Senate approves Casperson bill to help improve Michigans business climate

LANSING— Legislation that eases regulatory burdens and bureaucratic barriers to growth by improving the state’s permitting process was recently approved by the Michigan Senate, said Sen. Tom Casperson.

Senate Bill 275 is part of a comprehensive package of bills to reform Michigan’s regulatory climate, and is designed to make Michigan more competitive and user friendly.

“Inefficiencies and obstacles in the state’s regulatory process severely delay the growth of Michigan businesses,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “As the economy tries to overcome years of economic despair, the Legislature must do what it can to remove these regulatory barriers for job providers.”

The bill focuses on the state Department of Environmental Quality because it is at the heart of many problems raised by businesses during stakeholder discussions. The measure does the following:

  • Requires the department to provide a list of all requirements for obtaining permits issued by the department so businesses have certainty in what is being asked for; 
  • Improves timeliness in permitting and ends delay tactics by regulators who keep asking for additional information;
  • Requires the department to reallocate resources if it becomes behind in processing permit applications to ensure permits are expeditiously processed;
  • Levels the playing field for Michigan job providers by prohibiting rules more stringent than federal rules, unless authorized by state law; and
  • Requires state agencies to consider disproportionate effects rules might have on small businesses compared to larger companies.

According to Site Selection magazine, business executives look at the ease of permitting and regulatory procedures as one of the top two considerations when choosing the place to locate or expand a business.

“Reforming Michigan’s regulatory climate is critical to our economic recovery,” Casperson said.

U.P. dentists, oral surgeons to benefit from Casperson bill

LANSING—Legislation that allows oral health care providers to fill prescriptions submitted electronically by an authorized out-of-state dentist was recently approved by the Michigan Senate, said Sen. Tom Casperson.

An oversight in a 2009 measure, which allowed pharmacists to fill prescriptions that originated from out-of-state, neglected to provide the same exemption for dentists and oral surgeons. That, in turn, put a strain on Upper Peninsula families and practitioners.

The rural nature of the U.P. can present challenges. “Some U.P. residents find it necessary to travel to Wisconsin for more than just cheering on the Packers on Sundays – they go for their health care needs as well,” Casperson said.

Seeing the need for reform, the 38th District lawmaker introduced Senate Bill 213 to correct the problem.

“A small oversight by a few has caused a big problem for many,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “Because current law prohibits prescriptions authored in Wisconsin from being filled in the U.P., residents are being forced to drive large distances for their oral health care needs. This just adds more strain to our already economically-stressed families.”

The region’s oral health care professionals have to deal with this problem every day, too, and as Dr. Bob Richards of Portage Dental Health in Hancock said, Casperson’s bill needs approval.

“This bill would allow patients who have to be referred out of area for dental procedures to return home and have their prescription needs filled at local pharmacies,” said Richards. “The Michigan Dental Association and I welcome the passage of this bill to help dental patients.”

SB 213 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Casperson to host three town hall meetings this week

LANSING―State Sen. Tom Casperson announced he will host three town hall meetings with constituents this week in Matchwood, Ironwood and Manistique.

Casperson, R-Escanaba, will give a brief overview of current issues facing the Michigan Legislature. There will be a question and answer session to follow.

The events are free and open to the public.

Details of the town hall meetings are as follows:

Friday, May 13
Noon – 2 p.m. EDT
Matchwood Township Hall
28978 M-28
Matchwood, MI
(With State Rep. Matt Huuki)

Friday, May 13
4 – 6 p.m. CDT
Erickson Academic Building, Room 211
Gogebic Community College
Ironwood, MI
(With State Rep. Matt Huuki)

Saturday, May 14
1 – 3 p.m. EDT
Schoolcraft County Circuit Courtroom
300 Walnut St.
Manistique, MI

Casperson invites local veterans to Senates Annual Memorial Day Service

LANSING—The Michigan Senate will hold its 17th Annual Memorial Day Service in the Senate chambers Thursday, May 26, said state Sen. Tom Casperson.

“Memorial Day is a most solemn occasion — a day to honor and remember those brave men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives so that we might live ours,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “I am very proud to be a part of the Senate’s service, and I invite local veterans to join me and my colleagues as we remember Michigan’s fallen heroes.”

Lawmakers will honor soldiers from their districts who died during the past 12 months. Families who lost loved ones will also be recognized by the Senate.

The Michigan Senate held its first annual Memorial Day Service at the initiative of U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, who was then a state senator.

Local veterans interested in attending the May 26 ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m., should RSVP to Sen. John Pappageorge, who is coordinating the event, by calling his office toll free at 1-877-SEN-13TH. Veterans who plan on attending should check in at Pappageorge’s office, located in room S-2 on the first floor of the Capitol.

Casperson also invites Upper Peninsula veterans for a reception after the Senate ceremony from 2 – 3 p.m. in his Lansing office. Please call Casperson’s office toll free at 1-866-305-2038 to confirm.