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Legislative Update with Sen. Ed McBroom

By Stephen King

This month, in our continuing effort to keep the snowmobiling public updated on what is happening in the snowmobile world, we are starting a new feature — a legislative update.

State Sen. Ed McBroom, R–Waucedah, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources Committee, has agreed to speak with us. Sen. McBroom and his staff will be providing the information about what is happening in Lansing regarding the trails, snowmobiling or any other factors that may affect the trails and riding. I personally want to thank Sen. McBroom and his staff for their assistance.  As someone once said, “An informed public is key to a democracy.”

Also, I will be giving a brief on what is happening, but I pledge to you readers not to become what the national media has become. I will not try to make up your minds for you. Whether or not you chose to support or go against any piece of legislation or any issue will be up to you.

I am an “old school” reporter. I believe it is my job to report the news. Not make it up or take sides. However, full disclosure: As someone who makes a living off the motorsports trail system, I will be pro trails. Other than that, it will be up to you readers to respond or get involved with the issues.

This month, most of the bills, both House and Senate, that involve trails are again about the helmet law. Similar to what happened with motorcycles a few years ago, there are people who want to do away with the helmet requirement. At this time, these proposals are only for people with a medical reason — verified by a doctor — that impedes their ability to wear a helmet.

Another bill, HB 5551, deals with the violation that occurs when your registration decal or trail sticker is placed incorrectly. The bill would make it a fine of up to $150. Currently, this violation is a criminal misdemeanor carrying stronger penalties. 

In addition, SB 0032 will change the Recreational Passport requirements. Trailheads would become authorized unlimited entry recreation areas.

Also, with the passage of Prop 1 in the recent election, many of us are wondering exactly what that will mean for snowmobiling and trail usage. I contacted Paul Yauk, head of the trails program. “This could allow for more funds being directed to the development of trails in the program,” he said.

Sen. McBroom made a similar comment, stating, “The ballot proposal to amend the Natural Resource Trust Fund was supported by more than 80% of voters. Passage will provide needed flexibility for recreational projects, while allowing use of oil and gas revenue for generations to come.”

Again, I will refrain from any other comment, either supporting or opposing these bills. However, at this time, I must mention that the legislature is in its “lame duck” mode. So, many of the above bills may or may not be acted upon this legislative term. 

“There are limited session days remaining in November and December of the 2020 legislative term,” the senator said. “Most bills that will be voted on during this time have more than likely already been introduced. If the legislation does not see action in 2020, it may be reintroduced in 2021.

“The Michigan House will remain in Republican leadership following the election,” he continued, “so it is unlikely there will be swinging changes or reforms enacted. The House and Senate Oversight Committees have been taking a closer look at election issues the past few weeks.”

But, again, if you want to support or oppose these bills, I suggest getting in contact with your local legislator, either senator or representative. Go to our website, www.michsnowmag, for more updates and info.

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