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Dear Friends:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and provide updates about what is going on at Michigan’s Capitol.

I am the state senator for the 18th District – covering all of Barry County and parts of Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ionia counties. Please feel free to contact me with any issues related to state government at [email protected], or by calling 517-373-1734 (toll-free at 855-347-8018).


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Thomas Albert
State Senator

State budget plan based on shortchanging taxpayers and teachers

Over the past couple of weeks, Michigan Democrats started approving their initial proposals for the next state budget. The plan for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, will be finalized over the next few months.

I voted against their initial proposals. The Democrats’ plan is built on raiding the teachers’ pension fund and shortchanging taxpayers, students and teachers. The proposals are too expensive to sustain over time and worse, many of the proposed new initiatives do not do enough to help kids learn or make communities better places to live.

A fundamental problem is the foundation upon which these budget plans are built. Democrats already have spent the state’s entire $9 billion budget surplus, and with that money gone, they want to skirt state law to continue their spending spree in the next fiscal year. Democrats want to raise $700 million by making the state’s income tax rate higher than it should be, and they want to take $670 million away from the teacher retirement system to spend on initiatives in the coming year.

More information is available in my press release, and in several budget-related speeches I made on the Senate floor. This includes speeches on many amendments I proposed to improve public safety and improve outcomes for kids – all of which Democrats rejected.

Senate Republicans introduce plan to ‘Grow MI State’

I recently joined my Senate Republican colleagues to introduce legislation aimed at rolling back red tape, restoring worker freedoms, and boosting economic growth in Michigan.

The “Grow MI State” economic development plan includes legislation to:

• Restore “Right to Work” and worker freedom to allow workers to decide for themselves whether they want to join a union and let job providers know Michigan is open for business again. I was proud to introduce this bill, and getting this law back on the books will be a first step to growing Michigan.
• Make it easier to do business in Michigan by ensuring state regulations are not stricter than those imposed by the federal government, requiring an annual review of all state agency rules to make sure they are still necessary, and forcing bureaucrats to receive approval from the Legislature before imposing costly regulations.
• Help build careers in Michigan by improving licensing reciprocity in over 40 occupations for people from nurses and doctors to barbers and accountants and investing more in apprenticeship scholarships to expand Michigan’s skilled trades workforce.
• End corporate welfare and reinvest in Michiganders by stopping cash payments to corporations and instead investing in desperately needed infrastructure repairs.

In the past couple of years, Lansing politicians have moved our state backwards by returning to the failed policies of the past. We must reverse course before it is too late and we are plunged back into the economic dark ages of the early 2000s.

Monitoring avian influenza in Michigan

Avian influenza – sometimes called “bird flu” or HPAI – has been detected in poultry and dairy herds in several Michigan counties this spring. As of late last week, that included poultry and cattle in Ionia County and cattle in Allegan and Barry counties within the Senate’s 18th District.

This is a developing situation of great significance to the agriculture community, and I continue to consult with industry and state officials to remain up to date. Significant layoffs already have occurred in the poultry industry as chickens and turkeys have been lost and facilities have shut down. The dairy industry has also been unexpectedly affected by the outbreak this spring.

As for human health, while no cases associated with this outbreak had been detected in Michigan as of early this week, officials are reminding people of the risks associated with drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk.

To track developments, please visit this website from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. You can sign up for emails here. The website includes a section on frequently asked questions, a map updating where avian influenza has been detected, and many other resources.

This situation may affect county fairs and other events that include poultry or livestock exhibitions this summer, which is another important reason to monitor updates.

Office hours scheduled for Allegan and Barry counties

I plan to host local office hours on Friday, May 31, at two locations:

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Hastings City Hall, Council Chambers, 201 E. State St. in Hastings.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 1114 W. Superior St. in Wayland.

Office hours are open to district residents to talk about issues related to state government or to request assistance with a state issue. No appointment is necessary, but space may be limited at some locations. Priority will be given to constituents seeking to discuss issues requiring privacy or individual attention.

Office hours in other 18th District locations will be scheduled at a later date.

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MDOT schedules public event on Marshall road plans

The Michigan Department of Transportation has scheduled open houses to present proposed changes to roadways in the Marshall area – including the M-96 (Michigan Avenue) corridor, along with nearby intersections and interstate interchanges. The public events are set for 1 to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m. on May 29 at the Marshall Department of Public Works building located at 900 S. Marshall Ave.

The proposed road changes are related to the planned Ford battery factory.

This link about the open house includes ways to provide comment directly to MDOT on these proposed road changes.

Natural Resources fund supports Barry County project

I recently joined my Senate colleagues from both political parties to unanimously approve funding for the latest round of Natural Resource Trust Fund projects. One of the items on this year’s list, outlined in Senate Bill 817, is $1.2 million to expand the Middleville State Game Area in Barry County.

This move will add 120 acres to the game area. The land includes forest, agricultural fields, and a small wetland providing quality habitat for deer and wild turkeys. It also will preserve the landscape along a section of the Iron Belle Trail.

The Natural Resources Trust Fund is specifically supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights. Since its inception in 1976, the NRTF has benefitted more than 2,700 parks and recreation projects statewide to enhance our quality of life without additional taxes.

Michigan's 18th Senate District

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Senator Thomas A. Albert
4500 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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