2013

2013 Carl Parsell Scholarship Winners

 

TREVOR WOODS

Trevor is the son of Trenton Police Officer and MAP member Randy Woods and Mom Noelle Woods. Trevor graduated from Trenton High School this month and will be attending Ferris State University in the fall to begin his studies for an intended major in Criminal Justice. During high school, Trevor participated in football, baseball, and track, and was an elected member of the Anti-Bullying Committee. Trevor also belonged to the Spanish Club. Trevor participated in “Victory Day”, which helps special needs kids play football. He also volunteered for a youth football camp, and works at Amigo’s Mexican Restaurant. By receiving this scholarship, Trevor will be better able to concentrate on his classes and attain good academic grades.

ANDREW BURMEISTER

Andrew is the son of MAP member and St Clair Shores Police Officer David Burmeister and mom Denise Burmeister, graduated from Dakota High School in Macomb Michigan with a 3.72 GPA. He developed his leadership skills as Captain of the Varsity Basketball All Academic Team. Andrew has also been involved with the National Honor Society, football, and track teams. He works for Jet’s Pizza and also referees in youth basketball leagues. Andrew’s community service activities include being a camp counselor at youth basketball camps, assisting with autistic children, and volunteering for the Humane Society and The Salvation Army. The award of this scholarship will help Andrew towards his eventual goal of earning an MBA in marketing or sports management, and achieving his career goal of becoming a sports agent or working directly for a professional sports team.

 

Legislative Updates - May 20, 2013

STATE’S FINANCIAL PICTURE ON THE UPSWING

The Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) reports that Michigan’s financial picture is improving with $483 million ($397 million for General Fund, $86 million for School Aid Fund) more for FY 2013 than was projected at its conference in Januar

The outlook also appears good for FY 2014 and 2015 as well, although not quite as robust. CREC projects $219 million more in FY ’14 and $244 million more in FY ’15.

Part of the reason for the additional money in FY ’13 is that $265 million of the $483 million was, out of fear that with the federal “fiscal cliff,” investors took gains or income early to avoid paying more in capital gains taxes and federal income taxes that were going to rise this year. With the extra money in hand lawmakers have a plethora of ideas on how to spend it. Most prevalent appears to be for roads, education and the Rainy Day fund.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) calls the surplus “one-time money” and projects $130 million would go to roads to meet the federal match. After that, he sees a spirited debate over putting the remainder into K-12 education, early childhood education, universities,or the rainy day fund.

Some Democrats though have different priorities. They would prefer restoring the income tax exemption on pension income, pre-natal programs, and programs for senior citizens.

SENATE PULLS PLUG ON MEDICAID EXPANSION IN DCH BUDGET

The Senate on Thursday passed the long-delayed Department of Community Health (DCH) budget without the controversial Medicaid expansion – apparently waiting to see what the House Republicans do on their Medicaid reform package (HB 4717) they introduced last week.

Under that legislation, Medicaid would be expanded to those at 133 percent of the poverty level, there would be a four-year cap on receiving medical coverage through the program for nondisabled adults, insured adults could have to contribute 5 percent of their annual income to pay for their health care costs, the state would be required to develop new incentives for healthy behavior and for enrollees who help DCH detect fraud in the system, and the federal government would be required to pay 100 percent of the expansion costs.

For the plan to work, the federal government would have to approve a massive waiver of which there is no guarantee.

If the federal government doesn’t issue a waiver for controversial reforms like the 48-month cap on benefits House Republicans put forth last week, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said Medicaid expansion in Michigan is dead.

The DCH budget bill (SB 0198) cleared the Senate at $15.4 billion on a narrow 20-18 vote.

NO-FAULT REFORM PENDING IN THE FULL HOUSE

On a party-line vote, the House Insurance Committee moved to the House floor legislation (HB 4612) that would cap at $1 million the state’s current unlimited lifetime medical coverage for catastrophically injured car accident victims.

