Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekly Update - December 18th, 2009

8:30 PM |

FYI Notes


Tributes and Congratulatory Notes


Looking for a unique way to commemorate a special occasion for a co-worker, friend or family member? My office is pleased to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions. To request an official state of Michigan tribute from my office, please visit www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm, select "Recommend someone for a congratulatory certificate" and fill out the request form.


Coming to Lansing?


As House Republican Leader, I frequently receive invitations to legislative conferences and events. Please know my priority is you. If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.


Stay in Contact


Mail: P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909

E-mail: kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov
Toll-Free: 1-877-536-4105
Phone: (517) 373-0829
Fax: (517) 373-1841

Website: www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm

Blog: http://staterepkevinelsenheimer.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/teamkevin


Mancelona Economic Development


Legislation allowing a potential biomass power plant in Mancelona to qualify for a property tax abatement was passed by the Senate and House late Thursday night and is now on its way to the governor for final consideration.


Senate Bill 126, sponsored by Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, will help Mancelona Renewable Resources locate a $140 million co-generation, wood fired power plant in Antrim County. The plant would employ an estimated 30 full-time people.


“Renewable energy is important for Michigan’s future as we work to turn our state’s economy around and biomass power is a viable source for the 21st century,” Allen said. “This project also brings much needed jobs to our area, so it will be a win-win.”


Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Kewadin, helped move the bill through the House and said the bill will give local communities like Mancelona the authority to issue local tax abatements for the project.


“Local governments can develop the economic growth projects that fit their communities if they have the tools available,” Elsenheimer said. “Making this bill into law removes one of the hurdles standing in the way of the MRR project.”


Office Hours


State Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire, will be available at office hours on Jan. 4 to speak with area residents of Charlevoix and Antrim counties.


“I want to hear residents’ thoughts and concerns about their state government,” Elsenheimer said. “The more people tell me, the better job I can do representing the needs and issues facing northern Michigan.”


He will be at Darlene’s Restaurant, corner of Second Street and Mill Street in East Jordan, from 2:30 to 4 p.m.


Residents unable to attend can contact Elsenheimer’s Lansing office toll free at 1-877-536-4105, by e-mail at kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov, or by writing to the lawmaker at State Capitol, Lansing, MI 48909.



Asian Carp Update


The Michigan House requested a federal call to arms against the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes by unanimously approving a resolution sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer.


Last week, House Resolution 186 was passed by the Michigan House Committee on Great Lakes and Environment. Today’s approval by the full House fast-tracks the resolution urging the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take immediate action for halting the spread of the invasive species into Lake Michigan while a long-term solution to protect the Great Lakes is developed.


"The Asian carp is perhaps the largest threat to the Great Lakes in our generation,” Elsenheimer said. “This is something our economy, our lifestyle and our culture cannot sustain, so we must have a call to action by all those with an interest or expertise in the Great Lakes ecosystem and its future.


“I’m encouraged that the importance of stopping these fish from reaching Michigan has been recognized at the state level and am working to make sure that the federal government addresses the severity of our situation by acting quickly as well.”


Asian carp have been detected within eight miles of Lake Michigan, having passed the electrical barrier designed to stop them in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The carp could become a dominant species in the Great Lakes, as Asian carp are voracious feeders that would oust native fish and wildlife from the habitat. One of the two Asian carp species, can jump up to 10 feet out of the water when startled by boats, leading to well-documented injuries to boaters hit by fish weighing up to 70 pounds.


Michigan counts on a $7 billion Great Lakes commercial and recreational fishery and $9 billion Great Lakes recreational boating industry as key components to its annual economy.


HR 186 will now be sent to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, members of the Michigan congressional delegation, the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chicago District.


Pure Michigan Hunt


The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters who purchase applications for the inaugural Pure Michigan Hunt in 2010 - which are on sale through Dec. 31 - that hunting rights won in the drawing are not transferable.


People who purchase applications for other hunters as gifts must use the gift recipient's identification to make sure that recipient is awarded the hunting rights.


