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It’s no surprise to hear that state Republicans and Democrats don’t usually agree on legislation. More unusual is when there is bipartisan consensus, especially when it is over a bill that will likely not pass. That is the word circulating over House Bills 4526-4528, which would remove local control over aggregate mining permits. It’s been sought for the last few years by both the aggregate mining companies and road construction companies which are looking for new sources of aggregate to rebuild all of Michigan’s roads. According to one Democratic lawmaker, the bills are in “the worst shape they’ve ever been,” with state Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Traverse City), a co-sponsor of the bills and chair of the powerful House appropriations committee, “trying to jam them through. She has a lot of power, but I don’t think it’s going to work this time,” said the local lawmaker, who noted that both Democrats and Republicans are against it. “Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), who I agree with on zilch – he was telling me all the things he hates about it – and I agree.” The lawmaker noted that aggregate mining bills have the backing of the aggregate companies – and the unions, “which is where it gets interesting.” Currently the bills have been paused after pushback from local municipalities, who want to maintain local control, and environmental groups, but they are likely to see the light of day when the legislature returns from summer break.


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