Under the committee approved bill, health benefits currently collected by the catastrophically injured would not be limited and a $50,000 limitation on retrofitting of a house or car was removed from the original bill.

The measure also clarifies that there would be no 16-hour cap on non-relative care provided to victims – either currently or in the future – and 24-hour care would be provide if needed; creates a fraud authority and would try to restrain attempts by medical providers to charge exorbitant rates for care for auto-related injuries.

Although the bill is out of House Insurance committee, its chair, Rep. Pete Lund (R-Shelby Twp.) conceded he expects an uphill climb. Senate Democrats have taken a caucus position to not support the bill and several Republicans are either opposed or yet undecided on how to vote.

Representative Lund, however, is cautiously optimistic that the measure will eventually make it through the House.

BRAKES PUT ON EXPANDED ROAD FUNDING PLAN

Don’t look for an expanded transportation funding package to make it into the lawmakers’ selfimposed June 1 deadline for completing the FY 2014 budget.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said there will not be a package raising the $1.2 billion Governor Rick Snyder wants or any alternative amount by that date. He says the solution has to be bipartisan and the deadline question can only be held after the next quadrant meeting.

And Democratic lawmakers said this week they have no intention of offering an expanded transportation funding proposal. House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said they are waiting for a “serious plan” from the Governor.

FLANAGAN TAKING “SKUNK WORKS” TO FACEBOOK

Now that State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is in charge of leading Governor Snyder’s call for injecting more technology in the classroom, he is taking what was the secret nature of what was known as the “Skunk Works” project and placing it on Facebook and Twitter for what he calls transparency reasons.

Mr. Flanagan said the process will start with a survey, promoted with Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as a YouTube video with an explanation of the project.

The Michigan Board of Education will be updated at its June meeting. The original “Skunk Works” was ordered disbanded by Governor Rick Snyder who handed the project to Mr. Flanagan.

DEMS CALL FOR GUN CONTROL/MENTAL HEALTH REFORMS

Three House Democrats have introduced a package of five bills that call for universal background checks, assurance and expansion of true gun-free zones, support for mental health care parity and efforts to keep guns away from those convicted of domestic abuse.

Under the gun-free zone legislation libraries would be added along with schools, sports arenas, daycare centers, university classrooms and churches. Current law allows people licensed to carry concealed weapons in these locations.

NRC APPROVES WOLF HUNTING SEASON

The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has approved regulations for limited wolf hunting in the state. The wolf season will go from November 15 to December 31 of this year in three locations in the Upper Peninsula. The NRC action came just a day after Governor Rick Snyder signed into law legislation (SB 0288) giving the (NRC) the responsibility to establish managed open season hunts for wild game and authority to regulate the taking of fish as well as place wolves on the endangered species list has been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, Jan. 16,2013

Commitment to jobs, people, good government
drives Michigan's successful comeback agenda

Plan to improve roads among Snyder's
State of the State highlights

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's commitment to jobs, people and good government has made it the nation's comeback state, and seizing opportunities to further reinvent Michigan that await in 2013 will keep that drive alive, Gov. Rick Snyder said in his third State of the State address.

"Michigan is showing the world that anything is possible with hard work, courage and relentless positive action," Snyder said. "Our success comes from every comer of this great state. While we all can be proud of this progress, Michigan's reinvention must continue. We still face too many challenges that have been ignored for too long. Let's renew our spirit of collaboration and innovation so we can do what's best for our state as a whole. Reinventing Michigan isn't the easy thing to do, but it's the right thing to do. We all want more and better jobs for working families and bright futures for our children. We can achieve both by moving forward thoughtfully but boldly."

Many objective measures underscore the state's progress. Michigan's economy is at a 10-year high and private payroll jobs have increased by 177,700 since August 2009. Fundamental reforms and sound fiscal stewardship have put Michigan back on the path to prosperity. For example, the Budget Stabilization Fund - used by the state to respond to unforeseen circumstances - now has its largest balance in more than 10 years thanks to prudent budgeting and planning.

