Michigan Legislative Update
Week of April 30, 2015
by Judy Augenstein
As the House ended its week without a vote on controversial auto insurance reform, House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant said this week that he is giving members more time to study the legislation, but it is very important to him that reform is approved this term. SB 248 and SB 249 were reported from the House Insurance Committee last week.
The bills would make a variety of changes to the state's auto insurance laws, with supporters saying it would drive down costs. The bills would set attendant care pay limits for family members, a fee schedule for health care providers that is 150 percent of the Medicare reimbursement rate and require a rate rollback of $100 per vehicle for the first two years. Speaker Cotter commented this week that the bill is important to him and his caucus, as it is listed in the House Republican action plan.
After two harsh winters in the UP, the NRC will be reviewing options at its meeting next week that could include prohibiting deer hunting there. The commission has six recommendations from DNR staff that range from no changes to prohibiting all hunting for the upcoming season. The report to the commission notes that only 54 percent of adult does survived the 2013 winter and only 38 percent survived 2013, while no fawns survived 2013-14.
This week Jessie Augustyn, GLTPA, Henry Schienebeck, GLTPA and I met with staff to Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba and staff to Rep. Ken Goike, R-Ray Township to discuss how to implement a bill to require "coordination. Wednesday evening we dined with Rep. John Kivela, D-Marqette and Rep. Ken Goike, R-Ray Township to get their views on the May 5 sales tax increase/road proposal on the statewide Michigan ballot on May 5. Kivela "supports while Goike "opposes---a lively, but friendly debate occurred, it was fun.
Thursday we met with Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, Chair, House Transportation and Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet regarding mirroring Wisconsin's one truck permit process for over sized trucks in Michigan. Both legislators support the concept and pledged to assist with legislation. We also discussed the sales tax/road ballot proposal with the legislators, both oppose the ballot proposal. We met at length with "newbie" legislator Rep. Triston Cole, R- Mancelona, member House Transportation Committee and former truck driver to discuss the sales tax/ road proposal which he opposes. Rep. Cole is interested in working with us to provide forestry education to school kids and would like to see a "Log a Load" project take place in his district. We met briefly with Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City who supports the sales tax/road proposal
Brenda Owen, MAT, Henry, Jessie and I met with Senator Casperson, R-Escanaba, Senator Darwin Booher, R-Evart, Senator Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, new member of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and staff to discuss Booher/Casperson legislation (SB 39-40) to "tweak" land management reforms, i.e , the Land Cap Act. We finished our meetings with a lengthy meeting with NFIB regarding the sales tax/road proposal (they oppose), the Long Eared Bat and how NFIB and MAT/GLTPA could partner with them on specific business issues. We finished the day with an onsite inspection of the "Tavern and Tap" Restaurant as a possible venue for a June 3 legislative reception.