The Pure Michigan Hunt is a drawing that allows three lucky applicants to participate in every restricted-access hunt available - elk, bear, spring and fall wild turkey and antlerless deer. In addition, those chosen in the lottery will get the first pick of hunting zone on a managed waterfowl area reserved hunt.


Pure Michigan hunters will be allowed to hunt their quarry anywhere and during any time frame the season is open. Hunters, for instance, who attempt to take an elk during the early hunt but are not successful, will be allowed to try again during later hunt periods.


Applicants selected for the Pure Michigan Hunt will not lose any preference points or weighted advantages for future limited-access hunts. And hunters who are ineligible to apply for elk licenses because of past success may participate in the Pure Michigan Hunt.


Applications cost $4 and individuals may enter as often as they like. Anyone who is 12 years old or older may participate, as long as their hunting privileges have not been suspended by the courts.


For more information, visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.


Great Lakes Projects


EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson is looking for a few good projects to fulfill the goals of President Barack Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The request for proposals (RFP) released by EPA invites partner agencies, stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and other eligible organizations working on Great Lakes restoration to present EPA with ideas and projects to protect and restore the Great Lakes.


The RFP is available online at http://epa.gov/greatlakes/fund/2010rfp01.


President Obama has made restoring the Great Lakes a national priority. In February 2009, he proposed $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an unprecedented investment in the nation’s largest fresh surface water ecosystem. Congress approved that funding level and Obama signed it into law in October. The majority of EPA’s grant funding is included in the RFP; funding through other agencies will be announced separately.


Proposals should focus on projects in the five priority areas the Task Force has identified as vital for restoring the Great Lakes. They are:


Toxic substances and areas of concern

Invasive species

Near-shore health and non-point source pollution

Habitat and wildlife protection

Accountability, education, monitoring, evaluation, communication and partnerships.


Snowmobile Workshop


The Department of Natural Resources will hold a free snowmobile safety instructor workshop on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center located near Roscommon on the north shore of Higgins Lake.


The workshop will provide an opportunity for experienced snowmobilers who have an interest in becoming a volunteer snowmobile safety instructor to receive their certificates enabling them to teach Michigans Snowmobile Safety Education Course.


Increasing the number of instructors will allow for more snowmobile safety courses to be offered. Class size will be limited to 25 students and filled on a first come, first served basis. Those interested must meet the following requirements:


-must not possess a criminal record

-must possess a valid drivers license

-must be 18 years of age or older

-must be knowledgeable of the rules and regulations that pertain to the operation of snowmobiles

-must have prior experience in the safe operation of snowmobiles

-must successfully complete the instructor certification training course and written exam


Individuals interested in participating in the workshop must register by the close of business on Wednesday, Jan. 2. To register, contact Cpl. John Morey at 989-619-3784 or via e-mail at moreyj1@michigan.gov. When registering, please provide your full name, complete mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address, if available. Attendance confirmation will be made prior to the workshop.

Friday, November 13, 2009

2:24 PM | , , , ,

Tributes and Congratulatory Notes


Looking for a unique way to commemorate a special occasion for a co-worker, friend or family member? My office is pleased to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions. To request an official state of Michigan tribute from my office, please visit www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm, select "Recommend someone for a congratulatory certificate" and fill out the request form.


Coming to Lansing?


As House Republican Leader, I frequently receive invitations to legislative conferences and events. Please know my priority is you. If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.


Stay in Contact
Mail: P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
E-mail: kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.
gov
Toll-Free: 1-877-536-4105
Phone: (517) 373-0829
Fax: (517) 373-1841
Website:
http://www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm
Blog:
http://staterepkevinelsenheimer.blogspot.com/
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/teamkevin


Office Hours

Next Friday, November 20th, I will be having office hours in Otsego and Cheboygan Counties. I invite you to come and share your thoughts on Michigan government with me during this time. I have listed the specifics below:

Otsego County
8:30 - 9:45 a.m.
Diana's Delight
143 W. Main
Gaylord, MI 49735

Cheboygan County
11:30 a.m - 1:00 p.m.
Wolverine Community Center
5716 E. Main Street
Wolverine, MI 49799


Mullet Lake Update

State Sen. Jason Allen and Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer praised all the parties involved in reversing special fishing regulations proposed for Mullet Lake that would have eliminated recreational walleye fishing in the Cheboygan County resource.

