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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of July 6, 2017

By Judy Augenstein

The House is returning to Lansing, Wednesday, July 12 and all are curious as to if Governor Rick Snyder and his team can cobble together the estimated 10-15 Democratic votes needed to pass the so-called "Good Jobs" tax incentive package for large employers.  In question is the Democratic caucus, which in committee won several amendments offered by House Minority Leader Sam Singh D, East Lansing.

However, to nail down Democratic support on the floor, Snyder's lobbying crew allegedly struck a deal with organized labor that the Governor would publicly announce his disinterest in dealing with any further labor relations bills this term.  Once the House Republican caucus was presented with terms of the "deal", the Speaker of the House stormed out of the Chamber and the Republican caucus declined to vote on the measure until further notice.  Now, the administration is exploring other ways to get the needed votes without offending the Republicans.

One avenue is the Detroit caucus, which is cobbling together its own list of demands for voting "yes" for the Snyder administration.  If the Republicans can put all 55 "yes" votes for Good Jobs, a tax incentive program that repulses some GOP conservatives, Democratic votes would not be needed, but that is highly unlikely.
The rush to pass the Good Jobs package is to lure the hi-tecTaiwan-based Fox Conn to Michigan.  

Next week, Lt. Governor Brian Calley plans to reboot his part-time legislature ballot proposal after resubmitting petition language with the Secretary of State designed to be more bulletproof if it is challenged in the courts.  Calley alleges that the "Lansing establishment is fighting back against the proposal by trying to find legal technicalities to prevent voters from having a voice, which is why the Clean Michigan Government ballot proposal is having to start over."  Stated Calley.

The new language does not address all the concerns brought up in the days since Calley announced on May 30 his bid to create a part-time legislature through a constitutional ballot proposal.  If passed, Michigan would have a part time term limited legislature giving the Governor and departments most of the power with no checks and balances. 

Some contend the proposal does not address the constitutional section that deals with the Legislature's power to approve, disapprove or take no action on a citizens initiative 40 days after the Secretary of State verifies a proposal carries the proper number of signature.  It also does not address the Legislature's power to override a veto.  If the Legislature is no longer in session lawmakers could not logistically override a veto. The Clean Michigan Government group will have 180 days from the exact day it collects its first name to gather 315,654 signatures.  Lt. Brian Calley is expected to announce his bid for Governor along with Attorney General Bill Schuette---expect a hotly contested race for governor in Michigan!!

Specific to forestry next week, John Fowler, MAT and I will be meeting with Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville and other interests to review draft 5 of legislation to require religious sects pay workers compensation.

HB 4644, legislation to allow a multiple use permit for truckers remains on 3rd Reading of the House calendar.  I am working with sponsor Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona to move the bill to the Senate so it can be referred to the Senate Transportation Committee which will most likely not meet until September.

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