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Industry News, Meetings & Events

Michigan Legislative Update

Week of May 4, 2017

By Judy Augenstein

The Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Transportation have announced speed limit increases are in the works for 1,500 miles of Michigan roads.  Under a new state law, the two agencies were ordered to do a traffic safety study on which roads made sense for speed limit increase.  What they found was 600 freeway miles that could be increased to 75 miles per hour.  In addition, 900 miles of non-freeways were bumped to 65 mph starting May 1.  The Interstate 75 corridor between Bay city and Mackinac City have been increased.  Virtually all of the non-freeway increases are limited to out state Michigan and none of these will impact motorists driving in the Detroit metro area. 

This was a hot topic in legislative offices this week as I witnessed staff to two different offices trying to explain to constituents why the increased speed limit was not posted in their area.  Apparently, the plan is to have all impacted areas posted by November.

The House and Senate concentrated on finishing up budget bills this week.  The House worked into the evening on Tuesday.  The Senate was in and out of session on Wednesday debating the budget bills causing many committee meetings/other meetings, such as ours with Senator Casperson to discuss the Land Cap issue, to be canceled..

SB 302 and SB 303 were introduced two weeks ago, received two hearings and were reported this week to the full Senate for further debate.  As I indicated last week, these bills are on a fast track. Among other things, the bills adjust the current Land Cap Act with the intention to require PILT payments be paid in full and on time.  Neither GLTPA nor MAT have taken a position on the bills as they appear to be somewhat complex.

Senator Casperson indicated in committee yesterday that more work will be done on the bills as they are debated by the full Senate.  Hopefully, the substitute bill which was reported out of committee will be available soon.

I suggest we do a conference call ASAP with Henry, Bernie and others interested in the bill as it is clear the bills are on a fast track. Following that call, I suggest we hold a conference call with Senator Casperson.  The MFPC and LSLA are supporting the bills.

On another note....John Fowler had a great conversation with Chuck Yob, a very well known Republican figure who thinks he can get us traction with Gov. Snyder and/or Lt. Gov. Calley on the legislation to create a level field for our industry, i.e. Amish.  My meeting with Rep. Gary Howell, Chair, House Natural Resources Committee to discuss "Amish" got canceled at the last minute because of a last minute Senate meeting.  I will catch up with him next week.  I shared the new language crafted with MMA with bill sponsor Rep. Barrett, he is happy that we now have MMA on board.

The county road bills could be introduced any day now.  It does not appear a meeting with the forestry groups and CRA will take place on May 24 as they will be out of town.  I invited CRA to our Legislative Day but, Ed Nyola, CRA lobbyist told me they will be in Washington.

I have received over 30 confirmations for our May 24 Legislative Day, neither Gov. Snyder or Lt. Gov. Calley are able to attend.

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