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    Migrant labor housing in Michigan is regulated under part 124, of Act 368 of 1978 as a part of the public heath code. The administration of part 124 of the act falls under the purview of the Department of Environmental Health (DEH). All information and quotations in this article were taken from Act 368 which can be read here.
     
     
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    Migrant Labor
    Under Act 368, a migrant laborer is any person who moves at least one time in a season--within or without the state--in order to work a job, or make themselves available to work a job. Additionally, a person who is employed in the growing of mushrooms is considered a migrant laborer.

    Migrant Labor Housing
    The act refers to migrant labor housing as an "agricultural labor camp," and it is defined as
    "all tents, vehicles, buildings, or other structures pertaining thereto, part of which is established, occupied, or used as living quarters for 5 or more migratory laborers engaged in agricultural activities, including related food processing."

    Licensing

    In order to operate an agricultural labor camp an individual needs to obtain a license. Operating without a license is a misdemeanor and subjects the operator to a $1,000 fine with each day counting as a separate
    finable offense, although total fines cannot exceed $10,000. Of note is that operating without a license because of negligence on the part of the DEH does not subject one to a fine.

    Applications for a license must be made to the department at least 30 days before the first day of operation of a camp, and the applicant must know the location of the camp, the maximum number of people who will occupy it, and the months it will be in operation. The application also needs to include a description of tents, vehicles, buildings, or other structures in which people will be housed, and a description of the water, cooking, sanitation, and sewage facilities as well as any other information that the department requires.

    Once an application has been made, an inspection is conducted. Those who pass are issued a license which is non-transferable without the consent of the
    DEH. Temporary licensure is possible for those awaiting the results of an inspection, or if a camp is to be found in violation of certain items which by themselves do not disqualify a camp from licensure. A single camp cannot be issued more than two temporary licenses for a single violation, which means that a camp can possibly operate up to 60 days while correcting a violation at the discretion of the DEH.

    If a camp is denied a license, the operator can request a hearing before the
    DEH no later than four days after receiving the notice of denial. The department must then hold a hearing no later than seven days after receiving the request.

    Rule Promulgation
    The
    DEH has the power to create rules for the "health, safety, and welfare of migratory laborers and their families who occupy" the camps. The act requires that the DEH puts forward certain rules which are as follows:

     

    "(a) The appointment by the director of an advisory board representing, among others, growers, processors, local health departments, and religious or fraternal organizations. The advisory board shall advise the department on the allocation of the fund and any matter which pertains to this part and shall make recommendations to the department as to legislation or other measures necessary or advisable to alleviate a migratory farm labor housing problem.

    (b) The collection, treatment, and disposal of human wastes and sewage at agricultural labor camps.

    (c) The supply and maintenance of safe water at agricultural labor camps.

    (d) The temporary storage and removal of food wastes and rubbish at agricultural labor camps.

    (e) The housing of seasonal laborers and their families, including adequate and safe construction and repair, fire protection, facilities for laborers and their families to keep and prepare food, and other necessary matters relating to their good health, safety, and welfare.

    (f) For the administration of migratory labor housing remodeling grants."

    Powers of the DEH Under the Act
    The DEH has the power to enter a camp at "reasonable times" to inspect and investigate the camp in order to determine compliance. The DEH may also use other state agencies to carry out this function. The DEH also has the power to issue injunctions against persons in order to prevent the individual from constructing or operating a camp without a license. The DEH also has the power to enforce the rules that it has the power to create under the act.

    Fund
    The act also establishes a fund in order to pay grants out to "an employer of migratory farm laborers" of "not more than 50%" of the cost of extensive remodeling, and not in excess of $10,000. Recipients of a grant must complete construction before applying for a grant. An application is not a guarantee of receiving money, and if there are insufficient funds to pay approved applications the
    DEH will establish a list to pay out grants from future allocations.
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