In This Issue:
Michigan's state budget - it's a wrap!The Legislature recently finished up work on the state's annual budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15. It reflects the priorities of Michigan families, including quality education for our students and strong public safety for our communities.
Some of the key investments include:
Senate approves measures to protect Great LakesPerhaps nothing defines Michigan more than our magnificent Great Lakes, which must be protected. The Senate recently passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov and me to help stop the proposed construction of a Canadian nuclear waste storage facility in Kincardine, Ontario, less than a mile from Lake Huron.
Senate Concurrent Resolutions 16 and 17 and Senate Resolutions 150 and 151 call for a potentially-binding recommendation from the International Joint Commission (IJC) to halt the construction of a permanent nuclear waste disposal facility. The resolutions also request a federal study of the project by the Great Lakes Commission. Finally, Senate Bill 948 completely bans the long-term disposal of low level radioactive waste in our state to safeguard Michigan families and natural resources.
The measures now move to the House for its consideration.
CPL process reform passes SenateMichigan residents currently pay one of the highest concealed pistol license (CPL) fees in the nation, yet must deal with one of the most burdensome license processes.
The Michigan Senate recently passed Senate Bill 789, legislation I sponsored that modernizes and streamlines the state's (CPL) system while maintaining stringent background and training eligibility requirements.
The reason is simple: Michigan is still operating on a system created in 1927 with county gun boards. In an era of modern technology and electronic records systems, we can do better.
Under the bill, county concealed weapons licensing boards will be eliminated. Michigan is the only "shall issue" state in the nation that still uses these boards.
County clerks would continue to accept applications and issue approved licenses if the applicant is qualified based on extensive background checks. The responsibility for conducting those checks would be moved from county sheriffs to the Department of State Police in an effort to reduce the cost burden on county departments and focus deputies on local public safety, not bureaucratic tasks. The state police would have no authority whether a license was issued or not.
The legislation also establishes a clear and enforceable 45 day time limit, requires renewal notices and approved licenses to be mailed, reduces the renewal fee from $105 to $90, and eliminates any lapse in licenses if a renewal application is filed prior to the expiration date.
The bill has been sent to the House for its consideration.
Celebrate the Fourth of July with safety in mindIf your Independence Day celebration includes fireworks at home, be sure to use caution, especially with the more powerful consumer-grade devices such bottle rockets, sky lanterns, and Roman candles. Even low-impact sparklers should be handled with care, especially by children. Sparklers can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause third degree burns.
The state fire marshal urges revelers to make safety the first priority by:
Opinion Survey ReminderThere is still time to participate in my 31st Senate District Online Survey. Many important and at times controversial issues were discussed prior to summer recess and I'd like to hear your thoughts on topics such as the state minimum wage, Detroit bankruptcy proceedings, and transportation funding.
Although the survey is anonymous, you may provide an email address at the end if you'd like to receive the survey results.
District Office HoursAs previously announced, District Office Hours have been scheduled for Monday, June 30, from 11:00am until 1:00pm at the Vassar Municipal Building, 287 East Huron Avenue, in the City Council Chambers. No appointment is necessary and I look forward to seeing you there!
2014 Boating and Fishing Update
I am pleased to send along this report, including legislative news, license information, festival dates and more. I hope you find it useful as you and your family make lifelong memories in Michigan's great outdoors.