DNR Warrantless Search Legislation, Citizen Reapportionment Commission, New Rural/Urban Definitions Needed, Rural Broadband Access, and Affordable Housing

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Upper Peninsula Legislators and Warrantless Search Legislation

Senator Ed McBroom (R) has introduced legislation to end the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ ability to do warrantless searches of private property in Michigan. A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

“The bill would require the DNR to follow the same legal process as other law enforcement agencies when they want to do a search. Of course, if the landowner consents or if the DNR officer is in hot pursuit of a criminal suspect, then it voids the need for a warrant to search. Other exceptions include if the officer believes evidence of a crime will be destroyed or concealed, or an individual will be in danger if they wait to see a warrant (already exigent circumstances under the US 4th Amendment.” 

Citizen Reapportionment Commission–Maybe New UP Legislative Districts

Work of the Citizen Commission is reported to be progressing on time.

Question is still whether US Census data will be given to states on time. It is obviously needed for the Citizen Commission to complete its work. Whisperers around UP are talking about how our UP state House districts might change or not change–same with our two Senate districts and our congressional district.

The new district lines from reapportionment could result in changed voting patterns and what political party has an advantage in each state and federal district. The work of this commission is really important stuff and worth following. 

New Definition of Rural and Urban Needed

National and state media continue to write/report about rural areas and rural issues as if they are all the same.

Urban areas are obviously not all the same–Detroit and Grand Rapids are very different places, sometimes with similar problems, and sometimes with very different problems and advantages. 

Same is true with rural areas–some have very different problems and different advantages.

We all need to do more in helping to refine rural definitions and issues. Also, the media continues to use old stereotypes about who lives and works in rural areas, and doesn’t accurately communicate the human needs and economic development in rural areas. So often they are soooo far off the mark that it’s comical.

More to come on this in Rural Insights in the coming weeks and months.

Boosting Rural Broadband Access

US House member John Moolenaar has introduced a bill in Congress that creates a refundable tax credit of up to $300 for the household purchase of a signal booster or mobile hotspot equipment.

It is called the Boost Act. It is focused on rural families in rural areas. Experts are predicting that it will take years to eliminate the disparity in broadband access in rural areas.

This proposal is intended to help reduce that disparity. 

Espressos (short and quick)

Lake Superior is warming faster than other Great Lakes, according to several studies by scientists. 

UP airports are seeing the same decline in passenger loads as national trends show across the US. At Sawyer Airport in Marquette, passenger loads dropped in 2020 to 53,262 from 116,856 in 2019. Prior to COVID, this airport and other airport passenger loads were growing. 

COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the UP is reported to be going very well. Large numbers of folks signing up and getting the shot. 

Trivia: What US President turned down offers to play professional football before their political career?

Affordable Housing in Rural Areas

Reports show that communities throughout rural areas are reporting a shortage of affordable housing for middle class families and for lower income families. “Home Builders Association of Michigan forecasts about 16,000 permits to build in 2021 or roughly one-third of the building pace during peak construction years.” (Bridge Magazine).

Upper Peninsula communities are reporting the same problems as other areas of the state. Some UP cities are forming committees to look at this issue and plan for the future. With a possible influx of new businesses into rural areas and the UP, this is an important issue.

Quotes (that make you go hmmmm)

“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.” Groucho Marx. 

“For healthy politics to flourish it needs reference points outside of itself, reference points of truth and a conception of the common good. When everything becomes political, that is the end of politics.” Moshe Halbertal. Hebrew University. 

Book Recommendations

Do you have one to suggest to us and our readers? Please send us the title, author name and publication date. Send them to david@ruralinsights.org.

None of the book suggestions we publish are endorsements of the book or the author, just suggestions for you to consider.

Recently-suggested books by readers:

“Spy Catcher.” Peter Wright. 2020. 

“Humankind.” David Bregman. 2020

TRIVIA ANSWER:

US President Gerald Ford when he graduated from University of Michigan turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

What’s On Your Mind?

Tell us what you would like to see us research and write about in Rural Insights.

Are there issues or ideas that you think are important to the Upper Peninsula that we should explore? We can’t guarantee that we will research every issue or idea that you send us, but we will take a hard look and see what we can find out.

Are there enough data and facts for us to publish, etc. Let us know what you are thinking about. Send your ideas, issues and thoughts to david@ruralinsights.org.

We’d love your feedback! Please email your thoughts and suggestions to david@ruralinsights.org

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David Haynes

Professor David Haynes is a Professor of Public Administration and teaches in the MPA graduate program at Northern Michigan University, where he previously served as President. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.

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