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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

Fighting for a fiscally responsible state budget

The final version of a state budget proposal could soon come up for a vote in the Michigan Legislature. Every version proposed by Democrats so far has been far too expensive and essentially wipes out the state’s projected $9 billion surplus. That is reckless and unsustainable.

I continue to advocate for a budget that leaves a substantial amount of money unallocated and pays off more debt so state government, schools and local communities will be in better financial positions moving forward. We don’t know how bad the economy might get in the months ahead. We should not adopt an irresponsible budget that would require cuts if revenues don’t come in as previously forecasted. We already are seeing some declines in revenue projections. Simply put, we cannot adopt a new budget where the highest priority appears to be making state government bigger.

Beyond the overall cost, Democrats so far have not shown a willingness to craft a truly bipartisan budget. Senate Republicans proposed roughly 170 amendments to the budget last week — about 25 of which were sponsored by me — and none of them were adopted.

I have proposed an alternative state budget plan for preschool through college that pays down more debt, helps students catch up on lost learning, addresses the teacher shortage and improves school safety. There is some common ground to explore as the budget process moves forward, and I am hopeful we can reach a bipartisan consensus. But the people of Michigan deserve better than what has been approved by the Senate so far.

Out-of-control corporate welfare

Several of the budget amendments Senate Republicans proposed last week were designed to oppose or rein in corporate welfare. I have voted against Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund projects across Michigan this year for a variety of reasons — mainly because the program is not working the way the Legislature intended. More money is being approved than anticipated with less legislative oversight than expected.

I supported several amendments last week that would have redirected corporate welfare funds to better purposes. Instead of handing out this money to corporations, we could improve local roads and other infrastructure, or provide families much-needed tax relief. I personally proposed an amendment that would have required SOAR projects to be independently monitored and reviewed so the state could at least determine whether the investment of taxpayer money is worth the cost. All of these proposals were rejected.

It’s just one prominent example of how the state is spending too much money without enough oversight.

Changes coming to distracted driving laws

The Michigan Legislature recently approved new laws designed to keep our roads safer by fighting distracted driving.

Michigan law already bans texting while driving. If the new legislation is signed by Gov. Whitmer as expected, the law will be expanded on June 30 to include bans on the hand-held use of cell phones or other mobile devices in any way. If you want to use a GPS navigation device or make a phone call while driving, it must be done in “hands-free” or voice-activated mode. The only exceptions are emergency situations such as calling 911.

Drivers will not be permitted to use their hands to operate a mobile device beyond a single tap to activate a function or select a phone number, or to use the permanently installed user interfaces of technology integrated into a vehicle.

There were more than 16,500 crashes in our state involving a distracted driver in 2021, according to data cited by the Michigan State Police. This legislation will save lives, and that’s why I support it.

Local office hours in Barry and Allegan counties

The next round of in-district office hours is set for Allegan and Barry counties on Friday, May 26:

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Hastings City Hall, Council Chambers, 201 E. State St. in Hastings.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 1114 W. Superior St. in Wayland.

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, but space may be limited at some locations. Priority will be given to constituents seeking to discuss issues that require privacy.

Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month, which really hits home for me as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. It’s an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices our U.S. military has made to protect our freedoms.

For more information on upcoming ceremonies and activities to honor veterans and military families, please visit the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency events calendar at I am scheduled to speak at a Memorial Day event in Ionia County’s Boston Township. The program starts at 10 a.m. at Saranac Cemetery, and I am honored to participate.

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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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