At its Nov. 5 meeting, the Natural Resources Commission heard from Kelley Smith, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division, who said the Little Traverse and Soo tribes had withdrawn their request for an increase in their 2010 walleye harvest and the department would work with them on the catch numbers to allow recreational walleye fishing to continue. Allen and Elsenheimer sent a letter to DNR Director Rebecca Humphries calling for local public hearings so an acceptable agreement could be established for all sides to continue using Mullet Lake.

“There are times in Lansing when issue lines are drawn and it looks from the outside that no one will budge when just a little common sense would solve it,” said Allen, R-Traverse City. “Happily, the Mullet Lake walleye issue is being resolved with people talking and willing to compromise for the good of the tribes, state anglers and the area economy.”

Earlier this month the DNR staff submitted a recommendation that the recreational walleye limit for Mullet Lake in Cheboygan County be set at zero because it did not believe the lake could sustain an ongoing walleye population alongside the tribes’ increased harvest.

Prior the NRC meeting there were public meetings with the DNR, and interested residents could submit their written comments for the commission to consider. The final ruling on the special regulations was not expected until the commission’s December meeting.

Elsenheimer said the cooperation over walleye fishing in Mullet Lake was a bright spot that hopefully could be built on in other sectors of challenges Michigan faces toward rebounding for the future.

“The future of Mullet Lake walleye fishing is a very localized issue but its amiable resolution hopefully shows that our government and department leaders can work through the bureaucracy for the good of the people and Michigan,” said Elsenheimer, R-Kewadin.


Executive Order 45

Governor Jennifer Granholm’s proposal to merge the departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources into a new Department of Natural Resources and Environment was rejected today by a Senate committee.

Approval of the rejection of Ms. Granholm’s executive orders from the Appropriations Committee came on party-line votes, with majority Republicans supporting the move and Democrats backing Ms. Granholm. GOP opposition largely stemmed from the executive order’s transfer to the governor of the power to appoint the directors of the new department and of the Department of Agriculture.

The Natural Resources Commission and the Commission of Agriculture now handle those appointments.

On party-line votes, the committee also approved a large package of bills that would merge the DEQ into the existing DNR, keeping the department under the control of the Natural Resources Commission and leaving Department of Agriculture director appointment in its current place. I support these changes and look forward to seeing a vote on the bill in the House.


Deer Check Station Changes

As firearms deer season opens statewide Sunday, the Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the department will operate fewer deer check stations this year due to budget reductions. Nonetheless, DNR staffers hope to check as many deer as possible to continue monitoring the herds health and to get good measures of the age and sex structure of the herd in various locations.

The DNR will continue to check deer at all operation service centers and at many other locations only during the firearm deer hunting season. Locations can be found on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrhuntin
g.

The DNR hopes hunters will make the extra effort to bring in their deer. Even with fewer check stations, DNR will be able to collect sufficient biological data to help make management decisions, but only if people bring deer in to be checked, said Russ Mason, chief of the DNRs Wildlife Division.

Head collections for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis will be significantly reduced this fall for much of Michigan, though the DNR will continue to monitor large numbers of deer from suspect areas: the five counties in the northeastern Lower Peninsula within the TB area as well as Iosco, Shiawassee and Kent counties.

Hunters are also reminded that it is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail, to feed or bait deer across the entire Lower Peninsula.

For a list of deer check stations and their days and hours of operation for 2009, please visit the DNR Web site at
http://www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting.

