I hope you all had a great Independence Day! Serving the constituents of the 36th Senate District is very 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 our state forward.
I recently had the honor to join friends and family of Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Burgess at the dedication of a new memorial highway named in Burgess’ honor. Ryan’s mother Kim Burgess and his sister Lindsey Elias paid tribute to Ryan, his service and his sacrifice. It was great to see everyone who came out to remember Burgess, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in December 2006. In March, the governor signed my legislation to declare a portion of U.S. 10 from N. Stark Road to N.W. River Road in Sanford as the “Marine Lance Corporal Ryan Burgess Memorial Highway.” It will be a lasting tribute to a native son who never returned home and will never be forgotten.
Pettalia memorial highway bill signed
Rep. Peter Pettalia was a good friend and devoted husband, father and grandfather whose life was tragically cut short as he traveled down to serve the people of Northern Michigan as their representative.
The governor recently signed my legislation to name a part of U.S. 23 in honor of Pettalia, who died in 2016 in an accident on his way to the Capitol for session.
Pete was a commonsense public servant who loved life, the Sunrise Side, and the entire state — serving in many roles to improve people’s lives.
Senate Bill 622, now Public Act 215 of 2018, designates the portion of U.S. 23 in Presque Isle County between Maple Drive and Misiak Highway as the “Peter A. Pettalia Memorial Highway.”
Pete truly enjoyed traveling along Heritage Route 23, and naming part of that route through his home county is a fitting tribute to his life and will ensure that he is never forgotten.
Rep. Sue Allor and I welcomed Pettalia’s wife Karen to the Capitol in May for a House committee hearing on the legislation. [read more]
Supporting reform to reduce cost of auto insurance
Michigan drivers are paying the nation’s highest car insurance rates — costs that are increasingly putting a strain on family budgets and our economy.
In a July 2017 report by insure.com, Michigan was named the most expensive state for car insurance for the fourth consecutive year. Michigan’s average premium is $2,394, which is over 80 percent more than the national average of $1,318.
The high cost of auto insurance is one of the top issues I hear about from area residents. I supported a first step in making long-overdue reforms to our no-fault auto insurance system in a continuing effort to provide much-needed relief to Michigan drivers.
My goal is to achieve positive reform that recognizes the burdensome car insurance costs facing Michigan families, and I look forward to talking with the people of the 36th District about how to finally address this growing issue.
Senate Bill 1014 would make reforms to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law to help reduce costs and better protect customers in the state. It would create a new authority within the attorney general’s office to help investigate and reduce auto insurance fraud and cap benefits for people who have never paid into the no-fault system. [read more]
Helping protect victims of domestic violence
Many victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking are fearful of future threats and possible harm.
I recently supported a seven-bill package that would allow victims to hide their physical addresses from their offenders. The Senate legislation would create an address confidentiality program in Michigan. This program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to obtain a confidential address to protect themselves from their past offenders. The legal substitute address (usually a post office box) would be used in place of their physical address.
Another part of the legislation would prohibit schools from disclosing the address of a student whose parent is an address confidentiality program participant.
If this legislation is enacted, Michigan would join 37 other states in offering assistance and peace of mind to victims of abuse or assault.
Graduation requirement flexibility bill signed
Education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and neither should be our high school graduation requirements. The governor recently signed my reform giving more students flexibility in meeting those requirements, which means students can continue choosing the course of study that will best prepare them for success.
In 2006, Michigan adopted one of the nation’s most rigorous high school graduation requirements. The Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) requires students to complete a minimum of 18 credits in eight specific subject areas in order to receive a high school diploma.
High school students can substitute a career-tech course or an extra arts class for one of the two required foreign language credits. Public Act 232 of 2018 extends that flexibility until 2024.
As the economy continues to grow and create jobs, many employers have open positions because they cannot find enough workers with the necessary skills. Allowing students to count an additional applied career and technology class toward their graduation can help them achieve their goals and also help our state meet the growing demand for skilled talent.
Many education and business groups supported the reform, including the Michigan Manufacturers Association, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Education Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.
Fishing in Michigan
If your summer plans include taking the kids or grandkids fishing, be sure to check out the Family Friendly Fishing Waters website at www.michigan.gov/fishing or by clicking here.
Bodies of water are identified as family friendly based on ease of access, amenities (such as restrooms) and high likelihood of success in catching fish. Other details include driving directions, hours of operation, species of fish available and more.
Anglers under age 17 may fish without a license, but they are required to observe all fishing rules and regulations. A fishing license isn’t necessary to help someone under age 17 as long as the young angler is an active participant. Adults can help bait the hook, set up the fishing rod, fix tangles or snags, cast the line, land the fish and unhook the fish.
Fishing licenses for the 2018 season can be bought in person at a local license retailer or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com. All 2018 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2019 and are good for all species. Information on Michigan licenses, seasons, general regulations and more is also available in the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide.
How healthy are Michigan’s forests?
Michigan’s forest land covers nearly 20 million acres, including about 4 million acres of state forest managed by the Department of Natural Resources.
The 2017 Forest Health Highlights report outlines current successes and challenges facing Michigan’s forest system, including efforts to stop invasive species such as the hemlock woolly adelgid and the battle against beech bark disease. Check out the work being done to preserve and protect the state’s forests at www.michigan.gov/foresthealth.
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
201 Townsend Street Suite #5200
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Visit my website at: www.SenatorJimStamas.com