The Michigan Association of Timbermen
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Posted on 03.07.2014 Under Legislative

Submitted by MAT Legislative Consultant Judy Augenstein

Doubt is mounting among House Republicans about using the state’s surplus funds for tax relief with momentum building to instead use the funds for road repairs as the pressure from constituents builds to improve the state’s crumbling roads.

This week the House passed its version of the budget supplemental bill for the current fiscal year that includes $215 million for road funding. Rather than covering the Health Insurance Claims Assessment shortfall which was included in the Senate version and other projects, sale the House directed those monies to the Roads and Risks Reserve Funds for priority road projects and an additional $100 million General Fund monies for winter road maintenance. The bill is expected to go to conference committee where the respective chambers will hash out the points of differences. As of this writing, advice the Senate does not support the transfer of funds from other programs to roads.

The executive’s of the state’s three biggest counties held a press conference to urge legislators to reject proposed changes to the state’s auto insurance system which would reduce unlimited medical care for those injured in vehicle crashes. Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall has proposed changes to the law which would include a fee schedule to limit charges instead of allowing unlimited medical care.

A letter signed by 43 legislators has been sent to Governor Rick Snyder urging him to oppose the 2012 Federal Energy code changes which would encourage foam sheathing over wood sheathed walls. The letter included signatures by UP, northern Michigan and other area legislators. A leading Lansing legislative reporting service included an article titled “U.P. Lawmakers Taking Building Material Issue to Governor” in one of their daily reports this week.

The House DNR budget committee met Thursday and heard a DNR presentation on the state’s Forestry Program. Governor Rick Snyder has recommended a $4 million increase in the forestry budget for the upcoming budget year. Committee Chair, Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo supports the proposed increase. The Senate DNR budget committee, chaired by Senator Mike Green, R-Mayville, heard the same presentation on Tuesday and Senator Green also supports the DNR budget boost.

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