Friday, October 30, 2009

WEEKLY UPDATE OCTOBER 30, 2009

4:01 PM |

UPDATE -- October 30, 2009

FYI Notes

Tributes and Congratulatory Notes

Looking for a unique way to commemorate a special occasion for a co-worker, friend or family member? My office is pleased to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions. To request an official state of Michigan tribute from my office, please visit http://www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm, select "Recommend someone for a congratulatory certificate" and fill out the request form.

Coming to Lansing?

As House Republican Leader, I frequently receive invitations to legislative conferences and events. Please know my priority is you. If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.

Stay in Contact

Mail: P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909

E-mail:
kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov
Toll-Free: 1-877-536-4105
Phone: (517) 373-0829
Fax: (517) 373-1841

Website: www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm

Blog: http://staterepkevinelsenheimer.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/teamkevin

Budget Update

Governor Granholm signed the remaining budgets for the Fiscal Year 2010. In doing so, she retained the Michigan State Agricultural Extension and Experiment Station. Funding for this was part of the balanced, bipartisan, and bicameral agreement adopted earlier this month by the House and Senate.

Earlier this week, the Senate overwhelmingly defeated a measure to tax physicians in Michigan by a 32-4 vote. The bill had narrowly passed the House (Rep. Elsenheimer opposed the bill).

House Republicans are working on reforms to state government that will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Some of these reforms were previously in our Budget Plan, which can be accessed by going to www.gophouse.com/plan . Please stay tuned to future updates.

Mullet Lake Fishing Ban

State Sen. Jason Allen and Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer are pleased that the Department of Natural Resources will attend a Nov. 7 public meeting on proposed special fishing regulations for Mullet Lake so local residents have the opportunity to voice their opinions on a proposed order that eliminates recreational walleye fishing.

The Natural Resources Commission is set to consider the special fishing regulation at its Nov. 5 meeting, with possible approval as soon as Dec. 3. The change is being recommended because the Little Traverse and Soo tribes have requested an increase in their 2010 walleye harvest from the lake under a 2007 Inland Consent Decree.

“The loss of this fishery to the general public would be a tremendous blow to area recreation opportunities and the local economy,” said Allen, R-Traverse City. DNR officials have to reach out to all anglers and users of Mullet Lake to see if an acceptable, reasonable agreement can be reached.”

There will be a public meeting with the DNR will be at the Tuscorora Township Hall in Indian River at 2 p.m. Another meeting for concerned residents was expected to be held Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Ocqueoc Township Hall in Millersburg.

People interested in submitting official comments about the proposed Mullet Lake walleye regulation can send their written statements to the NRC at P.O. Box 30028, Lansing, Michigan 48909, or by e-mail at glodent@michigan.gov.

Earlier this month the DNR staff submitted a recommendation that the recreational walleye limit for Mullet Lake in Cheboygan County be set at zero because it does not believe the lake can sustain an ongoing walleye population alongside the tribes’ increased harvest.

This week Allen and Elsenheimer sent a letter to Director Rebecca Humphries requesting public hearings in the Mullet Lake area regarding her order #FO-206 as soon as possible. Both legislators also have been in contact with DNR staff regarding scheduling additional public hearings in the area.

“This proposal locks one group of residents out of the resource while giving special treatment to another, which is reprehensible, and then there’s the concern of the damage to the local economy that rely on the draw of Mullet Lake as a walleye fishing destination,” said Elsenheimer, R-Kewadin. “There has to be another approach the DNR can take that doesn’t just leave one segment of the population high and dry, and we’re pleased the DNR has recognized that the people deserve to have a public forum with the department director and her staff.”

The directive for lakes with special regulations covers a five-year period beginning next year, but does indicate the zero walleye limit regulation for Mullet Lake will be re-evaluated at the end of the 2010 fishing season.

Changes to Beaver Trapping

Trappers May Use Snares to Take Beaver

As beaver trapping season progresses, the Department of Natural Resources reminds participants that the use of snares is legal during the entire season.

According to the 2009 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide, snares may be used for taking beaver Dec. 1 through March 31. That information is incorrect. Snares may now be used throughout the season.

