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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

Sponsored local road funding amendments, opposed overall state ‘spending spree’

When the Senate approved its budget plan last month, I sponsored two amendments to the Michigan Department of Transportation budget to direct more funding to local roads and bridges. Both amendments were rejected by partisan votes.

Anyone who has driven in Michigan knows the poor condition of our roads, and our local roads are the one most in need of repair. My amendments would have taken $500 million and $175 million, respectfully, from the SOAR business incentive fund and directed the funding to fixing our local roads and bridges.

I sponsored the $175 million amendment after the Democrats rejected the earlier $500 million one — pointing out that it is the same amount Democrats recently gave to Gotion, a Chinese-owned battery manufacturer. We have a historic surplus, and instead of spending it on expanding government or supporting Chinese-affiliated companies, we should be using it to help Michigan families and make long-term investments in our state.

I opposed the MDOT budget and all the budgets passed by Senate Democrats. I cannot support the Democrats’ continued spending spree that focuses more on growing the size of government instead of supporting struggling families and improving our communities. With high inflation still impacting family and business budgets and economists predicting a recession in the near future, we must be more effective and cautious with how we use our taxpayer dollars.

Click here or on the image below to see my floor remarks on my local road funding amendment.

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Welcomed Vietnam veteran to Senate Memorial Day Service

I recently welcomed retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 John Griffith to the state Capitol as my special guest for the Michigan Senate’s 28th Annual Memorial Day Service, which honored Michigan’s fallen soldiers.

John joined the U.S. Army in 1968 and was trained as a military police sentry dog handler, serving in Vietnam in 1969. While serving in the U.S. Army Reserves with the 300th Military Police Brigade in Inkster, with subsequent assignment as operations officer to the 323rd Military Police Detachment in Jackson, John was promoted to chief warrant officer five. Griffith retired from the U.S. Army Reserves in 2001 after 32 years of military service. John’s wife Kris Griffith also served in the U.S. Army and is past president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 6th District Auxiliary.

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‘Three-Free’ weekend June 10-11

With 103 state parks and recreation areas across Michigan, there are endless opportunities to enjoy all that our state has to offer. June 10-11 is Michigan’s “Three-Free” weekend.

During these two days, Michigan residents and visitors can grab a fishing pole, ride the off-road trails and visit state parks and boating access sites — all for free. Recreation Passports will not be required for entry into state parks and recreation areas, all fishing license fees and ORV license or trail permits will be waived.

The free fishing weekend is a tremendous opportunity for families to pass down the love of fishing to the next generation. Anglers can fish without a license on these two days, although all fishing regulations still apply. Visit for more information.

All state parks and boating access points are open to visitors without Recreation Passports. In addition, June 11-12 marks the first of the state’s two summer free ORV weekends, when off-road enthusiasts can ride on designated routes and trails without an ORV license or trail permit. All ORV rules and laws apply. Riders can find out more at

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Campfire safety tips

There is no better way to end a summer day than a campfire with friends to roast marshmallows, make smores, and enjoy a crisp Michigan night. But days stretching into weeks of hot temperatures, sunshine and virtually no rain have left Michigan a tinderbox ready to ignite — and a campfire that is not closely monitored and extinguished carefully can quickly become dangerous.

That was made startlingly clear as a wildfire that reached an estimated 2,400 acres raged near Grayling over the weekend, causing home evacuations and forcing the closure of I-75 through the area for most of Saturday.

There is no burn ban in the state at this time; campfires or cook fires are still allowed. But the Grayling wildfire was caused by a campfire on private property that got out of control. To keep your family, guests, and the environment around you safe, please keep these campfire safety tips in mind:

• Build your fire in a campfire ring or space surrounded by bare earth.
• Always keep a water source and a metal shovel nearby.
• Never leave a fire unattended, even for a minute.
• When it’s time to turn in for the night, drench your fire with water, stir the ashes and drench again to make sure it’s completely out.

Standing up for farmers ‘Right to Repair’

Rep. Dale Zorn and I recently introduced legislation in a set of double bills in both chambers that would give Michigan farmers the right to repair their own equipment and tractors.

