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Senator Patrick Colbeck’s Newsletter
 

LANSING UPDATE

Senate Soon Begins Fall Session Schedule

Capitol Building

The state legislature's summer recess will soon come to a close, and the Senate will begin its fall session schedule with a meeting on September 6. You can stay up-to-date with all the current legislation, committee meetings, Senate and House sessions, and votes by visiting www.legislature.mi.gov.

Upcoming Consideration of Medical Marijuana Reform Legislation

Senator Colbeck has received hints of a renewed push during the 1st week of September to establish the infrastructure for legalized marijuana in Michigan under the guise of Medical Marijuana reform legislation. House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4827, which were passed by the Michigan House of Representatives in October 2015 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, may soon see discussion in committee.

Each bill focuses on a different regulatory aspect of the issue, from medical marijuana licensing, to growing and transportation, to permitted types of marijuana-infused products, and the tracking of the products in commercial trade.

Senator Colbeck believes that the commercial opportunity provided by the legislation is significant, but the taxpayer costs to remedy the societal impacts of such a policy are significant as well, in both money and broken lives. Senator Colbeck remains steadfastly opposed to the bills, and will oppose any efforts to discharge them from the Senate Judiciary Committee on which he serves. He believes we need to enforce the law as implemented by our citizens in the 2008 ballot initiative.

Public Comment at Sept. 14 State Board of Education Meeting

School

All members of the public are welcome to attend Michigan State Board of Education (SBE) meetings and participate in the public comment period at the meetings. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 14 (likely 9:30 am on 4th Floor of John A. Hannah Building – 608 W. Allegan, Lansing, MI). SBE can be contacted at (517) 373-3902 to confirm the time and location when the date approaches.

Although the September 14 meeting agenda has not yet been released, it is possible that a vote on the State Board of Education’s recommended LGBTQ guidelines will be included on the agenda. The guidelines can be viewed here. Senator Colbeck encourages those concerned with the guidelines and the negative impact they could have on our students, teachers, and schools to speak during the public comment period of this meeting. More information about the public participation process can be found here. And a complete listing of State Board of Education upcoming meetings can be found on this webpage.

Michigan Attorney General Works to Uphold Michigan Election Law

Forum

Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed another emergency motion in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate Michigan’s election law which prohibits straight-ticket voting (aka straight-party voting) before the November election. Straight-party voting is a practice which allows voters to check the “Democrat” or “Republican” box at the top of the ballot to automatically cast all votes for only one party, rather than individually select candidates on the ballot. Under the law, voters are still able to vote for all Republican or Democratic candidates if they choose. Eliminating the option for straight-party voting encourages the voter to become more informed about the candidates.

The motion comes in the wake of a lawsuit against PA 268 of 2015, which eliminated straight-party voting. The lawsuit was filed at the end of May, just a few months before ballots must be finalized. A federal judge issued an injunction on the existing law, staying the ban on straight-party voting. Senator Colbeck voted in favor of this bill when it was presented for a vote on the Senate Floor. He believes it is important for voters to evaluate each individual candidate on the ballot, rather than just vote based on a specific political party.

Michigan is one of 40 states that do not have straight-party voting, but our state is being singled out and questioned for this law. Senator Colbeck believes that this is a case in which the judicial system is being used to make or nullify laws, an authority it does not have. Ultimately, it is an act that circumvents the will of the people.

September 9 is the deadline for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the injunction, in order for Michigan’s election law on straight-party voting to be reinstated before the November election.

Challengers to the Detroit Public Schools Bailout Package Express Intent to File Second Law Suit

Some original opponents to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) bailout package remain convinced that the package, which is now law, is unconstitutional. They maintain that the six-bill package was a local act that passed without the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The following amendment that was added to a House substitute of the bill outlines the opportunity for a lawsuit to be brought forward:

"The validity of the formation of a community district shall be conclusively presumed unless questioned in an original action filed in the Court of Appeals within 60 days after the community district is created under Section 383. The Court of Appeals has original jurisdiction to hear an action under this section."

A lawsuit against the law was filed earlier this summer, but was thrown out on August 4. As stated in the August 19 MIRS article, “DPS Board Member Says Package Will Face Another Court Challenge” (subscription may be required to view), which came one day before the 60 day deadline, "LaMar Lemmons, a member of the Detroit Public Schools board who was party to the original suit, said they intend to squeak another one in."

As of now, the DPS bailout law remains in effect.

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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

1020 Farnum Bldg. P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone: (517) 373-7350

Email: SenPColbeck@senate.michigan.gov
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Visit my website at: www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com
 
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