Michigan Legislative Update
Week of May 27, 2016
By Judy Augenstein
Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of energy emergency in Michigan this week to allow drivers transporting fuel to spend more hours on the road to ensure gasoline and diesel fuel is available across the state for the holiday weekend. Executive Order 2016-10 is in response to a fuel pipeline in Wisconsin being shut down and an unplanned outage at the Marathon refinery in Detroit.
The executive order suspends all state and federal regulations tied to hours of service for drivers carrying transportation fuels in Michigan, and in doing so, will allow such drivers to exceed the typically allowed number of hours and consecutive days they can spend operating a commercial motor vehicle.
"We want to make the fuel Michiganders need for their travels to work, school or a long weekend trip is available, said Governor Snyder. "This executive order will help ensure there are no artificial shortages of fuel impacting the state's residents or visitors." According to the release, the executive order is now in effect and will Last until it is rescinded or it expires at 11:59 p.m. on June 6, whichever occurs first.
As officials continue to work out the 2016-17 fiscal year budget agreement, sources said this week that the state's universities would see about $200 million less than what Governor Rick Snyder originally recommended earlier this year and with prison inmate levels falling, the state will close a prison. Other high level budget items that have not logistically been worked out include the $80 million tax credits for insurance companies. Governor Snyder's infrastructure fund (roads and bridges) which he recommended at $165 million, is in jeopardy.
Officials are working to reduce the overall budget as revenues came in less than expected. Between the reduction in revenues forecast compared to the January revenue conference and increasing Medicaid and human services caseloads, there is $460 million less available than projected earlier this year. It also appears the Detroit Public Schools legislation will not be specifically tied to the budget. Governor Rick Snyder and House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant both said the Legislature would act separately on that legislation.
SB's 706, 707 & 708, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, were passed by the Senate and referred to the House Transportation Committee this week. Senator Tom Casperson facilitated a work group meeting today with CRAM, the MFPC, Kurt Bisballe, MAT, Lonnie Lutke, MAT and myself to discuss a possible "path" to a compromise on the bills. The bills were crafted to address a problem some loggers are having with local governments making unreasonable permit demands prohibiting loggers to haul out of a state or federal forest in order to get their timber to market.
The meeting was similar to many before which all agreed more education on the part of local governments and loggers is necessary so it was the same dialog, different day. All from industry agreed we need to actively lobby the bills through the House of Representatives. It is important to attend district fundraiser events this summer in an effort to discuss the importance of the legislation with your legislator and especially members of the House Transportation Committee..
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