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Senator Patrick Colbeck’s Newsletter
 


SERVING THE STATE SENATE 7TH DISTRICT



HEADLINES FROM THIS EDITION

- Senate cuts costs, passes budget
- “Certificate of Need” changes would help lower auto-insurance
- Detroit hosts world robotics competition
- Medicaid work requirements passed out of Senate
- Rotary Park Build Day – May 30th!
- Memorial Day: 150 years of remembrance
- May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
- Where is my tax refund?
- Smoking? May is a great time to get free help to quit!
- District Hours with Sen. Colbeck

SENATE CUTS COSTS

The Senate passed all of the individual bills that are part of the upcoming FY 2018-19 budget earlier this month, passing a budget that was lower than the previous year and proving to naysayers that government can be streamlined.

This puts the state on track for being able to send the finalized budget to the Governor before summer, which helps to give local governments and schools more time for their own planning. For those interested in the full details they can click the following link HERE. Supplemental spending for unallocated monies from the current year’s budget was also passed.

Senator Colbeck highlighted aspects of the budget, including how it related to road funding, school-safety, and Direct Primary Care that he has been specifically working on. This year’s budget also shows how possible it is to cut state spending when there is a will to do so.

“Many entrenched stakeholders continue to believe that the solution to every problem is more money,” said Colbeck. “While additional funding can play a key role in some areas, state government has historically forgotten that cuts in spending, whether it be through efficiency, innovation, or right-sizing government, can free up substantial amounts of money that can either lower tax burdens or free up money for high priority areas.”

The Senator said he was specifically working to make sure boilerplate language in the transportation budget would force further construction transparency measures to allow for more innovation and warranty enforcement, similar to what is called for in his legislation SB210. To read more about the Senator's road plan that focuses on higher quality, longer lasting roads, please click HERE.

The Senate also took action on supplemental money available in the current budget year to continue action on goals related to school safety. $15 million was put aside to help schools pay for security assessments and to provide for grants that can then be used for changes and improvement to security through infrastructure or equipment changes. Additional money was also allocated for expanded ability to receive preventative tips and information, and $3 million more was specifically designated to expand statewide communication apps that will allow teachers, administrators, and first responders to have faster coordinated response times in the case of an emergency. More is still being ironed out in regards to school resource officers (SROs) and other initiatives.

Some of the highlights include:

• $14.7 billion for K-12 education, the most in state history;
• Nearly $14 million to train 180 state police troopers;
• $10 million for a new grant program to provide mental health services to K-12 students; and
• Almost $41 million in Going Pro skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

"CERTIFICATE OF NEED" REFORM WILL HELP LOWER CAR INSURANCE

As Senator Colbeck continues to work with his colleagues to jumpstart stalled auto-insurance reform in the House, he also continues his push to address one of the key factors affecting our insurance rates: spiraling healthcare costs.

“It’s important that we continue to advocate for free market healthcare reforms such as Direct Primary Care (DPC), but many of the issues Michigan sees with our car insurance rates isn’t from fender benders, collision repairs, or even auto theft,” said Senator Colbeck. “It is from costs associated with healthcare. For that reason we need to also repeal Michigan’s so called “Certificate of Need” law, which is clearly not needed and only costs us money by limiting competition and allowing healthcare providers to create protected fiefdoms.”

To learn more about what “Certificate of Need” is, click HERE. To read Senator Colbeck’s press release on the legislation, click HERE.

Senator Colbeck said he is committed to addressing our auto insurance laws directly in order to get costs down, but felt a multi-pronged attack on lowering healthcare costs at the same time was also needed.

“There is no doubt that we need to change our insurance laws to get Michigan rates in line with other states. However, that should not be good enough. If we want to truly become a leader in not just having average auto-insurance rates, but instead some of the least expensive in the country, the only way to do that will be to also address healthcare costs. That is where much of the true cost savings opportunities are, and we can accomplish that in a way that still provides for good coverage while not making people pay through the nose in order to simply drive their cars.”

DETROIT HOSTS ROBOTICS COMPETITION

The F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, a youth robotics league, came to Detroit last month for their national championships. Sen. Colbeck had recently spoken at one of the preliminary events that took place with local teams, and enjoyed meeting with members of the Northville Robostangs and Livonia Warriors.

Click to view video

The Senate 7th District also includes teams such as Wayne #313, Plymouth Canton Salem #862, and New School High #6583.

Teams from Michigan represented a full half of the final 24 teams in the playoff. This was no coincidence, as the state has made it a priority to provide our kids with such learning opportunities. Michigan has set aside $2.5 million in grants for schools to participate in programs like FIRST. Michigan has the largest number of high-school robotics teams at 508, with several great local teams from 7th District communities we can all be proud of. The event attracted national attention as well.

“This is an example of great, experiential types of ways for learning that grab our children’s attention and get them to consider options they maybe would not have otherwise thought about before,” said Sen. Colbeck. “And as part of many of these competitions, there is also an element of what is called ‘coopetition’, where the opposing teams can sometimes only advance if they first collaborate and cooperate with each other. Whether they realize it or not these kids are not just learning technological skills but also how to interact with each other as both small and large teams.”

To view the final results, click HERE. In the end, students from 86 countries participated in this year's competition, and Detroit will also host the championship again next year.

MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS

Work requirements for food stamp eligibility is not new to government and has been part of welfare reform efforts going back decades. After Medicaid was expanded in Michigan, the idea that certain able-bodied adults aged 19-64 should also have to work (or receive education/job training) took on even greater significance given that Michigan’s economic rebound was creating jobs but having difficulty in getting people to apply for them. Addressing skill gaps through education and training is also important. Three states have already been approved for a Medicaid work requirement, and roughly 20 states are actively exploring the option.

According to Michigan’s most recent "Green Book", after Michigan’s recent Medicaid Expansion the state has over 2.4 million people on Medicaid, roughly 25% of the state’s population. 700,000 of them are new enrollees who in the past would not have qualified for traditional Medicaid. These new enrollees are typically more able-bodied and of a working age.

Under the new Medicaid work requirement law being considered, which also allows for education and job training in lieu of work, many of the 2.4 million people on Medicaid would not be required to participate because the new law would allow for many exemptions for people such as those who are pregnant, disabled, or in similar circumstances.

The legislation as currently drafted would otherwise require non-exempted able-bodied Medicaid recipients to average 29 hours a week either working, receiving training, or going to school (or a combination thereof) in order to keep their taxpayer funded Medicaid benefits. The legislation authorizing this change has been voted out of the Senate and is now before the House.

ROTARY PARK BUILD DAY

An exciting new park concept will soon be coming to Livonia – and you can play a role in helping to build its expansion!

Download images to view this graphic.

The playground will be ADA accessible, and will be designed for all ages and level of ability ranging from those children with sensory difficulties to those with limited mobility and even visual impairment. Key features of this playground include: swings for all abilities, ramps and transfer stations with multiple climbing options, an accessible seating area and even a water filling station. The “build day” is May 30th and starts at 8AM. For more information please click HERE.

MEMORIAL DAY – 150 YEARS OF REMEMBRANCE

The Michigan Senate will hold a special ceremony during session on Thursday, May 24, in honor of Memorial Day and especially Michigan soldiers who have lost their lives in service. With this year also marking the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, the history of the event is also important.

Download images to view this graphic.

“Our freedom, the liberty we dare not take for granted, is an inheritance given to us by those that fought and died to defend it,” Sen. Colbeck said in discussing the event. “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the heroes that gave their lives and to the families that lost their beloved children. Far from a mere holiday, Memorial Day is a call to action – a call to honor, a call to recognize our blessings, and a call to not disappoint those who sacrificed before us as we carry on the eternal fight against evil.”

Sen. Colbeck coordinates the event, which will be conducted on May 24th beginning at 10 AM. Seating within the Senate chamber is reserved for the families of fallen military servicemen and women, and for other military members who are directly participating in the event. The Capitol’s main common areas will be open for members of the general public who are interested in coming to Lansing to show their support.

To view footage from Michigan’s previous Senate Memorial Day services please visit: http://www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com/memorial-day-service/

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY MONTH

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson invites you to participate in a gathering at the State Capitol.

Weather permitting: At 9:30AM motorcyclists will ride from the parking lot of the Secretary of State Capital Area SUPER!Center (3315 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing, east of the Frandor shopping mall) to the steps of the State Capitol.

As the weather gets warmer, motorcyclists (and those on bicycles and mopeds) will be out on the road more frequently. The National Safety Council reminds all of us to be more on the lookout for these drivers at the same time it encourages riders to practice defensive driving. The Michigan Department of State’s Motorcycle Safety Program uses safety standards established by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in order to ensure consistent and comprehensive training for all motorcycle operators. Let’s especially look out for all of our two-wheeled friends as the sun finally starts to shine in the month of May.

Download images to view this graphic.

WHERE IS MY TAX REFUND?

If you completed your taxes on time and still have not gotten your refund you should be receiving it soon. Most individual tax returns have already been processed. If you have not yet received your refund and would like to check on its status, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/0,4676,7-238-43513_75466---,00.html

CONSIDER QUITTING SMOKING THIS MAY

Thinking about quitting tobacco? The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its telephone coaching and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) program to all Michigan residents through May 31.

During this time, the Michigan Tobacco Quitline will offer a free, two-week supply of nicotine gum, patches or lozenges for all new enrollees who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco users who would like to quit may call the Quitline phone number at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).

The Quitline serves all ages, but callers must be 18 or over and meet basic health requirements. Enrollees will receive a coach who will assist them in setting a quit date, choosing a nicotine replacement product that is right for them, and will create an individualized “quit plan”. Underage smokers looking to quit can contact our office for additional assistance and options.

DISTRICT HOURS

Don’t have time to drive to Lansing? Please click HERE to find out when and where Sen. Colbeck will be holding nearby district “office hours” that you can attend. Please note the time change for the May 18th meeting in Livonia. We hope to see you there!

LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT? VISIT OUR WEBSITE

www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com



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THE MICHIGAN STATE SENATE
7th DISTRICT



Michigan’s 7th Senate District
 


The 7th State Senate District proudly serves the following areas: Canton Township, city of Livonia, city or Northville & Northville Township, city of Plymouth & Plymouth Township, and the City of Wayne.



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
Please include name, address, and phone number.
Our website: www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com
 

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