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Michigan Legislative Round Up

September 7th, 2011

“Land Cap Bill”: Senate Bill 248 – a bill that will permanently cap the amount of public state land available is in the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, & Outdoor Recreation under Chair Frank Foster (R-Pellston). MUCC believes that the state needs to develop a more comprehensive land acquisition strategy than simply capping the amount of state land available. This fall, MUCC will work with Rep. Foster and Sen. Casperson to develop a solution that will hold the DNR accountable and better represent all public land users.

Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory CouncilSenate Bills 508-510 will be up for testimony for the first time in the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism on Sept. 8. The bills will create an Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council that will advise the governor on aquatic invasive species topics such as ballast water regulations and management plans. The council will also be tasked with developing and recommending strategies for prevention, monitoring, and control and eradication of aquatic invasive species, as well as recommendations for funding. MUCC will be testifying in support of this legislation and will take an active role in future dialogue on invasive species issues.

Sporting Swine Regulations – the sporting swine issue (House Bills 4503-4507 and 4699) took an interesting turn this summer when a feral swine reported a positive testing for pseudorabies in Midland. The regulatory bills passed the House right before the summer recess and Sen. Joe Hune (R – Hamburg Twp.) has stated he will likely attempt to pass these bills out of his Senate Agriculture committee upon returning in September.

His Senate colleagues, however, remain sharply divided on this issue. The Senate is interested in learning more about the issue, so Senator Mike Green is holding a joint Agriculture & Rural Development and Natural Resources Department Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 3 PM in the Senate Hearing Room (Ground Floor, Boji Tower, 124 W. Allegan Street, Lansing, MI 48933). MUCC maintains its support of the current DNR Director’s order to list sporting swine on the prohibited invasive species list in Michigan.

Also on the slate to be introduced this fall are bills that would:

  • Increase the fines for illegal baiting, proposed to be similar to the tiered system of penalties for illegal fish snagging.
  • Clarify that a crossbow must be cased in a vehicle; bringing the statute in line with the regulations for firearms and archery equipment.
  • Improve the administration and eligibility for the Qualified Forest Act, which provides an 18 mil tax exemption for land that is managed under an approved forest management plan.

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