Senator Wayne Schmidt

 
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Schmidt to host May 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.

May coffee hours are as follows:

Friday, May 18
Noon – 1 p.m.
Bellaire Community Hall
202 N. Bridge St.
Bellaire

Friday, May 18
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Grand Traverse Pie Co.
525 W. Front St.
Traverse City

Saturday, May 19
11 a.m. – noon
Café Santé
1 Water St.
Boyne City

Saturday, May 19
1 – 2 p.m.
Roast & Toast
309 E. Lake St.
Petoskey

Saturday, May 19
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Audie’s Restaurant
314 N. Nicolet St.
Mackinaw City

Saturday, May 26
11 a.m. – noon
Lake Superior State University – Kenneth J. Shouldice Library, learning commons
906 Ryan Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie

Saturday, May 26
2 – 3 p.m.
Zellar’s Village Inn
7552 State Highway M-123
Newberry

Saturday, May 26
5 – 6 p.m.
Bentley’s B-M-L Cafe
62 N. State St.
St. Ignace

Schmidt participates in ‘Suits and Sneakers’ to raise awareness for cancer research

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I recently teamed up with the American Cancer Society and other legislators to bring attention to various cancers and the critical need for additional research.

Suits and Sneakers originally began with basketball coaches but has quickly spread to numerous professions. Business professionals, coaches, teachers and many others ditch their dress shoes for a day and instead choose to lace up their tennis shoes to stand in support of those fighting cancer.

It is important to make sure researchers have the resources they need to continue the fight against this terrible disease. This is also a way to visibly show support to those who may be battling cancer. A visual of just how many people are standing with you can be the extra bit of strength someone needs.

Audio of me discussing my participation is also available here or on my website.

Schmidt backs school safety funding bill

Parents want to know their child will be safe and secure in school. I recently supported $18.65 million in immediate funding for school safety.

Senate Bill 601 offers $15 million for competitive grants for schools that need to make safety improvements and purchase technology and equipment.

Another $3 million in funding provides for a school safety communications system. The statewide instant notification app would be available to all Michigan schools to allow faster coordinated response time and ensure greater management of an ongoing incident for all on-site staff and first responders.

The bill also includes an additional $650,000 to increase awareness of the OK2SAY program and add staff. This Michigan school safety program encourages students, school employees and others to confidentially “say something if you see something.”

The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

No new fees for Michigan paddlers

As many may have read, the Michigan State Waterways Commission (MSWC) recently proposed that canoes, kayaks and other paddle vessels be subject to a $10 state registration fee.

Most vessel registration fees go toward lake patrols, among other safety measures and launch maintenance. It is assumed funds raised by the new fee would go toward similar efforts.

However, those who enjoy canoeing and kayaking often prefer rivers or streams to lakes and typically do not need a specialized launch site. Most people simply set their canoe or kayak in the water, hop in and go. Also, those who choose to enjoy Michigan’s beautiful public waterways pay for a state recreation passport, which also helps maintain state launch sites. This means those who prefer paddle crafts will see little, if any, benefit from a registration fee.

I was happy to join my colleagues in supporting Senate Resolution 153, which formally opposes any effort from the MSWC toward implementing a new fee or registration on such vessels. I was happy not only to see the support of my fellow legislators for this resolution, but to hear of the MSWC dropping their plans to pursue any new fees at this time.

Paddle sports are exploding in popularity, especially in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. I see no reason to add another obstacle for residents who want to enjoy some of the most beautiful and scenic waterways in the world, or to hinder our incredible tourism industry by imposing such fees.

I hope to see even more people out on the water this summer!

Senate approves Schmidt legislation allowing regulation of drones on Mackinac Island

The state Senate recently approved my legislation that would allow the regulation of drones on Mackinac Island.

This was something that was suggested to us by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force after a great deal of time and effort studying the issue. The task force itself was created by legislation that received final approval from the governor late last year. The task force’s primary purpose was to develop a statewide policy regarding the operation and regulation of drones.

The report made several recommendations, including the request for a state law addressing drones interfering with facilities like prisons, bridges and other tourist areas. The report specifically cites Mackinac Island as an area that should be protected because instances of drones startling horses has created a safety concern.

