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Water shutoffs over nonpayment banned in Michigan through March 31

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs a number of bills.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs a number of bills.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 12:32 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Nobody in Michigan can have their water service shut off for nonpayment in the next three months.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Tuesday creating the Water Shutoff Restoration Act, which aims to make sure every occupied residence in the state has access to clean water. That will help residents comply with COVID-19 guidance calling for regular hand washing.

The new state law prohibits any water utility in Michigan for turning off water service due to nonpayment until after March 31, 2021. Utilities also must restore water service to any occupied residence where a shutoff already occurred.

“Every Michigander deserves access to clean water, especially during a global pandemic,” Whitmer said. 

State Sen. Stephanie Chang, a Democrat from Detroit, sponsored the Water Shutoff Restoration Act in the Legislature.

“During this pandemic, access to clean water is more important than ever to ensure that Michiganders in big cities, suburban towns, and small villages across our state can have water to drink and wash their hands,” she said. “So many Michigan families are struggling, and with COVID-19 still raging, we need to ensure that we are protecting Michigan families’ health and economic security.”

Whitmer initially banned water shutoffs in Michigan last spring, when the coronavirus pandemic reached Michigan. Even though water shutoffs are prohibited, residences will continue accruing a bill and they must pay off the balance eventually to keep service in place.

Other bills that Whitmer signed on Tuesday include:

Senate Bill 1246 -- An amendment to the Open Meetings Act allowing municipal boards and commissions to continue meeting remotely through March 31, 2021. The law also spells out social distancing and cleaning guidelines for public bodies that choose to meet in person.

Remote municipal meeting rules have been in place since the coronavirus pandemic reached Michigan in March.

Senate Bills 676 and 1137 -- They set up a process for a former property owner to claim leftover proceeds of a tax foreclosure sale. Counties had been allowed to keep the entire sale price from tax foreclosed properties, but a Michigan Supreme Court decision earlier this year allows counties to keep only the amount owed in back taxes.

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