Sen. Casperson welcomes Powers North Central Jets to the state Capitol

LANSING—State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, welcomed the North Central High School Jets boys basketball team from Powers, Michigan to the Capitol on Thursday, March 19, 2015. The Jets were in Lansing to play in the MHSAA Class D state semifinals game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. The Jets went on to win the Class D state championship game on Saturday, their first state title since 1984.

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Resolutions to recognize Michigan mining approved by Senate


LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Tom Casperson introduced two resolutions this week to recognize the importance of mining in Michigan.

Senate Resolution 27 declares September 6 as “Michigan Mining Day” and will celebrate and support responsible mining operations and their economic benefits throughout Michigan.

Casperson, R-Escanaba, indicated that he settled on September 6 to commemorate mining since it was instrumental in the setting of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and became a way of life dating back more than a century in the U.P., which is designated by a single area code that is the numerical equivalent to the date: 9-06.

Additionally, SR 28, a companion resolution, brings support for renewed growth of Michigan’s longstanding mining industry.

Citing many economic benefits for Michiganders, Casperson said, “U.P. mining continues to provide Michigan with many economic opportunities. U.P. communities — and the state as a whole — will benefit now and for decades to come from the investment and stewardship of our current set of mining interests.”

He noted that Michigan has arguably among the most stringent environmental protection standards in the U.S. Michigan updated its mining laws in 2004 under legislation sponsored by Casperson, which was unanimously passed by the Legislature.

“We appreciate the work new mining companies are doing to provide high-paying jobs to Upper Peninsula residents and diversify our economy, and we will work to remove any remaining barriers that could inhibit the continued growth of responsible mining interests in Michigan,” Casperson said.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee took testimony Thursday on the resolutions, including:
• Troy Henderson, a historian with the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee;
• Matt Johnson and Kristen Mariuzza with Lundin Mining-owned Eagle Mine, a nickel and copper mine that started production in late 2014; and
• Carlos Bertoni and Dave Anderson of Highland Copper, a project proposed for the Western U.P.

“We’re proud of the accomplishments of Eagle Mine that have defined modern mining and best practices that are being recognized locally and at national, international and industry levels,” said Eagle Mine External Affairs Manager Matt Johnson. “Government and industry leaders are touring Eagle regularly to learn how we’re doing things. We’ve begun a new era of mining prosperity in the U.P. that leaves many of the historic impacts in the past. We need to continue to make Michigan attractive to additional mining development.”

The full Senate voted in support of the resolutions Thursday with no objections.

Casperson comments on closing of Manistique Papers

For Immediate Release
March 19, 2015

Contact: Marty Fittante
517-373-7840

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, issued the following remarks today in response to the announced closure of Manistique Papers:

“Manistique Papers has operated in the community for more than 90 years, and has been a major employer for much of that time. I understand these are difficult times for the company and for its hard working employees but, as I was in 2011, I am hopeful that we can turn this negative into a positive and get the mill back up and running again.

“The people of Manistique are the community’s strength. As before, the positive attitude of not just the employees of the mill but of the entire community that helped bring folks together to save the company can and, I believe, will help forge a new path for the facility. In my capacity as your state senator, I pledge to work with my colleagues and with the administration of Governor Snyder to explore all options and help find a way to keep this historic facility in operation, even if that means it is repurposed.

“As the work begins to overcome this setback and find a new employer for the community, there are resources in place to help workers who have been affected to find new jobs. As always, my door is open, and my staff and I will do what we can to assist. Please stop by or email me at SenTCasperson@senate.michigan.gov or call 866-305-2038.”

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Employment resources information:

  • The Pure Michigan Talent Connect website is a collaboration between the state and Michigan Economic Development Corporation to help easily connect job seekers and job providers.
    • Visit mitalent.org to look for openings and to post a resume.
    • Call 1-888-522-0103, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.
  • Michigan Works! also provides a wonderful service to help workers find jobs.
    • The organization has a Manistique Service Center located at 300 Walnut St., Room 154. The phone number is 906-341-1111.
    • Visit michiganworks.org for even more information about the services available.
  • Additionally, if needed, the state Unemployment Insurance Agency can help those who are having difficulty finding work.
    • To find out more, call 866-500-0017, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, or visit michigan.gov/uia.

