In This Issue:
May 9th Thumb Senior Citizen Identity Theft SeminarNationwide, as many as five million seniors become victims of financial abuse each year, crimes that often include identity theft and fraud. To help area residents protect themselves, I am hosting a Senior Citizen Identity Theft Seminar with Attorney General Bill Schuette's Senior Brigade in Cass City.
The seminar will take place this Friday, May 9, at the Rawson Memorial Library, 6495 Pine St, Cass City, from 2:00 -3:00 p.m. RSVP's are not required and there is no cost to attend.
The event will include presentations by the Senior Brigade and Chanda Booms, senior vice president of Signature Bank. Booms will be talking about how banks experience the growing problem involving their customers and what financial institutions do to help prevent ID theft.
May 16th Essexville Office HoursMay office hours have been scheduled for the 31st Senate District on Friday, May 16 at Essexville City Hall, 1107 Woodside Avenue, Essexville, from 11 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
District office hours provide residents with the opportunity to meet with me or a member of my staff to address issues related to state government. No appointment is necessary and I look forward to seeing you there.
Right to Farm rule changes explainedRecent changes have been made by the state Agriculture Commission to Michigan's Right to Farm Act (RTF) rules, otherwise known as Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPs). These changes have caused a great deal of misunderstanding.
The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 and strengthened during the 1990's to protect established farming operations from nuisance complaints, related lawsuits and zoning changes. As more individuals moved from urban to rural areas over the last few decades, noise and odor complaints against farmers increased drastically and were often accompanied by demands of local government to move zoning away from agriculture.
The Act provides protections in these circumstances to farmers already operating in properly-zoned areas when they follow the appropriate GAAMP. GAAMP's are voluntary guidelines intended to reduce the impact of agriculture on the surrounding area.
Some residential property owners, particularly in urban areas, are attempting to use these protections to violate existing zoning rules. The commission changed the GAAMPs to clarify that residential sites where agriculture use is not permitted do not qualify for RTF protections. These changes were supported by all major agriculture organizations in the state.
Right to Farm preserves Michigan's agriculture heritage and protects existing farmer from actions which negatively impact their livelihood. Whether or not you can begin a new operation, small or large, has always and will continue to depend on your local zoning rules. If not allowed, you may always request a variance or a permanent change to the ordinances from your local government.
Legislative package protects gun owner privacyI recently supported legislation to ensure that firearms records would remain confidential and available only to law enforcement officials under strict conditions.
There's a real need to protect the privacy of Michigan gun owners after out-of-state newspapers last year published lists of gun owners and carry permit holders. Disclosing this information is an invasion of privacy and a threat to public safety. The bills would prevent that from happening here in Michigan.
Under the legislation, firearms records could only be accessed for the following reasons:
Be prepared!Spring and summer can bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather, including flooding, thunderstorms and tornados.
Find out how to better protect your family before, during and after an emergency or disaster at www.michigan.gov/beprepared to access the Family Preparedness Guide prepared by the Michigan State Police.
Bill prohibiting DEQ wood heater regulations introducedThe past winter brought severe weather throughout Michigan that included dangerously low temperatures, extended power outages and propane shortages. Due to these issues and the rising cost of energy, more and more folks in the Bay and Thumb areas are choosing wood burners as a primary or backup source of home heating.
That's why I strongly oppose new regulations recently proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would negatively impact manufacturers and consumers of wood burning stoves.
To ensure such action isn't taken on the state level, I co-sponsored Senate Bill 910 to prohibit the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from regulating wood-burning stoves or from enforcing similar federal rules. Such rules are based on politics, not science.
This bill recognizes that and is a significant step toward keeping government regulators out of our living rooms and backyards. It has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee, of which I am a member.
MPSC programs help homeowners reduce energy billsThe long and brutal winter of 2013-2014 challenged the preparedness of many Michigan residents and hit consumers' pocketbooks with high energy costs.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and all utility providers offer energy efficiency programs to natural gas and electric customers to help reduce their energy bills, while keeping their homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Visit MPSC's energy efficiency website for a comprehensive list of these programs that include rebates and discounts on energy efficient products!
At Your ServiceI am honored to be your voice in Lansing. Please feel free to call or email me at any time should you have questions, concerns, or need assistance with any state matter.
2014 Senior Citizen Legislative Update
Over the last three years, we’ve worked hard to help restore Michigan's economic potential. I'm happy to say our state ranks first for recovering most from the Great Recession. But there is much more to do to keep this momentum going so our children and grandchildren have more and better opportunities to stay and thrive in the state we love.
As part of our efforts to move Michigan forward, I want you to know that safeguarding the security and well-being of our senior citizens is one of my top priorities. That's why I have held an ongoing series of Senior Citizen Identity Theft seminars throughout the district and am providing you with my annual Senior Update. This update provides useful legislative news as well as helpful consumer, veterans and travel information.