The Michigan Association of Timbermen
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Posted on 11.22.2017 Under Legislative, Recent Post

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

The House Judiciary Committee will hold at least one hearing on Senate legislation allowing those with concealed pistol licenses with additional training to carry in gun-free zones, including schools and houses of religious worship.  The bills would require eight additional hours of training for those wishing to obtain an enhanced concealed pistol license to carry in areas now considered gun free zones.  Governor Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation in the past and said his position has not changed.   House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jim Runestad, R-white Lake is planning to set the bills for debate during the winter legislation session.

When the Legislature returns to session next Tuesday the Senate Natural Resources committee will debate SB 652, 653 and 654, the bills establish a special review committee for environmental rules, creates an appeal panel and creates an environmental science advisory board.  I intend to monitor the committee debate.

While the Legislature has been in recess the Capitol renovation continues and on schedule with the first phase of a multi-million dollar renovation project on the Capitol grounds.  More than half of the wellbores for a geothermal field on the site have been drilled.  The geothermal wells are a part of an overall $70 million, 2.5-year project to upgrade the Capitol’s aging and near-failing mechanical and electrical systems.  Fire suppression, heating and cooling and plumbing systems are among those being replaced.  The south, west and north sides of the Capitol grounds look like a war zone…just saying…

Democratic Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette took the oath of office last Thursday after the board of Canvassers certified her victory in the 109th House district to replace deceased Rep. John Kivela.   Tenisha Yancey, D-Detroit won a special election in the 1st House district and was sworn in last Friday.  Rep. Yancey and Rep. Cambensy bring the House Democratic caucus back to 47 members.

Last week and this week I held lunch meetings with key legislative staff to thank them for working on our forestry issues.  Next week I will continue to work on HB 4644, legislation to create a multiple use permit for truckers, I plan to work with Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba to create a funding stream for local county agencies as an incentive to work with loggers, I will attend the Senate Natural Resources Committee and I will attend the fundraiser event for Rep. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, member the House Natural Resources Committee..

Have a great Thanksgiving and weekend and I look forward to updating you on the ‘legislative happenings” impacting forestry next week.

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Posted on 11.17.2017 Under Legislative, Recent Post

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

The November 7 election results showed voters supported statewide local revenue proposals by 75% to 25 % being rejected.  Voters supported increasing property taxes to fund school infrastructure and local government by some 75 %, sinking fund proposals performed well with six passing and three failing.  Public safety millage proposals to raise funds for police, fire, emergency medical services or some combination of the three were not as overwhelmingly supported as in the past with only 17 passing and at least 10 failing.

Road millage proposals succeeded with 10 passing and four failing.  Parks and recreation millage proposals swept to passage with all three winning.  All operating millage renewals for school districts passed.  Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing won his bid to become Lansing’s first new mayor in more than a decade while Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also easily won his re-election bid.  Flint Mayor Karen Weaver survived her recall attempt and got 53% of the vote in an 18 person race.  also in Detroit, former Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit, who resigned last year after pleading guilty to a felony charge for shooting up his ex-wife’s vehicle, lost his campaign for Detroit City Council.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority will meet on November 20 to discuss among other things if it will make changes to its annual bridge walk, including changing the date and direction of the walk.  This past Labor Day, the Authority decided to close the Mackinac Bridge to public vehicle traffic during the walk because of safety concerns.

With limited transportation and a small window to begin the walk, many participants hoping to walk were unable to join.  The MBA will discuss altering the date to the Saturday or Sunday before Labor day, Memorial Day weekend, the first weekend in June, the first weekend in May or a Saturday in late May—a huge change for this annual event which has occurred on Labor Day for many, many years.

A new on-line filing system for corporations in the state meant to improve efficiencies went on line on October 30.  The new Corporations On-line filing system will be overseen by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau.

LARA says the on-line service will allow more than 800,000 businesses in Michigan to better meet their business needs and more easily submit annual filing, file documents electronically and pay filing fees, among other services.  Businesses can also subscribe to services including electronic notifications of annual reporting notices as well as to be set up secure electronic debit accounts, allowing frequent filers to file easily without repeatedly entering repetitive information.

The Legislature will return from their deer hunting/Thanksgiving recess on Tuesday, November 28.  No committee meetings have yet been set.  The Senate will hold a 10:00 AM session and the House will go into session at 1:30 PM.  I plan to meet with Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland and Senator Darwin Booher, R-Evart about the status of the $100,000 to cover computer software for MDOT to administer the multiple use permit being legislated in HB 4644.

I intend to discuss with Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, changes to administrative rules legislation he introduced the last day of the fall session and the status of SB 396, legislation to require local road agencies to assist loggers with moving equipment down a county road.  In the afternoon, I will be meeting with HB 4644 bill sponsor, Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona and other House members.

In the evening I will be attending the Lansing fundraiser event for Rep. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, member House Natural Resources Committee, a good friend to forestry—I am sure additional meetings will be added to my “to do” list before November 28.

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