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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

Opposed to adjourning early for the year

On Tuesday, the Michigan Legislature adjourned sine die — meaning the legislative work is officially done for the year. It is the earliest the Legislature has adjourned sine die in the last 55 years.

When I was explaining sine die to my 36-year-old daughter, she said, “It sounds more like a paid vacation dad.” Now is not the time for paid vacation, and I voted no on the resolution to adjourn early.

We’ve still got work to do. The Legislature is going home historically early after passing a slate of partisan bills over the past 10 months, and Michigan workers and their families have nothing but higher taxes and higher energy rates to show for it.

Instead of putting partisanship aside to work together with Republicans and solve issues facing Michigan families, the Democrats will instead leave town early.

Michigan deer firearm season now open

Hunting has been a tradition for many Michigan families for generations. Our state offers vast opportunities for hunters, who play an important role in wildlife conservation and management while contributing roughly $11 billion to the state’s economy and supporting 171,000 Michigan jobs.

Last year, over 586,000 deer hunters harvested more than 300,000 deer. With regular deer firearm season now open until Nov. 30, I wanted to pass along some useful information. Hunting digests, including the 2023 edition of the Michigan General Hunting Digest from the Department of Natural Resources, feature all current state rules and regulations. It is one of several digests available online that can be downloaded to a smartphone or other personal device for use in the field.

One reminder is that all harvested deer must be reported within 72 hours or before transferring possession of the deer to another person, a processor or taxidermist. You can report a harvest by downloading the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app or online at

I urge all hunters to keep safety in mind. Most hunting-associated injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking alcohol. Good luck!

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District office hours on Nov. 17

My aim is to provide the best service possible for the hardworking people of Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties, and I plan on regularly holding in-person office hours throughout the district to hear directly from constituents in one-on-one discussions.

On Friday, Nov. 17, I will be available to meet with constituents from noon to 1 p.m. at Riga Township Offices, 7817 Riga Highway in Riga, and 2 to 3 p.m. at the Erie Township Offices, 2065 Erie Road, Suite 1 in Erie.

These meetings give local residents a chance to express their opinions or concerns about state government or to request assistance with a variety of state issues. No appointment is necessary. Residents who are unable to attend the office hours may contact my office toll-free at 855-347-8016 or via email at [email protected].

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Bill designed to stop nitrous oxide abuse

The Michigan Senate recently approved my legislation to help ban the sale of objects used for the recreational inhalation of nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” can cause euphoria and mild hallucinations when inhaled. It has been used in dentistry as a light general anesthetic since 1844 but it is now also used in food products, most notably to add volume to whipping cream.

While this gas has uses in food preparation and medical services, people are buying charging canisters for the sole purpose of getting high. Senate Bills 57 and 58 seek to stop this drug abuse by targeting those who sell these chargers but don’t sell the whipping cream they’re designed to inflate.

A whipping cream dispenser works by releasing nitrous oxide into the cream from a small metal canister called a charger. The chargers contain eight grams of nitrous oxide, which is enough gas to whip one pint of cream. These chargers can be bought at restaurant supply stores or online. When combined with a “cracker,” a device designed to puncture the canister and control the release of gas, and a durable balloon, the chargers can be used for drug-like purposes.

The problem is some stores are selling chargers, crackers and balloons without selling whipping cream or dispensers — creating a very convenient way for kids to get ahold of nitrous oxide to get high.

Senate Republicans urge action on Line 5 permits

All 18 members of the Senate Republican caucus sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, urging them to expedite the state and federal permitting processes required for the construction of the Great Lakes Tunnel Project for Line 5.

The Great Lakes Tunnel Project, originally scheduled to begin in 2021 and be operational in 2024, is critical to ensuring energy affordability and stability in Michigan. Now, a decision on permitting is not expected until at least 2026.

A delay in constructing the Line 5 tunnel also delays the safe and long-term future of Line 5 — which is critical to our economy and way of life. Line 5 helps serve PBF Energy’s Toledo refinery in East Toledo and the BP-Husky Toledo refinery. Together, these facilities employ over 1,200 workers — many of whom live in Michigan.

There is no viable alternative to Line 5. If it were to shut down, it would take roughly 2,100 tanker trucks per day to bring in the same amount of crude oil that is currently transported daily through the pipeline — and rail could only provide 10% of that amount.

A shutdown would be devastating. The two refineries in Toledo would be forced to shut down, and additional refineries in Michigan and Canada would also be impacted. In addition to the loss of thousands of good jobs, millions of Michigan families would see higher prices for gasoline and other daily necessities — and we’d see a seismic ripple through our economy.

Financial disclosure bill heading to governor

In 2022, Michigan voters approved Proposal 1 with over 66% of the vote. The constitutional amendment included language to require statewide officeholders and members of the Legislature to file an annual financial disclosure report with the state.

Senate Bills 613-616 would implement Proposal 1’s financial disclosure section by requiring the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, members of the Legislature, candidates for those offices — and spouses in limited instances — to disclose certain financial information every year.

Michigan is currently one of only two states that does not require financial disclosure to ensure legislators are not benefiting from their work at the Capitol. While I believe we need to do more to improve transparency, these bills are a positive start toward a more accountable state government.

Grants available for municipalities struggling financially

The Department of Treasury has announced a total of $2.5 million in grant funding available for cities, villages, and townships that are struggling financially. These funds will help municipalities fund special projects and free up revenues for important local services for the 2024 fiscal year.

The Financially Distressed Cities, Villages, and Townships Grant Program helps eligible localities pay for specific projects or services that move a community toward financial stability. Preference is given to applications from municipalities that meet one or more of the following criteria:

• A financial emergency has been declared in the past 10 years.
• An approved deficit elimination plan for the general fund is currently in place.
• Two or more conditions indicating “probable financial distress” currently exist.
• The fund balance of the general fund has been declining over the past five years and the fund balance is less than 3% of general fund revenues.

A total of $2.5 million in funding is available for Treasury to award through the grant program for the 2024 fiscal year.

Grant applications must be submitted to the state treasury department by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

Visit for more information and to download an application.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with family and friends and give thanks for our many blessings. We have much to be thankful for as Americans. We live in the greatest nation on Earth, where everyone has the chance — through hard work and determination — to achieve the American Dream.

Thanksgiving is a rare moment to cast aside the worries of our everyday lives and relax with our loved ones. It is an opportunity to gather with those closest to us, give thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed on us and celebrate the most cherished thing we have: one another.

I hope we will all take time to warmly express our gratitude to our family and friends for their love and friendship throughout the year.

For most families, the turkey is the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving Day dinner. Here is a graphic with some interesting data about turkeys in Michigan and nationwide.

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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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