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Senator Patrick Colbeck’s Newsletter
 

SERVING THE STATE SENATE 7TH DISTRICT

HEADLINES FROM THIS EDITION

- Road construction transparency hearing
- Marijuana legislation update
- Senate vote on auto-insurance reform later this week?
- June is PTSD awareness month
- Testimony on neighborhood placement of cellular equipment, 5G safety
- "Share the Air" this Fourth of July
- MI Dept. of Education hosts social studies forum in Wayne
- Free Fishing Weekend: June 9th-10th
- Foster care scholarship applications due June 30th
- Arbor Hills landfill update
- Senate Memorial Day Service pays tribute

ROAD CONSTRUCTION
TRANSPARENCY HEARING

Sen. Colbeck testified last week before the Senate Transportation Committee on his legislation that would make more transparent the construction data associated with our state’s road projects.

SB 210 would require the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to gather and provide the general public with informational profiles on these major road projects. These profiles would include the material used, specified design life of the pavement, and the names of the organizations responsible for the design, construction and inspection of the road. Not only would this information provide more transparency to taxpayers, but it would also importantly provide the data necessary to help better enforce our existing road warranties.

MDOT and others responsible for the management of road construction opposed the bill.

“As we drive throughout Michigan we all see some roads that are clearly lasting longer, while others are clearly failing prematurely,” Sen. Colbeck said. “We need as much light shown as possible on those companies that are doing a good job and those who are doing poorly. SB 210 will help us to isolate whether or not the root cause of poor quality roads is in outdated design and construction methods, or is just because of improper construction where taxpayers are due necessary rework and reconstruction. This is about as common sense as you can get.”

Sen. Colbeck was a vocal opponent of the gas tax and registration fee increases implemented last session, arguing that innovation and quality were more important than simply raising taxes just to do more of the same old things the same old way.

SB 210 would provide the Legislature and citizens at large with the information needed to make sure current road funds are being most effectively used. Sen. Colbeck said he would work to get past MDOT's opposition to the bill in order to move it out of committee.

MARIJUANA LEGISLATION UPDATE

Yesterday was the deadline for the legislature to vote on the state level authorization of recreational marijuana. Ultimately, no vote on the issue was held.

Sen. Colbeck is personally opposed to recreational marijuana, but will respect the will of the voters if they approve the pending ballot initiative in November. Ultimately the Senator believes it is important to hear from the voters at the ballot box rather than via polls promoted by advocates of the legislation. Recent polls have proven to not have a good track record when it comes to accuracy.

It is important to also note that a “yes” vote on yesterday’s recreational marijuana proposal would eventually have had the effect of forcing all growers into a government regulated environment that is designed to make home growing illegal without a permit. This would ensure a larger market share for commercial producers, but not benefit the people.

SENATE VOTE ON AUTO INSURANCE REFORM LATER THIS WEEK?

Auto insurance reform has proven to be one of the most difficult areas to see needed change get signed into law in recent memory. Last session, the Senate passed significant reforms that would have decreased the cost of the insurance, but the bills died in the House.

This session the House attempted to pick up where things left off and advance their own plan, but the legislation was again unable to get enough House votes and stalled in that chamber.

The Senate has continued to work on the issue, and new Senate bills have been introduced (SB1014 & SB787) and are going through fine-tuning and language revision in advance of a potential vote as soon as this Thursday. The final versions of the bills are not available at this time, and while there is a good chance that the bills will be voted on this week it is not guaranteed.

“I believe that we can lower auto insurance rates while retaining lifetime benefits,” said Colbeck. “The proposed Senate legislation is a start towards that end, but clearly, we need to go beyond this proposal in future legislation.”

The Senator has also been working to reduce our auto insurance burden by reducing health care costs at the same time. Colbeck recently introduced legislation to repeal Michigan’s "Certificate of Need". You can read his previous press release on that legislation HERE, in which he discusses how bloated health care costs are one of the driving factors in our high auto insurance premiums.

PTSD: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW, HOW YOU CAN HELP

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The National Center for PTSD wants to draw you attention to ways you can raise awareness for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during the month of June. A handy sheet on ways you can participate can be found by clicking HERE.

After a traumatic or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories, increased jumpiness, and trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have PTSD.

What can cause PTSD?
Any experience that threatens your life or someone else’s well-being can cause PTSD. These types of traumatic events can be debilitating even years after they have occurred. Types of events that can cause PTSD include:

- Being in a serious accident, like a car wreck
- Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, or severe flood
- Being physically or sexually assaulted
- Military or police combat, and first responder experiences
- Witnessing the violent injury of another person
- Learning about the death of a loved one

To learn more about understanding PTSD basics, or to see if you might have PTSD, the following booklet can be a help to both yourself and others. Be patient, as it may take a minute to download: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/understanding_ptsd/booklet.pdf

It is important to note, PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It can affect both men and women, sometimes differently. Military members are at risk, but PTSD can happen to anyone.

