The Michigan Association of Timbermen
Posted on 07.14.2017 Under Legislative

Legislative Report for MAT

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

July 12 – This week

House Speaker Tom Leonard and other House leaders have been meeting with Governor Rick Snyder this week on legislation to set up a new tax incentive to attract large businesses creating new jobs in the state. Speaker Leonard shut down session the last day of the June session once he learned the Governor had been meeting with House Democrats relative a side deal for votes on the “Good Jobs” package that could jeopardize House Republican priorities. Sources said at the time that Governor Snyder told Democrats he would not sign any “labor relations” bills if they made it to his desk. This week was the first time the Speaker and the Governor have met since the “dust up” causing Speaker Leonard to shut down session.

SB 242, 243 & 244 were on the House calendar today and was passed with 39 GOP votes, excluding the Speaker of the House and other leadership members, 32 Democratic members voted yes for a total of 71 “yeas” and 35 “nays”. The package would create the Good Jobs for Michigan Program within the Michigan Strategic Fund through 2019. Under the program, authorized businesses would be able to capture state income taxes withheld from certified new employees in varying amounts depending on wages and the amount of jobs created. The Senate was in and out of session today waiting for the package to be passed by the House. The Senate concurred in the House amendments and sent the measure to Governor Snyder for his signature.

Americans for Prosperity-Michigan used the unexpected adjournment of the House last month without voting on the “Good Jobs” incentive package to send out mailers linking the bills to former Governor Jennifer Granholm’s policies that the group and most Republicans view unfavorably. The group sent out mailers in multiple districts, confirmed former Rep. Pete Lund, AFP-Michigan’s director. The mailer urges constituents to call them and to tell them to vote no on SB 242, 243 & 244.

The mailer says when Granholm was governor, she gave away “billions in tax favors to politically connected companies” and then unemployment went up to 15 percent. At the center of the package is Foxconn, a manufacturing firm that develops liquid crystal displays and is looking to open a plant in the U.S. and could create 5,000 jobs in the state.

Specific to forestry—HB 4464, legislation sponsored by Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona passed the House today and referred to the Senate where it will be sent to the Senate Transportation Committee for further review. The bill allows a trucker to obtain an annual multiple trip permit for a power unit without requiring a separate permit for each individual piece of equipment carried by that power unit.

This week John Fowler and I met with staff to Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville and other interests to fine tune legislation to level the playing field for wood manufacturers (Amish/religious sects). We finally have a “final” draft #5 which meets with the approval of LARA, the bill drafter, Michigan Manufacturers Association, the State chamber and other trade associations. I did a followup meeting with another House member today who has committed to sponsor the bill and handed off the language to him for his review. Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet has finalized a bill draft to require all employers (Amish) to post MIOSHA signage or be heavily fined. We plan to round up co-sponsors in August for the Rep. Dianda bill and the bill to level the playing field for wood manufacturing businesses.

Posted on 07.07.2017 Under Legislative

Legislative Report for MAT

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

July 6 – This week

The House is returning to Lansing, Wednesday, July 12 and all are curious as to if Governor Rick Snyder and his team can cobble together the estimated 10-15 Democratic votes needed to pass the so-called “Good Jobs” tax incentive package for large employers. In question is the Democratic caucus, which in committee won several amendments offered by House Minority Leader Sam Singh D, East Lansing.

However, to nail down Democratic support on the floor, Snyder’s lobbying crew allegedly struck a deal with organized labor that the Governor would publicly announce his disinterest in dealing with any further labor relations bills this term. Once the House Republican caucus was presented with terms of the “deal”, the Speaker of the House stormed out of the Chamber and the Republican caucus declined to vote on the measure until further notice. Now, the administration is exploring other ways to get the needed votes without offending the Republicans.

One avenue is the Detroit caucus, which is cobbling together its own list of demands for voting “yes” for the Snyder administration. If the Republicans can put all 55 “yes” votes for Good Jobs, a tax incentive program that repulses some GOP conservatives, Democratic votes would not be needed, but that is highly unlikely.
The rush to pass the Good Jobs package is to lure the hi-tecTaiwan-based Fox Conn to Michigan.

Next week, Lt. Governor Brian Calley plans to reboot his part-time legislature ballot proposal after resubmitting petition language with the Secretary of State designed to be more bulletproof if it is challenged in the courts. Calley alleges that the “Lansing establishment is fighting back against the proposal by trying to find legal technicalities to prevent voters from having a voice, which is why the Clean Michigan Government ballot proposal is having to start over.” Stated Calley.

The new language does not address all the concerns brought up in the days since Calley announced on May 30 his bid to create a part-time legislature through a constitutional ballot proposal. If passed, Michigan would have a part time term limited legislature giving the Governor and departments most of the power with no checks and balances.

Some contend the proposal does not address the constitutional section that deals with the Legislature’s power to approve, disapprove or take no action on a citizens initiative 40 days after the Secretary of State verifies a proposal carries the proper number of signature. It also does not address the Legislature’s power to override a veto. If the Legislature is no longer in session lawmakers could not logistically override a veto. The Clean Michigan Government group will have 180 days from the exact day it collects its first name to gather 315,654 signatures. Lt. Brian Calley is expected to announce his bid for Governor along with Attorney General Bill Schuette—expect a hotly contested race for governor in Michigan!!

Specific to forestry next week, John Fowler, MAT and I will be meeting with Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville and other interests to review draft 5 of legislation to require religious sects pay workers compensation.

HB 4644, legislation to allow a multiple use permit for truckers remains on 3rd Reading of the House calendar. I am working with sponsor Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona to move the bill to the Senate so it can be referred to the Senate Transportation Committee which will most likely not meet until September. SB 396, legislation to address issues between loggers and local road commissions continues to be on the “back burner” in the Senate Transportation Committee. action by the Senate


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