Michigan Legislative Update
Week of September 2, 2015
by Judy Augenstein
Though there are still efforts underway to block any need for an emissions plan, there was general praise this week from utilities, business and environmental groups for the Snyder administration's plan to develop its own carbon emissions standards implementation plan.
The Clean Power Plan rules issued late last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency give states the option to adopt their own standards or abide by forthcoming federal standards. Valerie Brader, Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy and Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant said this week that a state plan would be more flexible and more predictable.
Work on finding a solution to crumbling roads and bridges continue to be a daily priority for House Republicans. Leadership contends that they listened to residents who said Proposal 1 was too complicated and in June, the House passed a plan to fix state roads and bridges without a broad based tax increase.
In August, the House reached an agreement on a simple plan that would result in a sustainable fund of $1.2 billion annually to fix the states transportation system. While that progress was stalled by those who wanted to add unrelated items to the agreement, leadership is still convinced they are on the brink of a plan that will keep Michigan moving.
This week staff to Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet and I reviewed information I have gathered on the Amish issue. It is the intent of Rep. Dianda to schedule a meeting with Director of Youth Services, Department of Education and the Deputy Director of Treasury to discuss under age children working in Amish mills and the loss of revenue from the Amish and other religious sects. The meeting is tentative planned for the week of September 15. Rep. Dianda will give us an update at the Logging Congress breakfast. My tentative meeting with Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville to discuss the Commerce Committee making a visit to Johnson Lumber, Charlotte has to be re-scheduled. Rep. Barrett will not be able to attend Logging Congress because of a previous commitment.
Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, Chair, House Transportation, continues to be committed to legislation to allow large trucks to apply for a "multiple permit" to haul equipment. Rep. Pettalia has been informed by the Speaker of the House that transportation bills unrelated to finding a solution to the road budget fix are on the back burner. This week I asked Rep. Pettalia to be prepared to give an update on the pending road fix and the multiple permit issue at the Logging Congress Friday breakfast. Rep. Pettalia supports maintaining the log plate.