Many methods of help are available. If you think you are experiencing PTSD and want to learn more from a group of veterans who have dedicated themselves to helping others, please click HERE.

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People with PTSD can frequently be hypervigilant or always “on-alert”, and depending on the nature of the trauma they experienced may be severely affected by loud noises, the sight of blood, crowded or restrictive areas, fireworks, the smell of smoke, flashing lights, and more – any of these occurrences can trigger debilitating symptoms. Please keep this in mind if you are with a person with PTSD.

TESTIMONY ON NEIGHBORHOOD PLACEMENT OF CELLULAR EQUIPMENT, 5G SAFETY

Sen. Patrick Colbeck testified last week against Senate Bill 637, legislation that would largely remove citizen’s power through their local government to determine where new “small cell” telecommunications equipment could be placed, even including in neighborhoods and around schools. The legislation would remove barriers to the placement of what amounts to the equivalence of a cell tower every 2 to 10 homes.

“As an Aerospace engineer and certified IT professional, I am a big fan of innovation and a frequent early adopter, and like many people find current wireless technology immensely convenient,” said Colbeck. “However, as a legislator, it is important for me to go beyond convenience and even economic opportunity when evaluating new legislation. It is important for us to consider the potential adverse health impacts for the sake of our citizens. We simply can’t afford to put convenience and expediency ahead of Article IV, Section 51 of the Michigan Constitution.”

Article IV, Section 51, states: “The public health and general welfare of the people of the state are hereby declared to be matters of primary public concern. The legislature shall pass suitable laws for the protection and promotion of the public health.”

“The health of our public is supposed to be a matter of primary public concern,” said Colbeck. “We are now seeing that the adverse health impacts associated with wireless radiation are severe and include cancer as well as DNA damage, fertility degradation, and cardiac issues. People don’t want to live next to this equipment, and SB 637 subordinates their health concerns around our schools and in our neighborhoods.”

The Senator said that legislature must look beyond the convenience and economic potential associated with the deployment of 5G technologies if it meant the state would otherwise be sacrificing the health of its residents. He also noted that 5G would not significantly help with rural high speed access issues.

“Michigan can still leverage significant economic potential and help better serve rural areas if it focuses on the build-out of fiber optic cable systems, which are faster, more reliable, and safer.”

"SHARE THE AIR" THIS 4th OF JULY

Fireworks displays are part of an important historic tradition in the celebration of our nation’s independence and freedom. But beyond all the fun it is equally important to also have both a safe and respectful 4th of July.

Even when handled properly, many fireworks can create safety risks or other dangers based on the amount of heat they create, how far they travel, and their noise level. Children should always be supervised, and fireworks should never be pointed at other people or property.

Also always keep in mind the effects fireworks can have on others, especially:

- People with newborns or hard to sleep babies
- Those with dogs and other pets with sensitive hearing
- Neighbors that may work a nightshift
- Those with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While state law does allow for many different kinds of consumer-grade fireworks, those who misuse them need to keep in mind that they are still legally responsible for their use. People using fireworks are not allowed to trespass or shoot fireworks at other people, pets or property.

Sen. Colbeck fully supports responsible fireworks usage, but also believes that it should be local communities, and not the state, that determine what hours loud fireworks should be allowed in our neighborhoods. He has introduced SB 351 so that people can regulate times of use through their locally elected officials on every day with the exception of July 4th.

“We all need to be able to celebrate the 4th of July, but on other days we also need to let communities decide for themselves the hours of operation for loud fireworks,” said Colbeck. “What the residents of Canton want to do on those other days may be very different than what the people in more rural communities choose, and we need to make sure that our fireworks law is not superseding properly set local noise ordinances at other times of the year. This is clearly an area where one size does not fit all.”

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and DNR are also once again offering “fireworks free” camping options for veterans and others this July 2nd-6th. Located further away from traditional community displays, you can learn more by visiting www.Michigan.gov/FireworksFreeFourth.

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FREE FISHING WEEKEND: JUNE 9-10

This summer, family and friends can enjoy one of our premiere outdoor activities, Michigan fishing, without a state license.

On June 9th & 10th, all fishing license fees will be waived. Residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes' waters for all species of fish, so call your friends and bring them to Michigan. Other fishing regulations will still apply.

The MI DNR knows many people would love to try fishing the Great Lakes, but aren’t necessarily sure where to go, when to go, and what fish they might find when they get there. The DNR has put together a guide-map of where you can best go to look for specific fish in southeast Michigan:

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For those looking to travel, other maps focusing on Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior have also put been together. All four roadmaps can be found online by clicking here.

