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I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! I hope you are all able to safely celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the dawn of a new year with your closest loved ones.

Serving the good people of Ottawa County is very important to me, and I encourage you to contact me with any state issue. You may email [email protected] or call (517) 373-6920. 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.

Working for you,
Roger Victory
State Senator

COVID-19 relief funding

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Gov. Whitmer continues to go it alone on COVID-19 — closing down businesses and laying off workers in the middle of the holiday season. But the Senate has delivered much-needed relief to Michigan families.

I was proud to support a COVID-19 relief funding package to help deliver dollars to workers and businesses struggling to stay afloat as a result of the governor’s repeated shutdowns.

Senate Bill 748 provides $465 million in state and federal funding for Michigan health care workers combating the virus, increases testing capacity, makes the investments necessary to ensure vaccine distribution, and extends unemployment benefits through April 1, 2021. If signed into law, it will bring the total approved by the Senate to combat the virus to nearly $4 billion.

The Senate Republican relief plan includes:

• $220 million to extend unemployment benefits until April 1, 2021;
• $79.1 million to expand virus testing and vaccine distribution, including funds to ramp up testing of teachers to ensure healthy school communities;
• $115.3 million to hospitals and nursing homes to address nursing shortages, including an extension of the pay increase for direct care workers;
• $45 million in Employee Assistance Grants to restaurant and other workers laid off or furloughed due to Gov. Whitmer’s shutdown orders; and
• $63.5 million in Small Business Survival Grants and other assistance to help small businesses shuttered by the governor’s orders avoid permanent closure.

Funding for vaccines will be used to ensure appropriate storage and distribution. The bill uses available state and federal dollars and includes a provision that federal funds will be utilized instead of state funds if Congress approves a relief bill that directs more dollars to the states.

The Senate passed this bill with bipartisan support, but we cannot do this alone. We look forward to the governor’s support and signature before the end of the year.

Alternative road de-icing bill sent to governor

My legislation to consider a more environmentally friendly way to deal with icy roads in Michigan is on its way to the governor. Senate Bill 379 would create a pilot program to test the use of agricultural additives, such as sugar beet byproducts, to prevent icing and optimize de-icing of our roads.

Although salt works well to reduce ice on winter roads, it also corrodes roads and vehicles, blows away in extreme weather and harms farms and freshwater ecosystems. Sugar beets may offer an alternative to salt-only de-icing that could help improve winter road conditions and better protect our environment and vehicles — while also saving taxpayer dollars.

Since Michigan is one of the top states in growing sugar beets, we could also help support family farmers throughout our state.

Each year, about 20 million tons of salt is used to mitigate icy road conditions across the U.S. Using sugar beet juice and other agricultural additives to improve the ability of the salt to stick to the pavement is expected to decrease the amount reaching water sources and limit how much salt is required to be effective at managing icy conditions.

Bill to help homeowners pay off special assessments

The Michigan Legislature has finalized my legislation to help homeowners pay off state liens on their homes. The bill now heads to the governor to be signed.

The state Deferred Special Assessment program is essentially a loan program that allows certain eligible residents to finance public improvements for which they would normally be charged, such as a new water or sewer connection. Residents using the program are charged 6% annual interest on the amount until they pay it off and the state places a lien on the home.

This issue came to my attention when a constituent called my office upset that his father-in-law had a lien on his house from the state. The man wanted to pay down the balance, but he was told by the Treasury Department that they do not accept partial payments and he could only pay off the balance in full. That doesn’t make any sense.

This bill would fix the program and allow struggling homeowners to make payments to reduce and eventually repay their state debt — like they would pay off any other loan.

Senate Bill 1053 would allow those who participate in the state’s Deferred Special Assessment Program to make partial payments on the balance, instead of being required to submit the payment in one lump sum.

My bill would also initiate the process of closing out the program, which is no longer competitive with the current private market and puts the state in a position where we are holding liens against our residents’ homes.

Protect yourself from holiday scams

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The holiday season is time for celebration, but unfortunately, it’s also the season for scammers and cyber criminals. I encourage everyone to be mindful of scams and to take steps to protect their personal information.

While the internet has increased convenience for shoppers, it has also made it easier for scam artists to commit financial or identification crimes.

To help protect themselves, residents should keep browser and security software up-to-date, make sure to use only legitimate and secure websites, be wary of clicking on links on social media or in emails and never give out your credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers over the phone.

Senate hearings on the election

Every American citizen deserves to have faith in the integrity of the election process and its outcome. It is our responsibility, as elected public servants, to assure the people of Michigan of the process’ integrity through complete transparency and the faithful investigation of any allegations of wrongdoing, fraud or abuse.

The Senate Oversight Committee has held hearings and will continue to meet and focus its attention on listening from the many citizens who contacted the committee to share their experiences related to the November election.

The committee recently heard from the CEO of Dominion Voting Systems, who defended the integrity of his company’s tabulating machines. Earlier this month, the committee heard from many people during a seven-hour-long meeting. You can click here to view that hearing.

Members of the committee have already called on the secretary of state to conduct an independent and thorough audit of the election. As this process continues over the next few months, I will be working with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to seek further legislative changes to ensure the integrity of future elections in our state.

Senate Republicans remain committed to helping restore confidence in Michigan’s elections processes and improving the system by providing an outlet for concerns to be reviewed and new policy to be proposed.

Christmas trees!

There is nothing quite like the family decorating a freshly cut Christmas tree to get the holiday season started. Michigan produces more varieties of Christmas trees than any other state.

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Michigan's 30th Senate District

The 30th State Senate District includes all of Ottawa County.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. 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 30th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Roger Victory
4100 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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