Outman supports measures to battle record water levels

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Tuesday voted to approve three bills that would allow local units of government to create temporary maximum speed limits on lakes.

The measures were introduced as an effort to help mitigate damage by eliminating wakes from boats in response to record high water levels across the state.

“Communities across the state are dealing with high water levels and it’s become a real concern for homeowners and businesses near or on the water,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “This isn’t just affecting the Great Lakes; inland lakes are getting hit as well. Some folks in my district have water right out the back door of their home.”

House Bill 5401 would allow a local unit of government to enact a resolution to allow the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), county sheriff or county emergency coordinator to issue an order establishing a temporary maximum vessel speed limit.

These temporary measures could be in effect for 14 days and could only be reissued two additional times in a calendar year.

Under HB 5463, measures could be established for six-month periods and could be renewed if local governments are seeking to have a special rule established under an existing process.

Applicants for a temporary watercraft control ordinance under HB 5463 would be required to provide:

  • The resolution approved by the political subdivision’s governing body and a copy of the public notice listing the adoption of the resolution on the agenda;
  • The information required for the DNR to conduct investigations and inquiries into whether special rules are needed;
  • The circumstances that justify a temporary ordinance rather than a special rule;
  • A complete list of all local ordinances, regulations and rules concerning the water body and how they are enforced;
  • How the political subdivision plans to provide for and fund the public notice of the temporary ordinance, including buoy placement and signage, and how it will be enforced; and
  • Any other information the political subdivision believes is relevant or necessary.

“It is unfortunate that we’ve reached this point, but people really have a lot on the line,” Outman said. “These bills were written to allow local governments to seek input from all interested parties in their community about what is best to meet their specific needs. I think this legislation is a reasonable solution given the situation communities across the state are finding themselves in.”

HBs 5401, 5402 and 5463 now head to the governor for consideration.

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