Lawmakers introduce bills to improve representation on Grape and Wine Industry Council

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, and Reps. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo, and Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, have introduced legislation that would change the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council so that it would more accurately reflect the industry.

Senate Bill 439 and House Bill 4667 (Iden) would change the name of the council to the “Michigan Craft Beverage Council.” Under the bills, the number of members on the council would be reduced from 12 to 10 and would include representatives from breweries and distilleries.

“The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which has been a tremendous asset to the grape and wine industry over the years, receives some of its funding from renewal fees from brewers, small distillers and brewpubs — which currently do not benefit from the council’s support,” Hansen said.

“Like winemakers, these brewers and distillers depend on productive harvests to produce quality products. They help support the council, so they should have a seat at the table and receive the benefits of membership.”

Under the legislation, the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture would serve as the chairperson of the council and as a non-voting member. The governor would appoint nine voting members to three-year terms. These members would include:

•    An individual who operates a retail food establishment that holds a Specially Designated Merchant license and sells Michigan wine or beer;
•    An individual who operates a restaurant that holds a Class C license and serves Michigan wine;
•    Two winemakers;
•    A winemaker that manufactures wine made from fruit other than grapes;
•    A large brewer (brews at least 60,000 and not more than 100,000 barrels per year);
•    An individual who holds a brewpub license;
•    A small distiller; and
•    A distiller who manufactures more than 60,000 gallons of spirits per year.

Hansen said the legislation would prohibit the council from lobbying, and it would require the council to prepare and approve an annual budget; apply for and receive Pure Michigan grants; and establish educational partnerships to benefit the beer, wine and spirits industries.

“Exactly half of the new council’s budget will be designated both for grants for research on growing and planting, and also for financial aid programs for growing desirable varieties of fruit, barley, or hops,” Hansen said. “This will help ensure financial accountability in the council’s work.”

Iden spoke about the importance of improving representation on the council.

“The craft beverage industry is a pivotal part of Michigan’s economy,” Iden said. “We need to ensure that the council has the ability to help lead industry growth.”

SB 440 and HB 4668 (Kesto) would enable the Liquor Control Commission to deposit money into a fund for the Michigan Craft Beverage Council.

Hansen has previously served as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He has been a strong proponent of agri-business and Michigan’s wine industry, having led the way for small winemakers to sell their wines and provide tastings at farmers markets.

SBs 439 and 440 have been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. HBs 4667 and 4668 have been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee.

Photo Advisory: Sen. Hansen and guest honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, (right) and Steve Johnson paid tribute in the Senate Thursday to those who gave their lives defending our country.

Johnson, an Air Force veteran who served from 1971-1977, was the lawmaker’s guest for the Michigan Senate’s 23rd Annual Memorial Day Service. Each year, the ceremony honors the service members who fought with bravery to defend our nation’s freedom.

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Hansen hosts Asparagus Queen

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, welcomed 2016 Asparagus Queen Mary Harris, Asparagus Queen First Runner-Up Mandy Achterhof and National Asparagus Queen Coordinator Christine Rickard to the Capitol on Wednesday.

Harris promoted the asparagus industry of Oceana County and provided each senator with a gift of locally grown asparagus. Rockwell Farms of Hart donated the 50 pounds of asparagus for the occasion.

The National Asparagus Festival hosts an annual pageant in Hart, where the only asparagus queen in the nation is crowned. The visit was one of Harris’ final appearances of her reign as queen.

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Photo Advisory: Sen. Hansen welcomes Fremont pastor to Senate session

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, welcomed to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday the Rev. Sahaya Stanly of All Saints Catholic Church in Fremont. Stanly gave the invocation before the start of Senate session.

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Photo Advisory: Hansen and VanSingel meet with area students at Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, and Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant, met with more than 50 students from Hart Middle School and Shelby Middle School at the Capitol on Tuesday. Teachers Andrew Patterson and Eric Jensen brought the students for the schools’ annual visit to the Capitol.

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Photo Advisory: Sen. Hansen and colleagues recognize conservation efforts by Whitehall Middle School students

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, and colleagues stand in the Senate chamber on Thursday in honor of National Skip the Straw Day, held every year on the fourth Friday in February.

A student group at Whitehall Middle School known as the Coral Keepers — along with their advisor, Susan Tate — founded National Skip the Straw Day this year to encourage Americans to “give up the straw habit” and to help spread awareness about the damage caused by disposable plastic straws.

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Pictured, from left: Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek; Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive; Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake; Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland; Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart; Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy.

Sen. Hansen comments on governor’s 2018 budget plan

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to Gov. Rick Snyder’s presentation of his proposed Fiscal Year 2018 state budget on Wednesday, Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, issued the following statement:

“Governor Snyder’s budget provides a sensible, sound blueprint for continued job growth and fiscal responsibility for Michigan.

“As a senator representing a district whose economy is strong in the areas of tourism and natural resources, a few months ago I requested a significant investment to upgrade our state parks system, which is sorely needed.

“I was particularly pleased today to hear that the governor’s budget does include a nearly $20 million upgrade for our state parks and $1.8 million for an increase in the number of conservation officers.

“In addition, the budget includes $3.8 million for an increased focus on the state’s wetland mitigation bank program, with a specific focus on creating or restoring wetlands on state land to both preserve and enhance our wetland resource base and help allow for the development of wetlands in other areas where appropriate.

“These investments will benefit not only the state, but Muskegon and the entire 34th District as well.

“This is just the beginning of the budget process; I look forward to working with my colleagues over the next few months to pass a balanced budget that includes these priorities.”

Senate’s Natural Resources Committee and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee to hold joint hearing

LANSING, Mich. — State Sens. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, announced Friday the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee will hold a joint hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 12:30 p.m. EST. The committees will consider testimony from the public on hunting and fishing issues.

The meeting will be held in room 1200 of the Binsfeld Senate Office Building, located at 201 Townsend St. in Lansing.

Additionally, members of the public will be able to participate remotely via teleconference. Those locations are:

Bay College West Campus, Room 232
2801 N. U.S. 2
Iron Mountain

Joseph Heirman University Center, Room 963
Bay De Noc Community College
2001 N. Lincoln Rd.
Escanaba

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Photo Advisory: Sen. Hansen welcomes Muskegon County prosecutor to Capitol for State of the State

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, stands in the Senate chamber with Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson (right). Hilson joined Hansen for Gov. Rick Snyder’s seventh State of the State address Tuesday night.

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Sen. Goeff Hansen comments on State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, offered the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address:

“Governor Snyder did a good job tonight highlighting the many accomplishments and positive changes in Michigan over the past year while noting the need for ongoing work.

“We must continue to invest in education and implement smart reforms that empower parents and students with increased choice and flexibility to better meet their needs and future educational goals.

“The governor emphasized that Michigan’s infrastructure needs work. The Senate took the lead in adopting policies to improve and fund our roads and bridges for the long term. We must continue to work to address other persistent infrastructure needs.

“The future in Michigan is bright. Our recovery continues. I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues in the House over the next year as we help provide increased opportunity for all Michiganders.”