Capitol Notes: June 2013

In May, I gave an update on the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget after it passed the Michigan House of Representatives. The budget was then sent to conference committee so differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget could be reconciled. For the third year in a row, the Legislature has passed a balanced…

Rep. O’Brien lauds success of local mental health courts

State Rep. Margaret O’Brien has been busy at work on one of her core legislative issues this spring: mental health courts.  She had the opportunity this week to testify on the matter before her colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, and was joined by a local resident with a wealth of experience on the issue,…

Federal sequester cuts an insult to veterans, survivors

We have all heard much about the federal government’s failure to achieve needed budget cuts and the automatic across-the-board cuts that were initiated as a result of Congress’ inability to make a decision. We have come to know these forced budget cuts as sequestration. The news media has reported the most outrageous consequences from sequestration….

Victory announces local office hours for June

State Rep. Roger Victory today announced he is sponsoring office hours in his district on June 15 and 21 The session taking place Saturday, June 15 is from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at New Beginnings Restaurant, located at 25 68th Ave. in Coopersville. The first session on Friday, June 21 will take place from 9…

Rep. LaFontaine announces summer reading contest

State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine today announced she will again sponsor the 32nd District summer reading contest for local students.  The Columbus Township lawmaker has hosted the contest in the past, and is hoping for strong reader participation again this year. “Summer is finally here, and I encourage local students to take advantage of some free…

Senate panel approves Kurtz legislation to assist funeral directors, grieving families

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Thursday approved four bills sponsored by state Rep. Kenneth Kurtz to help funeral directors and grieving Michigan families. House Bills 4303, 4329 and 4330 would allow Midwest funeral directors to cross state lines to participate in the removal, document signing, and transportation process.  Michigan funeral directors would be allowed…

Pagel introduces measure to help nursing home residents

Bill allows seniors to keep tax exemption while home is for sale State Rep. Dave Pagel today introduced legislation making it easier for people living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities to continue receiving the principal residence tax exemption (PRE) on their primary home. House Bill 4810 removes the phrase “is not for sale” from…

Potvin testifies before Senate Education Committee

This week state Rep. Phil Potvin (left) testified before the Senate Education Committee in support of SB 374 introduced by Sen. Judy Emmons. Potvin testified with (from left to right) Cadillac Area Public Schools Superintendent Jo Spry, Mike Outman, a principal in the Cadillac school district and Rep. Rick Outman. SB 374 establishes a new student…

Qualified Forest Program for timber harvesting and management was signed into law

Legislation to encourage owners of the 11 million acres of private forestlands in Michigan to join the state’s Qualified Forest Program for timber harvesting and management was signed into law today. The nine-bill package, which includes a measure sponsored by Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey, updates the program’s property tax incentives and offers educational and technical…

Rep. Somerville hosting local June office hours

State Rep. Pat Somerville is offering two days to meet with him during the month of June for residents of the 23rd District who wish to discuss state or local issues. On Friday, June 14, Somerville will host office hours at Panera Bread, 23061 Allen Road, Woodhaven, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.  He will also…

Pettalia: Students could more easily pursue technical training under House plan

In a bipartisan vote, the Michigan House today approved a sweeping reform of the Michigan Merit Curriculum to give high school students more flexibility to take vocational and technical classes. State Rep. Peter Pettalia co-sponsored the two measures, House Bills 4465 and 4466, which allow students to fulfill the Algebra II and foreign language requirement…

Qualified Forest Program bills signed into law

Legislation to encourage owners of the 11 million acres of private forestlands in Michigan to join the state’s Qualified Forest Program for timber harvesting and management was signed into law today. The nine-bill package, which includes a measure sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, updates the program’s property tax incentives and offers educational and technical…

Glardon: Students could more easily pursue technical training under House plan

In a bipartisan vote, the Michigan House today approved a sweeping reform of the Michigan Merit Curriculum to give high-school students more flexibility to take vocational and technical classes. State Rep. Ben Glardon co-sponsored the two measures, House Bills 4465 and 4466, which allow students to fulfill the Algebra II and foreign language requirement by…