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Senator Patrick Colbeck’s Newsletter
 

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In this edition:

- Senate Education Committee Begins School Accountability Hearings
- Governor Snyder Reveals His Proposed FY18 Budget
- Election Investigation Update
- Life Affirming Legislation Introduced in Senate
- Don’t Let Tax Time Become Scam Time
- District News – Plymouth Library Award
- WSU Medical School Panel Discussion, “The Future of Obamacare”

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
BEGINS SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY HEARINGS

The state spends over $13B per year on education. It is reasonable to ensure that we receive quality education services for this investment. The important question is how best to ensure accountability for these services. Traditional government approaches feature increased testing, increased reporting around the testing, and increased reporting around what is being done to improve testing results. These approaches driven by the Common Core Standards Initiative drain funding from classrooms to feed a virtual “bureau of accountability”.

The Senate Education Policy Committee has launched a series of hearings that investigate how best to ensure accountability in Michigan. Testimony during these hearings from experts in the education community revealed some consistent themes. Senator Colbeck has converted these themes in a working set of requirements for any accountability framework that the state might pursue. These requirements are as follows:

* Flexibility
* Local Control
* Sustainability
* Clear Expectation Management
* Choice
* Funding Matched to Need
* Stability
* Global Performance
* Low Administrative Burden
* Student Engagement

The next question becomes who would best serve as the “change agents” to implement an accountability system that meets these requirements? Should it be the federal government? State government? Intermediate School District? Parents? In order to evaluate answers to this question, Senator Colbeck created the following diagram:

Diagram

During testimony, it was clear that the accountability systems that have had the most impact turning around failing schools were those driven by teachers, parents and students. In other words, the more local the engagement, the better the results.

Sen. Colbeck will continue to be actively engaged in this issue to ensure our educational system is accountable first and foremost to the stakeholders who matter most: teachers, parents, and students.

THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED FY ’18 BUDGET

Governor Snyder’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget is $56.3 billion, which is up 2.5% from the $54.9 billion in FY 17. This is a proposed budget that the legislature can then modify through the appropriations process. You can review the details of his plan HERE.

Senator Colbeck is disappointed in the continued rise in the price of government. When he started his public service as a state senator in 2011, the state budget was $46.8B. The proposed $56.3B budget represents a 20% increase in only six years. Meanwhile, we still have issues with citizen priorities such as roads even after increasing gas taxes and registration fees ostensibly to put more funding towards their repair. The fact is that we need to make more effective use of the tax dollars we already collect. In this light, the Senator will continue to work hard to ensure that we lower the cost of government operations by promoting higher quality roads, free market solutions to escalating healthcare costs, and innovative funding methods for education that also improve accountability.

ELECTION INVESTIGATION UPDATE

Senator Colbeck is leading the effort to ensure the integrity of our voting system. In the wake of a report that 59% of the 662 precincts in Detroit could not be recounted due to election “irregularities”, the Senator, in cooperation with 22 of his colleagues, called on the Attorney General and Secretary of State to launch an investigation of these “irregularities”.

The Secretary of State did launch an audit of the election. Their findings are summarized below:

(1) At least 31 people were found to have essentially voted twice, both via an absentee ballot and again in person on election-day. These people will now be formally investigated.

(2) Large scale procedural problems were identified that, whether due to lack of training, insufficient oversight, or other factors, led to procedures not being properly followed to the point where the ballots were considered “spoiled” and thus un-recountable.

(3) The report also recommended potential legislation to help ensure that we do not face such large-scale issues again. Senator Colbeck has been at the forefront of analyzing what laws or rules need to be changed, and is working with his colleagues to ensure new processes are in place and that necessary procedures will be fully followed.

We will continue to update you as the examination and remedy of the voting procedural issues and fraud detection continues.

LIFE AFFIRMING LEGISLATION INTRODUCED

As the Senate works on the state budget, tax reform, and educational issues, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the need to protect our society’s most vulnerable.

As a result, Sen. Colbeck has joined with several colleagues in leading the introduction of several life-affirming pieces of legislation. Senator Colbeck is the primary sponsor on two of them, one to ensure no public dollars go towards funding abortion clinics, and the other to offer Michigan drivers the ability to purchase a “Choose Life” license plate. You can read the press releases on this legislation by clicking HERE and HERE.

TAX TIME AND SCAM TIME
CAN GO HAND IN HAND

As April approaches now is a good time for all of us to be reminded of some of the frequent scams that can occur around the tax season.

For those who don’t do their taxes themselves, a helpful booklet on “Tips, Hints, and Warning Signs” on tips to make sure your tax preparer is following the law can be found HERE and is a good resource to read.

If you suspect you have been a victim of improper or fraudulent tax preparation, you may also call (517) 636-4157 to report the problem to the proper authorities.

Additionally, a so-called W-2 “phishing scam” targeting businesses can be read about here: (IRS link). Because this particular scam targets businesses more than individual taxpayers, it is most important that employees such as those involved in human resources and payroll be on guard. It is still a good reminder for all of us that with the internet, things are not always as they appear to be when being asked to provide personally sensitive information.

PLYMOUTH LIBRARY AWARD

The Plymouth District Library recently received a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Chapter Support by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). The Arsenal of Democracy Chapter of the AUSA is recognizing the library for having hosted a Veterans’ photo display each November over the past several years. Please find below a picture of such a display honoring our heroes. Thank you Plymouth Library!

Plymouth Library

THE FUTURE OF OBAMACARE

In Washington, D.C., there is much discussion of repealing Obamacare. The question that is often asked in association with these discussions is what will replace it? Many of the new trends in medicine will revolve around putting doctors and patients back in control of their healthcare. Most recently, they were cited by Forbes in an article on “Why Direct Primary Care Should be a Key Component to Any Health Care Reform”.

Senator Colbeck has worked hard to ensure that the future of healthcare in Michigan and nationally features free market solutions such as Direct Primary Care Services which have been proven to lower costs and improve the quality of health care services. These efforts are beginning to receive national recognition. The Senator worked with President Trump’s transition team and doctors across the nation to help ensure that nominees for the Federal Health and Human Services Department are advocates of free market reforms. Dr. Tom Price, the new HHS Secretary, was one of the recommendations in this effort. In fact, the Senator was in DC the first week of February to meet with key stakeholders on what free market reforms would best serve our citizens.

Locally, Senator Colbeck continues to hold a series of Free Market Healthcare Town Halls to promote broader adoption of free market solutions. Most recently, Sen. Colbeck was part a health-care panel at Wayne State University. You can read about the symposium in the SOUTHEND Newsletter covering Wayne State University.

Townhall

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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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Visit my website at: www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com
 
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