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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of December 16, 2016

By Judy Augenstein

The Legislature has recessed for the year so your life, liberty and check book is safe until January 10 when the 2017-18 Legislature convenes and 43 new House members will be sworn in to office.  But before doing so they did the following......

HB 4142, legislation changing how the state assesses truckers for "misloads" of cargo on truck axles from a formula to a simple fine passed the Legislature with MAT and GLTPA being the only interest groups lobbying on behalf of the measure. It was great to work with sponsor Rep. Ken Goike, R-Ray Township one more time as he is term limited, but vows to run for the Senate in two years.  We were able to get this bill moved out of the House Transportation Committee, the full House, the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate in three short/long weeks--welcome to Lame Duck.

The bill puts a cap on misload fines and is the first step in our efforts to require motor carriers be more reasonable with truckers.  We met a political hurdle as the bill was stuck in the Senate as the Majority Leader was working to gain House votes for the stalled Energy Package as our sponsor was a "no" vote on the package.....we stayed vigilant and pushed through with lobbying harder and getting other senators to demand a final vote on HB 4142.  Nothing like Lame Duck session.........

SB's 706, 707 & 708, legislation to prohibit local governments from requiring a special driveway permit for log haulers to enter/exit a state or federal forest which has proved to be very expensive for log haulers have been sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.  The bills completed legislative action late Wednesday evening after a long, long hard uphill battle. 

SB's 39 & 40, legislation to amend the Land Cap law did not complete legislative action.  Sponsor, Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba and Chair, Senate Natural Resources Committee and House Natural Committee Chair, Rep. Andrea LaFontainne could not reach an agreement on the PILT requirement in the bills. Senator Casperson will re-introduce the bills next session because he is confident there will be a friendlier House committee chair person. 

SB 627, sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake has finally "died" in the Lame Duck session.  The bill creates Public/Private Partnerships, but included a provision to allow a mechanism to allow toll roads. Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, House Commerce Committee member, spoke adamantly against the bill and eventually the bill was short votes and died in committee.  Senator Kowall vows to re-introduce the bill next session.

This week the Legislature passed and sent to Governor Rick Snyder legislation to increase the speed limit in certain areas.  The bill allows a 75 mph speed limit on some freeways where it now is 70 and a 60 mph limit on some highways with a 55 limit today.

The last issue for the Legislature to pass today was the Energy Package. Lobbyists pro and con have been hammering legislators all week on the issue.  Governor Rick Snyder was able to get opponents and proponents to the table for a tentative agreement this afternoon allowing the Legislature to adjourn 90 minutes ago.

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