In this issue of my e-newsletter we’ve assembled quite a bit of information on recent issues we’ve been tackling in Lansing on your behalf. My team and I have also included information about what is happening in the 7th Senate District including a few events and activities that may be of interest to you.
Should you ever have any questions about my work in the district or in Lansing, please contact my office at 517-373-7350 or by email at email@example.com, or visit with me at one of my monthly office hours in the district.
Sponsors Needed for Fallen Soldiers Memorial Day Service – May 26
The 22nd Annual Memorial Day Service to honor Michigan’s Fallen Soldiers will be held on Thursday, May 26 in the Michigan Capitol’s Senate Chamber.
We are currently seeking businesses and organizations that would consider sponsoring the event. Proceeds will help us provide breakfast for the families of our fallen soldiers and cover the cost of program materials. All Michigan families of fallen soldiers are invited to attend. Please contact Joanne DeHetre at (517) 373-7350 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Receives National Recognition
Michigan Veterans Resource Center staff accept the 2016 Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Award. Photo courtesy of MVAA.
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) received two national accolades in February for its work to connect veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.
The Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Awards, granted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, were presented to MVAA for its Michigan Veterans Community Action Team program – a community-based, locally led program that has brought 1,187 organizations together to better serve state veterans – and its Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center – a one-stop program connecting veterans to federal benefits, state programs and local services through a toll-free phone number, 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).
Michigan is the first in the nation to implement programs of this kind statewide, encouraging collaboration between federal, state and local service providers to serve veterans and their families. As the former Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Sen. Colbeck is proud to see the tremendous growth and impact of the agency, since it began operation in March of 2013.
For more information on the MVAA and its receipt of these awards, see this MVAA article.
Plymouth Student Testifies in Support of Senate Bill 848
Sen. Colbeck welcomed testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on March 22 from Plymouth-Canton Educational Park student, Chris Robbins. Robbins spoke on Senate Bill 848, which addresses press freedom for student journalists.
Robbins stated he has learned a lot about his community by serving as a student journalist under the exceptional tutelage of his journalism teacher, Ms. Leola Gee, and that freedom of expression is essential for allowing a student to best engage in the journalism process. “Making coverage decisions, being a part of a team that works together and learning how to be an effective writer are crucial experiences that are best learned in a newspaper setting where students control the content,” Robbins said.
SB 848 is co-sponsored by Colbeck and would allow students greater decision-making power in determining which articles are published and disseminated, provided the articles don’t violate federal or state laws, are libelous or slanderous, or incite danger.
Robbins’ testimony on March 22 can be viewed here [starting at 14:56].
Students from Plymouth, Livonia, and Canton Visit Lansing
Students from Cass Elementary join Sen. Colbeck at the Capitol
During the month of March, Senator Colbeck proudly welcomed several schools from Plymouth, Livonia, and Canton to the State Capitol, including Plymouth Scholars Academy, Cass Elementary, Buchanan Elementary, and Homeschool Academy. Students were able to tour the Capitol building and Michigan’s historical museum. These tours provided historical and contemporary information on the history of Michigan and the legislative process.
Canton Resident Melvin Rising Turns 100
Melvin Rising (center) celebrates with family. Photo courtesy of the Rising family and Hometown Life.
Canton resident Melvin Rising reached a significant milestone last month, turning 100 and celebrating with family by his side. Rising has experienced a great deal over the past century, living through the Great Depression and moving from North Dakota, his place of birth, to Minnesota, Tennessee, and finally to Michigan, where he tested airplanes for Ford Motor Company. He also worked on the railway, for General Motors and Parke-Davis, for 20 years.
Rising’s later years have not prevented him from remaining physically active. He gardened at his Canton home until the age of 90 and rode his bike until he was 80. Rising’s 6 children, 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren have kept him very busy, and he enjoys time with his wife, Wilma, of 64 years. It is an honor to have Melvin Rising in our community, as a caring family man and tremendous witness to the historical events of the past 100 years, and we wish him the best on this momentous occasion.
For more information on Melvin Rising and his 100th birthday celebration see this Hometown Life article.
Zeal Credit Union Marketing Team Assists Forgotten Harvest
Members of the Marketing team at Zeal Credit Union in Livonia recently volunteered at Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park, Mich., to repackage large crates of fresh carrots into grocery bags. “It was a fun team building project and made us feel good to do charitable work for such a worthy organization,” said Lisa Fawcett, vice president of marketing for Zeal Credit Union, in a recent press release.
