Senator Jim Stamas E-Newsletter

Serving you
Serving the people of the 36th Senate District is important to me, and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call toll-free at 1-855-347-8036 or email SenJStamas@senate.michigan.gov. Also, please check out my Facebook page. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move Michigan forward.

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Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport named top site for new spaceport
I recently joined Rep. Sue Allor and the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA) to announce the findings from an initial site-selection process for potential horizontal space launch sites in Michigan. The study, which was conducted over the past eight months, identified the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport as the top candidate.

This is exciting news for the people of northern Michigan, and I look forward to what the continuing study might tell us about how our state might expand into the space sector. The potential to develop a space ecosystem in Michigan complements the long tradition of excellence in automotive manufacturing in our great state.

In June 2019, the Michigan Legislature appropriated $2 million to assess the feasibility of developing one or more low-orbit launch sites in Michigan. The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport was among eight Michigan sites evaluated. It received the highest ranking because of its runway infrastructure, business capacity, operational strength and safety track record.

Click here to see a short video of the announcement. MAMA will continue site-specific discussions with licensing and regulatory agencies as well as partners in the commercial sector. They will also continue conducting a selection process for a command center and vertical launch site.

This was not only big news in northern Michigan, it was featured by new outlets across the state, from TV 3 in Kalamazoo to the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.

Stamas introduces road bonding resolution
After proposing a 45-cent gas tax increase last year that the people of Michigan overwhelmingly opposed, the governor has rushed a plan to take on billions of dollars in new debt — just four months after she vetoed a $400 million increase to fix local roads.

Instead of going it alone, it’s time for the governor to come to the table and work with the Legislature on an affordable, long-term plan that improves all the roads in our state.

Bonding is a financing mechanism, not a funding source. It adds to our state debt and will cost Michigan families over $5 billion to pay off.

In response to the governor’s road funding scheme, I have introduced a resolution calling for the responsible use of the state’s transportation bonding authority and outlining the Legislature’s intent regarding future debt service payments.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 22 says that the Legislature’s intent is not to increase future debt service spending above the levels authorized in fiscal year 2020 and not to authorize spending for debt service on bonds longer than 10 years.

The Michigan Constitution clearly intends for the Legislature to be involved in transportation bonding decisions. This resolution is about clearly defining the Legislature’s intent for transportation bonding and outlining the amount we are willing to spend going forward on debt payments.

Hunting and fishing licenses on sale March 1
Most 2020 hunting and fishing licenses and permits go on sale March 1, which is the start of the new license year. Although 2019 fishing licenses, base/small game licenses and ORV permits are valid through March 31, the new 2020 versions of these licenses and permits can be purchased March 1.

Outdoor enthusiasts can order the new licenses online at www.MDNR-eLicense.com or by visiting a retailer that sells DNR licenses. For license sales questions, email MDNR-E-License@michigan.gov or call 517-284-6057. Season guides and digests will be posted on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr as they become available.

Bill would effectively end Michigan’s deer baiting ban
I have introduced legislation to improve the state’s efforts to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Michigan.

Ending the baiting ban is an important first step in reducing the size of Michigan’s deer herd, as the herd size is contributing to the spread of diseases like CWD and bovine TB. Bovine TB is persistent in wild deer and continues to threaten the livelihoods of area dairy and cattle farmers in northeast Michigan.

We’ve spent over $150 million since 1998 on bovine TB and still haven’t solved the problem. It’s disappointing and upsetting that state officials continue to pursue the same strategy that has failed to protect Michigan cattle farmers and failed to eliminate bovine TB in our state.

Senate Bill 800 would reduce the penalty for violating the ban on baiting to $1.

I introduced the bill following the announcement bovine TB was confirmed in another medium-sized beef herd in northeast Michigan. Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. The herd is the 77th cattle herd to be identified with bovine TB in Michigan since 1998.

CWD is a contagious, neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. The fatal disease was first discovered in Michigan in a free-ranging deer in 2015. Over 80,000 deer in Michigan have been tested for CWD, and it has been confirmed in 185 deer. There is no cure, and an infected deer can live with CWD for years and spread it through contact with other animals.

We voted last year to end the baiting ban for the rifle deer hunting season, but the governor vetoed the legislation. If we cannot end the baiting ban, then we should take steps to make it obsolete. This is a serious issue, and the status quo isn’t working. I stand ready to work with anyone to identify a better solution to finally end these diseases in our state.

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Free taxpayer guide available online
Michigan residents who are getting ready to file their taxes or want current information can download a free taxpayer’s guide from my website.

The Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide is a reference for the 2019 tax year and is designed to help you prepare your state tax returns. Although not a substitute for state tax instruction booklets, the guide contains information on the state individual income tax and details about 2020 Michigan property taxes and various tax credits, such as the homestead property tax credit and the home heating credit.

Taxpayers can view and download the state forms and instructions for the 2019 tax year at www.michigan.gov/taxes, and you can e-file your state returns at www.mifastfile.org.

School safety grant application deadline
Schools must be a safe place for students to learn and grow. The Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program is designed to improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help protect against acts of violence.

Entities that are eligible to apply are public agencies (including school districts and individual schools), private schools and federally recognized Indian tribes.

Applications for the grant program are due on Tuesday, March 3. Find more information, including applications and instructions, at www.bja.ojp.gov. Click on the “Available Funding” box.

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Keeping your family safe online
Are your children safe while online? Michigan families, especially minor family members, are becoming inundated with advertisements from alcohol, tobacco, pornography, illegal drug and gambling marketers while online. Texting their advertisements is the newest marketing effort that many of these companies are using.

Thankfully, the Michigan secretary of state’s office offers a free program to stop adult advertisements from reaching your child or teen on their phone, tablet or other electronic devices.

The ProtectMiChild Registry is a free do-not-contact service for Michigan families. As a strong supporter of this program, I encourage you to register your entire family and to share this information with your friends and colleagues. It’s free, simple and only takes a few minutes to register. Visit www.protectmichild.com and keep your family safe while online.

THE 36TH DISTRICT

Senate District 36 Map

The 36th Senate District is made up of 10 counties, which includes: Presque Isle, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Iosco, Arenac, Gladwin and Midland counties.

Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 36th Senate District of Michigan. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 36th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website or via Facebook.

Senator Jim Stamas
100 N. Capitol Ave., Room S-324.
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Visit my website at: www.SenatorJimStamas.com

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