Key to success is the recognition that Michigan's greatest asset is its people, and investing in people was a top priority of the governor's in 2012. Pathways to Potential, a new model of service delivery for the Department of Human Services, will expand from 21 schools to 135 by mid-February. The Summer Youth Employment initiative proved successful, serving 764 teenagers in Flint, Saginaw, Detroit and Pontiac in partnership with 13 nongovernmental agencies. In addition, the bipartisan effort on autism insurance reform is giving affected children a greater chance to live independently.

To fuel Michigan's positive momentum, create more jobs and enhance our overall quality of life, the governor proposed working with his legislative partners on:

  • Investing in Michigan's deteriorating roads to ensure long-term savings for the state, save lives and deliver quality, cost-effective results for taxpayers. Simply maintaining the current condition of our roads - which most motorists agree is not good - demands significant investment. Snyder pointed out that every dollar invested today saves money in the future, which is critical given Michigan's decades~long road maintenance, repair and construction challenges. Michigan is currently short about $1.2 billion a year to fix our roads, and new investments haven't been made in them since 1997. We can pay today or continue to delay, but that will cost us twice as much. We'll need $12 billion over 10 years - and that's just in today's dollars. Continuing to delay lets the costs balloon to $25 billion in 10 years and saddles the next generation with that bill. The governor is proposing a simple and fair "user fee" based on three revenue sources: 1) a shift from the gas tax to a tax at the wholesale level; 2) an increase in vehicle registration fees for light cars and for trucks; and 3) an optional local or regional registration fee that will be permitted. The total will be about $120 per car on average, but since it's a basic user fee, it will fluctuate based on the amount of use and the vehicle's value. Snyder will work with lawmakers to determine the proper balance between the funding sources to ensure that adequate revenue is generated. Poor roads take a heavy toll on vehicles, causing an average of$357 in repairs each year for family cars. Having quality roads reduces damage to vehicles, makes driving safer and also helps to spur job creation by making Michigan more economically competitive. Most important, investing in better roads means saving nearly 100 lives a year, according to a March 2012 report from The Road Information Program. Snyder said taxpayers expect and deserve value for their money when it comes to roads. He added that adhering to best practices at the state and local levels, as well as managing our infrastructure with a long-term vision, will maximize efficiencies and innovation. "Investing money in our roads and bridges today saves money in the long run," Snyder said. "It also builds the foundation for our 21st century economy. We know what needs to be done. Let's fix our roads."
  • Reforming the no-fault auto insurance system to lower the high rates that burden families. Unlimited benefits, and the lack of control over their costs, have made auto insurance beyond the financial reach of many residents. Michigan has the nation's highest no-fault average claim cost severity. In addition, the average claim cost in Michigan increased 81 percent from 2004 to 2012. Detroit, Novi and Muskegon are among the Top 10 most expensive cities in the nation for auto insurance. Reforming the system can ease the strain on motorists and make Michigan more competitive.
  • Increasing transparency in Michigan's elections and encouraging voter participation. These include allowing no-reason absentee voting for people who apply for an A V ballot in person at a clerk's office, and comply with existing photo ill requirements; permitting online voter registration in the same manner currently used for changes of address in the state's verification system; and increasing the frequency of candidate reporting by requiring them to file quarterly reports during non-election years.
  • Creating a Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, which will emphasize consumer protection while helping to create a climate that allows the insurance and financial services industries to thrive. The industries are critical to Michigan, employing more than 150,000 residents and generating more than $9 billion in annual payroll. The new agency will be responsible for consumer protection, outreach and education.
  • Creating an Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority. The authority will partner with state and local law enforcement and the insurance industry to provide education, training and enforcement programs to reduce incidents of insurance fraud. It will be funded through a $2 per vehicle assessment on insurance companies.
  • Encouraging the Legislature to adopt the use of "fiscal notes." This helps to ensure that government doesn't spend beyond its means. It also provides lawmakers and the public with an easy-to-understand and transparent accounting of the fiscal impacts of proposed legislation.
