantly impedes Michigan officials’ ability to set state water quality rules 

LANSING, Mich. (May 17, 2023) — Today, the Michigan Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 14, important environmental legislation sponsored by Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) that would repeal the prohibition on state agencies establishing rules that are stricter than federal regulations. The bill would allow state government to set the highest and best standards for Michigan’s drinking water.


SB 14 would repeal Public Act 602 of 2018, which passed primarily along party lines during the Lame Duck session at the time and prohibits the state from setting standards that exceed federal rules. Passing SB 14 restores necessary state control of the protection of Michigan’s natural resources and environment, and in particular, will allow Michigan to implement the best science and practices to safeguard Michigan’s water resources. Federal regulations often exclude stronger, well-established data that is unique to a given state.  


“I was very concerned when the 2018 law passed because federal standards across the board are usually set to the lowest common denominator.  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.” Sen. McCann said.   


The existing law currently 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. The legislation would ensure Michigan can adopt safer standards to better protect Michigan’s drinking water, and do so quicker. 


The bills have widespread support from nearly every major state environmental and outdoor recreation organization as well as several health, community and government organizations.