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Senate approves Bumstead bills adding judgeship in Muskegon County, restructuring judicial district courts

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Earlier this month the Senate approved two bills I sponsored to restructure the judicial districts within Newaygo, Lake, Mason, and Oceana counties, and add a judgeship to the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon County beginning in 2023.

Adding a judge to Muskegon’s 14th Circuit Court is a necessary addition to ensure county residents have the access to justice they might need. Doing so will also ease the increased workload the current judges are handling, which will allow them more time to dedicate to individual cases.

Every two years the State Court Administrative Office releases a Judicial Resource Recommendations report based on its review of the needs of the Michigan judiciary. The review of trial court judgeships begins with a statistical analysis. Case filings are weighted to reflect the amount of judicial time necessary to handle each case type.

The 2019 report recommended that a judge be added to the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon County. Senate Bill 694 would add the additional circuit court judge starting on Jan. 1, 2023, bringing the county’s total to five circuit court judges. The initial term would be for eight years to stagger the judgeships, so that no more than two of the judges are up for re-election in the same year.

An additional measure I sponsored was also approved. Senate Bill 654 would restructure the judicial districts within Newaygo, Lake, Mason, and Oceana counties. The bill would maintain the same number of judges but establish a more efficient workload while ensuring the best access to justice.

This is a local solution to an issue identified in the SCAO report. I worked directly with our judges and court administrators in all four counties to come up with a plan to provide the best court case management while being efficient with state and local resources.

The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Oversight Committee to investigate UIA

Following the recent release of a report from the Office of the Auditor General, the chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee has announced his intent to hold hearings to investigate Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.

According to the auditor’s report, the UIA distributed $3. 9 billion in unauthorized benefits to nearly 350,000 people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also revealed the agency was aware that unauthorized benefits were being distributed, knowingly falsified the unemployment rate, and ignored guidance and warnings from the federal Department of Labor that could have prevented these errors.

This report confirms what anyone out of work through no fault of their own during the pandemic experienced firsthand — Gov. Whitmer's unemployment agency has been a failure. The Senate and House oversight committees will hold a joint hearing to further investigate and to address the longstanding structural problems that exist within the agency going forward.

For more information about the committee, to view past hearings and read meeting minutes, visit the committee webpage by clicking this link.

Legislation to alleviate substitute teacher shortage introduced

Schools throughout Michigan are facing a critical shortage of substitute teachers, which has caused some schools to close or switch to remote learning because they simply don’t have enough teachers and substitutes.

Senate Bill 726 would reduce the wait time from 12 months to two months for retired school employees to return to work without impacting their retirement benefits.

Under current law, school retirees may come back and work in a critical shortage area without it affecting their retirement benefits until July 2025 — but only if they have been retired for at least 12 months. Although the current situation has been exasperated by the pandemic, the shortage of substitute teachers has been an issue for years. The difference now is that it is affecting the ability of schools to stay open and teach our kids.

SB 726 has been referred to the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee for consideration.

Bumstead attends Muskegon Veterans Day parade

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I was honored to participate in the recent Muskegon Veterans Day parade on Nov. 11. It was great to join the community in gathering to celebrate all the brave men and women who have served our nation in the military.

The parade, concert and even the famed Budweiser Clydesdale horses were all a great way to recognize the sacrifices our veterans have made for our country.

I would like to extend my sincerest ‘thank you’ to everyone who came out to honor and support our veterans and to all who helped organize and make sure the event was a success.

And, of course, my thanks to our veterans for all they have done and continue to do to serve our great state and nation.

Clean Boats, Clean Waters grants now available

The Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is offering grants to support aquatic invasive species outreach efforts. This funding opportunity is available to organizations dedicated to boater education and protecting Michigan’s waterways.

Funding requests can range from $1,000 to $3,000 and can be used for a variety of activities including signage, invasive species removal supplies such as plant removal tools, sponges and towels, and staff time to perform watercraft inspections and demonstrations of boat cleaning techniques. Applicants are encouraged to partner with other conservation organizations and to conduct boater outreach on a regional scale.

Please visit the Clean Boats, Clean Waters website for more information and to apply. The deadline is Dec. 17.