  • Supporting our veterans by creating an agency focused on helping them to identify and connect with services. With services to veterans currently spread across 15 state departments, the new agency will increase awareness of programs available to veterans. In partnership with veteran service officers and county veteran counselors, the agency will improve customer service by creating coordinated points of entry to veteran benefits by expanding access to services in every county. In addition, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will review the state's licensing requirements and provide a list of occupations for which veterans' military skills are equal or superior to their civilian peers. After the review, the governor will work with lawmakers on legislation that expedites the process of getting veterans back to work, particularly as EMTs, mechanics and commercial truck drivers.
  • These efforts will be bolstered by Michigan's recent accreditation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Achieving this accreditation allows applications prepared by the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with higher efficiency, which will achieve faster results for Michigan veterans. Accreditation also elevates the state's ability to work directly with the federal government to resolve broad policy issues affecting the delivery of services to veterans.
  • Strengthening communities by ridding them of abandoned properties. The governor is calling for legislation to prevent property owners who do not pay their taxes, or let abandoned properties fester to the detriment of neighborhoods, from buying additional property.
  • Combating the theft and resale of valuable metals. Thieves have become more aggressive in robbing properties of their metals. Snyder is asking the Legislature to give law enforcement the tools it needs to fight this problem, which impacts families, farmers, churches and businesses.
  • Pursuing a "next generation" 911 emergency system to better protect families and assist emergency responders. This updated technology will enhance the quality of information that is communicated and improve situational awareness of emergency responders before they arrive at the scene. Michigan first must move forward with enabling legislation that creates the governance model and finance structure that integrates this technology into one comprehensive vision to guide strategy and investment.
  • Help students who need it the most by encouraging and expanding the success of the Education Achievement Authority. The governor will work with the Legislature to codify the EAA into law and pass legislation that enables student-centered learning across the state in our most challenged school districts. The EAA was established to overcome the lack of improvement in the state's lowest performing 5 percent of schools.
  • Keep working cooperatively to reach a consensus on reforming Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for the benefit of consumers. The state act that regulates Blue Cross is over 30 years old and ongoing changes in the marketplace make this an ideal time to modernize Michigan's system while creating a regulatory environment that encourages competition, market speed and innovation, efficiency and cost reduction.
  • Establishing Michigan as a leader in autonomous vehicle testing to attract jobs stemming from this emerging industry. Autonomous vehicles are capable of sensing their surroundings and navigating without human input. As of October 2012, three states have passed legislation regarding the testing of autonomous vehicles. There are no federal regulations regarding these vehicles. The governor is proposing that Michigan enact laws clearly stating that testing and operating this new technology here is legal. Such a move will signal that Michigan intends to be a leader in this field and help to attract autonomous vehicle companies to locate here.
  • Increasing funding for:
    • The successful Healthy Kids Dental program, which serves 440,000 Medicaid-enrolled children.
    • The Office of Great Start, which promotes early childhood education.
    • Demonstration projects to improve mental health services, particularly with regard to early intervention for children.

Snyder also laid out the administration's policy "road map" for the year. In March, he will conduct an economic development summit to collaborate on the critical issue of connecting Michigan's talent to opportunities. In April, the governor's education summit will explore issues such as school safety and early detection of mental health issues. Results of the comprehensive Michigan Land Management plan are expected in May, and the governor looks forward to working on them with the Legislature. A summit of Great Lakes governors is planned for June, and a series of reports regarding Michigan's energy policies are due in December, which will help the governor and lawmakers determine the state's next steps regarding energy efficiency, renewable energy and the electricity market.

Editor's note: Visit www.michigan.gov/snvderfor more information on the governor's State of the State.