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Senator Patrick Colbeck's Newsletter
 
 
 

lansing update

 
 
Rosie the Riveter

In this edition:

- Improving Michigan’s Roads
- Criminal Justice Bills Sent to Governor
- “Choose Life” License Plate Legislation Moves
- Grid Security: Preparing for Man-made and Natural Disasters
- Important Healthcare Tips You May Never Have Heard Of
- Rosie the Riveter Day in Michigan!
- March is Reading Month
- New Sen. Colbeck Website Available

IMPROVING MICHIGAN’S ROADS

March may mean springtime, but it is also typically pot hole season in Michigan with drivers discovering how much roads have deteriorated over the past winter months. Part of solving this problem is making sure adequate resources are put into roads, but Sen. Colbeck (who voted against the gas tax increase) still believes that adequate money to fix our roads exists if the state uses its revenue wisely and adopts smart roads-related strategies.

Part of that solution is to ensure that road warranties are put to good use by tracking their information and appropriately enforcing them. Currently, not enough data is publicly available on what companies are designing what roads, what materials and construction methods they are using, and how much they cost over their life cycle. When our roads prematurely fail, those same companies need to be held accountable and warranties need to be publicly enforced.

Legislators need to be able to see that information as well as part of their oversight duties, but it is not always easy to obtain. Senate Bill 210 would require the Michigan Department of Transportation to provide full informational profiles on all of their major road projects. These profiles would include the specified design life of the pavement, the load profile assumptions for that design life (that is, how heavy are the trucks), as well as the organizations responsible for the design, construction and inspection of the road. This information would provide more transparency and most importantly provide all of the information necessary to help enforce existing road warranties to safeguard taxpayers.

Of course, government must also more properly use the money that is already being collected from taxpayers to put more of it into actual roads. Details on the Senator’s plan for that can be found HERE.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS SENT TO GOVERNOR

Government serves many important roles, but two in particular are especially important: (1) creating a system of laws that serve as a deterrent and provide justice for criminal activity, and (2) to make sure rehabilitation is sought and that punishments fit the crime. Providing justice for victims while not over-criminalizing an otherwise free society takes constant legislative attention and care. We’re pleased to announce that a new package of legislation was recently sent to the Governor with these thoughts in mind, and includes several bills that are a result of the Senator’s long term work with the Michigan Criminal Justice Policy Commission.

When it comes to criminal justice reform policies, we need to ensure that victims’ rights are protected first and foremost. But we also need to mitigate the risk of future victims by ensuring that those who are incarcerated are truly rehabilitated prior to release, and ensure that offenders have an opportunity to contribute to society in a positive way after they have served their time.

SB 11, sponsored by Sen. Colbeck, was sent to the Governor as part of this package but was unfortunately vetoed. The bill would have led to more information sharing throughout the state’s criminal justice system to ensure holistic policies are used so that crime prevention, deterrence, prosecution, incarceration, and rehabilitation are done as part of a cohesive framework that guides Michigan’s policy in this area. The legislation passed by 34-1 margin in the Senate and 83-24 margin in the House. The Senator looks forward to working with the Governor to learn more why he felt the legislation needed to be vetoed, and how to still accomplish the important intent behind the legislation.

"CHOOSE LIFE" LICENSE PLATE BILL MOVES

Choose Life Plate

SB 163 was recently voted out of Senate committee and would allow Michigan motorists to purchase license plates for their vehicles to help show their support for life-affirming choices. More than half of the states in the country allow such plates, which are also offered to drivers who live in the capital district of Washington D.C.

The plate would cost people who choose the design $35 in addition to their vehicle registration fees. Twenty-five dollars of this fee would go toward eligible nonprofit organizations and projects, while $10 would cover the cost of the plate.

Senate Bill 163 would use funds raised from the sale of the plates to support organizations and projects that support life-affirming choices, such as counseling and abortion alternatives for at-risk mothers, adoption assistance, and suicide prevention services for veterans and others.

During testimony Sen. Colbeck said that assisting pregnant women through these services was especially important: “The proceeds from the license plates enabled under this legislation would help satisfy the material needs of the mother such as diapers, gas money, and shelter, all within a loving environment that seeks what is best for the mother as well as the child in her womb. But, we can go beyond that. We all know that the baby in the mother’s womb is not the only vulnerable life that is impacted by an unwanted pregnancy. The mother is also vulnerable: vulnerable to fear, vulnerable to financial hardships, vulnerable to a sense that they are all alone. They do not need to face these challenges by themselves, and funds from these plate sales will go toward helping them.”

