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Energy bills at top of list for Senate after election

Wind turbine near Mt. Pleasant, MI.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
Wind turbine near Mt. Pleasant, MI.

The Michigan Senate is back on break until after the election, but when they get back they have made a major piece of legislation a top priority. An overhaul to Michigan’s energy policy will be one of the first items up for vote when the Senate meets again.  

Two energy bills have been waiting for a vote since July of 2015. They finally got out of committee in May. Now, the press secretary for the Senate Republican majority, Amber McCann, says the Senate is finally ready to vote.


McCann says the energy legislation is the first priority when the Senate meets again after the November election.

“The majority leader felt the members deserved time to look through all of the details,” she said. “It’s a very complicated policy, it’s a big issue. He wants them to all be able to go to their districts and explain why they support it or don’t support it.”

The legislation puts out a plan for how Michigan will ensure reliable and affordable sources of electricity as utilities shut down big coal plants.

Senator Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) is a member of the Energy and Technology committee.      

“I think we all agree that Michigan needs, again, a long-term sustainable energy policy that will attract businesses to the state of Michigan,” he said.

But a vote on the legislation doesn’t mean everyone thinks it’s perfect.

Republican Senator Mike Shirkey is a member of the Energy and Technology committee. He expressed some concerns about some provisions in the bills.         

“Each progressive draft of this bill that has come out has been improving,” he said. “I still think there may be some gaps, not in intended outcomes but unintended outcomes that can be cleared up with more work.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R