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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 tax dollar support for China-affiliated battery plant

I recently stood up for taxpayers and denounced the Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee who voted to provide $175 million in state taxpayer dollars to support Gotion Inc.’s proposed battery parts manufacturing plant near Big Rapids.

Gotion’s parent company has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, which has repeatedly been described as the biggest national security threat to the U.S. by federal officials.

We should be using our tax dollars to support small businesses and struggling families and build a positive economic environment that attracts new investments, jobs and talent. Instead, Senate Democrats continue to use the tired playbook of corporate welfare — this time giving millions of taxpayer dollars to a company with alarming ties to a hostile foreign government.

Returning to the failed policies of Michigan’s Lost Decade is bad enough, but there are also serious concerns with the plant regarding national security, environmental protection, and return on investment.

China has a long history of industrial espionage and is increasingly working against America’s interests and fighting freedom in the world. The Gotion project is irresponsible and poses a great security risk, and I have sponsored legislation that would stop terrible projects like this from happening.

Bill would protect Michigan farmland from foreign adversaries

I recently introduced legislation to prevent foreign governments like China from purchasing Michigan farmland. From spying on our government to supporting cyberattacks on our private businesses, China is increasingly becoming adversarial against America and Americans.

To defend our independence and our freedoms, we must protect our land from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party — starting with our farmland.

Senate Bill 260 would prevent foreign governments from purchasing farmland in Michigan. To ensure all loopholes are closed, foreign government-affiliated enterprises and people acting on behalf of a foreign government or an affiliated company would also be prevented from making any farmland purchases.

Nations like China that actively work against our interests and threaten liberty in the world should not be allowed to buy up more farms and control more of our food chain. It is an issue of national security and economic freedom.

Supporting tax relief for working families

This week, I voted for legislation to increase the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) beginning with the current 2022 tax year. Many families are struggling to make ends meet, and this measure would deliver over $440 million in meaningful relief to those most in need.

Before the bill was passed, I spoke on the Senate floor about my frustration with how long it has taken to get this over the finish line despite repeated bipartisan votes. Inflation is an insidious invisible tax that hits low-income families the hardest. Low-income Michiganders have seen lots of press releases, lots of press conferences, and tweets coming from all over the place, but one thing still hasn’t been seen: More money in their pocket.

Senate Bill 144 would effectively increase the state’s EITC from 6% to 30% of the federal EITC beginning with the 2022 tax year. Qualifying taxpayers would not have to file amended returns to receive their increased credit. Instead, for the 2022 tax year, the state would figure the amount owed to the taxpayer that is above the current 6% and provide that credit as a tax refund as soon as possible.

The EITC is an effective way to increase labor force participation and provide assistance to working families, and I look forward to finally getting more money in the pockets of hardworking Michiganders. SB 144 has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Click here or on the image below to see a video of my floor remarks.

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In the District...

It was a pleasure to award the 4th grade class at Will Carleton Academy in Hillsdale a pizza party for reading the most pages of any class across the 16th District during March is Reading Month.

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A big thank you to the fine folks at the Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities for showing me around last month. Their work is very much appreciated.

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Happenings in Lansing...

It was a pleasure to welcome students from Onsted Elementary to the Senate floor last month.

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I had a special day at work last month when my grandson Rory and his class came to the Capitol.

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It was a pleasure to visit with the Boys and Girls Club of Adrian in Lansing last month. Thanks for stopping by.

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It was an honor to attend the Hometown Heroes award ceremony which recognized JJ Hodshire for his tremendous work at Hillsdale Hospital. Congrats and well deserved, JJ.

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It was great to meet with the fine folks from the LISD Tech Center at their Career and Technical Education Capitol Showcase at the Capitol in April.

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It was a pleasure to welcome members of Leadership Lenawee to the Senate floor last month.

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Measures would help residents defend themselves

The right of the people to keep and bear arms is under attack under the guise of safety — making it harder for law-abiding adults to defend themselves and their families doesn’t make us safer. I have sponsored legislation as part of a package to allow responsible adults to carry a concealed firearm without a special license.

Senate Bills 308-313 would get rid of a burdensome concealed carry law, restore peoples’ constitutional rights and enable more responsible gun owners to defend themselves and their loved ones. If the bills are signed into law, Michigan would join 27 states that enacted similar laws establishing constitutional carry.

The right to keep and bear arms is protected under Article 1, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution. While Michigan is a so-called “shall issue” state, residents must first complete a state-approved pistol training course, submit their fingerprints to a state database, and pay a $100 application fee in order to receive a concealed pistol license (CPL). The license expires after five years, and license holders must pay $115 to renew a license.

Michigan’s concealed carry laws force regular citizens to jump through unnecessary hoops and pay bureaucratic fees simply for the ability to exercise their constitutional rights.

The measures would repeal the current requirement to obtain a CPL for individuals who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a pistol and allow concealed carry without a license where either open carry or CPL holders are currently allowed to do so. The bills would repeal the current requirements for individuals, military members and retired law enforcement officers in good standing to obtain a CPL. They would also eliminate safe zones, repeal the requirement related to the transportation of firearms for CPL holders and remove sentencing guidelines for CPLs.

Know the signs of a stroke

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Anyone can have a stroke at any age, but almost three-quarters of all strokes happen in people over age 65. Because early treatment is crucial to help minimize the lasting effects of a stroke, knowing the signs or symptoms is important.

A stroke is treatable if you act F.A.S.T.! The warning signs of a stroke are Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 911. By being aware of these signs, you can help save a life.

The American Heart Association urges people to lower their risk of heart disease and stroke by taking steps to manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight and stop smoking.

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ORV licenses and trail permits

It’s time to purchase your 2023 ORV licenses and trail permits. Permits are valid for one year and provide access to 4,000 miles of state-designated ORV trails and scramble areas, eligible county, state or national forest roads and more.

The fees generated through ORV licenses and trail permits are reinvested back into the ORV system for trail expansion, grant funding for annual trail grooming, and infrastructure improvements.

ORV licenses and trail permits can be purchased online or in person at a number of DNR license agents and dealers.

School growth metrics available to the public

Last year, the school aid budget, Public Act 144 of 2022, included a requirement that student growth data be available to the public at the district and school levels and by grade and subjects taught.

The Michigan Department of Education recently unveiled a new website that offers tools to provide teachers, parents and policymakers with a visual representation of growth and achievement for public schools and districts. This information allows for a comparison of schools and districts across the state and includes interactive reports for selecting the data of interest.

The MI School Data website is another available tool that offers various methods to review statewide information or data at the intermediate school district, district, school, or college level. Data are presented in graphs, charts, and trend lines and can be downloaded to make informed decisions to improve student success.

National Safe Boating Week

As the weather gets nicer and the days get warmer, people will start heading out on the lakes to have fun. May 20-26 is National Safe Boating Week. It is a time to remember that safety starts with you.

Make sure you, your friends and your family always have properly fitting life jackets on while enjoying a day on the water. For more information, visit

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Mental Health Awareness Month

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) provides many resources for those looking for local mental health services. If you or a loved one needs support, call 888-733-7753.

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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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