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House passes legislation to keep state rules from exceeding federal rules

The Michigan state capitol building
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Michigan Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan

Controversial legislation on state regulatory rules is making its way through the Legislature.

The House approved a bill Thursday to prevent the state from being tougher on things like environmental and workplace safety than the federal government.

Proponents of the legislation, say less regulation is the way to go and a federal standard is enough regulation for the state.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard supported similar legislation that failed in the Senate last year, and again voted in favor.

“It puts these types of decisions in the hands of those that are elected and those that are accountable to the people and takes it out of those, the hands of those that are unelected bureaucrats,” he said.

The law would provide for some exceptions. For example, Governor Rick Snyder has expressed an interest in making the state’s Lead and Copper Rule stricter than the federal rule. If this bill passed, the state would have to show clear and convincing evidence the stricter rule is necessary in order for it to change.

But environmental groups and others have expressed concerns.

Democratic Representative Robert Wittenberg said the bill would tie the state’s hands and prevent it from making regulations it deems necessary.

“I think those regulations that are put in place federally are a floor and not a ceiling and I think we should be able to further regulate if we deem necessary,” he said.

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