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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.

Yesterday was the solemn anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country, and this Sunday is Constitution Day. The week between these two dates is often called Patriot Week, and it gives us the opportunity to celebrate the freedoms that have been the cornerstone of our nation for over 200 years and to remember that not everyone shares our love of liberty.

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

Governor outlines 'irresponsible and reckless' fall agenda

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently unveiled her plan for the fall legislative session. Unfortunately, it was a laundry list of extreme liberal policies that will hurt our state’s ability to attract new people and investment while burdening struggling Michigan families and small businesses with new costs.

Rather than addressing the problems of high prices for everything from food to fuel that Michigan residents face on a daily basis, the governor and Lansing Democrats are focused on more government mandates and more government control of people’s lives.

The governor’s energy pipe dream is irresponsible and reckless. She wants to continue giving billions of taxpayer dollars to companies to transition to electric vehicles while at the same time handcuffing how we supply the energy to power those vehicles. Unless clean-burning natural gas and nuclear power are considered part of the plan, a 100% renewable energy mandate by 2035 will be nearly impossible to achieve and will come at a huge cost to families and businesses — both in the form of higher costs and less reliable service. Adding millions of electric vehicles just compounds the problem.

Government spending is at an all-time high, but it is never enough. Considering the governor proposed a $2.5 billion gas tax hike during her first three months in office, it should come as no surprise that she wants to impose new taxes on businesses. The real surprise will be if any moderate Democrat has the guts to stand up for the Michigan people and stop her.

I will continue to support responsible spending and lower taxes that would lead to increased economic growth that benefits all the individuals and businesses in Michigan. My colleagues and I will continue to put forward proposals that provide relief for families and seniors and will return taxpayer dollars to individuals who worked hard for their income.

Game-specific hunting guides available for download

Each year, the DNR publishes regulation guides for hunting and fishing in Michigan. The Michigan hunting and fishing guides provide a condensed collection of the rules and regulations, including the boundaries of each of the management units for individual species. Guides are available for general hunting and fishing or game-specific guides for games like bear, elk, and turkey, and can be downloaded to your mobile device.

A hunting and fishing app is also available for download. The Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app provides access to licenses, permits, regulations, map drawing results, along with outdoor recreation updates.

Opioid settlement deadline extended to Sept. 20

The deadline for local governments and counties to register to receive funds from the multibillion-dollar Walgreens national opioid settlement has been extended to Sept. 20.

In June, the state of Michigan reached a settlement with Walgreens that allows 278 local units of government in Michigan to participate and receive direct payments from the Walgreens settlement. The full list of eligible subdivisions is available on the Department of Attorney General website.

To receive a portion of the settlement, eligible subdivisions can email the department for additional instructions before the Sept. 20 deadline.

Opposed bloated state budget, but secured $10M for local workforce development

Over the summer, the governor signed the fiscal year 2023-24 state budget that goes into effect on Oct.1 of this year. As I said when the Democrats’ passed their first plan in May, I could not support a spending spree that focuses more on growing the size of government instead of supporting struggling families and improving our communities.

Although I did support many parts of the budget plan — like more funding for job training and K-12 education — this bloated budget is full of pork projects that don’t help Michigan workers or families or give taxpayers a long-term return on their investment, so I could not support it.

During the budget process, I was able to secure $10 million for a transformational workforce development center in Adrian. We worked hard to secure this important investment in workforce development, and I applaud the governor for keeping her word about not line-item vetoing this funding. This is the type of investment — one that creates a positive impact on our people and in our communities — that we should be using our historic surplus to make.

The total FY 2024 state budget is nearly $82 billion. House Bill 4437 is the general omnibus budget bill funding all non-education segments of state government. Senate Bill 173 is the school aid omnibus budget bill providing funding for the state’s K-12 schools as well as the state’s 15 public universities and all local community colleges.

Free well water testing now available for Michigan residents

As part of Public Act 166 of 2022, the Michigan Legislature appropriated $5 million to provide free well water testing for Michigan residents who rely on a household or private well for their drinking water.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will work with local water departments across the state to test private wells for the most common water quality concerns. Some of the most common water quality concerns for private wells include bacteria, nitrates, and harmful metals like arsenic.

Private well owners can contact their local health department or visit to request a sample kit. The website also contains information including contact information for local health departments, well records, and an interactive Water Well Viewer that displays the locations of various water wells across Michigan.

$4M in state support for Addison water improvements

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has awarded the village of Addison with a nearly $2.5 million Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grant and a DWSRF loan totaling more than $1.6 million.

To help support healthy lives and economic growth, this funding will ensure the people of Addison have access to clean and safe drinking water for years to come. This is the type of long-term investment we should be making, and it’s another example of the efforts made by the Legislature last term to help communities throughout our state improve their water quality and infrastructure.

The funding will be used for water treatment plant improvements, a new water tower, water main looping and water meters. The DWSRF program is designed to assist water suppliers in satisfying the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act by offering low-interest loans to eligible water suppliers. Through appropriations in Public Act 53 of 2022, EGLE is able to offer many communities grants to substantially lower the balance of loans taken out for critical water infrastructure projects. These projects include lead water service line replacement, treatment plant upgrades, and distribution system improvements, among others.

Bear hunting season

Bear season in Michigan has begun; however, the season varies greatly depending on hunt management areas. A full description of hunting dates and bear management areas in both the Upper and Lower peninsulas is available at

Michigan’s Bear Cooperator Patch Program is coordinated by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, in partnership with the DNR, in an effort to keep Michigan's black bear population healthy and protect their habitat. Anyone may purchase a patch for $7. Hunters, 17 years old and younger, can receive a free patch by sending in a copy of their current bear hunting license.

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National Library Card Sign-up Month

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month. Throughout the month, libraries across the U.S. join the American Library Association to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.

In Michigan, the eLibrary provides free access to articles, books, and digital images. The eLibrary also provides access to an interlibrary loan system that makes it easy to borrow books from libraries across the state. For more information, visit Michigan eLibrary.

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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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