GRID SECURITY

As the recent windstorm and subsequent blackouts showed, modern society is more dependent on electricity than ever. Beyond windstorms, today’s electric grid must be “hardened” against failure due to not just traditional weather but also to solar flares, hacking, and terrorist attacks. The Michigan State Police offers an emergency kit checklist that can be found by clicking HERE that you may be interested in.

Recently Sen. Colbeck brought international cyber-security expert Cynthia Ayers to Lansing. Ayers, a nationally recognized cybersecurity expert who currently serves in part as the deputy to the executive director of the congressionally-sponsored Task Force on National and Homeland Security, provided testimony that cyber threats to our electric infrastructure are of grave concern and that more steps need to be taken to “harden the grid” from attack. You can both view and read her testimony HERE and HERE.

Ayers also discussed that even newly deployed smart meters could be used by hackers to remotely shut down power to one or more households. Sen. Colbeck also testified, and focused his testimony on safety and security risks inherent to Michigan’s grid. The Senator is working with the State Police and others to focus government attention and resources to protecting the grid from these threats.

As a result, Sen. Colbeck is also supportive of HB 4220, which once passed would return a measure of respect back to our citizens by improving the provisions of law that govern their ability to truly opt out of smart meters. The state is doing an insufficient job of regulating our monopoly utilities on this topic in a manner that truly benefits consumers, especially the safety and security of our electricity consumers. Senator Colbeck encourages anyone in the 7th District who is experiencing problems with trying to opt out of a smart meter to contact his office.

IMPORTANT PATIENT CARE CONSIDERATIONS MANY DON’T KNOW ABOUT

Do you have a loved one in a nursing home or other facility that needs to be protected from an accidental fall? Medical surgical errors may be uncommon, but would you like to learn more about what you can do to help ensure such errors don’t happen? March 12-18 was Patient Safety Awareness Week. In honor of that week the Veterans Health Administration recently put out a listing of helpful tips that holds value for all of us, not just those who have served. The web page contains valuable information we know you’ll find of interest, and can be viewed by clicking HERE.

ROSIE THE RIVETER DAY

Like many of you, the stories and images surrounding Rosie the Riveter hold a special place in the heart of Sen. Colbeck. The original “Rosie”, Rose Will Monroe, is but part of a larger legacy left behind by the women of the Greatest Generation. The Senator is honored to have come to know Rose’s daughter, Vickie Croston, who happens to be a pilot. Read the March 29th proclamation by clicking HERE.

Air plant

The workplace for Rose Will Monroe was the Willow Run Bomber Plant where she joined thousands of other “Rosies” in the construction of the B-24 Liberator bomber at the amazing rate of one B-24 every 55 minutes. With the support of fellow Michiganders, the Senator helped to save this symbol of the Arsenal of Democracy when it was slated for the wrecking ball. The bomber plant represents a time when America was unified behind a common cause and reflected a “Can Do” spirit. This spirit and the products of those who fostered it are now preserved under the custodianship of the Yankee Air Museum (HERE).

MARCH IS READING MONTH

 
 

Each year Sen. Colbeck visits a number of schools in the 7th District to participate in “March is Reading Month”. This is a good way to not only show children a love for reading as they develop a critically needed skill, but also helps to introduce them to governmental leaders at the beginning stages of civics education. This year, Sen. Colbeck visited with seven different classes where he read them the biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the surface of the moon.

Choose Life Plate

NEW WEBSITE

Based on constituent feedback we’re pleased to announce that we’ve revamped the Senator Colbeck webpage. The site now features a new look that makes information easier to find, and adds more constituent material, such as senior resources, veteran resources, and more. Many useful publications, including the informative “Peace of Mind” guide for preparing wills any other legal matters, is also available. To view these handy resources visit SenatorPatrickColbeck.com.

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OUR DISTRICT

 
 
Michigan's 7th Senate District
 
 
 

The 7th Senate District includes Canton Township, Livonia city, Northville city, Northville Township, Plymouth city, Plymouth Township, and Wayne city.

 
 

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Senator Patrick Colbeck

201 Townsend St., Suite #3400
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone: (517) 373-7350

Email: SenPColbeck@senate.michigan.gov
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