Happy New Year! Below you will find the latest edition of my monthly legislative update, which includes a list of 2017’s biggest accomplishments and an update on my recent work in Lansing.
I am proud to represent you in the Michigan Senate and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov
or toll-free at 855-347-8032. Or if you are in Lansing, please feel free to stop by my office, room 7200 in the Binsfield Office Building.
32nd District The year in review
As we look ahead to a new year of challenges and opportunity, I would like to share a last look at some important 2017 legislative accomplishments. Moving Michigan into the future
Michigan Thrive and Good Jobs for Michigan were my priorities to revitalize downtowns across the state, spur economic development in our urban cores, and attract new businesses that create good-paying jobs. Protecting our most vulnerable
I supported legislation that would ensure the rights of girls and women are protected against the heinous and oppressive procedure of female genital mutilation that permanently deforms women. Education is a top priority
Over the last seven years, the Legislature has put $1.8 billion more into public education. Forty-six cents of every state tax dollar goes to public education. Honoring our heroes
To ensure veterans receive the proper care they deserve, I voted in favor of increased funding for more staff and training at veterans homes. Fighting back against the opioid epidemic
The Senate took action to help combat the abuse of prescription drugs in an effort to fight back against the rising opioid abuse epidemic. Commitment to public safety
We adopted legislation to ensure only the highest quality police officers are on the streets keeping our communities safe, and passed a budget that includes hiring 150 new State Police Troopers. Michigan is the Comeback State!
At 4.5 percent, Michigan’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average and more than
500,000 new private sector jobs have been added to our economy in nearly seven years – more than any other Great Lakes state! Securing teacher retirement
The Senate passed a responsible plan to ensure a secure retirement for current and future school employees and put the next generation of teachers’ retirement on stronger financial footing. Protecting our natural resources
We invested an additional $13 million in the FY’18 budget in our state parks and trails for continued improvements, upgrades and developments. Balanced budget ahead of schedule
For seven years in a row, Senate Republicans have passed a balanced budget ahead of schedule and turned a $1.8 billion structural budget deficit into a nearly $900 million surplus in the state’s rainy day fund. Horn to host January office hours
Throughout 2017 my staff and I hosted numerous office hours in various communities throughout the 32nd District. These meetings provide me with a great opportunity to meet people, hear their concerns, or help find a solution to a problem they may be facing.
I am proud to announce that 2018 will be no different and that January office hours have been scheduled.
I will be available to meet with constituents at the following date, time and location: Monday, Jan. 22
Noon – 2 p.m.
Hoyt Public Library Auditorium 505 Janes Ave.
I will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.
For more information contact my office toll-free at 855-347-8032, or visit www.SenatorKenHorn.com
. Horn backs bills to increase road safety
A study last year by CarInsuranceComparison.com ranked Michigan motorists as the eighth-best drivers in the country. Legislation recently passed by the Senate would help make driving on Michigan roadways even safer if signed into law. The legislation includes:
- Senate Bill 521 would require drivers to treat intersections where a traffic signal is out as a four-way stop. The bill doesn’t apply to traffic signals that are only active at certain times, such as those outside a school or fire department.
- Senate Bill 477 would require drivers to slow down and “move over” when approaching a vehicle with amber flashing lights, such as a utility or tow truck. Drivers are already required to move over if an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is on the side of the road, or if unsafe to do so, pass with caution at a safe, reduced speed.
Both bills have been sent to the House for consideration. Home heating help
As the weather turns cold, some households may have trouble paying their winter heating bills. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) urges customers to first contact their utility company if they are unable to pay their bill on time, before receiving a shut-off notice. Seniors and low-income customers may be eligible for the Winter Protection Plan, a program to protect against service shut-off and high utility payments between Nov. 1 and March 31. Contact the gas or electric company to apply. Other assistance programs are available for shut-off protection, including the State Emergency Relief program and utility help for active duty military families. For more information as well as weatherization tips, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc
and type in the keywords MPSC Be WinterWise Program
. You can also give my office a call toll-free at 855-347-8032 if you need assistance. Horn graduates from Toll Fellowship program
At the end of December, I had the honor of participating in a graduation ceremony for last summer’s Henry Toll Fellowship Program at The Council of State Governments (CSG) annual conference.
The Toll Fellowship Program is one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs for state government officials. Each year, 48 of the nation’s top officials from all three branches of state government are chosen to travel to Lexington, Kentucky for a six-day “leadership boot camp.”
The program’s sessions are designed to stimulate personal assessment and growth, with a focus on leadership skills and how personal traits can be used toward being an effective legislator. Sessions also include media training, crisis management, appreciative inquiry and adaptive leadership.
During the conference, I was also formally installed as the new second vice chair of CSG’s Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC). MLC is a nonpartisan association of state and provincial legislators that fosters regional cooperation. All legislators from the following states are members of the MLC: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Additionally, legislators representing four Canadian provinces — Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan — also participate as affiliate members of the MLC.
Participating in the Henry Toll Fellowship Program was quite a humbling experience. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where I learned so much and was introduced to legislative leaders across the nation. I look forward to utilizing what I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve built to better serve the people of my district and Michigan as a whole. Horn supports legislation allowing additional safety lights on school buses
The state Senate recently approved legislation that would improve public safety by allowing school districts to install additional safety lighting on school buses. House Bill 4054
would amend the Pupil Transportation Act to allow a school bus to be equipped with flashing advisory signs on the rear door of the bus for the purpose of providing an additional warning of the vehicle’s status to other drivers.
The new light will be placed in the middle on the rear door of a bus at eye level with most vehicles, and flash messages such as ‘caution,’ ‘stopping,’ ‘stop’ and ‘do not pass’ to indicate what a vehicle must do as the school bus slows or stops. If approved, Michigan schools will be able to decide on a district by district basis if they’d like to implement this feature. This is not a law requiring these lights to be installed. All decisions regarding these lights remains up to local school districts.
This legislation was very easy to support. It will increase safety for motorists, school bus drivers and children who ride the bus. HB 4054
will now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for consideration. Tax information / tax guides available
The Michigan Department of Treasury is reminding Michiganders to update their address before tax season next year. My office usually gets some calls related to this so I thought it would be helpful to share their reminder.
For more information, click here
My office also provides free tax preparation guides for those seeking additional guidance on completing their taxes. The booklet contains information on Michigan’s income tax, property taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long listing of important property tax dates and deadlines as well as copies of the most commonly used tax forms. The guide also features addresses, phone numbers and email information for obtaining state agency tax assistance. A free copy can be found here
, or by visiting my website at www.SenatorKenHorn.com
and clicking the “Publications” tab. My office also provides hard copies of the 2017 Tax Guide for those who prefer that option.
Feel free to give my office a call toll-free at 855-347-8032 if you have any questions, or would like to request a hard copy of a Tax Preparation Guide.