Mackinac Island is a top tourist destination that draws large amounts of people. One of the island's top features is the prohibition of automobiles. Visitors must travel by horse, carriage, or on a bicycle. These horses typically do well around crowds of people, but anyone can see that a frightened horse mixed with a crowd of people is bad news.

Senate Bill 715 would codify the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force’s recommendation to allow Mackinac Island to regulate drones into state statute.

The popularity of drones has drastically increased in recent years and continues to increase as advancements in their capabilities continue. With more and more people pursuing the hobby, we need to make sure we get out in front of the issue and make sure the use of these aircraft doesn’t create a safety concern for others.

SB 715 received bipartisan approval in the Senate and will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Note: Audio of Schmidt discussing the Senate passage of his drone legislation is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.

Mackinac County to see road improvements

The Mackinac County Road Commission (MCRC) recently announced that the county will see a $1,010,000 investment in its roadways.

In March, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder approved using existing resources to move the $175 million boost in state and local road funding to this year. Of that money, Mackinac County was scheduled to receive approximately $240,000 and on May 1, MCRC approved a plan to triple the new road funds.

During the March 20 meeting, MCRC requested other local governmental units match the new funds by dividing up the state money by townships and requesting that each township as well as the County Board of Commissioners match up to $20,000 for a total of $60,000 in road repairs each.

The plan devised by MCRC and the participating townships was initially met with some restraint from the Mackinac County Board. However, on April 26, the board approved up to $220,000 intended to match the road commission and townships. This move turned the one-time $240,000 into $680,000 for local road improvements.

When added to the existing match program currently in place with the Mackinac County Board and townships, this equates to $1,010,000 in road improvements in Mackinac County.

I regularly meet with constituents and hold several monthly coffee hours all over my district, and the one thing I continue to hear is that we need to fix the roads. It’s something we are taking seriously. As you can see, local entities are getting creative and figuring out ways to stretch their dollars, and just recently the Senate approved the fiscal year 2019 budget, which when added with the recent $175 million, will equal a $2.1 billion investment in our roads since 2017.

Note: Audio of Schmidt discussing the Mackinac County road funding initiative is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.

New law promotes road safety

A malfunctioning traffic signal can lead to confusion on the road.

I supported Senate legislation now signed into law that provides for a safe and orderly flow of traffic in this situation. Public Act 109 of 2018 requires drivers to treat an intersection with a nonworking traffic light as a four-way stop. The new law doesn’t apply to traffic signals that are only active at a certain time, such as those located in a school zone or activated by emergency vehicles.

Adopt-a-Highway dates

Michigan roadsides are looking a little cleaner and brighter with the start of this year’s Adopt-a-Highway program.

Volunteers pick up litter three times each year. The first pickup is underway in many parts of Michigan. Cold, snowy weather has extended the pickup date for the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula to May 13. The state’s summer pickup will take place from July 14 to 22 and a fall pickup from Sept. 22 to 30.

Sections of highway are still available for adoption. Groups are asked to adopt a section for at least two years. Signs with the group’s name are posted along the stretch of adopted highway. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

Michigan offers world class trout fishing

Download graphics to view this photographMichigan is a top trout fishing destination with cold, quality trout streams and hundreds of trout lakes accessible to anglers.

Michigan Trout Trails is an interactive tool to help anglers find great trout waters that are often lesser known. The web application has been updated for 2018 and features more than 300 locations covering nearly every corner of the state. Visit the site at www.michigan.gov/trouttrails.

In related news, the Department of Natural Resources has recently released a new Inland Trout Management Plan, which gives an overview of inland trout habitats in Michigan and the biology and ecology of inland trout populations. Find the report at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 
 
 
 

OUR DISTRICT

 
SD37 Map
The 37th Senate District is made up of 8 counties, which includes: Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce, and Mackinac.
 
 
 
 

Senator Wayne Schmidt

4600 Connie Binsfeld Bldg. P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone: (517) 373-2413

Email: SenWSchmidt@senate.michigan.gov
Please include name, address, and phone number.

Visit my website at: www.SenatorWayneSchmidt.com