WestSouthwest: State Representative Aric Nesbitt
Republican Aric Nesbitt represents all of Van Buren County and northwest Kalamazoo County in the Michigan House.
In an interview with WMUK's Gordon Evans and Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Alex Mitchell, Nesbitt said he plans to hold hearings early next year on proposed new regulations for hydraulic fracturing (MLive story), also known as "fracking." Nesbitt is chairman of the House Energy and Technology Committee, and has been an advocate for natural gas exploration and harvesting. He says Michigan is a "model state" for safely and effectively harvesting natural gas and oil.
Nesbitt says he supports legislation that would move lawsuits against the state out of Ingham County Circuit Court, which has been Michigan's "court of claims" since the late 1970's (MLive story). Nesbitt says the current system puts lawsuits against the state before judges elected by a small percentage of Michigan voters. He was also asked about a Detroit News editorial calling for Governor Rick Snyder to to veto the legislation. Nesbitt says he's open to other suggestions, but says the bill passed by the House is an improvement over the current system.
Nesbitt says some people have tried to work around laws to prevent methamphetamine production by "smurfing." He is a co-sponsor of legislation to address the practice (MLive story) of paying people to buy the ingredients for meth production.
On a broader question of prioritizing drug laws, Nesbitt acknowledged that there is a growing consensus that marijuana is a lower priority than other issues. He says the voters have shown their support for decriminalizing marijuana in several local ballot initiatives and by approving legal use of medical marijuana in 2008.
Nesbitt says he is leaning toward running for another two year term in the Michigan House next year. He is eligible to serve one more term in the House under Michigan's term-limits law. Nesbitt says he won't make a formal announcement until closer to the filing deadline in May.