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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

Democrats continue failed corporate welfare approach

Michigan Democrats continue to advance legislation that prioritizes big corporations over families and taxpayers.

Legislation approved by Senate Democrats earlier this month would make some modifications to the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund. But it would not fundamentally alter SOAR’s approach of giving away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to big corporations. Senate Bill 559 and its companion bills don’t fix SOAR’s problems at all, and I will continue to fight against this proposal as debate continues in the Legislature.

I don’t just oppose the SOAR program – I believe it should be eliminated entirely, with the money spent on it returned to the state’s general fund. That is why last year I introduced a plan to repeal SOAR and call for more transparency in economic development programs.

Over the years, Michigan has tried many different corporate welfare programs, and none of them have worked when measured by the return on investment for taxpayers. We instead should return to the proven strategy of improving our economy through lower taxes and a better regulatory structure to spark investments and create jobs.

Unsafe paid surrogacy contracts and alternative paths to parentage

Senate Democrats recently passed House Bill 5207, which radically alters state law in regard to parentage. Surrogacy was already legal in Michigan – however, that existing law prohibits paid contracts and includes other safeguards designed to protect against exploitation. In approving the new law, Democrats are allowing a commercialized surrogacy industry, and they refused to include many commonsense protections for surrogates and children. I spoke at great length on the Senate floor on what this bill does and why I am opposed to it. Please watch my video here.

Redistricting Commission does not deserve raise

Members of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission last week inexplicably voted to give themselves a 40% pay raise. This is an insult to Michigan taxpayers.

The commission does not deserve a pay raise. In fact, its members wouldn’t be working at all right now if it weren’t for the commission’s own failures.

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission was put in charge of drawing new boundaries for Michigan Legislature district maps first used in the 2022 election. Federal judges ruled that many of the legislative maps in and around the Detroit area were unconstitutional and must be redrawn.

It is mind-boggling to me that commission members would support a pay raise for themselves after failing to do their jobs in a timely and constitutional fashion. This would not be tolerated in the private sector, and it should not be tolerated when taxpayers are paying the bills.

I am hopeful commission members will reconsider their decision before coming to the Legislature and asking for more money in the state budget process.

Wrapping up National Reading Month

Thanks to all of the classrooms across the 18th District that hosted me for March is Reading Month events. Remember that while we set aside March to focus on reading, it’s a great habit to get into year-round – especially for kids. Thanks to East Leroy Elementary School for this photo of me reading “Strangers’ Bread” by Nancy Willard.

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Check for updates on state parks

It’s time to start planning spring and summer trips to Michigan state parks. Before you visit any of Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas, be sure to visit to check for closures, repairs or weather-related events.

Many important improvements are underway or soon planned for state parks across Michigan. These projects were made possible through the bipartisan, once-in-a-generation $250 million investment plan championed by Michigan Republicans in 2022. This investment addresses the infrastructure backlog at state parks and recreation areas across the state.

Visitors this summer will enjoy new and upgraded camping amenities, better park roads, visitor center enhancements and other improvements.

ORV and trail permits

The 2024-25 ORV season begins April 1 and runs through March 31, 2025.

In Michigan, an ORV license is required to ride the 4,000 miles of state-designated ORV trails and scramble areas, eligible county or national forest roads, state forest roads, and more.

ORV licenses and trail permits are each valid for one year. They can be purchased online through eLicense or in person at a number of DNR license agents and dealers.

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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