Booher re-elected vice chair of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher has been elected to serve once again as vice chair of the international Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (GLLC) in 2015-16.

The nonpartisan caucus provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key Great Lakes issues through its mix of programming, advocacy and activities. Its goal is to strengthen the role of state and provincial legislators in the Great Lakes policymaking process.

“I am honored to continue serving as vice chair of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus as we work on issues critical to Michigan and the entire region,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I look forward to ensuring that Michigan’s interests continue to be heard on vital Great Lakes matters, such as protecting our waters and stopping invasive species like Asian carp.”

The caucus has facilitated regional discussions on passage and implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and pushed for federal funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an improved Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and an expedited timeline for a federal study recommending how to keep Asian carp from entering the lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System.

The caucus also maintains a legislative tracker that monitors bills being considered in state capitals and Washington, D.C.

Booher and other members of the legislative executive committee will guide caucus efforts in 2015-16. The committee is made up of the chair, the vice chair and one additional legislator from each of the eight states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes Basin.

Booher has been vice chair of the caucus since 2013. Minnesota Sen. Ann Rest serves as chair of the caucus. Officers and the group’s executive committee were elected by members who attended the GLLC meeting this summer in Quebec.

The Midwestern Office of The Council of State Governments provides staffing services for the caucus, which is funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. CSG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving all three branches of state government.

For more information about the GLLC, visit www.greatlakeslegislators.org.

###
 

Booher re-elected vice chair of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher has been elected to serve once again as vice chair of the international Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (GLLC) in 2015-16.

The nonpartisan caucus provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key Great Lakes issues through its mix of programming, advocacy and activities. Its goal is to strengthen the role of state and provincial legislators in the Great Lakes policymaking process.

“I am honored to continue serving as vice chair of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus as we work on issues critical to Michigan and the entire region,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I look forward to ensuring that Michigan’s interests continue to be heard on vital Great Lakes matters, such as protecting our waters and stopping invasive species like Asian carp.”

The caucus has facilitated regional discussions on passage and implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and pushed for federal funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an improved Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and an expedited timeline for a federal study recommending how to keep Asian carp from entering the lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System.

The caucus also maintains a legislative tracker that monitors bills being considered in state capitals and Washington, D.C.

Booher and other members of the legislative executive committee will guide caucus efforts in 2015-16. The committee is made up of the chair, the vice chair and one additional legislator from each of the eight states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes Basin.

Booher has been vice chair of the caucus since 2013. Minnesota Sen. Ann Rest serves as chair of the caucus. Officers and the group’s executive committee were elected by members who attended the GLLC meeting this summer in Quebec.

The Midwestern Office of The Council of State Governments provides staffing services for the caucus, which is funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. CSG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving all three branches of state government.

For more information about the GLLC, visit www.greatlakeslegislators.org.

###
 

Booher works with Midwest state leaders on key natural resources issues

LANSING—Two natural resources policy resolutions sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher were adopted this week at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments held in Omaha.

“I was honored to represent Michigan at the Midwestern Legislative Conference and proud that we were able to find agreement on two issues important to Northern Michigan and our entire region,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Both resolutions adopted this week are about protecting states’ rights, our economy and the rights of private land owners.”

The first of Booher’s resolutions adopted at the conference concerned a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

“In response to multiple U.S. Supreme Court decisions saying that the EPA and Army Corps over-stepped their authority, these agencies are again trying to expand environmental regulations – in clear disregard of private property rights and the law,” Booher said. “The Michigan Senate has already called on the proposed new rules to be withdrawn and now Midwestern lawmakers have encouraged the federal government to slow down and work with state governments before implementing this change.

“This is critical to Michigan jobs and agriculture industry. According to the EPA itself, these rules could lead to 1,400 more required permits and cost farmers and businesses nearly $279 million.”

Booher’s second resolution encourages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reconsider current voluntary provisions rather than listing the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.

“Michigan’s forests add to our excellent quality of life and help support millions of workers in our vibrant tourism and timber industries,” Booher said. “Listing this bat as endangered threatens our economy, yet the Fish and Wildlife Service cannot even determine the bat’s critical habitat or provide any evidence that forest management activities have any impact on the bats.”

The resolution urges the FWS to work with the states on conservation measures and focus resources on efforts to deal with the cause of the bat population decline, such as addressing white-nose syndrome that has killed millions of bats in the northeastern U.S.

The Council of State Governments is a regionally based, nonpartisan association of state officials that promotes excellence in state government through the exchange of insights and ideas that help shape effective public policy. The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

###
 

Booher announces $2 million for road repair projects in 35th Senate District

For Immediate Release
July 3, 2014

Contact: Patrick Tiedt
517-373-1725

LANSING—State Sen. Darwin Booher announced Thursday that approximately $2 million in funding has been awarded for three road projects across the 35th Senate District.

“I am pleased that northern Michigan will receive this funding to provide some needed repairs to area roadways,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The Legislature worked with the governor and MDOT to use existing state revenue to fund these projects. These dollars will be put to use immediately, while policymakers continue to review a long-term funding source for our roads.”

The projects include:
• $442,500 for M-55 from 31 Road to M-115;
• $560,000 for the I-75 business loop in Roscommon from Billman Road to the I-75 southbound ramp; and
• $1 million for Deadstream Road in Benzie County between US-131 and M-22.

Public Act 34 of 2014 provides supplemental appropriations for various state government departments covering Fiscal Year 2015. The total gross amount allocated for the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Priority Road Investment Program is $114,942,610.

Booher said many of these projects would not have been funded if not for the supplemental dollars.

“The approximately $115 million for road projects is part of more than $700 million extra general fund dollars allocated to Michigan roads,” Booher said. “During the past several years, lawmakers have made some tough decisions to balance the state’s budget and live within our means. That has helped free up existing revenue to use on our roads.”

 

Governor signs Booher bill to help improve mental health services

LANSING?Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to help improve mental health services was signed on Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Booher’s bill, now Public Act 266 of 2014, allows community mental health (CMH) service programs to partner with health care providers such as hospitals, health systems and physician groups to better provide services to mental health patients.

“This is about better access to important care – especially in our rural areas – by permitting community mental health programs to have an active participation in the total treatment of patients,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The coordination of all essential medical and behavioral care will be done more easily and at a benefit to health care consumers and taxpayers.”

Centra Wellness Network Executive Director Chip Johnston and Benzie County Commission Chair Don Tanner both testified before the House and Senate Health Policy committees about the need to enhance mental health care services.

Under PA 266, a CMH services program will be able to partner with entities that provide and/or manage health care and rehabilitative services for purposes directly related to fulfilling the general health, welfare and service obligations of the programs.

The new law is supported by the Mental Health Association of Michigan and will go into effect in 90 days.

###