All additional information concerning cable sizes and allowable sets in the guide are correct.

Halloween Event

Onaway State Park is inviting all families, campers and park visitors to celebrate fall season with a fun spooky evening on Friday, Oct. 30, from 6 until 9 p.m.

Park staff will be telling ghost stories around the campfire in the historic Onaway State Park pavilion. Visitors are invited to share a spooky story while enjoying a warm bon fire, apple cider, donuts and the camaraderie of fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Campers are reminded that camping and the Shoreview Camper Cabin are still available at Onaway State Park through Nov. 30 this season. Camping reservations can be made online at http://www.midnrreservations.com or by calling the DNR central reservation system at 800-447-2757.

Onaway State park is located at 3622 North M211, Onaway in Presque Isle County. For more information about the park, camper cabin, accessibility, or persons needing accommodations to attend this event, contact the park supervisor at (989) 785-4388 (or TTY/TDD 711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired), or visit the Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/onaway.

All motor vehicles entering a state park or recreation area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the park entrance. Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily. A nonresident annual is $29 and a nonresident daily is $8.

For a listing of other events taking place at Michigan state parks and recreation areas visit the GO-Get Outdoors Calendar at http://www.michigan.gov/dnrgogetoutdoors.

Monday, October 5, 2009

WEEKLY UPDATE

8:47 AM | , , , ,

UPDATE -- October 2, 2009

Tributes and Congratulatory Notes

Looking for a unique way to commemorate a special occasion for a co-worker, friend or family member? My office is pleased to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions. To request an official state of Michigan tribute from my office, please visit www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm, select "Recommend someone for a congratulatory certificate" and fill out the request form.

Coming to Lansing?

As House Republican Leader, I receive invitations to countless legislative conferences and events. Please know my priority is you. If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.

Stay in Contact

Mail: P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
E-mail: kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov
Toll-Free: 1-877-536-4105
Phone: (517) 373-0829
Fax: (517) 373-1841

Website: www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm

Blog: http://staterepkevinelsenheimer.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/teamkevin

Budget Update

As you may know, the state government shut down for 107 minutes this past Wednesday as we were unable to reach a budget agreement or pass a continuation budget. Shortly after midnight, we did pass a budget for October and Governor Granholm signed it into law.

House Republicans were sincere in July when we proposed and published our plan to balance the budget without raising taxes on Michigan families and job providers. We believed then, as we do now, it is the best way to strengthen our floundering economy and move Michigan forward. There is plenty of blame to go around in the legislature and no one should feel that they have captured the moral high ground.

However, fourteen of the fifteen budgets were passed by the Legislature. Many of these budgets were passed with Republican votes in the House to meet the agreement spelled out by House Speaker Andy Dillon and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.

There is still plenty of work to do. We have not completed the K-12 School Aid Budget yet and negotiations are ongoing.

You may be interested in an article published by the Lansing State Journal which highlights some of the changes the budgets make:

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20090930/NEWS04/309300025

No New Taxes, More Reforms

Discussions among Democrats are already beginning on new taxes and fees to further hurt Michigan families and businesses. Some taxes being considered are on healthcare, satellite television service, bottled water and fast food.

I am opposed to any new taxes on Michigan's citizens and businesses. We are losing thousands of jobs and Michigan family budgets have declined by almost $10,000 this decade. We passed budgets that reflected these decreases in your income by reducing spending in the state's checkbook.

Without a doubt these cuts were hard choices to make, and now we must continue to live within our means. But that doesn't mean the discussion should end there.

I've had countless ideas to reform and reduce waste in state government sent to me by the people of northern Michigan. I, along with my colleagues, will be proposing reforms in the coming weeks to streamline how our government operates. These reforms will help resize the state's checkbook and save money so that we can focus on the programs that are critical to our success without taking more of your money.

If you have additional suggestions to reduce waste or reform government, please feel free to contact me. You can see some of our ideas in our budget plan, available here: www.gophouse.com/plan

Agriculture Data

Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Don Koivisto unveiled a set of food and agricultural county profiles for each of Michigan’s 83 counties and nine agricultural regions. The profiles highlight the diversity of Michigan agriculture, the economic impacts of the agri-food industry from a systemic view including food processing and distribution. The profiles also include information on current food and agricultural trends like locally produced and organic foods.

“These county profiles can be used by policymakers and private sector partners looking for opportunities to bolster the already successful food and agriculture industries in Michigan,” said Koivisto. “As the state’s second-leading industry, there are numerous entrepreneurial prospects and expansion possibilities for the state’s established agri-food businesses to create new jobs and economic growth in Michigan.”

Michigan produces more than 200 commodities and is second in the nation in terms of agricultural diversity. For example, the thumb area is number one in the state for dry beans and edible grain production, while western Michigan is tops for fruit and vegetable production. The majority of the state’s livestock producers are located in central Michigan.

When combined, the state’s 10 million acres of farmland, 1,000 licensed food processors, and more than 50,000 retail and food service establishments, Michigan’s food and agricultural systems are a potent economic driver and jobs provider.

“With the recent increase in consumer demand for local food and ag products, these profiles are a tremendous marketing tool for municipalities,” said Koivisto. “Agriculture has long been the state’s economic workhorse and MDA is proud to be able to help communities identify and capitalize on additional opportunities to unlock its economic potential.”

The profiles combine data drawn from USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) 2007 Census of Agriculture and other public sources. The county and region profiles also contain food processing and distribution data, and information about local sources of food such as farmers markets and food banks.

For a complete listing of the county profiles, visit www.michigan.gov/mda. For additional information, visit USDA-NASS at http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Michigan/Publications/Charts_and_Maps/Census/index.asp

Monday, September 28, 2009

BUDGET UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 28, 2009

11:20 AM |

Over the past week the House and Senate have been working to finalize a budget. We are making progress. We have a bipartisan agreement between the House and Senate to balance the budget without raising taxes and everything seems to be on track.


Here is a break down of what has been passed out of the House already:

Community Colleges
Department of Agriculture
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth
The Judiciary

These bills have passed out of Conference Committees:

School Aid
Higher Education
Department of Education
Department of Corrections

These budgets are still in conference:

Department of Natural Resources/Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Community Health
Department of Human Services
Department of Transportation
General Government (AG, SOS, Revenue Sharing, etc.)

The bills that are in conference are still being worked on and the Speaker hopes that we will be done and voting on these bills by Tuesday the 29th. If this doesn’t happen, House and Senate Republicans have introduced, and the Senate has passed, a continuation budget to keep the state running for another month if a budget can't be finalized.

The House Republicans are staying strong to their message that it's time for government to take a hard look at reforming how it does business. The reductions in the budgets are a grim reality of the revenue situation our state faces. The Michigan Business Tax surcharge is killing business growth and start-ups all over the state.

These next few days will be important not just for the coming fiscal year but for years to come. We have an opportunity to shape and mold our state for years to come. I will be continuing to update about the budget situation as events occur. Follow my updates on Facebook and Twitter. The House will be back in session on Tuesday and Wednesday starting at 10:00am.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

RECENT ARTICLE IN THE DETROIT NEWS

8:08 AM | , , , , , ,

"GOP pushes House Dems for plan to close shortfall
Republicans prepare to extend this year's budget if no deal is reached by month's end

KAREN BOUFFARD AND MARK HORNBECK
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing --Now that Gov. Jennifer Granholm has revealed her plan to solve the state's budget crisis, it's time for House Democrats to do the same, according to House Minority Leader Kevin Elsenheimer.

With just 21 days remaining to balance the budget or risk a government shutdown, Elsenheimer, R-Kewadin, called a press conference to chide House Speaker Andy Dillon for not coming out publicly with a plan to solve the state's $2.8 billion budget deficit. Granholm made her plan public Tuesday.

Elsenheimer wouldn't say whether Dillon has introduced such a plan in closed-door talks between Granholm and top legislative leaders. He did say he's seen a "one-page plan" from the speaker that he called "woefully insufficient."

"It's time to take the negotiations out of the back room," Elsenheimer said. "I'm glad the governor has released this information. The time has come for Speaker Dillon to do (the same)."
He stopped short of saying a government shutdown is likely but said he's "concerned."

"If we aren't able to produce real and substantive bills in the next week ... it makes it much more difficult to get a complete plan in place by the end of this month (and avoid a government shutdown)."

House Republicans are preparing to extend this year's budget if lawmakers can't agree on 2009-10 spending by the start of the new fiscal year Oct. 1, Elsenheimer said. That would avert a government shutdown such as the brief one that occurred on Oct. 1, 2007. Granholm refused to extend the budget two years ago -- but she hasn't ruled it out this year.

Granholm on Tuesday laid out a two-year plan that includes $1.9 billion in tax credit reductions and tax increases, including taxes on bottled water, tickets to live events and vending-machine pop, as well as a cigarette tax hike. Granholm also would slash $2.2 billion from the state budget and use $2 billion in federal stimulus money.

Elsenheimer said House Republicans oppose the governor's plan, particularly the tax increases, because "it's very dangerous for the long-term health of this state."
House Republicans unveiled their own budget plan earlier this summer that includes stiffer budget reductions to avoid tax increases.

Dillon said budget talks have stalled primarily over the Senate's proposed cuts to the state's Promise Grants for college students, revenue sharing and funding for the state Department of Community Health.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, said on Detroit talk radio Wednesday: "We don't have the votes in the Senate for tax increases. As long as we have a proposal that balances the budget without tax increases, why would we?"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Weekly Update for September 4, 2009

9:57 PM | , , ,

In this Issue:
● FYI Notes
● Budget Update
● Government Transparency
● Angling Restriction
● Pure Michigan Honored


Tributes and Congratulatory Notes
Looking for a unique way to commemorate a special occasion for a co-worker, friend or family member? My office is pleased to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions. To request an official state of Michigan tribute from my office, please visit www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm, select "Recommend someone for a congratulatory certificate" and fill out the request form.


Coming to Lansing?
As House Republican Leader, I receive invitations to countless legislative conferences and events. Please know my priority is you. If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.


Stay in Contact
Mail:
PO. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
E-mail: kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov
Toll-Free: 1-877-536-4105
Phone: (517) 373-0829
Fax: (517) 373-1841
Website: www.gophouse.com/elsenheimer.htm
Blog: http://staterepkevinelsenheimer.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/teamkevin

Budget Update

I am happy to report that some progress is finally being made on the state budget in Lansing. A substantive budget meeting occurred Thursday with legislative leaders, who are taking a hard look at several House Republican reforms.

The House Republican budget plan creates more than 11,000 jobs, ensures federal matching funds for the next two years while investing more than $400 million in roads, cuts state spending and implements long-term government reforms without raising taxes.

Our plan to move Michigan forward solves the $1.7 billion state budget shortfall without a tax increase through immediate government cost-saving measures, long-term government reforms, and a plan of action to use the economic stimulus dollars on the economy, not state government.

We unveiled our plan to solve the state’s budget problems way back in July of this year. As a caucus, we are happy to help lead the way to make sure this budget is solved before the Oct. 1 deadline. We’d now like to see our common-sense proposals in bill form so we can vote on them as soon as possible.

The governor recently said she thinks it is ridiculous that the budget isn't finished yet - and she's right, it is ridiculous. But throwing your hands up in the air in frustration is not a solution.

I am willing to work with Democrats and make compromises to get this problem solved. Stimulus funds have already been used to avoid drastic cuts that would endanger public safety and education. But we don’t want to use stimulus funds just to fill holes in the budget. The stimulus funds are supposed to be used to make long-term investments in our infrastructure and create jobs.

