The Michigan Association of Timbermen
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Posted on 08.08.2017 Under Legislative

Legislative Report for MAT

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

August 8, 2017

I have received confirmation from Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch that he will introduce the “Right to Business Equity” bill. Rep. Howell has requested I identify and deliver co-sponsors which I am working on this week. I have identified the sponsors from last year and prepared a list of “newbies”–to approach, some have already agreed to co-sponsor. My goal is to have co-sponsors lined up for the August 16 session so that Rep. Howell and I can approach them for their signature. He will work from inside the House chamber and I will work from outside the chamber reminding potential co-sponsors to sign the bill. This is typically how I work to assist legislative sponsors on all legislation I put forth for a client.

As we have worked for months with Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Grand Ledge, to neutralize as much opposition as possible, including LARA, who has been our biggest stumbling block, and to bring all interests on board with acceptable language, the bill draft is ready for introduction. It takes time to complete all “up front work” such as neutralizing concerns before a bill is moved forward; that process appears to be complete and we are ready for the next step in the legislative process which is to finalize legislative co-sponsors.

Legislation is NEVER introduced before resolving concerns of other interest groups, the same process I used to bring the multiple use permit bill this far with little to no opposition. I will be meeting with Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba the week of August 16 to discuss a date to schedule HB 4464 for Senate Transportation debate.

If you recall, the hearing process for HB 4464, was arranged in a smooth, productive manner so that Henry and Jessie could testify and get to the airport on time. The others I arranged to testify were selected and coached in a way so little committee questions were required. Mike Elenz and Mike Sturgill did an excellent job, one representing a bigger business the other a smaller business. I also arranged to have Dave TerBeek, AIS testify as to the impact the bill would have on them. Staff to Rep. Cole and I brought all other transportation interest and MDOT on board with the bill. A very smooth and productive committee meeting. Select legislators were coached as to how to neutralize the concerns of other legislators as the bill was debated and voted on by the full House. A very well organized and orchestrated plan of action took place in the House on HB 4464. I plan to orchestrate the same in the Senate.

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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.

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