LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – Bills introduced by U.P. Representative Jenn Hill from the 109th district, are seeing movement in the legislature. Hill said these bills are structural fixes to help state systems run better, secure funding for outdoor recreation, and ease the financial burden of the assessment process on counties.
“It’s going to make it a much more streamlined process.” Representative Hill said. “And people will get qualified people for the particular job that needs to be done.”
The first bill would introduce a structural change to the way assessors are handled by counties. Hill says the bill wouldn’t force any changes, but it would allow counties to choose to opt for a designated assessor appointed by the state, rather than paying a retainer to keep someone on call.
“This bill is actually one that had been languishing and folks have actually been trying to get it done,” Hill said. “We finally got it over the finish line today.”
Representative Hill said under current laws, two U.P. counties are out of compliance, and at risk of being fined. She explained that this bill would create an easier system to help those counties, and others in similar situations.
The bill was passed in the House, 85 to 24, and will now be sent to the Senate for review.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted 9 to 2, passing the second bill and returning it to the full Senate. Hill says this bill will address the removal of the sunset on legislation that regulates license fees for off-road vehicles.
“When the program was initially set up, people weren’t sure how much money would be needed and people weren’t aware of the incredible growth of the ATVs and ORVs.”
The bills would remove the required renewal of legislation that appropriates funding from annual orv license fees for specific use by the state. Hill says some of the money from the fund went to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in the highlands area. The Trail experienced some damages following snow-melt in May, and the fund allowed repairs to the trail to happen over the summer.
Hill says she worked with the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association to create the bill and secure the funding that maintains the growing ORV industry.
This bill is now heading back to the full Senate for a vote, and if passed will move up to the governor for a signature.
Representative Hill says both bills are simple policy changes that she hopes to see signed by Governor Whitmer before the end of the year.