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Posted on 06.26.2017 Under Legislative

Legislative Report for MAT

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

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.

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.”

HB 4438, sponsored by Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville has fast tracked his bill through the House, but not without a fight from MSTA. We worked the committee and counted two Republicans with us along with the Dems. Overnight the Dems switched to “support” over a simple word being added to the bill. We tweaked the bill with floor amendments and we were able to add language to be included in the rule making process to require “possible spills” by farmers to follow the same protocols as a porta john/septic hauler. We continue to give him a run for his money as Rep. Barrett requested Senate leadership refer the bill to the Senate Natural Resources Committee and not the Senate Ag. Committee where we had 3 of the 5 votes. The Legislature is in recess until July 12. It is imperative we contact the members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and local public health departments, townships, municipalities to educate them of the risk HB 4438 present to the public.

Committee Members:

Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, Chair
Senator Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair
Senator Dave Peterson, R-Grand Blanch
Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland
Senator Rebekah Warren, D-Warren

Please contact the members of the Natural Resources to express your opposition to the bill and or to recommend amendments to the bill. We do not have much time because the Legislature will recess tomorrow until July 12 when they will return to Lansing. The Senate Natural Resources Committee meets on Wednesdays and I suspect a meeting will be held on July 12 and expect HB 4438 will be scheduled for debate. This bill is on a fast track as Rep. Barrett is facing tough democratic opponent for the senate seat Senator Jones will be term limited from. It will be the most controversial and expensive race in the state of Michigan.

The Legislature has 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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