Michigan election year could slow 2018 legislative calendar


A spokesperson for Michigan Farm Bureau says state lawmakers have a short window to pass legislation that would benefit the agricultural industry.

“As we move throughout the year, we’re going to get tied up in budgets and then we’re going to get into the election season.”

Legislative Counsel Andrew Vermeesch tells Brownfield in 2018 Michigan will elect a new governor, attorney general, secretary of state and a majority of the state’s senators.  “Both the majority leaders in the Senate as well as the Speaker are termed out and are also going to their final year.  The majority of the sitting senators will be termed out and I think this means you’re going to have a handful of house members that are going to be jockeying for those seats.”

Vermeesch says he expects a five bill package passed by the House at the end of the 2017 intended to get more skilled trades graduates into the workforce to move through the legislature at the beginning of this year. He says the state’s largest farm organization is also closely following identical Department of Environmental Quality oversight bills which have been passed by the House and Senate.

He says other legislation important for agriculture includes a bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee creating a seed potato act which would require growers to use certified seed only to limit invasive species.

Vermeesch says a senate committee bill has also been passed that would transform the Michigan Grape and Wine Council into the Michigan Craft Beverage Council to include more representation of the craft beverage industry and expand research and development of those products.

AUDIO: Interview with Andrew Vermeesch

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