This is about standing up for our local farming families and making sure they have the tools they need to fix their own equipment quickly and affordably. Michigan farmers are too often prevented from repairing their own agricultural equipment, or taking it to a locally owned repair shop, because large manufacturers withhold the complete set of tools and software necessary to make timely repairs. These bills will assure hard working farmers will have access to everything needed to repair the equipment they own.

Senate Bills 341 and 342 and House Bills 4650 and 4651 would give farmers and independent service technicians access to the same diagnostics, information and parts that are available to agricultural equipment dealers.

Specifically, the legislation would:

Make critical service information fully and safely available. Owners and independent technicians would have access to manuals, schematics and circuit diagrams, as well as machine code and firmware patches and fixes.
Make parts and tools affordable. It would require manufacturers to make service parts and tools — including troubleshooting and diagnostic tools, codes and software — available to equipment owners and third parties at non-discriminatory pricing.
Protect consumers by ensuring clearer contracts. All contracts would be required to clearly identify which elements of a machine are not included in the sale. Companies would not be allowed to create end user license agreements that modify or limit support options.

Governor signs Bellino aggregate processing tax cut bill

My legislation to clarify how a state tax exemption applies to producing aggregates like crushed stone and gravel products and industrial and recycled materials was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month.

This was about helping reduce taxes on Michigan businesses struggling with ever-increasing costs due to high inflation. I want to thank the governor for signing this bill to provide this relief by clarifying how state tax exemptions apply to producing aggregates, like crushed stone and gravel and recycled materials that are critical to improving our roads and reducing trash in our landfills.

Equipment used in processing aggregates includes loaders, feeders, crushers, screens, conveyors, dust control equipment and generators. Recent audits from the Michigan Department of Treasury have disputed the use tax industrial processing exemption on this equipment.

My bill, Senate Bill 97, now Public Act 27 of 2023, amends the state’s Use Tax Act to clarify that the industrial processing exemption for machinery and equipment used in aggregate production is applicable as long as use tax is paid on the product. House Bill 4054, now PA 30 of 2023, amends the state’s General Sales Tax Act by adding the production, manufacturing, or recycling of aggregate to the industrial processing exemption if the aggregate is subject to the use tax. Both measures hold the state’s School Aid Fund harmless.

Fostering Futures scholarships available

The Fostering Futures scholarship is a fantastic way for students to continue their education beyond high school. Young adults who have experienced foster care on or after age 13 are eligible to apply for a Fostering Futures scholarship.

The application period for the 2023-24 academic year is currently available, and the priority deadline is Aug. 1. Eligible students enrolled at a Michigan degree-granting college or university may now apply to receive scholarship funds for tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies.

Find more information at the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund.

National Dairy Month

June is National Dairy Month — a time to recognize our state’s dairy farmers and dairy processors and the important contribution they make to the state’s economy. Dairy is an important part of Michigan’s farming industry. Michigan is home to over 900 dairy farms — and more than 9 of every 10 of them are family-owned, with many having been owned by multiple generations of the same family.

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Beach safety

If your summer plans include visiting one of Michigan’s state parks, be sure to review the Department of Natural Resources’ updated beach flag warning system.

A new DNR land order makes it illegal to enter the water when there is a risk to human health and safety. Risks can include hazardous waves and/or dangerous water conditions, active rescue or recovery efforts and environmental hazards. These rules do not apply to surfers using wind-powered or self-propelled wave-riding boards.

The Great Lakes flag warning system is in place at state-designated swim beaches to advise visitors of current water conditions or environmental warnings. The updated system now includes:

• Double red flags = Water access closed. Do not enter the water, dangerous conditions.
• Red flag = High hazard. High surf and/or strong currents. It's recommended that you stay on the beach.
• Yellow flag = Medium hazard. Moderate surf and/or currents. Watch for dangerous currents and high waves.
• Green flag = Low hazard. Calm conditions. Enter the water, but exercise caution.

Visit to check current swim risk, learn about designated swim areas or for more information about the Great Lakes beach flag warning system.

MI Fire Equipment Grant

As part of the fiscal year 2023 budget, the Michigan Legislature appropriated $12 million to establish and operate the MI Fire Equipment Grant Program.

Grant awards of up to $10,000 are available to eligible fire departments in cities, villages, townships or tribal governments or commissions. The application period is now open. Applications are accepted through the Michigan Department of Treasury through July 10.

Additional information, answers to FAQs, program guidelines, and application materials are available at

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

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