U.P. residents can be part of Senate hearing

ESCANABA – A state Senate committee meeting Thursday on a bill that would allow off-road vehicles to cross bridges and access state highways will allow participation via video-conferencing from six Upper Peninsula towns.

The Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee is scheduled to discuss Senate Bill 50, introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. The legislation would help connect ORV trails and allow riders to reach tourist attractions or towns for food and fuel.

County boards and the Michigan Department of Transportation would have to approve the improved ORV highway access provisions of the legislation. The bill would also create an ORV free sticker weekend and make changes to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ group event permit process.

Casperson said the video-conferencing is an opportunity to bring the voice of the U.P. to a legislative committee to hear local perspectives on off-road vehicle related issues that will help the committee better understand the issue and craft a sensible policy.

The U.P. videoconference locations include: Bergland, Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District; Escanaba, Michigan Works conference room; Hancock, Copper Country ISD; Iron Mountain, Bay College West; Manistique, Manistique City Hall; and Ironwood, Gogebic Community College, Solin Business Center.

The videoconferences are open to the public. To help the committee run efficiently, anyone who is interested in speaking is asked to contact Casperson’s office in advance at 866-305-2038.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.