IN THIS ISSUE
March 18th Town Hall on Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay water levelsI invite you to attend my March 18 town hall on the low water levels of the Great Lakes and the Saginaw Bay with special guest speaker Jon W. Allan, director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. Allan is a well-known leader on environmental and natural resources policy and is one of the strongest advocates for the Great Lakes in the country.
The event is open to the public at no charge and is scheduled for Thursday, March 18 at 6 p.m. in the Davidson Room of the Double Tree Hotel, 1 Wenonah Park Place, Bay City.
Water levels directly impact our environment, economy and quality of life, particularly in the Bay and Thumb areas. The town hall will focus on the causes and effects of low water levels and the state's plan to address them.
Emergency dredging funds approved by SenateBecause Michigan's waterways are critical to our economy, the Senate recently approved Senate Bill 233 to help keep them accessible. The bill included an amendment I offered to allocate $21 million for emergency dredging of 49 Great Lakes public harbors.
Dredging removes the accumulated sediment at the bottom of a waterway so boats and ships can safely navigate. Despite a nearly $6.4 billion balance in the federally-managed Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund from taxes paid by shippers for harbor maintenance, critical dredging needs are not being met in the Great Lakes region. The legislation allows the state to complete these emergency projects and bill the federal government for harbors that are their responsibility.
Great Lakes shipping alone supports more than 128,000 U.S. jobs and generates more than $18 billion in business revenue, while Michigan recreational boating supports 51,000 jobs and additional billions for the economy. With my amendment, SB 233 will help to ensure that jobs in this industry will continue to grow as part of Michigan's economic comeback.
Michigan scores high on pro-jobs business rankingOver the past couple of years, the Legislature has passed bold reforms to let everyone know "Michigan is open for business." It looks like they're taking notice.
Earlier this month, Site Selection magazine named Michigan the No. 4 state for major new corporate facilities and expansions in 2012. The global business publication verified 337 projects in Michigan as part of its annual Governor's Cup ranking, putting the state behind only Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
It's good to know that the steps we've taken to encourage job growth and investment in Michigan's economy have not gone unnoticed. I am proud to call Michigan home - and glad to see more job creators doing the same.
Sales tax relief proposed for wounded warrior fundraisersLegislation I recently introduced will provide sales tax relief to wounded warrior fundraisers and certain veteran service organizations (VSO's) if signed into law.
Under Senate Bill 209, up to $25,000 of the proceeds from a VSO fundraiser for a wounded warrior would be exempt from the state sales tax. Smaller VSO's, many of which are struggling financially, would also be exempt from charging or paying the sales tax if their annual revenue was under $5,000.
Local veterans groups play a critical role in assisting our nation's military heroes, past and present. I introduced this bill after an American Legion in my district was subjected to the sales tax on a fundraiser for a soldier severely wounded during combat operations in Afghanistan.
Pharmacy Tech licensing requirement proposedThe health and welfare of consumers would be better safeguarded by licensing of pharmacy technicians under a bill I have sponsored.
Under current state law, any employee of a pharmacy or a store with a pharmacy can access and dispense prescription drugs to customers, depending on company policy. Senate Bill 92 would require state licensing of anyone allowed to assist a pharmacist in their duties and would establish certain training, academic or work experience requirements, while grandfathering in current technicians.
Although most industry leaders require private certification of pharmacy technicians, Michigan is one of only five states in the country that do not have a statutory licensing requirement. Accessing and dispensing prescription drugs is a great responsibility with the potential for severe implications to consumers if mistakes are made. This bill provides the recognition that this highly skilled profession deserves, while guaranteeing that the entire industry meets the same standard.
At your serviceDistrict office hours have been set for 9:00a.m. to 11:00a.m on Friday, March 15 in the Community Room of the Rawson Memorial Library, 6495 Pine Street, Cass City.
If you are unable to attend office hours, please feel free to contact me at any time regarding an issue involving state government by calling toll free (866) 305-2131 or by visiting my website.