Senator Mike Green
   
 

In This Issue:

  • Senate committee to host Lexington hearing on invasive species
  • Attorney General's office to provide senior citizen identity theft seminar in Bay City
  • The Facts about Senate Bill 636 - Consumer Protection Telephone Bill
  • New law provides taxpayers with full access to audit information
  • Senate passes improvements to personal property tax reform
  • Michigan recognized for job growth and attracting investment
  • New laws combat metal theft
  • Marlette student art on display in Capitol office

Senate committee to host Lexington hearing on invasive species


The Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes will hold a public hearing this Monday, March 24th at 2:00p.m. in the Lexington Community Center, 6964 Huron Avenue, Lexington, on a package of bills to combat the introduction and spread of invasive species into Michigan.

Sen. Phil Pavlov and I will be participating in this hearing as committee members and as sponsors of bills included in the package. We will be joined by Rep. Paul Muxlow and others. The committee will take testimony on Senate Bills 795-802, legislation that subjects invasive species traffickers to increased fines, seizure of equipment involved, revocation of commercial licenses, and hunting and fishing bans.

Invasive species, such as Asian Carp, pose a significant threat to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem and to our economy and way of life. While Michigan law currently bans the possession, sale and transport of listed invasive species, a recent increase in trafficking demands further action.

Attorney General's office to provide senior citizen identity theft seminar in Bay City

Nationwide as many as 5 million seniors become victims of financial abuse and identity theft every year.

To help area residents protect themselves, I am hosting a free senior citizen identity theft seminar with Attorney General Bill Schuette's Senior Brigade on Tuesday, April 8th from 10:30a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the Riverside Friendship Center, 800 John F. Kennedy Drive in Bay City. RSVP's are not required and there is no cost to attend.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual's name, identifying numbers or accounts to commit fraud, often resulting in criminal charges or bankruptcy being filed in the victim's name.

The seminar will include a presentation and discussion led by the Attorney General's Senior Brigade, a program dedicated to providing seniors and their caregivers with trusted and useful information on financial matters, common senior scams and healthcare.

The Facts about Senate Bill 636 - Consumer Protection Telephone Bill

During the debate over Senate Bill 636, I received many contacts from constituents concerned how the legislation would impact their current landline telephone service.

SB 636 modernizes state law to keep up with rapidly-changing communications technology being demanded by consumers. While the bill allows for telephone infrastructure to be upgraded, it DOES NOT require or even encourage the elimination of landline service.

To be clear, current law already allows a service provider to discontinue traditional landline service in an area subject to oversight by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). The bill streamlines this process but adds in significant new protections for consumers:
  • Requires providers to file a request to discontinue service with the MPSC and to notify all of its customers of the request;
  • Empowers consumers with the ability to request an MPSC investigation of telephone service in their area;
  • Allows the MPSC to require the current provider to continue offering the same service until another provider is secured;
  • Ensures the availability to all consumers of comparable voice service with reliable access to 9-1-1 and emergency services in an area; and
  • Increases to 90 days the notice that providers must give to customers prior to discontinuing service if approved by MPSC.
SB 636 is now awaiting the governor's signature following passage by the legislature.

New law provides taxpayers with full access to audit information

The governor recently signed a bill I supported establishing clear standards for auditing taxpayers and requiring the state to provide those under audit with all relevant papers, correspondence and documentation that led to an audit determination.

Tax audits should be based on clearly-established objective standards, not politics or bureaucratic whim. Most importantly, all taxpayers should be entitled to full disclosure of the government documents related to their audit.

The bill ensures this and is now Public Act 35 of 2014.

Senate passes improvements to personal property tax reform

In 2012, the Legislature passed a package of bills to phase out the industrial personal property tax - a tax many businesses pay year after year on machinery and equipment. The tax penalized employers for expanding and investing in their businesses and creating jobs.

New legislation passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support updating the 2012 reform by fully replacing all revenue to local governments impacted by the gradual phase-out of the tax. The reform will help improve Michigan's competitiveness for new jobs and support our local communities with a stable and improved revenue source.

Because of its provisions, Senate Bill 821 must be approved by the House, the governor and then by the Michigan voters on the August ballot.

Michigan recognized for job growth and attracting investment

The Organization for International Investment (OFII), a Washington-based nonprofit business association that represents the U.S. operations of many of the world's leading global companies, recently recognized Michigan for the steps it has taken to encourage job creation and attract global investment in the state.

OFFI recognized the states of Michigan and Washington in announcing the results of its 2014 Insourcing Survey, an appraisal of confidence in the U.S. economy, economic competitiveness among the states, and their corresponding job creation performance. Insourcing jobs represents the opposite of outsourcing.

OFFI specifically cited Michigan for ranking first in the nation for recovering most from the Great Recession with the creation of 255,000 jobs since December 2010. Other highlights included:
  • Michigan added twice as many insourcing new jobs (32,000) in 2011 compared to any other state.
  • Michigan's high-tech work force is fourth largest in U.S., and the state ranks third for high-tech job growth.
  • Insourcing companies employ 177,500 Michigan workers, about 5 percent of state's private-sector work force.
This recognition follows many positive developments over the past few years, including the recent announcement that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January fell to 7.8 percent, the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan since May 2008. Michigan is also tied for #1 among Great Lakes states and 7th in the nation for per-capita personal income growth.

New laws combat metal theft

I recently supported legislation on its way to the governor to combat the theft and trafficking of scrap metal from individuals and commercial entities.

Metal theft has become a major problem in recent years due to the rising price of metal products. Items such as catalytic convertors, air conditioning components, electrical wiring and even sewer grates are often targeted. A victim's financial losses as result can be significant.

According to a 2012 study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, between 2009 and 2011, Michigan ranked 10th in the nation for scrap metal theft insurance claims.

In follow up to reforms signed into law late last year, House Bill 4593 establishes certain requirements for scrap dealers and scrap sellers to help prevent the trafficking of stolen metal and to identify the metal thieves and hold them accountable.

Marlette student art on display in Capitol office!


An impressive lighthouse art collection by the 3rd grade students of teacher Sarah Opperman at Marlette Elementary is currently on display in my Capitol office.

I regularly showcase student art as part of my "Kids of the 31st!" program that highlights the talent and positive behavior of youth in the district. You can view the display during regular business hours.

Educators and parents interested in featuring their students in the program should contact my office at (866) 305-2131 or at www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com.

At your service,

Mike Green
State Senator




Contact Information

Senator Mike Green
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Toll Free: (866) 305-2131 or (517) 373-1777

www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com

Email: senmgreen@senate.michigan.gov
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