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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of January 26, 2017

By Judy Augenstein

House Committee's and House member assignments were announced today.  The House Transportation Committee will be chaired by Rep. Triston  Cole, R - Mancelona, the  Dem VC is Rep. John Chirkun, D - Roseville.  THe House Natural Resources Committee Chair is Rep. Gary Howell, R - Lapeer, Dem VC is Rep John Kivela, D - Marquette.   Sessions this week lasted no more than 45 minutes as Senate sessions ranged from 6 - 20 minutes.

Senator Tom Casperson, R- Escanaba, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Transportation committees has vowed to re-introduce legislation to reduce the fees for homeowners with property on the Great Lakes who want to create private harbors vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder last session.  Casperson intends to re-introduce legislation nick-named the Land Cap bill which did not complete legislation action last session.  The bill caps the amount of land the DNR can purchase in northern Michigan. 

Transportation issues include a bill to allow schools near freeways to sell lands to put up billboards, another vetoed bill from last year.  A new bill would be to streamline how trucks are permitted so a hauler does not need to go back to the state every time it wants to carry something different that exceeds weight restrictions.

Casperson's opinion on new federal leadership--- "Based on what I have seen with what Donald J. Trump so far I expect to see kind of a rebirth of the 10th amendment with more authority being returned to the state level.  But I can also say that I've found there are times when at first seems to be an issue involving th Feds, turns out to have actually been caused by our. Department in the state.

Senator Mike Kowall, R - White Lake, is positioned to re-introduced legislation to create Public Private Partnerships which included setting a frame work for tollways.  We were part of the opposition to defeat the bill last session as it was being debated by the House Commerce Committee.  Rest assured, I will closely monitor this issue as it travels through the legislative process and actively work with others to defeat the bill.

Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona is in the process of writing a firm letter to the County Road Association requesting them to work with log haulers to use weather as a tool to remove equipment from jobs where early weight restrictions have been set.  Senator Casperson has agreed to sign onto the letter as Cole is the new House Transportation Chair and Casperson is the Senate Transportation Chair.  MDOT and the DNR will also be requested to sign on to the letter with Cole and Casperson. The office of Senator Darwin Booker, R-Evart informed me this week that a logger contacted his office relative the problem.  He shared with Booher that the counties of Wexford, Osceola and Lake have agreed to work with him, but Isabella said "they would not assist, he was out of luck".

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