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The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 5930

July 1, 1981


Provision repealing statute


Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24

A provision in an appropriation act, 1980 PA 374, Sec. 30, which would repeal statutes relating to the State Building Commission, is unconstitutional as adding a second distinct and unrelated object to 1980 PA 374 in violation of Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24.

Gerald H. Miller


Department of Management and Budget

Lewis Cass Building

Lansing, Michigan

You have requested my opinion on the constitutionality of 1980 PA 374, Sec. 30, the current year capital outlay appropriation act, which provides:

'(1) Sections 14, 15 and 16 of Act No. 51 of the First Extra Sessions of the Public Acts of 1948, as amended, being sections 18.14, 18.15, and 18.16 of the Compiled Laws of 1948, [MSA 3.516(14), 3.516(15), 3.516(16)] are repealed.'

'(2) Section 104 of Act No. 380 of the Public Acts of 1965, as amended, being section 16.204 of the Compiled Laws of 1970, [MSA 3.29(104)] is repealed.'

1980 PA 374, Sec. 30 purports to repeal the statutory provisions which create and specify the duty of the State Building Commission to advise the Department of Management and Budget as to a master plan for the development of State buildings and grounds in the City of Lansing. 1948 First Ex Sess PA 51, Sec. 14a; MCLA 18.14a; MSA 3.516(14a), and Executive Order 1971-2.

The title to 1980 PA 374 states:

'AN ACT to provide for a capital outlay program; to set forth the provisions for its implementation within the budgetary process; to make appropriations for planning and construction at state agencies, community colleges, and universities; to provide for the acquisition of land and buildings; to provide for the elimination of fire hazards; to provide for special maintenance, remodeling, alteration, renovation, or demolition of, and additions to, projects; to provide for elimination of occupational safety and health hazards; to provide for the award and implementation of contracts; to provide for the purchase of fixtures and equipment relative to occupancy of a project; to prescribe powers and duties of the state administrative board and the department of management and budget; to require reports; to provide for the expenditure of the appropriations; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts.

Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24 provides:

'No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. No bill shall be altered or amended on its passage through either house so as to change its original purpose as determined by its total content and not alone by its title.'

In Kent County, ex rel Board of Supervisors of Kent County v Reed, 243 Mich 120, 122-123; 219 NW 656, 657 (1928), the Court construed the one object provision of the immediate predecessor of Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24 (Const 1908, art 5, Sec. 21) and stated:

'While the object must be expressed in the title, it is to the body of the law that we must look to determine whether it embraces more than one object. . . .

'The question presented is not one involving the power of the legislature to enact a law, but the manner in which that power has been exercised. The object of a law is the aim or purpose of the enactment. It may authorize the doing of all things which may fairly be regarded as in furtherance of the general object of the enactment.'

"All the means and ends necessary to the accomplishment of the general object would not be objectionable.' City of Grand Rapids v. Judge of Superior Court, 93 Mich. 469, 472.'

The decision in Kent County, ex rel Board of Supervisors of Kent County v Reed, supra, was cited and followed in Advisory Opinion on Constitutionality of 1975 PA 227; 396 Mich 123, 128-129; 240 NW2d 193, 194-195, where the Court noted:

'In that case, Justice SHARP pointed out that the first section of the questioned Act imposed upon the boards of supervisors in all counties where county officials are paid salaries fixed by such boards, the duty to fix such salaries. Section 2 of that act expressly repealed a local act of 1891 affecting the county of Kent alone. The Court said:

"Can it be said that this repeal is so connected with the object as disclosed by the provision in Sec. 1 that it may be held to be germane to it? We think not. The provisions in these two sections might have been enacted in separate laws without either of them in any way referring to or affecting the other. The repeal of the local act was unnecessary to give legal effect to Sec. 1. The two objects sought to be attained by the enactment have no necessary connection with each other, and, when grouped together in one act, clearly offend the constitutional provision.' Reed, supra, 122-123.

'Both of the objects of the law were covered in the title. The Court concluded by saying:

"It is clear that two distinct and unrelated objects are embraced in the one act, and that it offends against the constitutional provision.' Reed, supra, 124.'

An act may deal with all matters which are relevant to its object. Advisory Opinion re Constitutionality of 1972 PA 294, 389 Mich 441; 208 NW2d 469 (1973). However, an act may not contain provisions which are clearly tangential and have a strained relationship to the principal object. 1980 PA 374 is a general appropriations act. Its principal object is to make appropriations for capital outlay for the 1980-1981 fiscal year. The Legislature may consistently with the purpose of appropriating funds limit or prohibit expenditures of the appropriated funds for specified purposes. Colombini v Department of Social Services, 93 Mich App 157; 286 NW2d 77 (1979). However, although the Legislature may prohibit or limit expenditures of appropriated funds within an appropriations act, the Legislature may not repeal statutes in such an appropriations act. Clearly, the repeal of statutes is not directly related to the principal object of the appropriations act--the appropriation of funds.

Furthermore, an appropriations act expires at the end of the fiscal year for which the appropriations are made. Colombini v Department of Social Services, supra, 93 Mich App 161-162. The fact that an appropriations act has a limited life span indicates even more clearly that an appropriations act is not an appropriate vehicle for the repeal of substantive legislation. The limitations and prohibitions contained in such an act apply only to the appropriations made in the act and must be re-enacted if they are to apply to appropriations of a subsequent fiscal year.

The authority of the Legislature to enact legislation repealing 1948 First Ex Sess PA 51, Secs. 14, 15 and 16, supra, and 1965 PA 380, Sec. 104, supra, is unquestioned. For the Legislature to accomplish this purpose, it must comply with Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24.

It is my opinion, therefore, that 1980 PA 374, Sec. 30 is unconstitutional because it is in violation of Const 1963, art 4, Sec. 24 in that a provision which repeals a statute is not germane to the purpose of the appropriations act.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

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