If you don’t want to fish, you may still wish to simply visit the parks to take advantage of Recreation Passports not being required for entry into state parks and recreation areas during this same weekend. Trying out off-road vehicle trails more your style? It will also be Free ORV Weekend as well.

PUBLIC SOCIAL STUDIES FORUM IN WAYNE, JUNE 11th

The Department of Education will be conducting a series of public forums to get parents’ feedback regarding newly proposed social studies standards that would be used in our schools. Details for the time and location of the forum in Wayne can be found below.

The forum with be reviewing draft social studies standards that were the result of a nonpartisan workgroup whose aim was to ensure a politically neutral and factually based framework for the state’s social studies curriculum. Colbeck joined the workgroup after it was announced the standards would be updated, with the aim of ensuring a factually based and politically neutral framework created for our children.

“Society may be getting more polarized, but our commitment to making sure our nation’s history is taught in a nonpartisan manner has not changed,” said Colbeck. “I was concerned that some elements of our social studies standards were inaccurate and leaning away from being politically neutral. The diverse group of people that came together to inspect this curriculum framework worked well with each other to propose new standards, and we believe that people from a variety of backgrounds will now be able to support them.”

One forum has been scheduled in the city of Wayne on June 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency, 33500 Van Born Road. Other dates in the greater southeast Michigan area will be offered as well.

Interested parties can view a draft of the proposed social studies standards by clicking here. No RSVP to attend any of the forums are required.

"FOSTERING FUTURES" SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS DUE JUNE 30

The Department of Treasury wants to remind foster care students about financial resources available to help pay for college, especially the Fostering Futures Scholarship. To be considered for a 2018-2019 scholarship, applications must be received by June 30, 2018.

The Fostering Futures Scholarship Program provides up to $3,000 for eligible college expenses to young adults who have been part of foster care. Awards are given based on need and paid to assist with tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies.

Since 2012, nearly $1.1 million has been raised to help support the program through individual donations, group donations, sponsorships, ticket sales, auctions and many volunteer-based fundraising events. Since 2014, nearly $4.6 million has been awarded to Fostering Futures Scholarship recipients.

To learn more about the Fostering Futures Scholarship or to apply, go to www.fosteringfutures-mi.com or contact MI Student Aid by calling 1-888-447-2687.

ARBOR HILLS LANDFILL UPDATE

For those that live close to the Arbor Hills Landfill, the DEQ has released an update bulletin this past month. You can view a summary of the updates by clicking HERE, or get additional information on how to lodge a complaint or concern.

Many residents have been frustrated by odor issues which were largely caused by the previous operators of the facility that have proven to take a long time to address. The facility is finishing a two and a half year upgrade to the gas collection and control system at the landfill, and odor release has been occurring again as they conducted well upgrades in late April and May.

The main remaining issue at this time is the ability to transmit the gas from the collection wells to both the gas-to-energy plant and new flares. The DEQ has approved the permit and has said this will lead to new larger blowers, scheduled to be completed in July. The DEQ is also monitoring work to bore a new large steel pipe under the railroad track south of the landfill. The larger gas line will run through this steel pipe, and further fine tuning of the gas well field will likely carry on into August. Once completed, the DEQ and Advanced Disposal Services expect a large improvement in overall gas collection, thereby reducing the amount of odors experienced by nearby residents.

We understand that this has been a long project for people, and there appears to have been times when odor releases needed to occur in the process of making things better for the long run. In some cases smells have been tracked down to other sources. The DEQ however is closely monitoring the situation and working with the landfill to try to mitigate the odors as much as possible. If you would like to file a complaint, you can contact Arbor Hills directly at their Community Hotline: 248-305-8432.

You may also be interested in:
Arbor Hills Landfill - Online Complaint Form (automatically forwarded to MDEQ)
Or wish to contact the DEQ directly:
MDEQ Environmental Assistance Center: 800-662-9278
MDEQ Online Odor Complaint Form

SENATE MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE PAYS TRIBUTE

The Michigan Senate held its 24th annual Memorial Day Service on May 24th, an important tradition in honor of all those we have lost. Senator Colbeck is grateful to have had the opportunity to organize the event for the past four years since taking over those duties from former Michigan State Senator John Pappageorge. He also wishes to thank the many volunteers who put this important event together.

For this year’s keynote speaker, we were honored to receive 2017 Medal of Honor recipient, Spc. 5 James McCloughan. If you have not been able to attend in the past, you can view this year's service by clicking HERE.

Today, June 6th, is also the 74th anniversary of D-Day. 419 sons of Michigan lost their lives at Normandy. God Bless all who have sacrificed so much for us.

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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
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Our website: www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com
 

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