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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

Office hours scheduled for Lake Odessa and Lowell

I plan to host local office hours on Friday, Oct. 27, in two locations:

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Lake Odessa Community Library, 1007 Fourth Ave. in Lake Odessa.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 11826 Fulton St. E. in Lowell.

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 requiring privacy.

Office hours in other 18th District locations will be scheduled at a later date.

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Honoring Corrections Officers of the Year

Last week, I was invited to speak at an event in Ionia County honoring Corrections Officers of the Year in the region. Officers at state and local facilities were honored at the event hosted by the Ionia Rotary Club.

I don’t think most people fully realize the on-the-job difficulties faced by our corrections officers, or the important role they have in keeping us all safe. They are doing most of their work behind prison walls, and it isn’t as visible as the work done by other public safety personnel, but it is just as important. Corrections officers also are facing severe staffing shortages that cause overtime shifts under tough conditions. They deserve our thanks and support.

We must be careful how we do it – but retirement benefits should be improved for these dedicated men and women. I have sponsored Senate Bills 496 and 497 to provide retention bonuses and better 401(k) matches for these officers. In my opinion, it is a more responsible plan than the one offered by other senators.

A full list of the men and women honored as Corrections Officers of the Year at state facilities is available on the Michigan Corrections Organization website.

Pro-abortion legislation threatens health and safety

The Michigan Senate last week advanced bills eliminating abortion limitations that go far beyond what was in place under Roe v Wade and go beyond what was mandated in Proposal 3 of 2022. I voted against these bills and proposed some commonsense amendments, which were rejected by Democrats.

Senate Bills 474 through 477 advance to the House. Senate Bill 593 has yet to be voted on in the Senate.

Proposal 3 – now part of our constitution – maintains a compelling state interest “for the limited purpose of protecting the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine and does not infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.” But the bills approved by Democrats eliminate many safety regulations and licensing requirements for abortion clinics – putting women at risk. Their bills eliminate provisions to help ensure that women are not coerced into having abortions against their will. They also eliminate the law that requires women to be provided with information about the procedure at least 24 hours before having it. Democrats rejected my amendments to keep these safeguards in place.

Proposal 3 also says the state may regulate abortions after a baby has reached fetal viability – meaning he or she would survive outside the womb – with certain exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother. Yet, Democrats are advancing bills that would allow abortion at any time for any reason right up until the time a baby is ready to leave the womb.

I opposed Proposal 3, and I wish it were not in place. But the proposals advanced by Democrats this month go beyond what many voters were told would happen before Proposal 3 was approved in November 2022. Their bills eliminate protections and safeguards that many voters support, including many who voted in favor of Proposal 3.

My Senate floor speech offering a substitute plan is available here, and my speech explaining why I voted ‘no’ on these bills is available here.

Local communities – not the state – should decide energy sites

I oppose legislation that would turn over decisions about where large-scale wind and solar projects are located to an unelected state board appointed by the governor. It’s another misguided attempt to force feed ‘green energy’ policies on all of Michigan through centralized planning in Lansing.

The decisions on where these projects are located should stay with local voters and their locally elected public officials. Turning these decisions over to the unelected Michigan Public Service Commission – as proposed in House Bill 5120 through 5123 – is a terrible idea. The concept that we could allow three bureaucrats sitting in Lansing to decide that a solar farm must go in Barry County or a wind farm is mandated for Ionia County is inconceivable to me.

This proposal is all part of the Democrats’ master plan to mandate an energy transition that would make electricity more expensive and less reliable – while taking away the power of local residents to make these decisions for themselves. Natural market forces should dictate which energy sources we’re using – not the government.

Senate Democrats pass disappointing changes to auto no-fault reforms

In 2019, Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass much-needed reforms to Michigan’s broken car insurance system. Four short years later, just as Michigan drivers were finally finding relief from some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation, bills were passed in the Michigan Senate last week to undo some of those reforms.

The changes made in 2019 were not perfect. I am open to making changes that would improve the system. However, the measures Democrats supported last week would gut the system and are not the best way forward. The Department of Insurance and Financial Services says the bills would raise rates and lead to more people driving without insurance.

As Michigan residents continue to struggle with record inflation, gas prices, interest rates, and food prices, a massive hike in car insurance rates is the last thing they can afford right now.

Legislation would severely weaken teacher evaluations

Once again, Senate Democrats are advancing bills that would severely weaken accountability in our public schools. Senate Bills 395 and 396 would make student performance less of a factor when evaluating educators – and make even that lower percentage subject to collective bargaining.

This is ill-advised legislation, particularly at a time when Michigan students are not performing well compared to students in other states based on national tests.

I strongly believe students achieve more when they are expected to achieve more. But the Legislature this year continues to approve measures that make student growth an afterthought. Our education policy is moving in the wrong direction because it is no longer focused on what is best for students.

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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