Forgotten Harvest is a Detroit area non-profit that collects excess prepared and perishable food, and distributes it to emergency food providers that aid the hungry. The organization has been serving Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties for the past 25 years, and is currently the nation’s largest food rescue organization.
New Website Provides I-275 Construction Project Updates
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has created a website, www.revive275.com, to address the upcoming 1-275 construction in Wayne and Oakland counties.
The project, which involves replacing concrete on I-275 between 5 Mile through the interchange with I-96/I-696/M-5, is expected to begin in early spring.
MDOT will use the website to keep travelers updated on scheduled freeway and ramp closures as construction progresses. The website also provides other helpful resources, including maps, photos, and press releases.
Livonia Schools Welcome Sen. Colbeck during March is Reading Month
Webster Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary, both located in Livonia, welcomed Senator Colbeck this month to read to students in recognition of March is Reading Month.
Senator Colbeck reads at Webster Elementary
Senator Colbeck with Roosevelt Elementary Students
Event: Yankee Air Museum Historical Presentation Night– April 6
On April 6th at 7:30pm, Yankee Air Museum will host a presentation on “Saving the Willow Run Bomber Plant.” Dennis Norton will share more information on the plant, which was the largest factory in the world in 1942, and was instrumental in helping the United States and its allies win WWII. Join in this free event, and learn about efforts to preserve a significant portion of the plant, so that many others can appreciate this important piece of Michigan history. The presentation will be held in the General Purpose Room of the Yankee Air Museum. More information can be found on the Yankee Air Museum event webpage.
New Businesses in Livonia
Since the beginning of January 2016, Livonia welcomed the following 28 businesses* into its community.
• Sunwave Realty
• Taxes Plus USA, Inc.
• Flawless Finish
• Wellington Mackenzie CPA Group
• Nanaj Law Firm, PPLC
• ACE Fence Company
• Security Designs, Inc.
• Gordon Metal Products
• Diversified Technologies, Int.
• Technicolor, Inc.
• Synergy Counseling Services
• Radiant Wholesale
• Knock Out Pizza
• Pamela Gharaibeh, LMSW, ACSW (Social Work Couseling)
• Craftsman Shoe Repair
• Michigan Industrial Forklifts
• Zax Auto Wash
• Marathon Gas Station
• Veritiv Corp
• Cellular Repair Center Inc.
• Alt Auto Wholesalers
• Tech Computer Services
• Exxon Gas Station
• Xfer Communications Inc
• Town House Cigar
• Advanced Recycling
*These businesses are ones which were issued a certificate of occupancy in either January or February of 2016.
“Grand Opening Events” were put on by the Livonia Chamber of Commerce for the following businesses in January or February of 2016:
• Paintings by Made by Me
• Humphrey’s Tax Services
• H&R Block
• Leo’s Coney Island
In upcoming newsletters, we plan to highlight businesses that have opened in other areas of the 7th district as well. Stay tuned!
Senator Colbeck at March office hours in Livonia
Senator Colbeck meets regularly with constituents in the district on Mondays and Fridays and at his office in Lansing Tuesdays through Thursdays. If you would like to schedule a meeting with the Senator, please contact District Manager, Penny Crider, at (517) 373-5713 or toll-free at (866) 262-7307, or via email at email@example.com, to arrange a time that is convenient for you.
Date: Monday, May 2nd
Location: Northville District Library
212 W. Cady St., Northville
Date: Friday, April 15th
Location: Livonia Senior Center
15218 Farmington Road, Livonia
Date: Friday, May 20th
Location: Livonia Senior Center
15218 Farmington Road, Livonia
Date: Friday, June 17th
Location: Livonia Senior Center
15218 Farmington Road, Livonia
Date: Monday, April 4th
Time: 5:30p.m – 6:30p.m.
Location: Plymouth District Library
223 S Main St, Plymouth
Sen. Colbeck Introduces Legislation to Increase Transparency of Government Assets
Sen. Colbeck introduced legislation on March 8th that would make reports of government assets available to the public.
“Our state government has billions of dollars’ worth of assets like buildings and vehicles which were bought at taxpayer expense,” said Colbeck. “As of today, there is no centralized database of state property. If there were such a database, it would assist lawmakers in identifying ways to raise funds without having to resort to tax or fee increases. Wouldn’t it be nice if state officials were to sell off assets, much like many of us do on eBay or via garage sales, before they reached into your wallet for more money?”
