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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of September 17, 2015

by Judy Augenstein

Legislative leaders from both parties say they are hopeful that talks have been progressing toward a possible agreement on how to dedicate at least another $1.2 billion a year toward roads.  They also commented that the changed mathematics in the House where both Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were emphatic "no" votes about raising new revenues to spend on roads cannot hurt.  Counting the earlier resignation of Rep. Brandon Dillion, D-Grand Rapids, the House now has 107 members with a 61 to 46 Republican majority and 54 votes are needed to pass a road deal.

This week U. S. Senator Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls announced he will not seek a fourth term in office, opting to retire instead to spend more time with family.  The decision is a sudden reversal from last March, when he announced he would be breaking his self-imposed term limit pledge of six years to run for a fourth two year term.  Benishek commented he wants to focus his time and attention on helping our veterans and working to make things better for the families and workers through Northern Michigan and to devote more time to his family. 

Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, former Rep. Greg MacMaster, R-Kewadin, Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering and former Senator Jason Allen, R-Traverse City are the most likely "suspects" to file as Republican candidates for the lst Congressional District race.  Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson is running on the democratic side for the 1st Congressional seat, others may jump into the race, it is early, but the race is on!

New Legislation:

SB 439 -. Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. sponsor. Air pollution---a state greenhouse gas plan would be required to be submitted to the legislature for review before submission to the federal government,  The bill is referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

SB 464 - Senator Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, sponsor, requires any greenhouse gas plan be submitted to the legislature for their review before it is forwarded to the federal government.  The bill was referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

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