Action alert: Help us stop bad land cap bill!
We need your help to put the brakes on some bad legislation (SB 248) that would cap the number of acres of land the state may own. It is being considered by the Michigan House Natural Resources, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee.
The committee was expected to vote on the bill this morning, but postponed that decision.
Below is the text of an Action Alert MEC Policy Director James Clift sent to our member groups. We hope you'll check out the alert, pick up the phone and help us block this shortsighted proposal.
You can find your State Representative here.
This bill will place a cap on the number of acres the State of Michigan can own. A substitute bill will also require that the state prepare a plan for the acquisition and sale of state-owned land. We have been advocating for a provision that would remove the cap once the plan has been prepared by the state. Otherwise, the cap would be permanent unless it is removed by future legislative action.
We are requesting that you contact your State Representative (especially if they are on the committee) and ask them to remove the cap upon preparation of the plan by the Department of Natural Resources.
Frank Foster (R), Committee Chair, 107th District Matt Huuki (R), Majority Vice-Chair, 110th District Wayne A. Schmidt (R), 104th District Kurt Damrow (R), 84th District Holly Hughes (R), 91st District Joel Johnson (R), 97th District Peter Pettalia (R), 106th District Harold L. Haugh (D), Minority Vice-Chair, 42nd District Maureen L. Stapleton (D), 4th District Timothy Bledsoe (D), 1st District Dian Slavens (D), 21st District
A simple hard cap jeopardizes many of the state's efforts in achieving economic recovery, improving talent attraction and retention, boosting tourism and recreation development, and protecting natural resources.
The benefit of investing and growing the outdoor recreation sector of Michigan's economy is obvious. Our Pure Michigan brand is based on our natural resources and the quality of life they provide. We are deeply concerned that a statewide cap on the purchase of new recreational land undermines the state's efforts to increase tourism dollars spent in Michigan. Michigan has a treasure in our miles of trails, trout streams and state forests. These are the assets that can make us attractive to precisely the kinds of young professionals we want to build the state's future and restore our economic well-being. Unfortunately, many of these recreational opportunities are 3-5 hours or more from our population centers in the Lower Peninsula. Again, the statewide land cap will hamper our ability to provide recreational opportunities where we need them the most.
Lastly, the legislature always has the authority to restrict the purchase of additional lands. If the legislature appropriates no money for that purpose, no lands can be bought. We agree with the sponsor that a more strategic plan for property acquisition and sale is needed and will be required by this legislation. However, the statewide cap on purchases is counterproductive and could hurt Michigan's economy moving forward.