Photo Advisory: Sen. Booher welcomes German exchange student to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, welcomed Svenja Koeppe, an exchange student from Germany, to the Senate chamber. Koeppe, who attends Cadillac High School, is pictured (center) with Booher and her host mom, Laurie Erickson, of Cadillac. (Jan. 28, 2015)

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Casperson and Booher introduce measures to reform state land management and regulations

LANSING, Mich—Sens. Tom Casperson and Darwin Booher introduced legislation on Tuesday to address concerns raised by Michigan residents, a varied group of land use stakeholders, and local officials regarding state land ownership by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“While our constituents value the benefits public land can offer, we increasingly hear of problems due to unreasonable and unresponsive department rules, regulations and policies related to the enjoyment of state land,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “Some of the issues we routinely hear about involve access and use for recreation, and problems that land-based industries encounter when dealing with the department in land transactions, such as with purchases or sales.

“Over the last few years, we have talked to the department about these issues, but it is time to improve state law to address them for the long-term benefit of Michigan residents, visitors, local units of government and the natural resources with which we are blessed, especially in the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula.”

Senate Bills 39 and 40 are meant to continue the discussion started four years ago with Casperson’s efforts on a state law to cap the amount of land that the DNR can own with certain exemptions in place until a meaningful, comprehensive and strategic public land management plan was developed by the DNR.

While the DNR has developed a plan and presented it to the Legislature, lawmakers have expressed concern that more work needs to be done on the plan, along with improvements to state law to ensure that it fully addresses the many issues related to public land ownership.

“It is understandable that as Senator Casperson and I represent 24 of the 83 counties in Michigan where the majority of state land is located, our communities have asked us to engage on the issue of strategically improving land management on property the state already owns, instead of simply purchasing additional land,” said Booher, R-Evart. “This shift in policy, along with our proposed bills to encourage full and timely tax payments from the state on the land it owns and local approval abilities on state land purchases, will be a significant help to our communities and those that enjoy the use of these lands.”

County Commissioner John Waltman said he appreciates legislation being pursued.

“As a county commissioner from Luce County, which is nearly 52 percent owned by the state, I see a lot of value in the proposed changes to allow local units of government to approve purchases within their boundaries, as well as ensure that PILT and swamp taxes are paid in full,” Waltman said. “Improvements to working through land purchase requests with the department will help our local communities as well.”

Casperson said he welcomes ideas.

“As these bills work through the legislative process, we look forward to working with anybody who would like to engage with us on this legislation and on public land management issues as we look to enact meaningful, necessary natural-resource-related reform that provides balance and sensibility to better serve the state and its residents,” Casperson said.

SBs 39 and 40 have been referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. Casperson, who chairs the committee, said he expects the legislation to be discussed at multiple committee hearings to be arranged in the coming weeks.

Booher reacts to State of the State address

Senator Darwin Booher

Senator Darwin Booher

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, issued the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2015 State of the State address:

“I appreciate Governor Snyder’s review of what was accomplished during my first Senate term, and I look forward to working to achieve even more positive outcomes for the state during the next four years.

“The governor talked about streamlining and reforming state government. I strongly support this effort, and I believe it is critical to provide services to our people through the most effective and efficient methods possible.

“Issues like education and road funding will continue to be very important priorities for policy makers. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature and the administration on these issues, and others, as we continue to improve Michigan’s future.”


Sen. Darwin Booher available for comments following State of the State address

Who: Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart.

What: Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When: The address is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Where: House Appropriations Room
Third Floor
State Capitol
Lansing, MI

Briefing: Booher will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please call Booher’s office at 517-373-1725 prior to 5 p.m. Jan. 20 to schedule an interview time with the senator.


Booher sworn in as senator of 35th District

Senator also announces committee assignments

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Darwin Booher was sworn in as senator of the 35th district on Wednesday by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. during a ceremony at the state Capitol.

Booher, who was reelected last November, was joined in the Senate chamber by his family for the occasion.

“I am honored to again serve the residents of the 35th Senate District, and I thank them for their support as we work together to make Michigan a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I look forward to continuing the great work we started over the next four years.”

In addition to continuing as chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, Booher also announced that he will serve on the Agriculture, Appropriations, and Education committees. He will also serve as chair of the Appropriations subcommittees on Capital Outlay and Community Colleges, and as a member of the General Government and Natural Resources subcommittees.

To view this and other photos of Booher, please visit his website at