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Protecting shoreline property rights

Shoreline erosion has become a huge issue in coastal communities, and people’s concerns have risen along with high water levels in recent months. Understandably, many private property owners with coastal land throughout the Upper Peninsula have reached out to me, asking what more they can do to protect their property and prevent erosion.

We should be doing more to support private property owners who are combating shoreline erosion. I recently introduced Senate Bill 1020, which was inspired by the numerous conversations my staff and I have had with constituents who have encountered issues with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) exceeding its statutory authority on the matter. The bill would change state law to specify that a permit is not needed for property owners to do certain work on their own land located above the ordinary high-water mark.

The bill would amend existing law to specifically allow dredging, placing sand or soil and constructing seawalls and other shoreline stabilization structures to be done without a permit required by EGLE if the work is located above the ordinary high-water mark.

It is not always clear what work is allowed and what requires the government’s permission. Frankly, it doesn’t make much sense that the government would need to be involved at all when it comes to doing work to improve one’s shoreline. And while I appreciate efforts by state departments to speed up certain existing permit reviews, state agencies also need to recognize the times when permits are not required under the law. The last thing property owners need is an overly assertive state government slowing down their work with unnecessary permits that are not needed to solve a very real problem. My bill will ensure bureaucrats stay out of what isn’t their business.

Legislature approves plan to resolve budget deficit, protect schools, families

Supplemental budget bills were approved on July 22 to resolve a $2.2 billion deficit in the current year’s budget that was brought on by the COVID-19 virus.

The budget fix bills utilized cuts to government spending and hiring freezes, by using a portion of the state’s rainy-day fund, and by directing additional federal funds to support education and vital services that were hit hardest by the economic effects of the virus.

The bipartisan plan will save $936 million in the current year budget by reducing state spending, and it will direct additional federal COVID-19 funds to cover expenses by schools and local governments due to the virus, including:

$555 million for schools;
$200 million for universities and community colleges; and
$350 million for local governments.

To date, the Legislature has directed over $3 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for schools, communities, job creators, workers and families affected by the pandemic. In addition to schools receiving a net increase of $175 per pupil to address the challenges posed by COVID-19, teachers will receive a one-time $500 payment for their efforts to ensure student instruction while schools were closed.

As part of the agreement, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an executive order from the governor to reduce current-year spending. Most state agencies will see reductions, including the executive and legislative budgets. The budget plan also utilizes $350 million from the state’s budget stabilization fund, or rainy-day fund, to fund critical programs.

Senate Bill 373 and House Bill 5265 have since been signed by the governor.

I appreciate that everyone was able to put politics aside to come together with such strong bipartisan support to balance this year’s budget and prioritize funding for our schools, vital programs, and local governments, without sticking it to taxpayers.

Natural Resources Trust Fund limits on land improvements deserves criticism

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The Senate recently finalized Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects for 2020. Senate Bill 145, if signed, would authorize the trust fund to use $28.7 million to support 18 acquisition projects and 60 recreational development projects throughout the state.

The progression of the state gobbling more and more land every year in this process is a disservice to what could be opportunity for private citizens. The problem lies in the fact that, every year, a minimum of 25% of the funds included in this bill must be used to acquire more land for the state. At the same time, limits are placed on the money that can be used to make improvements on properties that are already developed but need fixing. We should be taking better care of our assets and attractions before purchasing more.

I reluctantly voted for the bill only because checks have been put into place on the amount of land the state can own. But the trust fund process needs to be reformed as well. A reform measure will be coming to the ballot in November of this year and I will plan to support the needed changes.

Please watch a recent speech that I gave to my colleagues on this issue here:

Marquette noted as a top contender for new space launch site

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association recently announced findings from a site-selection process that a location just north of Marquette has been identified as a top location for a vertical space launch site.

The site-selection process was a year-long effort, and sites were ranked based on several factors, including existing commercial and public infrastructure, geographic and terrestrial mapping, living standards and workforce development.

This announcement is a true win for the people of the U.P. and I am pleased that the U.P.’s many attributes were recognized through the vetting process. The vertical spaceport could bring quality job prospects to the region and highlight Michigan as a center for excellence and innovation.

Two launch sites, this one in Marquette and a previously announced one in Oscoda, along with a yet-to-be-identified command and control center, could create more than 2,000 jobs. These sites will be instrumental in creating a space ecosystem in the state that is projected to top 40,000 new jobs by 2025.

Now that the site has been selected, MAMA will work with community, local, and state partners to solicit feedback as part of the licensing process with the FAA. A command and control center analysis is currently being conducted with an expected completion date of November 2020.

You can read more about it at

Jail reform legislation introduced

I recently joined with a bipartisan group of my Senate colleagues to introduce legislation that would expand police officers’ discretion to issue a citation for low-level offenses, increase the use of alternatives to jail for low-level crimes, and incentivize compliance with probation conditions.

The legislation was formed out of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, which addressed Michigan’s skyrocketing jail population. Its report was released in January and found that county jails are high-traffic institutions, affecting hundreds of thousands more Michiganders each year than state prisons.

The Senate bills address problems in the justice system that contribute to jail admissions and length of stay, from arrest through sentencing and probation supervision. They expand officer discretion to issue appearance tickets as an alternative to arrest, reduce the use of arrest warrants to enforce payment of debts, create presumptions against jail sentences for individuals who pose no danger to the community, and establish evidence-based incentives and sanctions for those on community supervision.

Growing jail populations are not just a problem in Michigan’s biggest cities. We’ve seen the most significant jail growth in rural parts of the state, where there are fewer resources for addiction and mental health. This bill package helps us build a justice system that works for all of us.

You can read more about the legislation on my website at

Gov. Whitmer tightens restrictions for COVID-19 in Upper Michigan

On July 29, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards in response to the coronavirus.

Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings are now limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8, which includes all of the Upper Peninsula.

Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)

Executive Order 2020-160 also orders that bars in every region, including those in regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.

For more information on the new orders, please visit:,4629,7-136-3452_90717-535163--,00.html.

For more about the state’s response to COVID-19 go to

Michigan's 38th Senate District

The 38th State Senate District includes the counties of Alger, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.

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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 38th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ed McBroom
7200 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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