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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

Local community hours coming to Barry and Allegan counties

I will host local office hours throughout the 18th District as this legislative term continues. The second set of sessions are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 in Barry and Allegan counties at:

• 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Barry County Courthouse (Commissioners’ Chambers), 220 W. State St. in Hastings.
• 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Otsego District Public Library (Large Program Room), 401 Dix St. in Otsego.

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.

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Still fighting for long-term tax relief

I want to update you on the status of House Bill 4001 – a bill that would deny hardworking Michiganders the long-term, ongoing tax relief they deserve.

I voted against the measure earlier this month because it ultimately shortchanges Michiganders. Under current law, the income tax rate likely should be dropping from the current 4.25% to around 4.05% – tax relief that would benefit Michigan residents year after year. Instead, the governor wants to send families a small, one-time rebate check – money that would be gone in a trip or two to the grocery store for most – and keep the income tax rate higher than it should be. Her complicated plan also attempts to take tax savings away from Michiganders and redirect that money to corporate welfare.

The bill was rushed through the Legislature without the normal committee process – meaning legislators had very little opportunity to debate the plan and no ability to change the proposal before the final vote.

The measure has not yet been sent to the governor’s office for her signature. The bill does not have enough support to receive what is known as “immediate effect” – an important step that requires the approval of two-thirds of serving state senators. The immediate effect rule has been in existence for decades, and Democrats are threatening to change it now to force what ultimately would be a tax increase on working Michiganders. I will do all I can to oppose this scheme while supporting alternative plans such as Senate Bill 51 – a simple and fair plan that provides tax relief for everyone.

Addressing violence in our communities

I attended Michigan State University, and like people across our state, I was heartbroken by the on-campus violence earlier this month.

We can and must do more to prevent senseless tragedies like this. The essential starting point is doing more to ensure laws already on the books are enforced, and that tougher penalties are enacted to prevent those who should not have guns from obtaining them.

Any changes to the system must target criminals – not law-abiding citizens who have the right to protect themselves and their families. I also believe gun laws cannot be considered in isolation or a vacuum. The approach to addressing violent crime must be comprehensive. This includes more investment in public safety, school resource officers, and mental health initiatives – all of which I have supported in the past and will continue to support moving forward.

2023 Recreation Passport

Michigan’s state parks are largely self-supporting thanks to the Recreation Passport program. Funds derived from purchase of a Recreation Passport go directly into maintaining and improving our state parks.

The Recreation Passport program was established by the Legislature in 2010, giving residents the opportunity to purchase a passport through the secretary of state when renewing a license plate. A Recreation Passport gives year-round access to over 100 state parks and recreation areas, more than 1,000 state-managed boating access sites, over 140 state forest campgrounds, and parking at thousands of miles of trails and other outdoor spaces.

The 2010 statute that created the program included a provision to adjust the fee based on the Consumer Price Index. This fee structure ensures the rates keep with the pace of the economy. Effective March 1, the Recreation Passport resident vehicle fee increases from $12 to $13 and from $6 to $7 for motorcycles. This is the first such increase since 2020.

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Check out the DNR’s Wildtalk podcast

Join the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division for season six of the “Wildtalk Podcast.” New episodes are released monthly and feature DNR staff and other wildlife experts as they discuss all things Michigan wildlife. From deer, moose and elk, to birds, frogs and ticks, each episode features timely and insightful interviews and answers to listener-submitted questions.

New and past episodes can be heard online at on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

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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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