The Michigan Association of Timbermen
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Posted on 07.06.2017 Under Legislative

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

July Report

Legislation designed to prevent the further introduction of chronic wasting disease in deer into the state will now bear the name of former Rep. John Kivela. The Senate passed HB 4424 on a unanimous vote after adopting an amendment by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba adding Mr. Kivela’s name to the title of the bill. The legislation would prohibit bringing whole deer, elk or moose harvested in other states as well as any brain or spinal tissues of those animals, the primary sources of the prions that cause the disease. The bill would allow importing meat, hides, antlers and finished taxidermy. The bill is expected to be concurred in by the House and sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature. Rep. Kivela is still sorely missed by his Lansing colleagues, friends, his district and his family. R.I.P. Rep. John Kivela.

The Board of Canvassers did not rule on the form of the petition to make the Legislature part time at its meeting after Lt. Governor Brian Calley, the plan’s key spokesperson, charged a member could have a conflict of interest. Calley said that in his testimony before the Board that he found out the night before that a member of the Board could have a financial conflict of interest and thought it would be inappropriate for the Board to choose a side. Though he never named the board member with alleged conflicts, Lt. Gov. Calley expressed concern the chair could have unseen influence even if he were to abstain.

The board chair, former Senator Norm Shinkle, is a consultant for the Michigan Freedom Fund. Calley said the group vocally opposes a part-time legislature. Mr. Shinkle said he was unaware during the meeting of whom Mr. Calley was accusing of having conflicts of interest and said he was unaware of the Michigan Freedom Fund’s position on the issue. He said he supported a part time legislature when he was a state senator in the 1980’s, but said it has to be done right.

HB 4644 sponsored by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, is receiving final House action. The bill will be referred to the Senate Transportation Committee, Chaired by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. Senator Casperson has agreed to schedule the bill for committee debate as soon as possible. The bill allows Michigan truckers to use a multiple use permit which is tailored after Wisconsin law.

The House Natural Resources Committee heard a presentation by the Timber Advisory Council. TAC members Tim Biewer, Biewer Lumber and Charlie Becker, Weyerhaeuser delivered an excellent presentation to the committee and audience. They outlined the purpose of the Council which is to advise Governor Rick Snyder on forestry policy. Their presentation included forestry facts such as the industry generates some $20 billion to our economy, we enjoy some 20 million acres of Michigan forests, 4 million acres being state forests and that forestry creates some 96,000 jobs. The presenters also highlighted details of the new “Arauco” plant being built in Grayling.

House members approved legislating blocking state agencies from adopting rules more stringent than those applied by the federal government. HB 4205, sponsored by Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, has moved to the Senate for further debate. HB 4205 prohibits a state agency from making rues more stringent than federal standards unless it is specifically authorized to do so by state statute, or if the director of the agency “determines that the preponderance of the evidence establishes a need to exceed the federal standard.”

The Michigan Legislature has recessed until mid July when they tentatively plan to be in session for 1-2 days, again in August where they might hold one session day.

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The Michigan Association are looking forward to another eventful and educational Annual Meeting. Please join us at Boyne Mountain Lodge on April 26th and 27th, 2018!

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