Senate Bill 849 would require each state department to report all of its assets over $5,000 in value to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. It would require a description of each asset, its fair market value, and the asset’s rate of use. This information would then be made available online for the public to access. By making this information available to the public, residents would be better informed about how their tax money is being used.SB 849 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform for further consideration.
Sen. Colbeck Introduces Bill to Remove Restrictions on Religious Liberty
Sen. Colbeck introduced legislation on March 2nd that would protect the right of pastors and religious leaders to speak openly about political matters. “Just because someone preaches from the pulpit does not mean that they should lose their right to free speech,” Colbeck said.
Under current Michigan election law, priests, pastors, curates, or other officers of a religious society are barred from influencing America’s election process; they are not allowed under current law to advise congregants and constituents on voting and policy issues, without the threat of criminal prosecution.
Senate Bill 832 would affirm the rights of pastors and religious leaders to free speech and free exercise of religion under the First Amendment, rights that all U.S. citizens should be able to enjoy. SB 832 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform for further consideration.
Sen. Colbeck Works to Create Direct Primary Care Pilot Program in Michigan
Is there a way to decrease healthcare costs, while improving overall quality of care? Senator Colbeck believes Direct Primary Care Services (DPCS) are the solution to achieving this goal. Direct Primary Care Services, which facilitate direct doctor-patient relationships, and utilize monthly membership fees as the primary payment method, has been demonstrated to reduce the overall cost of providing health care by 20 percent while significantly improving the quality of care delivered.
Statewide, there are 2.4M Medicaid enrollees or roughly 1 in 4 Michiganders. As part of the FY17 budget process, Senator Colbeck has proposed to launch a Pilot Study that would enroll 2,400 Medicaid recipients in DPCS. By reducing overhead and providing real access to preventative care, DPCS has been demonstrated to significantly reduce claims related to catastrophic care which results in significant cost savings.
What is the risk? The success of the pilot is based on a reduction in the number of claims (i.e. patients are healthier). If there is no reduction in claims across the pilot population, the state will have spent almost $2M more than would otherwise have been necessary to care for the enrollees.
What is the benefit? The pilot objective is to reduce the number of claims for catastrophic care by 50%. If the pilot were to demonstrate a reduction in claims on the order of 35%, not only would enrollees have received better healthcare, but the state will have implemented a proven method of saving taxpayers money while doing so. The potential savings to the state if fully implemented would be $3.4B which includes over $800M in general purpose funds. Senator Colbeck believes an annual savings of this magnitude coupled with better care is worth the risk.
If you would like to support a golden opportunity for state government to reduce expenses while actually improving the quality of services, please encourage your elected officials to support this pilot project in this year’s state budget. You can find their contact information at legislature.mi.gov.
For more information on DPCS, see Sen. Colbeck’s editorial, “Government’s Swiss Army Knife” and visit www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com.
Michigan Senate and House Make Efforts to Repeal and Replace “Common Core” Standards and Tests in Michigan
Sen. Colbeck introduced legislation on March 1st that would repeal and replace Common Core standards in Michigan.
Senate Bill 826 would bring an end to the Common Core standards currently in place in Michigan. SB 826 is a companion bill to House Bill 5444, introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland. The proposed legislation would help to raise the expectations for the education of Michigan students and better equip them to be good citizens.
SB 826 has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee for consideration.
Governor Snyder’s FY 2017 Budget Proposal
Governor Snyder has launched his FY ‘17/’18 Budget Proposal, which recommends a $54.9 billion budget for the year 2017. Seventy-five percent of the total budget is dedicated to education and health and human services. Here is a brief summary of three major areas outlined within the proposal:
The proposed budget recommends allocating $308.4 billion in total ongoing funding for education, and places particular focus on early literacy and career and college readiness.
Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Snyder has invested an additional $1.4 billion in the state’s K-12 education system. For the FY ’17 budget, Gov. Snyder recommends dedicating $12.1 billion in state funds to K-12, an increase from last year’s $11.8 billion appropriation.
Roads and Transportation
The governor’s plan for fiscal year 2017 features $533.3 million in increased dedicated transportation revenue, which includes $189 million for the State Trunkline Fund, $283 million for local road agencies and $51 million for rail and public transit.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the state’s primary health policy organization and manager of publicly funded health care systems. It is also charged with helping individuals meet their financial, medical, and social service needs. Over 70% of the department’s budget supports Medicaid programs and services.
For FY ’17, Gov. Snyder recommends allocating $24.71 billion to cover DHHS programs, $14.71 billion of which would be dedicated to support the state’s projected Medicaid caseload.
SPEECHES ON THE SENATE FLOOR
The 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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