The Michigan Association of Timbermen
Posted on 10.13.2017 Under Legislative, Recent Post

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

A concurrent resolution has been introduced by members of the Senate urging Congress to cut funding for sanctuary cities and pass a law stiffening penalties for illegal aliens convicted for illegally re-entering the country.

SCR 20 expresses support for a U.S. House resolution that would increase the penalties for re-entering the country after previously being departed and urges the Senate to pass it as well.

SCR 20 was introduced by Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. Senator Schuitmaker is term-limited and a running for the Office of Attorney General.

Legislation restricting the ability of state departments to craft and issue rules that go beyond federal regulations has passed the House and awaits consideration by the full Senate. HB 4205 would require that the Legislature make decisions to set stricter laws beyond federal law, not state departments.

Under the bill, a department could still promulgate rules exceeding federal authority if the director could demonstrate a preponderance of the evidence shows a need to do so. Sponsor Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona testified in the House and the Senate committees that the bill “creates a level playing field” for businesses. Environmental groups oppose the bill as business groups support the bill.

Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill in 2011. During the 2015-16 session, another similar bill passed the House but was placed in the Senate Government Operations Committee, a common place for bills to be placed by the majority leader when there is no intention of ever taking them up.

Work continues between MDOT and the Office of Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona to amend HB 4464. The bill will be re-drafted to include the original multiple use permit fee of $264.00 instead of the reduced number discussed last week at the committee hearing. I expect to receive the substitute bill early next week and get the bill set for final committee debate and vote very soon.

Posted on 10.09.2017 Under Legislative, Recent Post

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

Local government pension changes, amending the state’s no-fault insurance system and a possible veto override of a piece of automobile sales tax legislation will be among a number of key priorities Senate leaders say will be on the table during the fall session.

The possible override of Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of legislation that would accelerate the phaseout of applying the sales tax to the value of a trade-in when purchasing a vehicle is currently under consideration by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-Grand Haven. SB 94 & 95 were vetoed in July, both passing the House by 88-19 votes and by 37-0 votes in the Senate. If successful, the override would be the first since 2002.

This week the Senate Transportation Committee took testimony on HB 4464 sponsored by Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona. The bill allows an applicant to obtain an annual multiple use trip permit for hauling equipment instead of requiring a separate permit for each individual piece of equipment carried by a power unit.

Henry Schienebeck, GLTPA explained how the bill is tailored after Wisconsin law and the efficiencies of the law in Wisconsin. Jim Maeder, MAT explained the importance of streamlining the permit process for MAT membership. Mike Sturgill and Mike Elenz, both log haulers made strong impressions on the committee with their testimonies. Mike Sturgill outlined the facts surrounding a recent $2,400 ticket he received at no fault of his own; his testimony was jaw-dropping for members of the committee including chairman Senator Tom Casperson.

Mike Elenz impressed the committee with testimony that the multiple use permit will cost him more money, but the efficiencies are worth the extra costs. Dave TerBeck, AIS testified to the cost savings and efficiencies the bill will have for his company. CRA was neutral as was MDOT. The Michigan Infrastructure Association was in support of the bill as they represent many commodity haulers including construction companies. A few other log haulers also registered support for the bill. I expect the bill will be brought up for final debate and a vote within the next few weeks.

At this point, we have support for the bill by the entire committee chaired by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. I always poll the committee before the actual committee meeting on legislation in an effort to answer as many questions before the actual debate and found we had support for the bill, but the awesome testimony today put the entire committee squarely in support of the bill.


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