The Michigan Association of Timbermen
Posted on 07.07.2016 Under Legislative

Legislative Report for MAT

Judy Augenstein, treat Legislative Consultant

July 2016

Before recessing for the summer the Legislature sent a Detroit Public School bailout package to Governor Rick Snyder among a slew of other bills. Key items left to be resolved include a no fault insurance reform package, try repealing the prevailing wage, more about Urber Bills–ride sharing companies are operating illegally and some are being ticketed for operating as an unlicensed taxi. Legislation to determine when a 3rd grader would be held back for not being able to read at grade level and a constitutional amendment asking voters to make it easier to fire poorly performing civil service employees, legislation to revamp the Unemployment Insurance Agency and legislation to require trans-gender individuals use the public restroom of their assigned birth are also on the agenda.

The House is up for re-election as House members are allowed three, two year terms.  We will lose at least 40 House members to term limits.  The Senate is not up for re-election as they are allowed two four year terms; although quite a few senators are posturing to run for Congress.
Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba has launched his first television ad in the 1st U.S. House District Republican race.  Casperson, featured in the ad, says Washington officials often do not listen to constituents.  “So when Washington bureaucrats wrote a rule that would virtually end the use of wood stoves for people’s heat, I passed a law to stop them”, he says in the 30 second spot.  Tom notes in the ad that he started his professional life in the logging industry.  The ad is slated to run throughout the district.  Senator Casperson faces former Senator Jason Allen and Jack Bergman in the GOP primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls.  Political pundits contend the reace is between Allen and Casperson.  Pundits contend Allen has strength in the lower northern and Casperson has a majority of support in the Upper Upper Northern and the UP.
Legislation to tweak the Qualified Forest Act and the Commercial Forest Act “may” see action during the “lame duck”session.  SB 706, 707 & 708, legislation to prohibit local government from requiring a special permit for a logger to haul wood out of a state/federal forest is more likely to receive “lame duck” action.  Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona is preparing a bill to allow a multiple use permit to be introduced next session if Rep. Pete Pettalia, R-Presque Isle is not able to move the issue through the legislative process this year.
Recently, I held a fundraiser event for Rep. Tom Barrett, Chair, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, member House Commerce & Trade Committee, Communications & Technology, Energy Committee and the Insurance Committee.  Rep. Barrett is my legislator and is a co-sponsor of legislation to require the Amish to pay workers compensation.  Barrett is being touted for a key leadership position next session since the current leadership team is term limited.
John Fowler, MAT and Gary Melow, Michigan Biomass attended the event as did 54 other association representatives and constituents.  John Fowler was introduced by Rep. Barrett to our special guest Lt. Governor Calley, R-Portland.  John had the opportunity to share his experience with the unfair competition the Amish have created for his business with Rep. Barrett and the Lt. Governor.  Before the Lt. Governor left the event, he asked me to set a meeting with him to further discuss the unfair competition issue the Amish create for the wood products industry.   See the attached picture of the event which includes Rep. Tom Barrett, Karole White, Michigan Broadcasters Association, Lt. Gov. Calley, myself and Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, my senator.  I am very proud to have had the opportunity to host this event for GLTPA, MAT and myself as a constituent.
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