The Michigan Association of Timbermen
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Posted on 11.01.2017 Under Legislative, Recent Post

Judy Augenstein, Legislative Consultant

Michigan’s 32nd official Christmas tree was delivered to the State Capitol on October 28.  The tree is 60 feet tall and was donated by William Winter and Alex Stevens of Stephenson, Michigan.  The tree was selected, cut and transported to Lansing with the assistance of the Michigan Association of Timbermen, the Great Lakes Timber Professionals and the Michigan Operators Engineers.

Senators continue to study a no-fault auto insurance proposal recently unveiled by House members and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.  Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof, R-Grand Haven has consistently said mandated insurance rate rollbacks are a nonstarter in the Senate.  The plan was announced during a press conference by House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, Mayor Duggan and Rep. Lana Theis, R-Brighton who chairs the House Insurance Committee.  More than 20 House Republicans and a handful of House Democrats joined Mayor Duggan in announcing the latest attempt at what has been years of failed efforts to rein in auto insurance costs for Michigan motorists.

As written, the House plan would allow drivers the choice of $250,000, $500,000 or unlimited medical coverage through their auto insurance.  Seniors on Medicare or with lifetime retirement health care could opt-out of personal injury protection.  The plan would allow the state to regulate rate increases for 5 years.

Proponents contend the plan would lead to an average decrease in auto insurance premiums of 20% for drivers.  Older drivers could save up to 32%  while drivers without collision or theft coverage could save up to 50%.  House Insurance Committee Chair Rep. Lana Theis has held committee meetings on the proposal.  Rep. Theis commented “The system is broken.  It is unsustainable and it has to be fixed.  These sky rocketing prices have to stop.”  Auto insurance reform is at the top of the agenda of issues to be addressed during the fall session for House and Senate Republicans.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce announced it is taking steps to consider seeking a constitutional amendment revising term limits as well as a yet to be defined “government accountability proposal.”  Rich Studley, President and CEO of the Chamber has directed staff to reach out to other individuals and groups to determine if there is enough support to proceed in 2018 with an amendment to the Constitution on term limits and government accountability.  The government reform effort would focus on revising term limits and other changes to improve the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of the state Legislature.

The Senate Transportation Committee will hold final debate on HB 4464, the multiple use permit tailored after Wisconsin law, in early November.   In October, Henry Schienebeck presented testimony on behalf of  GLTPA.  Jim Maeder represented MAT.  Mike Sturgill testified as a large log hauler and  testified to cost savings and efficiencies.  Mike Elenz, a smaller log hauler testified that it will cost his business more money, but that the efficiencies are well worth it. Elenz’s testimony on his potential costs was a very important point made during the House and Senate committee debates.  AIS also testified as to efficiency and cost savings.  MITA (Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association) supported the bill and local governments were neutral.  Denise Pallarito, staff to Rep Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, bill sponsor, and Jesse Augustyn, GLTPA did a stellar job in working with MDOT to work out the points of differences between industry and MDOT.

SB 302 & 303, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, amendments to the “Land Cap Law”, have passed the full Senate and have been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee for further review.  The House Natural Resources Committee will be debating SB 302 & 302 along with HB’s 4475 & 76, similar land cap bills sponsored by Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch later this session.

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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!

Click on "About" then "Annual Timbermen Convention" for more details!

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