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By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Several Legislators participated in the recent 63rd Annual MLSA Conference. Some presented during sessions, some visited to learn about what MLSA does, and one welcomed everyone to Muskegon.

We had the opportunity to listen to them as they presented, and during meal time conversation. Here are some of the important points we learned by listening:

1) CONCERNED ABOUT ELECTIONS: The August 6 primary elections are beginning to take shape with all 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives on the ballot.  Several former lawmakers also are seeking reelection following 2022 changes to the state’s term limits law. Legislators may now serve 12 total years in either chamber. The previous law, enacted in 1992, restricted service in the State House to three, two-year terms and time in the Senate to two, four-year terms.

Several of the Michigan House members have strong challengers. So, do not anticipate any of the “slim-margin” representatives to vote publicly on controversial bills that could loose the election for them. This means such needed legislation might not get committee hearings or floor votes until after the November 2024 General Election.

2) 2024-2025 BUDGET: Most of the effort and focus by the leadership is in creating and passing appropriations bills prior to July 1. So, again, do not anticipate any major legislation until the fall. No one wants a budget crisis in Michigan.

3) SEPTIC REGULATION: It was clear that the legislators “get it” when it comes to the need to regulate septic systems after they are installed consistent with stringent build standards. The way to fix the Michigan sewage problem is fairly clear. However, there is little to no agreement on how to pay for it, who is going to do the inspections, how often inspections need to occur, and what about low income residents with a failing system? One legislator opined that maybe these matters can be worked out during a “lame duck” session after the November General Election.

4) WAKESPORT MODE BILL: The negative response to the bill introduced was somewhat anticipated, but the shear volume of emails against responsible regulation was staggering. Unfortunately for reasons noted in item #1, above, this might not get a committee hearing until after the General Election. However, we can be optimistic.

5) EMAIL EFFECTIVENESS: All the legislators mentioned how they pay attention to emails sent to them. Some read every email in their inbox, one said her staff reads every single one and prepares a weekly report for her. The report also includes some of the most interesting messages. So its clear that email messages to your Representatives and Senators are the new forum for participatory democracy. It only takes a few sentences to have an impact. Are your elected officials in your “contacts?” It’s the best way for them to listen to you.

Find your Representative here.

Find your Senator here.

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