PAAdvisory
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December 21, 2000

MICHIGAN NAMES ON AGENDA FOR BUSH

As the new Administration begins to form, some familiar names are under consideration for various appointments. They include:

  • Michigan D.E.Q. Director Russ Harding is under consideration for an appointment to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Senator Phil Hoffman (R-Horton) is interested in appointment to the Federal marshal position for Michigan. Hoffman, a former Sheriffs Deputy, was an early supporter of the Bush effort in Michigan.
  • Senator Glenn Steil (R-Grand Rapids) has many speculating he will receive an appointment as an ambassador. Senator Steil was a major fundraiser for the Bush Campaign.
  • Governor Engler's Press Secretary, John Truscott's name has surfaced for a possible job in Washington after spending three weeks in Austin assisting in organizing the transition effort.
  • Department of Community Health Director, Jim Haveman, who along with Governor Engler, has been a leader in Health care and Medicaid reform, may be considered for a post in the Bush Administration.
  • U.S. Senator Spence Abraham, who narrowly lost his reelection bid in November, is a leading candidate to head up the U. S. Department of Transportation.

One name not on the list is Governor John Engler who continues to insist that he plans to remain in the Governor's office and is looking forward to assuming the chairmanship of the National Governors' Association next year. Time will tell if the Governor changes his mind over the final two years of his term.

BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE ON VOTING PROPOSED

Following on the heels of the voting fiasco in Florida, Michigan Secretary of State Candice Miller has called for the creation of a blue ribbon committee to study the various voting systems available and find the best system for statewide use. Miller said this should be the first priority of the new Legislature when it convenes in January.

In calling for the committee, Miller expressed concern that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Florida recounts could open the door for equal protection lawsuits in Michigan. Currently, there are several different voting systems used across the state, including the now infamous punch card system with its dimples and chads.

Miller acknowledged that moving to a uniform voting system statewide would be costly with the Headlee Amendment requiring the state to pay for the installation of any mandated system. The Legislature might be receptive to Miller's proposal. Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow (R-Port Huron) says campaign finance reform and election reform will be among the top issues in the Senate next year.

THE RECOUNT: IT'S ROGERS

A recount has confirmed that Senator Mike Rogers (R-Howell) is the new congressman from the 8th U.S. Congressional District. He beat out Senator Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga) by a mere 111 votes in what was the closest congressional race in the country. The Board of State Canvassers certified the recount on Wednesday.

Congressman-elect Rogers replaces Debbie Stabenow who narrowly defeated Spencer Abraham to become Michigan's junior U. S. Senator. The Michigan Congressional delegation now stands at 9 Democrats and 7 Republicans.

LET THE SPECIAL ELECTIONS BEGIN

Governor John Engler will soon announce dates for special elections in two Senate districts and one House district. Special elections will be held to fill the vacancies left by the death of Representative Janet Kukuk (R-Macomb) and the upcoming resignations of Senate Majority Leader Mike Rogers (R-Howell) and Senator Virgil Smith (D-Detroit). Senator Smith will join the staff of Wayne County Prosecutor Michael Duggan in January.

And there could be more. Senator Phil Hoffman (R-Horton) is reported to be a frontrunner to become a U.S. Marshall. The federal appointment wouldn't likely occur until late spring. If that happens, Representatives Clark Bisbee (R-Jackson) and Mickey Mortimer (R-Horton) are certain to seek the Senate seat.

There also is speculation that Senators Glen Steil (R-Grand Rapids) and John Schwarz (R-Battle Creek) could be tapped for federal appointments in the new Bush administration. Also, Senator Jackie Vaughn, who suffered a severe stroke in October has not recovered, leading some to believe he too may resign his seat in the foreseeable future.

STRAND LEAVING THE PSC

Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John Strand will resign his position in early January to become Legislative Council Administrator replacing Dianne Odrobina. The new position will have Strand overseeing several Legislative Council functions including the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), the Law Revision Commission, and the Legislative Service Bureau.

A name being mentioned as a replacement for Strand is Laura Chappelle. Chappelle currently serves as Regulatory Affairs Policy Coordinator for Governor John Engler. Engler has not indicated whether he will name an interim chair to the MPSC or pick a successor to Strand. Strand's appointment expires July 2.

D.E.Q. OFFERS AIR QUALITY ASSISTANCE

New software for reporting air emissions and workshops to assist users of the software will be provided by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in February. The workshops will highlight the differences in the new Michigan Air Emissions Reporting System (MAERS) software and provide assistance in installing and using the new software.

Workshops are scheduled for February 6 in Marquette, February 8 in Gaylord, February 13 in Grand Rapids, February 15 in Warren, February 20 in Novi, February 22 in Ann Arbor and February 27 in Okemos. For complete information, contact the DEQ's Environmental Assistance Center at 1-800-662-9278.

PAAdvisory BRIEFS:

* Web is source for work comp information. The Department of Consumer and Industry Services (CIS) is making available all employer information maintained by the Bureau of Workers' Disability Compensation available on the CIS website. The information, which will be updated weekly, will detail who a company's insurance carrier is and whether a company is self-insured. The information is available at www.cis.state.mi.us/wkrcomp.

* Hills says he'll seek GOP post. Rusty Hills, who stepped in to chair the Michigan Republican State Party following the sudden resignation of Betsy Devos in February, announced this week he will seek a full two-year term as chairman when Republicans hold their state convention January 26 and 27 in Grand Rapids. Hills has Engler's blessing and is not expected to face opposition.

* Shulman for sure. Not to anyone's surprise, Speaker-elect Rick Johnson (R-Leroy) confirmed this week that Representative Marc Shulman (R-West Bloomfield) will be the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Shulman has not previously served on Appropriations and will be the first House Appropriations Chairman from Oakland County in over 50 years.

* New speaker taps Wingrove. Speaker-elect Rick Johnson (R-Leroy) has named Kendall Wingrove as House Republican Communications Director and spokesperson for Johnson. Wingrove, who has been with the House Republican staff since 1982, has served as communications director under Speaker Chuck Perricone (R-Kalamazoo Township) for the past few months.

* Judicial appointments. Governor John Engler this week announced three judicial appointments. They are:

  • Rae Lee Chabot of Franklin Village to the 6th Circuit Court in Oakland County succeeding Jessica Cooper who was elected to the Court of Appeals. Her term expires January 1, 2003. Chabot is a member of the Michigan Civil Service Commission;
  • Darnell Jackson of Saginaw to the 70th Circuit Court in Saginaw County succeeding Bruce Scorsone who is retiring. The appointment expires January 1, 2003. Jackson will resign as head of the state's Office of Drug Control Policy; and
  • Elizabeth Pezzetti of Bloomfield Hills to the Oakland Probate Court to succeed Sandra Silver who is retiring. Pezzetti's appointment expires January 1, 2003.


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