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Dear Friends,

Welcome to this month’s edition of my e-newsletter. It is an honor to serve the people of Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties as your voice in the Michigan Senate.

The goal of this e-newsletter is to help keep you informed about what’s happening in the 16th Senate District, in Lansing and across our state. I will also be sharing the latest information on my official Senate Facebook page. If you have any questions or need to get in contact with me, feel free to call my office toll-free at 855-347-8016 or via email at [email protected].

Working for you,

Joseph Bellino, Jr.
State Senator

Three Free weekend June 8-9

This Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, are this summer’s Three Free weekend when residents and visitors can fish, ride off-road trails, or visit state parks and state-managed boating access sites for free.

More than 4,000 miles of state-designated ORV routes, trails, and scramble areas are free to use without ORV license or trail permit requirements. All state parks and boating access points are open to visitors without Recreation Passports. All fishing regulations and ORV rules and laws apply.

To locate family-friendly fishing locations, visit the interactive Family Friendly Fishing Waters map. Locations on this map are easy access and have a high likelihood of catching fish. Locations can be filtered by the type of fish you want to catch, what kind of fishing you are looking for (boat, pier, shore), and what amenities you would like (swimming, restrooms, etc.). You can even print a free certificate to commemorate a child’s first catch.

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Reckless budget plan raises taxes and raids the teacher pension fund

Last month, I opposed the Senate Democrats’ fiscal year 2025 budget plan that focuses more on growing the size and scope of government instead of helping Michigan families struggling to afford everyday items and making long-term investments to improve our communities.

Last year, the Democrats recklessly spent almost all of a record $9 billion surplus, and now they’ve passed an irresponsible budget plan built on raising income taxes by $700 million and taking $670 million that was supposed to pay off debt in the teachers’ pension fund. The hardworking people of Michigan deserve and expect much better.

During the budget debate, I offered several amendments to improve the budget plan, but all of them were rejected by the Democratic majority. My amendments would have:

Cut $10 million for “clean fleet” grants to government entities and repurpose it for lead service line replacement.
Added funding to help bring sexual assault assailants to justice.
Ensured no state funding goes to provide driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Stopped universities or colleges from sanctioning any student organization that supports a recognized terrorist organization or makes threats of violence toward any group or person.
Ensured no one in the country illegally receives rental subsidies.
Restored a full foundation allowance for cyber schools.

If a community wants to buy the more expensive electric vehicles, then they should use their own resources to cover the extra cost — not get bailed out by state taxpayers. We should also be clarifying what the Whitmer administration claims is their policy regarding illegal immigrants getting state rental subsidies and keeping all Michigan students on the same base funding allowance to ensure no student falls behind, no matter where they go to school.

Visit your local farmers markets

Nearly 400 farmers markets operate across Michigan, giving customers access to locally produced, farm-fresh foods and the opportunity to develop face-to-face relationships with the farmers who grow them. Programs like the Senior Project Fresh program and SNAP are accepted at most local farmers markets and make fresh, local produce available to even more Michigan residents.

Local farmers markets are also a valuable tool for farmers, providing new farmers and other small businesses with a low-barrier entry point to test the market and grow their business. These markets stimulate local economies and have become an important part of many Michigan communities.

To find a farmers market in your area, visit

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AG’s lawsuit threat shows ‘a complete lack of understanding of her role in state government’

Last month, I signed on to a letter with the entire Senate Republican caucus to Attorney General Dana Nessel opposing a potential state lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

This frivolous and dangerous lawsuit idea is a waste of taxpayer dollars, an abuse of power and an illustration of the attorney general’s complete lack of understanding of her role in state government. It also shows that the attorney general either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the impact of this lawsuit on the people of Michigan. There is hardly any part of our lives that doesn’t rely, in part, on the contributions of the oil and gas industries.

We use these resources to get our kids to school; transport goods to stores; heat our homes; grow, preserve and cook our food; provide health care; and supply the electricity needed to power our economy and electric vehicles — not to mention our state’s largest industry and largest job providers literally would not exist without them.

The letter notes, “Beyond attempting to cripple an industry critical to our state’s economy and well-being, such overtly political litigation sets a dangerous precedent. The legal system should not be used as a tool for advancing political agendas or targeting political adversaries. Such an abuse of power threatens the public’s trust in our institutions.”

It is sad that this attorney general is more focused on using the courts to try to achieve her personal, liberal policy goals than protecting our seniors or keeping our communities safe and free from drugs.

Weekly fishing report

The weekly fishing report is an email newsletter from the DNR that provides subscribers with updates on fishing conditions from around the state. Information comes directly from creel clerks and other DNR staff who spend their days in and around Michigan lakes and rivers. The report is organized by region and provides information on recent weather conditions and species updates along with links to Great Lakes Temperature Map and Daily Streamflow Conditions.

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Welcomed Gold Star father to Senate Memorial Day Service

Last month, I welcomed Gold Star father James Hario to the state Capitol as my special guest for the Michigan Senate’s 29th Annual Memorial Day Service, which honored Michigan’s fallen soldiers.

Hario is the father of Pfc. Eric W. Hario, a U.S. Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Eric was born in Monroe in 1989 and enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from Monroe High School in 2008. Since Eric’s death in 2009, his parents, James and Rebecca, as well as his brothers Robert and Mark, have met and spoken with many other Gold Star families.

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Bridge funding bills introduced

This Spring, I sponsored two bills to redirect $500 million in corporate handouts to a fund that supports bridge improvements as part of the Senate Republicans’ “Grow MI State” economic development package.

Rather than continuing the unfair and ineffective policy of handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to huge corporations, we should be using that money to support struggling families and improve our local infrastructure.

Senate Bills 852 and 853 would take funding from the SOAR corporate slush fund and invest it directly into fixing our local bridges, which will help make our communities safer and more attractive to new development and talent.

My measures are part of a bigger plan to improve Michigan’s economy. I support a comprehensive economic strategy that boosts our entire economy by making our state more business-friendly with less bureaucratic red tape instead of picking winners and losers and growing the size of government.

The Senate Republicans’ “Grow MI State” plan includes legislation to:

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 people plant their roots 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 slush funds and reinvest in Michiganders by stopping cash payments to corporations and investing in desperately needed bridge repairs.
Restore 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.

June is Great Outdoors Month

With 106 state parks and recreation areas and endless miles of shorelines that come from our thousands of rivers, streams, and lakes, it could not be easier to celebrate Great Outdoors Month in Michigan. Whether you prefer hiking, fishing, mountain biking or camping, there is always a new outdoor adventure to enjoy.

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Senator Joseph Bellino, Jr.
5300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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