LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation to develop a detailed, strategic plan for land acquisition and disposal, establishing a cap on certain public lands until that plan is adopted.
Senate Bill 248, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, caps the amount of land that can be owned by the state at 4.6 million acres until the strategic plan is approved by the Legislature. The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also will be required to maintain a record of land on its website.
"Public lands are an important part of Michigan's reinvention, both for recreation and resource-based industries," Snyder said. "Having a comprehensive management policy for what land the state owns, and why, will help guide the quantity, location and use of our public lands in the future to better serve citizens."
Snyder said he will ask the DNR to work with the Legislature and stakeholders to craft and swiftly adopt the strategic plan.
The bill now is Public Act 240 of 2012.
The governor also signed 14 other bills.
S.B. 717, sponsored by state Sen. John Proos, creates the Hunters Helping Landowners program. It allows hunters to enroll in a database to harvest antlerless deer on private property if landowners notify the DNR they would benefit from a deer harvest. Overpopulation of deer frequently causes crop damage, and this legislation benefits both landowners and hunters looking for out-of-season hunting opportunities. The bill now is P.A. 241.
S.B.s 760-762, sponsored by state Sens. Mike Green, Mike Kowall and Dave Robertson, redefine a pistol to mean a loaded or unloaded firearm with a length of 26 inches or less, reduced from 30 inches. Current owners of a pistol 30 inches or less are grandfathered. The bills now are P.A. 242-244.
S.B. 897, sponsored by state Sen. Darwin Booher, adds crossbows to the list of gear that can lawfully be used to fish. The bill now is P.A. 245.
S.B. 1045, sponsored by state Sen. John Gleason, relaxes regulations to allow the disability community expanded opportunities to hunt at licensed game bird preserves. The bill now is P.A. 246.
S.B. 1052, sponsored by Casperson, allows Great Lakes property owners additional ability to groom their beach frontage. It does, however, maintain certain federal permitting requirements and allows the state to continue protecting valuable coastal wetlands. The bill now is P.A. 247.
H.B. 4913, sponsored by Foster, provides the legal means to correct a situation where land was included on the Commercial Forest tax roll in error. The bill now is P.A. 248.
H.B. 5164, sponsored by state Rep. Peter Pettalia, eliminates inspection requirements for non-motorized livery boats, including kayaks and canoes, and alters the inspection and permit requirements for motorized livery boats. The bill now is P.A. 249.
H.B. 5226, sponsored by state Rep. Harold Haugh, codifies existing policy to allow foster children to hunt with their foster parents. The bill now is P.A. 250.
H.B. 5414, sponsored by state Rep. Frank Foster, adds Port Crescent State Park, Wilderness State Park and other state-owned forest land in Emmet County to the Dark Sky Preserve. Created in 1993, the preserve enacts lighting restrictions to ensure dark night skies for recreational stargazing. The bill now is P.A. 251.
H.B. 5424, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Lyons, creates common-sense tolerance in the enforcement of agricultural vehicle weight limits. To account for potential shifting, vehicles hauling farm products are allowed 10 percent extra weight per axle, provided the total weight is within specifications. The bill now is P.A. 252.
H.B.s 5595 and 5596, sponsored by state Reps. Charles Brunner and Kevin Daley, update the definitions and regulation of weights and measures to match national standards. One highlight protects consumers from deceptive gasoline price advertisements by requiring sellers to post conditions, like the need to purchase a car wash, next to the sale price in the same size and style font. The bills now are P.A.s 253 and 254.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.