triston cole

Legislation to restrict the authority of state departments has passed the Michigan House and is making its way through the Senate.

House Bill 4205 would not let agency rules be any stricter than federal rules without proof that it’s necessary. 

Environmental groups are concerned. As the Great Lakes state, past legislatures have embraced a role of being a guardian of the lakes. Stricter agency rules were seen as part of the state being a good steward and an example for other states.

Controversial legislation on state regulatory rules is making its way through the legislature.

The House approved a bill Thursday to prevent the state from being tougher on things like environmental and workplace safety than the federal government.

Some Republicans in Michigan are pushing for restrictions to the state’s power to write regulations. State agencies, like the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, write many rules and regulations that don't need legislative approval. 

In the last few years, some Michigan lawmakers have criticized this process. They say that state departments are writing rules that are too strict.

Legislation introduced by one of northern Michigan’s state representatives, Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), would add a new hurdle for state agencies to clear.    

“This would restrict them from enacting administrative rules that would be stricter than federal rules,” Cole says, “without clear and convincing evidence, and or going through the legislative process.”

Cole spoke with IPR News Radio about the legislation:

 


A new bill would allow gun owners to carry a concealed pistol without a permit from the state.  Right now, gun owners have to get a concealed pistol license, which requires taking a gun safety class among other things.

The "constitutional carry" bill is already law in 13 states.

Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) is one of the bill’s sponsors. He calls it a “freedom issue,” saying law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t need a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

DTE Energy

The future of energy regulation in Michigan is uncertain.

For months, state lawmakers have debated the state’s energy rules, but for months they’ve failed to pass legislation. Republican leaders want to do the first major overhaul to energy law since 2008. 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Off roaders have used state forest roads in the Upper Peninsula as trails for years. Now they might have the same opportunity to use those types of roads below the Mackinac Bridge.

House Bill 5275 would permit Off Road Vehicles (ORVs) to use any state forest road across the state, unless it has been closed. Most of these roads are already open to motorized traffic from vehicles with license plates, but not to machines like all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or side-by-side vehicles. The legislation, which was introduced by state Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), is currently sitting in the state Senate.

“Right now we have limited use and sporadic accessibility for our ORVs and side-by-side machines,” Triston Cole says. “And this is the next step in increasing tourism and improving our economy here in northern Lower Michigan.”

Cole says many off roaders in the Lower Peninsula are heading north to the Upper Peninsula to use its more numerous ORV trails. He wants to keep them below the Mackinac Bridge.
 

But some are concerned about potential environmental impacts if the roads are opened up to ORVs with aggressive tire treads. 

A new session began for state lawmakers last week. 

The newest members of the state House of Representatives and Senate from northern Michigan are settling into new offices and hiring staff, among many other things.

Right now they’re learning about new jobs and about the challenges of getting anything done in Lansing.