I know the snow surprised all of us, but we're officially one month closer to warmer weather! For those who weren’t able to join me at my Office Hours on Monday, I wanted to give you a brief update on my recent work in Lansing.
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.
Horn supports legislation to eliminate driver responsibility fees
Driver responsibility fees were instituted in 2003 as a way to deter dangerous or reckless driving behaviors, including driving with a suspended license and accumulating seven or more points.
The fees were in addition to other civil and criminal fines, amounting to a costly, double penalty. Many people have not been able to afford the fees, leading to a loss of their driver's license and often - because of the lack of transportation - their job. This also results in an accumulation of outstanding debt. The Department of Treasury recently estimated that 317,000 individuals owe more than $633 million in unpaid fines, much of that regarded as uncollectable.
I recently sponsored a couple bills that were part of a larger package that Gov. Snyder signed into law that eliminates the fees on Oct. 1, 2018. Drivers on a payment plan will have their fees eliminated immediately. In addition, drivers who cannot pay fees (but would like to have their license reinstated before October) will be able to get their license back by completing a workforce training program. This legislation helps affected drivers get their license reinstated so they can get back to work.
I was incredibly pleased to receive a shoutout from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan during his recent State of the City speech for my work to eliminate driver responsibility fees in the state of Michigan. These fees have been especially onerous for residents of areas like Saginaw and Detroit. I'm proud of my colleagues for doing the right thing and eliminating these overly burdensome fees that have caused an undue hardship for Michiganders for far too long.
Horn celebrates March is Reading Month with area students
Literacy is one of the most fundamental skills necessary for a successful future. Reading plays a critical role in a child's cognitive growth and development. Data has shown that learning to read at a young age can increase a student's ability to remember facts, comprehend information and be successful in both school and a career.
Since being elected to state office, I have traveled to communities throughout the 32nd District to read to students during March is Reading Month. I look forward to visiting young students every year. Their eager young faces not only bring me a great deal of joy, they remind me just how important this type of interaction with young children can be.
If you are unable to participate in this March's activities at your child's school, just remember that good books can be found anytime and anywhere. So stop at the local library or book store and take some time to share a good story with your family.
The Michigan Department of Education also has resources available, such as suggested reading material for children, at their website, Michigan.gov/MDE
Horn backs $175 million road funding increase
The early spring thaw has taken a toll on our roads. I recently supported a $175 million boost in funding this year to improve state and local roads and bridges throughout the state.
The money comes from existing surplus funds to accelerate road repair on top of the $600 million in additional road funding already in this year's budget. Our roads - and Michigan motorists - need this increased investment as soon as possible. Horn welcomes area pastor to give Senate invocation
I recently had the privilege of welcoming the Rev. Alberto Vargas to the Michigan Capitol. He serves as pastor at St. Elizabeth Parish in Reese and delivered the invocation before Senate session.
A video of Father Alberto delivering the invocation can be seen here
. OK2SAY: Michigan's student safety program
Michigan's OK2SAY student safety program enables students, parents, teachers, friends and others to confidentially report anything they feel threatens their safety or the safety of others. Tips can be submitted by email at OK2SAY@mi.gov, telephone at 855-565-2729 (8-555-OK2SAY), text message at 652729 (OK2SAY) or online at OK2SAY.com
. A mobile app is available through Google Play and iTunes. More than 11,000 tips have been received since the program launched in September 2014. Most tips reported suicide threats, bullying, assault, self-harm and drugs. MDOT 2018 construction map now available
The 2018 Paving the Way
state construction map is now available online at www.michigan.gov/mdotmaps
. The map details the major road repairs scheduled this season on state highways and trunklines, along with the construction dates to help drivers prepare for work zones along their planned travel route. State construction information and up-to-date traffic information is also available on the Mi Drive website at www.michigan.gov/drive
. Horn encourages residents to check for unclaimed property
I'd like to join the Michigan Department of Treasury in recommending residents utilize a tool available through the department's website that allows people to see if they are owed any property by the state of Michigan.
All it requires is one simple step. You simply click here and type in your last name or business name. You'll have your results in a matter of seconds.