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Industry News, Meetings & Events

Michigan Legislative Update

Week of June 23, 2016

By Judy Augenstein

This week mayors of 13 cities around the state issued a statement opposing legislation that would limit residents to using the public bathroom that comports with their gender at birth.  The mayors, including Detroit Mike Duggan and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Bliss, said the bills SB 993 and HB 5717 would make it more difficult to attract new residents to their communities.  They noted that North Carolina, with similar legislation, has seen companies and events move out of the state since the legislation was enacted.  "the proposed bathroom inspection bills simply do not reflect who we are nor who we want to be as Michiganders," the mayors said in a statement to legislators. 

Equality Michigan, which publicized the statement, joined the mayors in urging other local government officials to come out against the legislation.  "Community leaders, like these mayors, are helping Equality Michigan advance pro-equality policies on the local and state level," the group said in a statement.  "Their support is critically important."

Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba announced this week that he has launched his first television ad in the 1st U.S. House District Republican race.  Casperson is featured in the ad says Washington officials often do not listen to constituents.  "So when Washington bureaucrats wrote a rule that would virtually end the use of wood stoves for people's heat, I passed a law to stop them", he says in the 30 second spot.  Tom notes in the ad that he started his professional life in the logging industry.  The ad is slated to run throughout the district.  Senator Casperson faces former Senator Jason Allen and Jack Bergman in the GOP primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls.

On Monday of this week, I held a fundraiser event for Rep. Tom Barrett, Chair, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, member House Commerce & Trade Committee, Communications & Technology, Energy Committee and the Insurance Committee.  Rep. Barrett is my legislator and is a co-sponsor of legislation to require the Amish to pay workers compensation.  Barrett is being touted for a key leadership position next session the current leadership team is term limited.

John Fowler, MAT and Gary Melow, Michigan Biomass attended the event as did 54 other association representatives and constituents.  John Fowler was introduced by Rep. Barrett to our special guest Lt. Governor Calley, R-Portland.  John had the opportunity to share his experience with the unfair competition the Amish have created for his business with Rep. Barrett and the Lt. Governor.  Before #2 (Calley) left the event, he asked me to contact his office to set a meeting to further discuss the unfair competition issue the Amish create for the wood products industry.  We are in the process of selecting a date for the meeting.  See an attached picture of the event which includes Rep. Tom Barrett, Karole White, Michigan Broadcasters Association, Lt. Gov. Calley, myself and Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, my senator.  I am very proud of having had the opportunity to host this event for GLTPA, MAT and myself as a constituent.

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