Photo Advisory: Sen. Casperson welcomes Houghton Middle School EcoChallenge team to Capitol


LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, poses for a photo with members of the Houghton Middle School EcoChallenge team on the floor of the Senate chamber Wednesday. The students were in Lansing to give a presentation to the Senate Natural Resources Committee, which Casperson chairs, about invasive plant species.

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Casperson thanks all parties involved in new Michigan-only utilities

Sen. Tom Casperson

Sen. Tom Casperson

LANSING, Mich.—This morning, state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, thanked Gov. Rick Snyder and his team, as well as WE Energies, Cliffs Natural Resources and the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC), for their exceptional efforts in continuing to push for a long-term solution to the critical need for reliable and affordable energy generation in the Upper Peninsula.

Casperson issued the following statement:

“Although we are now headed in a new direction, I am grateful to all parties, including the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) for their best, good-faith and diligent efforts in trying to finalize arrangements on the energy agreement that was reached in concept in January.

“I am excited by the new direction announced by the governor this morning as this agreement will create a new Michigan-only utility that will be in the ratepayers’ best interests. Consequently, on behalf of the families and small businesses across the Upper Peninsula who are struggling with their utility bills and in need of affordable and reliable energy service, I want sincerely thank the governor, WE Energies, Cliffs Natural Resources and the MPSC for their persistence and protracted efforts to reach a new agreement.

“We know this was a real challenge to change direction and construct a new agreement under the circumstances, so I am truly grateful for the hard work and sustained effort as this is critical for families and businesses across the U.P.

“With this new agreement in place, I have already requested legislation. This legislation will be an immediate priority, which will permit the creation of a new Michigan-only utility. I look forward to once again working on the legislation with the U.P. legislative delegation as I know Representatives McBroom, Kivela and Dianda are also committed to finding a Michigan-based energy solution that meets the U.P.’s long-term energy needs in a way that is fair and affordable to U.P. ratepayers.”

Bills to make state departments more accountable and work on common-sense solutions introduced

LANSING-Mich.—Sen. Tom Casperson announced Thursday that bills to make sure state departments do not unfairly push matters into court and to hold departments accountable if legal action is pursued and the department loses were introduced in the Michigan Senate.

Senate Bills 189 and 190 would make most state departments, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Natural Resources, responsible for paying all court costs of a resident or business that prevails in court against a department.

“Too often we see state bureaucrats failing to truly work in good faith with citizens and businesses on issues such as permits and tax matters, and instead they simply challenge people to take the department to court if they disagree with the department’s opinion,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba.”

“When departments set ultimatums and leave court action as the only avenue to help with requests from Michigan residents, which often concerns the use of their personal property or an inadvertent mistake that was made, the citizen is currently responsible for paying what could be a significant amount of money to defend their private property rights or correct an inconsequential or unintentional mistake.”

Sen. Dave Robertson joined Casperson as sponsor of the legislation.

“I am for great efficiency in the state departments being responsible for the issuance of permits involving private property owners,” said Robertson, R-Grand Blanc. “They are taxpayers and land owners, and we owe them effective delivery of services. What I am not for, and what I loathe, are the state departments using courts and the legal system in an unnecessary or frivolous fashion. This legislation should serve as an effective deterrent to this practice.”

Casperson said that many constituents have raised concerns that they do not have what seems to be the same limitless resources available to them that state departments have, so they often drop the issue they are trying to fix or just comply with the department—even if the department is wrong—because it is easier than fighting the department in court.

“As we work on this legislation, I look forward to ensuring that state departments face some consequences when they fail to work with people and instead push matters into court,” Casperson said. “These bills hopefully will cause them to think twice and really work hand-in-hand through issues with Michigan residents and small businesses in a more professional, expeditious manner.”

SBs 189 and 190 have been referred to the Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee.