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Senator Patrick Colbeck’s Newsletter
 

STATE OF THE STATE EDITION

Capitol Building

In this edition:

- State of the State
- 2017-2018 Legislative Session Begins
- Free Market Health Care Town Halls
- Integrity of our Vote

STATE OF THE STATE

There is reason for optimism in Michigan. For those who were not able to watch it, this year’s recent State of the State speech highlighted many of the things that are improving in Michigan. Michigan’s unemployment rate is now 10 points lower than it was in June of 2009, thanks in part to almost 500,000 private sector jobs being created in the past six years. That is the sixth best job growth in the nation, and the most in the Great Lakes Region. At the same time, Michigan ranks first in per-capita income growth for the Great Lakes Region and seventh in the nation over the past six years. Furthermore, home values have increased faster than the national average at a rate of 44 percent. We are seeing evidence of this in and around the 7th District, with Amazon and high tech manufacturers coming into Livonia, as well as aerospace businesses giving serious consideration for projects at Willow Run.

We need to keep fixing our state. We need to move beyond satisfying the lobbyists in Lansing and set lofty goals that benefit ALL of our citizens. That is why I challenged our elected officials to the following goals for the upcoming legislative session:

* Eliminate the personal income tax…and the Senior Pension Tax right along with it
* Raise an additional $3,000 per pupil per year for education…WITHOUT raising taxes * Grow and diversify job opportunities in Michigan…WITHOUT economic development policies that pick winners and losers

You can view a floor speech I gave on this topic by clicking here.

2017-18 LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS

The 2017-2018 Legislative Session has begun. In keeping with the goals outlined above, I have co-sponsored SB 4 that would eliminate the personal income tax. We are also working on Education Savings Accounts legislation that will open the door to more than $3,000 per pupil in additional funding for our schools…WITHOUT raising taxes. Furthermore, our efforts to expand access to high tech jobs in Southeast Michigan is resulting in exciting projects related to aerospace manufacturing and maintenance operations. Stay tuned for further announcements on these exciting developments.

In addition to our work on these audacious goals, we are also introducing a suite of bills to protect our freedom, enhance accountability for road construction, ensure that our returning veterans have access to employment opportunities, reform healthcare, and promote good citizenship.

During 2016, I dedicated a significant amount of time to the improvement of Michigan’s proposed Social Studies Standards as a member of the Michigan Department of Education Focus Group on this topic. It was a gratifying experience working with educators, education consultants, and representatives of the Michigan Department of Education to come up with a set of standards that were politically neutral and accurate. I am pleased to say that we found significant common ground. In fact, we were able to reach a compromise on 15 of the 15 issues that I cited within my letter that initiated this focus group. I look forward to reviewing the final product of the writing group to which we reported our agreements. Once ready, the product of the writing group will be forwarded to our new State Board of Education for consideration.

In 2017, I will be continuing my efforts as a member of the Criminal Justice Policy Commission to ensure that we protect victims’ rights and ensure that criminals have improved opportunities for true rehabilitation that leads to productive lives after incarceration. One early bill that our office has introduced is needed to make sure we can properly reform our criminal justice system in 2017. It is SB 11, and you can view a press release on the legislation by clicking here.

FREE MARKET HEALTH CARE TOWN HALLS

In 2017, we are continuing our efforts to promote free market health care solutions across the state. These solutions offer the promise of higher quality care for lower costs.

Our latest Free Market Health Care Town Hall was hosted by the Kalamazoo Medical Society. You can see the proceedings of this event by clicking here.

I am also working with doctors across the country to make recommendations to the Trump Administration on Health and Human Services appointments. I am pleased to say that Dr. Tom Price, the nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, was one of our recommendations.

INTEGRITY OF OUR VOTE

Many of us were concerned about the apparent lack of integrity in our election process this past election (See Election Recount speech). For example, it is unacceptable that 59% of the 662 precincts in Detroit could not be subject to a recount because the machine ballot count did not match the poll book ballot count.

We need to renew our dedication to the principles that each voter gets one vote and every vote gets counted. In the wake of observing voting “irregularities” such as the one cited above, I authored a letter co-signed by 22 other Senators that we submitted to the Attorney General and the Secretary of State asking for an investigation into these voting “irregularities”. I am pleased to report that the Michigan Secretary of State is currently auditing a subset of the Detroit precincts to identify the root cause(s) of such irregularities. Furthermore, I have had discussions with Board of Canvass members and volunteers involved in the recount to gather their insights on the matter. I am working on developing process flow diagrams as a result of these discussions that will help us to better isolate where the core issues may be. OK…I realize that flow diagrams are more of an "engineer thing" than a "Senator thing", but I do believe they will help us to better understand what the problems are and how best to fix them.

In any case, we are pushing to have Senate hearings on the findings of the Secretary of State and other subject matter experts early this year. I will diligently seek to ensure that the integrity of the voting process is protected. If legislation is needed to address issues, I will work with my legislative colleagues to draft and introduce such legislation. If enforcement of existing statutes is necessary, I will seek corrective action plans in affected precincts and prosecutions if warranted.

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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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