Likes Casperson legislative efforts

Senate Bills 100 and 101 were introduced this fall by state Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba. At present, they have passed the Senate and are in the House. These bills — named Equal Justice in Government, or as we like to call them, “Loser Pays” — tip the scales of justice for private landowners/citizens equal to that of the state; in other words, if a state agency such as Department of Natural Resources or Department of Environmental Quality says the landowner/citizen committed a violation of state law or administrative rule and the landowner/citizen goes to court to prove he or she is not guilty and wins, the state is responsible for their court costs.

Most landowners/citizens now knuckle under, pay the fine and do whatever the agency tells them to do as far as corrective action because the court battle is too expensive. These bills level the financial playing-field.

Senate Bills 652, 653 and 654 were introduced at the end of January by Sen. Casperson. At present, they now move to the house for consideration. These bills, if passed, would create an oversight committee for the DEQ. This 11-member committee would be appointed by the governor and used to review complaints, potential lawsuits, denied permit applications, etc. that the landowner/citizen would file with them for a hearing before proceeding with litigation.

If approved, these bills would give landowners/citizens one more way of receiving fair and unbiased treatment — a so-called neutral, third-party review of laws, rules and protocol — when applying for permits or conducting/constructing environmental projects. These bills level the technical and/or biased playing field.

Thank you, Sen. Casperson, for protecting and putting the average citizen on an equal playing field with state government through true justice and transparency for all.