Senator Jim Stamas E-Newsletter

Serving You
Happy Groundhog Day! Serving the constituents of the 36th Senate District is very important to me, and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call toll-free at 1-855-347-8036 or email senjstamas@senate.michigan.gov. Also, please check out my Facebook page. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

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I had the chance to meet with some amazing fifth-graders from Adams Elementary School who are participating in the FIRST LEGO program. League teams research a real-world problem - such as food safety, energy or recycling - and are challenged to develop a solution. The Adams team is working on understanding E. coli and septic tanks.

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Thank you Chaplain Steve Ralston and Post Commander Ron LeBourdais of the Ralph Holewinski VFW Post 1518 in Gaylord for a fantastic awards banquet last week. It was an honor to be a part of the ceremony. Click here to see additional photos with more VFW honorees.

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2018 State of the State address
I welcomed Jenee Velasquez and Becky Church to the Michigan Capitol for Gov. Rick Snyder's 2018 State of the State address, which laid out the governor's plan for continuing Michigan's economic recovery. Velasquez serves as executive director of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, and Church is president and chief operating officer of Midland Tomorrow.

We have made great strides in creating a positive business environment that has helped create 540,000 private-sector jobs and put our state on firm financial footing. We replaced the job-killing Michigan Business Tax, cut hundreds of unnecessary regulations, reduced our debt and repeatedly increased education spending to record levels.

As a result, more Michigan residents are working and our economic productivity is up. It's a positive record, but we can do even better. The governor outlined a blueprint to build on our success and continue Michigan's positive momentum. [read more]

Speeding up sales tax relief
The Legislature recently voted to override the governor's veto of legislation to accelerate "sales tax on the difference" reform when consumers purchase a vehicle. The legislation has now been assigned Public Acts 1 and 2 of 2018 with immediate effect.

The move speeds up the phase-in of sales tax relief when consumers trade in their car to buy a new one. The legislation increases the cap on the trade-in value to $4,000 beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and to $5,000 by Jan. 1, 2019. The cap increases by $1,000 each year until fully implemented in 2028.

Michigan was one of only six states - and the only Great Lakes state - that taxed the value of trade-ins. I am pleased the new laws will help consumers save money when they buy a car.

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Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 17-18
Michigan's annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 17 and 18. All fishing license fees are waived for residents and out-of-state visitors on both inland and Great Lakes waters for the two days. All other fishing regulations still apply.

Visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing for information on special events and activities. A state Recreation Passport will not be required at any state park or recreation area during the free fishing weekend.

Remember that winter fishing has its own set of safety rules. Click here for more ice safety tips, including what to know when venturing out on the ice or if you fall through the ice.

New laws to improve unemployment benefits system
The Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan package of bills - now signed into law - to reform and improve Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency.

The reforms help fix problems created by the automated fraud system in which more than 37,000 people were wrongly accused of fraud and lost their benefits from 2013 to 2015. The agency has required human review in making a fraud determination since August 2015. Under the new laws, claimants accused of fraud will also have access to an advocacy program for better representation.

The changes also create a new process to handle potential identity theft claims, an ever-increasing problem. Among other provisions, this measure allows benefits to stop when the agency receives an affidavit from a person with a stolen identity and establishes a position similar to an "inspector general" to investigate fraud and make recommendations to improve integrity and accountability within the program.

Public Acts 225-232 of 2017 received the support of business and labor groups, as well as the state unemployment agency.

THE 36TH DISTRICT

Senate District 36 Map

The 36th Senate District is made up of 10 counties, which includes: Presque Isle, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Iosco, Arenac, Gladwin and Midland counties.

Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 36th Senate District of Michigan. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 36th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website or via Facebook.

Senator Jim Stamas
201 Townsend Street Suite #5200
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Visit my website at: www.SenatorJimStamas.com

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