Positive news for Michigan's economyThe good news for Michigan's economy continues to roll in.
The credit rating agency, Fitch, recently announced that it's increasing Michigan's credit rating to "AA", the first time it has been above AA- since January 2007. Standard & Poor's and Moody's also recently moved Michigan's credit outlook to "positive."
Michigan's bright economic outlook, though, isn't limited to credit ratings.
The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency recently reported that Michigan personal income per person increased 3.4 percent in 2012 compared with the 2.7 percent national average, putting Michigan eighth among the 50 states. The 2012 growth in Michigan personal income per person was the strongest growth rate since 2003.
With over 62,000 open jobs in the state and an expected 300,000 new openings over the next ten years in agriculture, IT, media, energy, health care and manufacturing alone, Michigan is heading on the right track to a full recovery.
MDOT provides road construction tool for motoristsIn addition to recreational opportunities, summer also brings us orange barrels of road construction season. While summer road repairs provide benefits year-round, they can pose an inconvenience to drivers as they travel the state.
The Michigan Department of Transportation provides an online tool that can help you avoid unnecessary delays or detours. Visit the MI Interactive Drive Map for up-to-date information on road and bridge construction projects.
Senate retains .08 alcohol limitTo help encourage safe travel on our roads this summer and year round, I recently voted to maintain the .08 blood alcohol limit for drunk driving. The standard has been in effect since 2003 but was set to expire this year.
Studies have shown that virtually all drivers are significantly impaired with a BAC of .08. In the decade since the .08 limit has been in place, drunk driving deaths have dropped by 25 percent.
Keeping the standard at .08 will continue to save lives while encouraging responsible summer celebrations.
Ballast water reform helps economy, protects Great LakesThe Senate Natural Resources Committee is hosting a hearing today at the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority on ballast water regulatory reform legislation I recently sponsored.
Michigan law regulating the discharge of ballast water by commercial shipping vessels has been out of sync with other Great Lakes states, nearby Canadian provinces and federal rules because it imposed a completely separate standard for Michigan ports.
Although we have more ports than any other state in the nation, the statute fails to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species as ocean-going vessels have simply chosen to use ports in other states and Canada. This has cost Michigan workers good-paying jobs and has destroyed economic opportunities for our businesses and farmers.
Senate Bill 266 will make Michigan more economically competitive by permitting ships in our ports if they meet a new federal standard that requires ballast water treatment proven to stop invasive species.
Bill would require reporting of mental health firearms disqualifiers to NICSI recently introduced a bill that would require the reporting of mental health firearm disqualifiers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
We must protect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. While freedom should not become yet another victim of senseless tragedy, we can take real steps to address and reduce violence by reforming our mental health system, enforcing existing laws on the books and prosecuting those who violate the law to the fullest extent.
Comprehensive reporting of mental health disqualifiers in current state and federal law is a key component of those steps. SB 349 makes it a statutory requirement, helping to prevent prohibited individuals from buying firearms through a licensed dealer.
Health Care Transparency Act introducedThis week, I cosponsored Senate Bill 333 to create the Michigan Healthcare Transparency Act (MHTA). The MHTA will bring transparency and competition to Michigan's health care market by creating a public database that compares the costs and quality of medical providers.
According to studies, the lack of price transparency is a leading cause of rising health care costs, with variances of up to 700% in costs between providers for similar services. This disparity results in higher-than-necessary expenses for employers, workers and insurance companies.
When you go to the grocery store, you can see price tags and product quality before you buy. With medical care, you often don't know the cost until you get the bill. In the hands of consumers, this information can help cut down on exorbitant medical costs and make health care more affordable for all.
At your serviceAs always, feel free to contact me at (866) 305-2131 or www.statesenatormikegreen.com if I can ever be of assistance.
2013 Boating and Fishing UpdateIn Michigan, we are never more than six miles from a lake or stream, or a short drive from one of our magnificent Great Lakes. It's a great place to call home if you love to boat, fish or enjoy the outdoors in many other ways.
Information for boaters and anglers, related legislative news, and safety tips for enjoying Michigan's outdoors this summer are all included in my 2013 Boating and Fishing Update. Click on the newsletter icon to the right or visit my website to access this valuable resource guide.