Bumstead highlights upcoming events in the 34th District

I want to remind residents of the following events taking place throughout the 34th District in the coming weeks:

Mona Shores High School Choir Presents “America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree”
Wednesday, December 1 – Saturday, December 4
Frauenthal Center
425 W Western Ave # 200
Muskegon, MI 49440

Description: Celebrating its 36th annual season, “America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree”, presented by the Mona Shores High School Choir and Orchestra, is the premier way to kick off your holiday season. Over 200 enthusiastic performing arts students sing and play an eclectic mix of seasonal favorites from a wide variety of genres while standing in a 67-foot Tree covered with over 25,000 lights…it is simply spectacular! Hours will vary by date. More information can be found here.

Thursday, December 2
4:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Bella Maria's Event Center
513 West Pontaluna Road
Norton Shores, MI 49444

Description: Kick-off the holiday season at Bella Maria's Event Center. Hors d’oeuvres, Cash Bar, networking opportunities and more. The event will be hosted by: Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, PTAC, Greater Muskegon Economic Development, Employers Association of West Michigan, JCI Greater Muskegon, and SCORE. More information can also be found here.

Christmas Walk 2021
Friday, December 3
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Downtown Newaygo
Newaygo, MI 49337

Description: Christmas Walk is free to attend! This unique hometown experience is like no other with twinkling lights, horse drawn wagon rides, the smell of fresh roasted chestnuts and the sounds of Christmas Carols make this an experience you will not want to miss. More information can also be found here.

68th Annual White Lake Area Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 4
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Downtown Montague & Whitehall
Montague & Whitehall, MI

Description: Santa’s comin’ to town! Join us December 4th at 2pm for the Annual Christmas Parade in downtown Montague and Whitehall. The American Legion and VFW will lead the event, along with our generous Title Sponsor, Shepherd & Shepherd Law. More information and a full schedule of events can also be found here.

Christmas in Croton 2021
Saturday, December 4
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
MK Conklin Park
Holly Ave
Newaygo, MI 49337

Description: Join us on Saturday December 4th at MK Conklin Park for an afternoon full of Christmas Cheer! All are welcome to attend! Sleigh Rides, Santa, and fun for all! Croton Library will be providing crafts for all to enjoy. More information can be found here.

Pentwater Christmas in the Village
Saturday, December 4, 11 and 18
Downtown Pentwater
Pentwater, MI 49449

Description: Make your Christmas gifts extra special and kick-off the holiday season by shopping at over 20 unique boutique shops that line main street Pentwater. Visit the Pentwater Christmas in the Village event page on Facebook for more information. Additional information can also be found here.

Veterans Chili Dinner and We Honor Veterans Pinning Ceremony
Tuesday, December 7
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Clock Funeral Home
1469 Peck Street
Muskegon, MI 49441

Description: All veterans and their families are invited to the 7th Annual Veteran Chili Dinner and We Honor Veterans Pinning Ceremony. Please join us for fellowship, music, story sharing, and a variety of homemade chili and desserts. Co-hosted by Harbor Hospice, Clock Funeral Home, and Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs. More information can be found here.

Fremont's 14th Annual Illumination Christmas Parade
Friday, December 10
6:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Downtown Fremont
Fremont, MI 49412

Description: The Cookie Crawl is back for 2021! Join us in crawling around downtown to gather cookies from over 25 different businesses. The Crawl will be December 11 from 10am until the last host venue is closed, and the first stop is at the Muskegon Farmers Market. Act fast to secure your cookies as our tins are limited! More information can be found here.

Downtown Muskegon Cookie Crawl 2021
Saturday, December 11
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
296 W. Webster Ave
Muskegon, MI 49440

Description: The Muskegon Museum of Art’s new, outdoor holiday event, the Festival of Wreaths spreads the holiday spirit throughout downtown Muskegon. Participants can take a “wreath walk” to find and view designer wreaths on display at participating businesses. Each participating downtown business or organization hosts a designer wreath provided by the MMA in a window facing the street or sidewalk. The Muskegon Museum of Art will also present a small gallery display of decor during the run of the Festival. A Walking Guide with the location of all the wreaths will be available at the Muskegon Museum of Art Store and at participating businesses starting November 24. More information can also be found here.

Christmas in Grant 2021
Saturday, December 11
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Downtown Grant
Grant, MI 49327

Description: More information can be found here.

Christmas in White Cloud 2021
Friday December 17th: 5PM - 8PM
Saturday December 18th: 11 AM - 4PM
Downtown White Cloud
White Cloud, MI 49327

Description: More information can be found here.

Michigan's 34th Senate District

The 34th State Senate District includes the counties of Muskegon, Newaygo, and Oceana.

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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 34th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Jon Bumstead
4600 Connie Binsfeld Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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