Land Cap Bill Enroute to Governor’s DeskJune 14th, 2012
The Land Cap Bill passed the House on a close vote (58-52), was concurred in the Senate, and is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.
The bill was amended in committee by Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) to the point where MUCC went to neutral. Unfortunately, the issue fell victim to last-minute political gamesmanship and the result is the passage of very poorly-constructed public policy.
A last minute floor amendment introduced by Rep. Frank Foster (R-Pellston) stripped Rep. Schmidt’s amendment, returning the bills to a form that MUCC can not — and every Michigan citizen who values public lands and a sensible system for buying or disposing of them should not — support.
SB 248 (H-6) would put a statewide cap in place until May 1, 2015 while the DNR engages the public and stakeholders to develop a statewide public land acquisition and disposition strategy. This planning process should be comprehensive and transparent, and will require significant resources to complete.Putting a plan in place is something MUCC highly supports. What is extremely troublesome is that this whole process could be wasted if the legislature chooses not to approve the plan by passing further legislation, as is required in the bill.
If the legislature does not act to approve the plan, the work done to create an acquisition and disposal strategy will go in the garbage, the arbitrary cap will be removed in southern Michigan, but will be kept on indefinitely in northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The boundary is determined by the northern most county boundary line of Mason, Lake, Osceola, Clare, Gladwin, and Arenac counties. Any land above that line would be beholden to the legislature’s decision to act or not.
The bill does not represent the desires of the people living in the regions most impacted — the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. When considering the votes cast, legislators representing 55 percent of the landmass and population voted against the bill. When looking at the northern Lower Peninsula along with the Upper Peninsula, legislators representing 47 percent of the affected area voted against this bill.
Those representing districts in the House who could potentially be placed under the arbitrary cap and voted “yes” included Representatives Potvin (Cadillac), Franz (Onekama) , MacMaster (Kewadin), Foster (Petoskey), McBroom (Vulcan), and Huuki (Altantic Mine).
In the Senate, northern Michigan “yes” votes included Senators Booher (Evart), Casperson (Escanaba), and Moolenaar (Midland).
There were a great number of Representatives who voted with MUCC, its members, and partners. Be sure to thank them by calling or sending them an e-mail. (Click here) The list includes the following Representatives:
Ananich Durhal LeBlanc Schmidt, Roy
Barnett Geiss Lindberg Schmidt, Wayne
Bauer Greimel Lipton Segal
Bledsoe Hammel Liss Slavens
Brown Haugh McCann Smiley
Brunner Hobbs Meadows Stallworth
Bumstead Hovey-Wright Nathan Stanley
Byrum Howze Oakes Stapleton
Cavanagh Hughes Olumba Switalski
Clemente Irwin Pettalia Talabi
Constan Jackson Rendon Tlaib
Darany Kandrevas Rutledge Townsend
Dillon Lane Santana Womack
In the Senate, those voting with MUCC, its members, and partners included:
Anderson Gleason Hopgood Walker
Bieda Gregory Hunter Warren
Caswell Hood Smith Young
The passage of this bill and the political wrangling that took place after months of positive progress is not something MUCC or its members can stand idly by and allow to happen. MUCC will urge the Governor to make certain that the planning piece is completed and in place to allow for the cap on public lands to be lifted in northern Michigan. If those assurances can not be made, we would ask that the Governor simply veto this bill.
You can voice your concerns on this bill to the Governor’s office by using the contact information below:
Gov. Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909