In this Issue:
Celebrating the birth of our freedomOn Thursday, July 4, the United States of America will celebrate its 237th birthday.
The birth of our nation began with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Authored in large part by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration pronounced that ".all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The concept of a nation founded upon individual liberty was revolutionary for the time and forever changed the world. The founding fathers risked everything in supporting independence and indeed many lost everything in the years that followed. It's important that we understand the principles they stood for which is why I am making free copies of the U.S. Constitution available through my office.
I am deeply grateful to have been born American and to be blessed with the freedoms we all enjoy and I wish you a safe and successful celebration of our nation's independence this July 4th!
Bill requires veterans' graves be marked with U.S.-made flagsI recently co-sponsored legislation requiring that flags placed on the graves of veterans in public cemeteries be manufactured in the United States.
Senate Bill 428 would require any Michigan municipality which chooses to mark the graves of veterans for memorial purposes do so with flags and flag holders that were made in the United States as long as prices are competitive.
Anyone who serves in the military is an American hero in my opinion. While we can never fully repay them for their sacrifice, marking their graves with flags made by Americans honors their service and dedication.
SB 428 was referred to the Senate Committee on Military and Veterans affairs.
Fireworks act revisions signed into lawLast year - for the first time - Michigan consumers could celebrate Independence Day and buy fireworks like bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers in our state. Unfortunately, some "over-exuberant" celebrants prompted numerous complaints by setting off fireworks well into the early morning hours.
I recently supported legislation to expand the ability of local units of government to further regulate the use of these fireworks. Now Public Act 65 of 2013, House Bill 4743 allows cities, townships and villages to prohibit their overnight use on the day before, of or after a national holiday. The use of these "consumer grade" fireworks is already subject to local ordinances on all the other days of the year.
While sales of fireworks have brought in welcome revenue to the state, reasonable regulation of their use can balance this great American tradition with everyone's need for a good night's sleep!
Michigan fights to stay independent from EPA on wetlandsLegislation I sponsored that will continue Michigan's legacy of guarding its natural resources while encouraging responsible economic and agricultural development has been signed into law.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for regulating activities impacting air and water quality, including wetlands. In 1984, Michigan became one of only two states in the nation to receive a waiver to operate its own wetlands regulation program. In 2008, the EPA issued a determination that Michigan's program violated federal law in several areas and ordered the state to be in compliance. Failure to do so would have resulted in federal regulators based in Chicago assuming control.
Senate Bill 163, now Public Act 98 of 2013, brings Michigan's program into compliance by making changes to the state program. Doing so will help guarantee our continued independence from the EPA in this area, while preserving the efficiency, responsiveness and pro-jobs approach that only local control can offer.
For instance, the average time it takes for someone to receive a wetlands-related permit from the state DEQ is 21 days. The national average from the EPA for other states is over 9 months. If Michigan were to lose its independence on wetlands, the consequences and costs for Michigan job creators, farmers, local government and property owners would be devastating and could derail our state's economic comeback, while doing nothing more to protect our natural resources.
The bill achieves a responsible balance and was crafted over years of negotiations involving stakeholders from every facet of the issue.
Feds must take action towards energy independenceMichigan recently had the dubious distinction of having the highest gasoline prices in the continental United States.
The high price of gas makes it difficult for Michigan workers and families to live within a budget, impacts the ability of job creators to do business, and negatively affects our tourism industry, a critical part of our economy.
Although the level of pump prices are affected by a number of factors, opportunistic price gouging is already illegal under state law and carries with it very real penalties. Attorney General Bill Schuette has the statutory authority to take action against price gouging. To file a complaint with his office, please call 1-877-765-8388 or fill out the complaint form online.
According to the Energy Information Agency, the average price of a gallon of gas rose from $1.74 in the beginning of 2009 to $3.65 last month. The need for real action towards achieving energy independence is more important than ever before as this is the key to more affordable energy and gas prices. Despite this, the federal government continues to heavily restrict the exploration and utilization of vast domestic energy resources.
That's why I have co-sponsored Senate resolutions urging Congress to take action towards energy independence, including much-needed approval of the Keystone Pipeline project that would result in good-paying jobs for American workers, importation of North American energy products and lower energy prices.
Be SummerWise to help lower electric utility billsThe Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) recently highlighted its Be SummerWise website, where utility customers can learn about ways to reduce monthly utility bills.
The website features information on using energy wisely, planning ahead by using budget billing plans offered by utilities, shut-off prevention programs, energy efficiency tips and more. Some of the tips include:
At your serviceAs always, I am here to serve you. Should you ever have any questions or need assistance in a state matter, please feel free to contact my office at (866) 305-2131 or by visiting my website www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com. I'll gladly help.
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.