Schmidt to host March coffee hours
Since being elected to represent the 37th District in the state Senate, I have remained committed to holding office hours in various communities throughout Northwest Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
I will be available to answer questions, provide information and assistance, and take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district.
Please feel free to stop in. No appointment is necessary.
For more information, please contact my office at SenatorWayneSchmidt.com
or call 517-373-2413.
Upcoming coffee hours are as follows: Friday, March 15
1 – 2 p.m. East Jordan City Hall
201 Main St.
East Jordan Friday, March 29
3 – 4 p.m. McDonald’s Restaurant
13921 State Highway M-28
Newberry Budget statement
The governor’s budget presentation marks the start of yet another budget process. As I listened to her speech, I found many common goals with what I was hearing. We have different ideas on how we should get across the finish line, and I think we can sit down and work together to get this done.
With smart budgeting, we can continue to fix our roads and infrastructure, support our schools and our students, keep our state on solid financial footing, and promote efficient and effective government. The Legislature has approved landmark road funding initiatives in recent years. We should let the current plan take full effect before turning to Michigan taxpayers for more money.
We have also increased school funding to record levels and I have fought to ensure Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula schools receive every dime we deserve.
As we work to once again pass a balanced budget ahead of schedule, I look forward to hearing from Michigan families and residents about their priorities.
Now that the governor has laid out her spending plan, it is time for us to get down to business. As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, I am committed to working with our House colleagues and the governor’s administration to pass a responsible budget that helps foster successful futures for our students, continues Michigan’s economic comeback, diversifies our workforce, pays down debt and fixes our roads. Schmidt supports asset forfeiture reform
Under Michigan law, police can seize assets such as property or money from people as evidence or as part of an investigation if they have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. After the assets are seized, law enforcement can petition the court to forfeit the assets to the police agency that seized them.
I recently supported legislation that would preserve this crime-fighting tool while helping protect innocent Michigan residents from losing their property to civil asset forfeiture. Senate Bill 2
would require a person to be convicted of or plead guilty to a crime for the seized property to be taken and kept. An individual’s personal property would be returned if they are not charged or found not guilty.
Law enforcement in Michigan seized about $13 million in assets in 2017, according to a Michigan State Police report. Out of the 1,700 forfeiture proceedings, only 43 percent of those whose property was seized and forfeited were charged and convicted of a crime.
The legislation has been sent to the House for consideration. Home heating credit
Applications for the Michigan Home Heating Credit are now being processed for the 2018 tax year. The credit helps low-income seniors and other residents with their winter energy bills. More information, including forms and instructions, is available at www.michigan.gov/incometax
(click on the Credits and Exemptions bar), or call 517-636-4486. Individuals may apply for the credit even if they do not file a Michigan tax return.
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, 315,000 state residents applied for the credit last year and the average credit was $191. The heating credit is funded by a federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program block grant. Schmidt: Expanded “Move Over Law” now in effect
Senate legislation signed into law late last year expands the “Move Over Law” to increase road safety and better protect people working on or beside busy Michigan roadways. Public Act 349 of 2018
(Senate Bill 477
) requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane if possible when passing waste collection, road maintenance and utility service vehicles with flashing amber lights — the same as required with police and emergency vehicles on the side of the road. The new law also requires drivers to reduce their speed by 10 mph below the speed limit when passing these vehicles, as well as stationary emergency vehicles.
Violations would be a civil infraction and subject to points and a fine. Phone scammers posing as health officials
State officials recently cautioned Michigan residents about a new phone scam operating in several areas of the state. Apparently, scammers are posing as public health officials in an attempt to obtain personal information that could be used to steal someone’s identity.
It’s important to remember that local public health and Medicare officials will not call and request personal and confidential information, such as Social Security numbers, over the phone. People can report these calls by contacting the attorney general’s Consumer Protection division at 877-765-8388. Check Eyes in the Field site to report fish kills
As spring begins and the ice starts to thaw, people may begin to notice dead fish or other aquatic species, especially in shallow lakes, ponds and streams.
Monitoring the health of aquatic life is an important part of fisheries management. People can report fish kills over 25 fish by completing the Sick or Dead Aquatic Species
observation report at www.michigan.gov/eyesinthefield.
Most of the time, fish kills are due to natural causes such as weather but they can be related to disease, pollution, chemicals or other non-natural causes.