The Michigan Association of Timbermen
Posted on 12.01.2017 Under Legislative

Marquette City Commissioner Sara Cambensey (D) defeated Rich Rossway (R), president of the Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education in the election to represent the 109th House District and has was sworn into office on November 16.  Cambensy won with 57% of the vote to Rossway’s 42%.  Ms Cambensy fills the vacancy left by the death of Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette.

HB 5013, the House no-fault insurance bill that would have changed the state’s auto insurance laws and provide options for personal injury protection coverage to drivers has died in the House.  Michigan drivers have among the highest cialis here premiums in the country, which insurers say is due to unlimited benefits in the event of catastrophic injuries stemming from car crashes.  Defenders of the current system say other factors are more critical to prices. HB 5013 was defeated by 10 votes.   The issue is not completely dead because there are at two other packages of bills addressing the no-fault insurance issue.

A recent state report said the state’s more than 2,800 government entities such as school districts, cities, townships and counties had pension and other post-employment benefit obligations that are underfunded by an estimated $17.4 billion.  A general plan for municipal pension reform would involve finding ways to get out of debt such as providing for the ability to allow communities to vote for tax increases or to provide reduced benefits to eliminate unfunded liabilities.

Legislation to end the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon under certain conditions was passed by the Senate and now is being considered in the House.  House Judiciary Committee Chair, Rep. Jim Runestad, R- White Lake has agreed to hold a hearing on the bills 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 last session and stated his position on the issue has not changed.

The House Workforce and Talent Development Committee continues to debate on legislation to bolster career and technical education.  Professional education groups are concerned the bills would allow schools to hire experts in career fields to teach without having teacher certification.  Overall, the bills seek to expose students to career and technical education in elementary school and connect students with jobs in skilled trades.  Rep. Ben Frederick, R-Owosso continues to work with stakeholders and plans to continue to debate the issue pro and con.

The House Natural Resources Committee received a presentation on the history and need for “Land Cap” legislation by the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Michigan Forest Products Council as requested by Committee Chair Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch.  The four presenters, Warren Suchovsky, MAT, Bernie Hubbard, MAT, Todd Johnson, MFPC and Scott Robbins, MFPC outlined forestry facts to the committee.

The industry panel of four outlined the Land Cap law history and commented on pending amendments to the law which is partly designed to address unpaid PILT issues for local governments.  The panel also answered committee questions relative to QFA and CFA.   Rep. Howell intends to set all 4 land cap bills, SB’s 302 & 303, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba and HB’s 4475 & 4476, sponsored by Rep. Gary Howell, R- North Branch for committee debate soon.

HB 4644, sponsored by Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, known as the multiple use permit bill, remains in the Senate Transportation Committee.  The Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell has concerns with the bill requiring $100,000 to cover computer software for MDOT to administer the program.  We are close to resolving this issue and expect a final hearing and vote on the bill soon.

Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba is working on creating a funding stream for local county road agencies as an incentive to work with loggers.  Those counties who follow certain criteria would get a bonus funding and those not following the criteria would not get the additional funds, kind of a carrot and stick approach.  The incentive plan could be included in SB 396, legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson, intended to assist loggers with moving equipment on county roads.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee took testimony on SB 652, 653 & 654, legislation to establish a special review committee for environmental rules, create an appeal panel and create an environmental science advisory board.  The business community lined up in support of the bills and environmental groups opposed.  The bills remain in the committee awaiting more committee debate.

The legislature has 9 more session days planned for 2017.  We are in the middle of a two year session so all legislation will roll over into the 2018 year.  Some 48 House members and 20 Senators will be lost to term limits at the end of the 2018 session.

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The Michigan Association of Timbermen 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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