As the sun slowly began to appear on the horizon this morning, the state House and Senate ended an all-night marathon session and concluded their work for the remainder of 2010.
A valiant push by MITA members and staff in the last few months to spur Lame Duck action on a transportation-funding package was unsuccessful. Sen. Majority Leader Mike Bishop refused to allow for a vote on the gas tax, vehicle registration fees or diesel tax parity, leaving the issue to be addressed by a freshman-dominated legislature and governor beginning in January.
But, not all was lost in the Lame Duck session. One of MITA’s top legislative priorities—greater funding for Michigan sewers and Brownfield cleanups—was adopted with the approval of landmark legislation proposed and supported by MITA staff over the past six months. (Senate Bill 1443 and House Bill 6416.) Previous bulletins and more details of the proposals can be found by clicking here.
Another bill sent to the governor would continue the funding of underground storage tank clean up efforts. Senate Bill 1267 would maintain the environmental protection regulatory fee of 7/8 cent on each gallon of refined petroleum products sold in the state in order to pay for the clean up efforts. A bill analysis can be found by clicking here.
Many of the state's universities and community colleges got the go-ahead for infrastructure projects on their campuses partially financed with state money as the Legislature passed a bill (House Bill 5858) with nearly $1 billion in projects that would mean $383 million in state funding.
Beyond the overall transportation funding package, among other items that will have to wait until next year, the legislature punted on efforts to build the new Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC). A bill MITA was supporting (Senate Bill 882) to shorten the statute of limitations to sue contractors for building projects was also delayed.
New Legislative Leadership Named
With 28 state senators and 43 state representatives not returning to the Legislature in January, things will be changing dramatically at the state capitol in the new year. Shortly after the November General Elections, each caucus chose their own leaders.
In the Senate, Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) was elected Senate Majority Leader. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) will lead the Democratic Caucus as Senate Minority Leader.
Other leadership positions in the Senate are:
Sen.-elect Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) -- Majority Floor Leader Sen.-elect Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) -- President Pro Tem Sen.-elect Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) -- Assistant Majority Leader Sen.-elect Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) -- Assistant Majority Floor Leader Sen.-elect Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) -- Majority Caucus Chair Sen.-elect Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton Twp.) -- Assistant Majority Caucus Chair Sen.-elect Jack Brandenberg (R-Harrison Twp.) -- Majority Caucus Whip Sen.-elect Darwin Booher (R-Evart) -- Assistant Majority Caucus Whip Sen.-elect Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) -- Assistant President Pro Tem.
In the House, Rep. Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) was elected Speaker of the House. The caucus also chose Rep. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) as the Majority Floor Leader. Rep. Rich Hammel (D-Mt. Morris) was elected to lead the 47-member Democratic Caucus as House Minority Leader. In addition to Hammel, House Democrats elected Rep. Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) as Minority Floor Leader.
Prior to coming to the House, Mr. Bolger was a Calhoun County commissioner who owned a business that updates telephone records for Fortune 100 businesses, while Mr. Hammel served as a Genesee County commissioner and was a pipe fitter at Delphi Engine.
Other leadership positions in the House are:
Rep. John Walsh (R- Livonia) -- Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Pete Lund (R-Shelby Twp.) -- Majority Caucus Whip Rep. David Agema (R-Grandville) -- Majority Caucus Chair Rep. Paul Opsommer (R- DeWitt) -- Majority Associate Speaker Pro Tem Rep.-elect Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) -- Majority Associate Speaker Pro Tem Rep.-elect Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto) -- Majority Assistant Floor Leader Rep.-elect Jeff Farrington (R- Utica) -- Majority Assistant Floor Leader Rep.-elect Amanda Price (R-Park Twp.) -- Majority Assistant Caucus Chair
APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRS NAMED Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw Twp.) has been tapped by Senate Majority Leader-elect Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee. In the House, Speaker-elect Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) selected Rep. Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham) to Chair the House Appropriations Committee.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mike Nystrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Keith Ledbetter at email@example.com or call the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.