We need to get the budget done so that lawmakers can focus attention where it should be - fixing the economy. If, however, we get to a point where it is near midnight on Sept. 30 and there still isn't a budget in place, I absolutely do not support a government shutdown. I believe we should instead take the prudent step of passing a continuation budget, which would at least provide funding for essential public services like police protection.

I will make every effort to keep you informed of what is going on and what to expect during the next month as lawmakers deal with this situation. I hope you will also take the time to talk with your friends and neighbors to let them know what is going on, and talk to me too about what you think should be done.

For more information on our plan, please visit GOP House Republican plan at www.gophouse.com/plan.


Government Transparency

Earlier this year I wrote to tell you about an important piece of reform legislation I am working on to increase government transparency by requiring the state to post spending information online. The idea is to hold government accountable for how it spends taxpayer money and make it more efficient by exposing waste.

My plan is based on bipartisan federal legislation and is similar to successful programs already being used in several other states. Unfortunately, eight months after introducing this plan there has been absolutely no progress made toward implementing it.

I promise to keep fighting for increased government transparency, but in the meanwhile, the next time a politician says there is no waste to cut and we have to raise your taxes, don't just take their word for it - ask them to prove it.


Angling Restriction

As salmon begin making their way up the states rivers from the Great Lakes, the Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that the use of salmon eggs and minnows for bait is restricted in some waters as part of a strategy to slow the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS).

VHS, a disease that causes fish to die from internal bleeding, has caused mortalities among a number of species of fish in Michigan in both the Great Lakes and inland waters. The disease has been found and has caused fish kills in Michigans waters of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. VHS has been found in Lake Michigan, but not in Michigans waters. Inland, it has been found in Budd Lake in Clare County and in Baseline Line Lake in Washtenaw County. VHS has not been found in Lake Superior.

Anglers who purchase spawn for bait should look for certified VHS-disinfected spawn as this bait can be used anywhere in the state. Certified VHS-free spawn and minnows are widely available and can be used up to 14 days after purchase.

Anglers who purchase bait must retain their receipt to prove it is disease-free. Uncertified bait may only be used in waters that have tested positive for VHS, as listed in Fisheries Order 245 which can be found on the DNRs Web site at www.michigan.gov/vhs, and uncertified bait can be used for only three days after purchase.

Anglers and boaters can help prevent the spread of VHS -- as well as other invasive species -- by taking a few simple precautions. Do not move fish from one body or water to another, do not empty bait buckets into the water, drain live wells and bilges when leaving the water, and disinfect boats between uses.

For more details on all aspects of VHS and fishing regulations specific to VHS, check the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/vhs.


Pure Michigan Honored

I am pleased to announce that the Pure Michigan campaign was honored with two Mercury Awards last night at the US Travel Association ESTO Conference, naming it as the Best State Tourism Radio Advertising our overall campaign and Best State Tourism Niche Marketing for our golf and hunting campaigns.

The Mercury Awards is a program created by the National Council of State Tourism Directors to recognize its members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state tourism marketing and promotion, and to inspire the continued development of imaginative and exciting destination marketing and promotion programs.

I am thrilled for this industry recognition of the Pure Michigan campaign. This recognition comes on the heels of Forbes naming Pure Michigan one of the ten best tourism promotion campaigns of all time. These two awards join the other Mercury Awards the campaign has already received including Best State Tourism Advertising Campaign (2007), Best State Tourism Television Commercials (2007), and Best State Tourism Radio Campaign (2008).

Return on Investment research shows that for each dollar Michigan spent on out-of-state advertising from 2004 through 2008, new visits to Michigan stimulated by that advertising created more than $40 of spending at Michigan businesses and generated $2.86 in new state tax collections.

I will continue to advocate and stress the importance of this agency’s budget to my colleagues and urge you to do the same. A stable funding source must be created to promote Michigan's numerous recreational opportunities. I believe government should devote spending to programs our state benefits from the most. Tourism promotion is, in my eyes, one of those priorities.

Pure Michigan commercials can be experienced online at www.michigan.org/travelads.