Welcome to the latest edition of my e-newsletter for 2023.
Below you’ll find an update on what’s happening in your state Capitol and some additional resources I hope you find helpful.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in the Michigan Senate. I am grateful each and every day to work for the people of the 34th Senate District.
34th Senate District
Michigan budget Update
For the first time in 40 years, Democrats control all three branches of state government and therefore, had a majority say over much of the state budget.
Despite being in the minority position, Republicans were able to negotiate some very significant priorities that will pay down debt, cut irresponsible spending, keep our communities safe and invest in our beautiful state parks.
Republican priorities in this budget include:
• $800 million reserved for debt payments.
• $200 million toward the state’s higher education school employee’s retirement system debt.
• Funding for schools to hire school resource officers to keep our kids safe.
• A $458 per-pupil increase to the K-12 school foundation allowance.
• Slashing wasteful spending on electric buses and adding new language to allow for propane and compressed natural gas options.
• Removal of so-called “diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)” directives and pro-abortion language.
• No cuts to Michigan’s cyber schools, which are utilized by families across our state.
• More than $215 million to repair the local roads and bridges.
• Over $500 million for drinking water and wastewater improvement projects.
• Investments made into our beautiful state parks.
100,000 unserved Michigan homes, businesses to connect to high-speed internet
The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office has announced its initial recommendations for the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks grant program. The ROBIN grants, made possible through an appropriation by Senate Republicans in 2022, will provide $238 million in federal funding through the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to support the deployment of high-speed internet to approximately 100,000 unserved locations throughout the state.
Proposals for funding were submitted earlier this year through a competitive application process and were reviewed and scored by the MIHI’s ROBIN steering committee.
A 45-day comment and objection window is open from June 16 through July 31, 2023. To view a list of initial grant awardees, grant location maps, review the scoring criteria or leave a comment, visit the MIHI website.
The Michigan attorney general is alerting residents to a scam involving both businesses and workers. Fraudulent letters, which identify the sender as the state of Michigan, are being sent to residents or employers informing them that they have an overdue state debt that must be addressed immediately.
These letters are not from the state of Michigan, the UIA or the Michigan Department of Treasury. They are a scam designed to scare residents into sending payments or providing personal information that can be used to commit identity theft.
If you believe you have received one of these letters, or if you have been a victim of any other scam, please file a complaint with the attorney general’s Consumer Protection team by phone at 517-335-7599, toll-free at 877-765-8388 or by using the online complaint form.
Know before you go
Michigan residents are used to checking the weather before they head out for the day. During wildfire season, check for fire risks locally or in an area you plan to visit. Use the DNR’s Fire Alert map for fire risks, details on burn permits and weather conditions.
In the end of June, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urged residents to check air quality and take other precautions because of wildfire smoke from Canada. Residents can check the use AirNow.gov‘s online tool to check air quality by location before heading out.
Michigan cherries are grown from Benton Harbor to Elk Rapids, making Michigan the number one cherry producer in the U.S. In fact, Michigan supplies more than 70% of all U.S. tart cherries!
The first cherry trees were planted by a missionary on Old Mission Peninsula in 1852. The cherry trees flourished, and soon other farmers began planting cherry orchards in the area. The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893 and by the early 1900s, the tart cherry industry was firmly established. Today, Michigan produces nearly 200 million pounds of cherries each year.
New bills would erode accountability measures in schools
New bills passed by Democrats in the House and Senate would make it harder for parents to know if their child has been placed with an underperforming teacher.
House Bills 4044, 4233, 4354, 4356, and 4357 would erode accountability in schools by removing a requirement that school administrators base personnel decisions on effective performance, demonstrated student growth, and other qualifications, and instead allow union bosses to drive teacher placement decisions.
All parents want to see their child succeed, and I support the work teachers do. However, this legislative package does not address the true needs of students.
Proposal 2 implementation bill package
The Legislature debated bills that were intended to implement the passage of Proposal 2 from last year’s election. Republicans secured amendments to the bills to ensure that Michigan will not continue to mail absentee ballots to voters we know have moved to another state and to expand existing state law to require video monitoring of absentee ballot drop boxes.
While supporting commonsense reforms, I opposed other bills in this package because they go way beyond simple implementation of Proposal 2 as passed by the voters. These bills include language that would weaken the integrity of Michigan’s elections by stripping out protections designed to keep our elections secure and fair.
Several of the bills in this bill package passed both chambers of the Democratic-controlled Legislature and are now before the governor; others are awaiting action in the House of Representatives.
Senator Roger Hauck
3300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Visit my website at: SenatorRogerHauck.com