Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm recently signed the last of two bills of a three-bill package paving the way for growth of a previous market for home-grown food products that was unexplainably subject to stricter state limitations than those limitations dictated by federal law. Previous state regulation on bidding to buy Michigan food products limited school districts to only $20,000 per year. Under the new law, that limit was increased to $100,000 per year which is the federal limit.
The aforementioned action exhibits that the legislature and governor can provide leadership in creating positive business opportunities. Unfortunately, our lawmakers and governor are inconsistent when it comes to enhancing and expanding the business environment for certain growing industries within the state. One such example was the passage of Bill 6644 in December, 2008 substantially restricting the shipment of wine by Michigan retailers directly to Michigan customers. The passage of that law will only stifle the expansion of the distribution and sale of Michigan wines and related businesses supporting the wine-making industry. The farm-to-school bill gives some hope for our state and its governmental leaders that the right decision to support business in Michigan can be made. We now need to work to make this behavior more consistent to grow Michigan’s economy.
Dan A. Penning