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Outman introduces road improvement policy reforms

I recently supported important infrastructure policy reforms that would maximize road funding efficiency to ensure we use our tax dollars effectively, improve the ability of our local and state road agencies to better meet our growing infrastructure needs, protect Michigan taxpayers from waste, and ensure our roads are built to last.

My proposal, Senate Bill 520, would amend the Michigan Transportation Law to require the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and county road commissions to obtain construction pavement warranties on projects exceeding $5 million, instead of the current $2 million. It would also require cities and villages to obtain repair or replacement warranties on construction paving projects exceeding $2 million.

The Senate Fiscal Agency estimates $8 million to $10 million of savings over several years through cost savings in bypassing warranties under $5 million.

Federal transportation dollars often come with burdensome requirements that can cost local agencies substantial time and money — resources better used to fix the roads. By allowing local road agencies to swap federal funds for state funds, we can help local agencies save up to 30% on their projects.

The Senate Republican road policy reforms would:

Maximize the use of federal transportation funding that the state receives;
Improve the current road warranty program to provide better value;
Require the state to study the feasibility of tolls on Michigan bridges or roadways;
Improve collaboration between the state and local roads agencies by extending local asset management horizons and ensuring the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) continues to supply long-range plans;
Require MDOT to develop a road construction inflation index to measure changes in cost within the highway construction industry annually; and
Establish a local road agency grant program to assist local agencies in funding technical engineering assistance.

SBs 515-520 and 522 have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Outman reminds schools of federal school safety grant application deadline

Schools must be a safe place for students to learn and grow. The fiscal year 2019 Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program is designed to improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help protect against acts of violence. Entities that are eligible to apply are public agencies (including school districts and individual schools), private schools and federally recognized Indian tribes.

Applications for the STOP School Violence Grant Program are due on Tuesday, March 3. Find more information, including applications and instructions, at the U.S. Department of Justice’s website.

Winter Free Fishing Weekend

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Whatever the season, fishing is a fantastic way to spend time in Michigan’s great outdoors!

Michigan’s annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend — held Feb. 15 and 16 this year — offers an opportunity to enjoy cold weather fishing. Favorite winter species include yellow perch, bluegill, pike, smelt and walleye. All fishing license fees are waived for the two days. All fishing regulations still apply.

Parking is also free at state parks and recreation areas during the free fishing weekend. Find more details, including information on sponsored events, at

State of the State response

It was interesting to hear the governor’s priorities for the new year. A lot of what she mentioned throughout the speech are agreeable issues; we just need to focus on how we’re going to get there.

I remain opposed to raising taxes on hardworking Michigan families and am wary of her end-run around the Legislature to pursue bonding as a fix for our roads. This will kick the can down the road and pass billions of dollars’ worth of debt to our kids. The governor’s threat to “not wait for the Legislature” and pursue road funding solutions on her own doesn’t exactly set the stage for meaningful discussions. I hope we can move past that and come up with a solution that benefits roadways across the state, not just those she picks and chooses.

I do, however, appreciate her call for improving education, and time and again I have voted to increase funding for schools across the state. I look forward to completing this year’s budget and will once again stand with our schools, teachers and students. I would also like to see more work to continue narrowing the skilled trades gap. For years, the trades fell behind, and we are now facing a terrible shortage in skilled trades jobs because of that. We need to fill these jobs and continue getting people back to work.

Lastly, I want to join the governor in calling for continued efforts to improve Michigan’s environment. Our state has led the nation in PFAS responses in recent years, and as chair of the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality, I will continue working with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to maintain these initiatives and keep working toward having safe drinking water for Michiganders.

This year we have new guidelines for passing the budget, and I hope we can work together to get this done. We heard the governor’s budget recommendations this week and we’ve started yet another budget season. I will work with my colleagues and the administration to fund these and other important efforts.

Outman welcomes his son and Alma teacher to Capitol for State of the State address

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I had the pleasure of welcoming Lisa Neitzel Parsons and my son Patrick to the state Capitol for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 State of the State address last week.

Parsons teaches 11th grade chemistry at Alma High School.

Outman hosts February office hours

I will be hosting office hours with constituents throughout the 33rd Senate District in the coming weeks.

I will be available to answer questions and provide information and assistance, as well as take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district. Please feel free to stop in! No appointment is necessary.

If you are unable to make my office hours, you can always contact my office with any issues or questions you may have with state government.

Monday, Feb. 10
11 a.m. – noon
White Pine District Library
106 E. Walnut St.

Monday, Feb. 17
Noon – 1 p.m.
Seville Township Library
6734 N. Lumberjack Road

Friday, Feb. 21
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Veterans Memorial Library
301 S. University Ave.
Mt. Pleasant

Friday, Feb. 21
1 – 2 p.m.
Pere Marquette District Library
185 E. Fourth St.

Friday, Feb. 28
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Morton Township Library
110 S. James St.

Outings with Outman

Lakeview resident provides testimony on Outman legislation

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One of the best parts of my job is being able to interact with all of you.

I was thrilled to welcome Jodie Brigham Nowak from Brigham Funeral Chapel in Lakeview to Lansing to testify on one of my bills. The Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform took testimony on Senate Bill 696, which would eliminate burdensome requirements for funeral establishments and their owners.

You can watch Jodie’s testimony on the Senate TV website.

January office hours

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I want to thank everyone who joined my office hours last month.

Thank you to the many local businesses and libraries for graciously letting me host my office hours at your establishments.

If you would be interested in allowing me to host my office hours at your business, please email my office at [email protected].

Local chamber events

I would like to thank the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to their annual dinner receptions. As a small business owner myself, I know how state government can help or hinder the local economy.

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Our District

The 33rd state Senate District includes Clare, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 33rd Senate District of Michigan. 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 33rd District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.
Senator Rick Outman
4400 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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