As mentioned earlier, it has been a big week for meetings. Here is what I have picked up so far…
– Monday’s Senate meeting in Lansing was not quite as public as I first expected. That being said, there were a lot of things discussed that probably were not meant to leave the room, or at least get the lid blown off them by a college student who hasn’t had an active press credential in about nine months. I like sitting in on these meetings. I don’t want to get shut out of them just yet.
With that in mind, here are a few things I do feel comfortable sharing at the moment…
1) The meeting was conducted by an assistant of Senator Cameron Brown who took the information from the discussion back to Senator Brown. It was held in the office of Senator Ron Jelinek, but to my knowledge, no members of the Michigan Legislature were in attendance.
2) The people in charge of answering questions about the Office of Racing Commissioner’s bankroll said the biggest impact of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s executive order slashing its budget was not so much the cut itself, but the fact that it was done in the middle of the year when a considerable portion of the budget had already been spent. Had the cuts been at the beginning of the fiscal year, the ORC rep said they would have been easier to adapt to.
3) The Senate has proposed folding the ORC into another department to save money. Right now, it is a Type I agency that reports to the Governor. The two leading options right now are the Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The thought process was though the gaming board has the investigative capabilities the industry needs, there were concerns that it does not have the promotional prowess of the Department of Agriculture. Either way, integrating the ORC into either one is seen as a long-term project
4) Nothing was decided. Some interesting things were said, but ultimately, everyone was still in the same place they started when things wrapped up.
– Yesterday was the “Horse Racing Industry Focus Group” in Lansing. I have not heard much about what came out of the meeting, but the slideshow put together by the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association looks very well done. MHHA President Brett Boyd is one heck of a public speaker, so I have no doubt it was a very effective presentation. From what I have seen of him, the racing industry would be doing itself a huge favor by putting Boyd in front of as many cameras and microphones as possible.
– Friday is opening day at Pinnacle Race Course. It should come as a shock to no one reading this that I will be there covering the excitement. I may even be making a return trip for the Saturday card. Expect some kind of write up and pictures once things settle down. Hope to see you there!