Hancock freshman rep’s priority is constituent service

The freshman representative for the Copper Country in the Michigan House of Representatives, Greg Markkanen has sponsored three bills so far, numbered 4289, 4120 and 4028.

1. House Bill 4289 would amend law give local road commission a larger discount in sales of state-owned snow removal equipment. In 2016, a bill was passed requiring that equipment to be offered to local road commissions before being sold or donated. The new bill would further require the equipment be offered at 50 percent of fair market value.

“Road commissions have tight budgets, and I think 50 percent of fair market value allows them to take a look at it, anyway,” Markkanen said. “Maybe this will help them fit it into their budget.”

2. House Bill 4120 was originally proposed by Scott Dianda, Markkanen’s predecessor.

“I was contacted back in January by one of the local road commissions to bring it back around,” Markkanen said.

The bill would allow road commissions to purchase property on 30-year payment schedules, rather than the currently allowed 15-year schedules.

“There are road commission facilities in our district in the 110th using old mining buildings. Equipment has gotten bigger and bigger, it’s hard to upgrade these old buildings,” Markkanen said. “This just gives them a little bit more flexibility.”

Both bills are cosponsored by other Upper Peninsula representatives, Beau LaFave and Sara Cambensy, who is a member of the Democratic Party.

“UP representatives have to work across the aisle,” Markkanen said. “This is a bipartisan effort to help, not only our districts in the U.P., but Michigan as well.”

3. Markkanen is working with LaFave on the third bill, 4028, which is tied with other bills relating to concealed carry laws.

“We’re going after constitutional carry to allow law-abiding citizens who aren’t felons, who don’t have a criminal record, to be able to carry a sidearm,” Markkanen said.

The bills alter where a licensed person can carry a concealed pistol and allows carrying a concealed weapon in “any area frequented by wild animals.”

“It does not allow them to take game unless they have the proper license,” Markkanen said.

All three bills have been referred to committee for review and approval.

Markkanen said that he’s adjusting well to his new role as the district 110 representative, and he and his staff have been making constituent services “top priority.”

“I’ve very proud of our progress early on,” he said. “and proud of my staff.”

On Friday, Markkanen was visiting Bay College to meet with other legislators including LaFave, state Sen. Ed McBroom and U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman.

“I want keep our U.P. community colleges strong,” Markkanen said.

He serves as part of the House Committee on Education.