Stamas disappointed with AG Nessel power grab

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas on Friday said he is disappointed and frustrated that Attorney General Dana Nessel is unwilling or unable to follow the Michigan Constitution or law.

“The attorney general either doesn’t understand that we have co-equal branches of government where the Legislature makes the laws and the executive branch implements the laws or she simply doesn’t care,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Based on her policies and practices so far, the attorney general is going to do whatever it takes to achieve her own political agenda — in place of upholding Michigan law.”

On Thursday, Nessel issued an opinion declaring that a law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in December was unconstitutional “because its provisions go beyond the scope of what was disclosed in its title.”

“The fact is that the attorney general never liked the Mackinac tunnel proposal, and her action to overturn the law is a pure partisan power grab based on her personal opinion,” Stamas said. “The Mackinac Straits utility tunnel is the best option to protect our Great Lakes, maintain a critical supply of energy to Northern Michigan families and provide well-paying Michigan jobs.”

Stamas is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the General Government subcommittee.

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Stamas applauds local schools receiving 2019 safety grants

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas on Friday congratulated area schools awarded grants this week from the state’s 2019 Competitive School Safety Grant Program.

“A safe and secure school environment is critical to our effort to provide all Michigan students with an education that prepares them for success,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “While many of our schools have already made the necessary safety improvements, these grants are the next step in ensuring that every school has the enhanced security needed to keep our students and teachers safe.”

In 2018, the Michigan Legislature invested a total of $50 million into the grant program to help improve the safety and security of school buildings through the purchase of technology and equipment and through school building safety assessments.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) in October awarded $25 million in grants to 188 schools, school districts and regional education agencies throughout the state — including schools in Alcona, Alpena, Coleman, Gaylord, Gladwin, Midland, Mio and Sanford.

On Wednesday, the MSP awarded another $25 million in grants. Schools in the 36th Senate District receiving grants are:
• Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District — $85,951
• Beaverton Rural Schools — $88,638
• Saint Brigid Catholic School, Midland — $23,837
• Tawas Area Schools — $52,968

A complete list of recipients is available at www.michigan.gov/cjgrants. Click on the “General Grants School Safety” box.

According to the Michigan State Police (MSP), 366 applications were reviewed by a committee that included representatives from the MSP, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools and other school safety professionals.

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Stamas: MCCA fee increase example of need for auto insurance reform

Senator highlights new ‘IfMiRatesWereLower’ website

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Jim Stamas on Wednesday said the announcement by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) of a nearly 15 percent increase in its assessment illustrated the need to reduce the cost of car insurance in Michigan.

“Our state’s highest-in-the-nation car insurance rates are straining family budgets and holding back our economy,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “This fee increase will only make the cost of auto insurance worse, and it illustrates the need for action to make auto insurance more affordable while ensuring that drivers receive necessary medical care if they are in an accident.”

The MCCA announced on Wednesday that its assessment on auto insurance companies will increase by $28 on July 1 from $192 to $220. The increase will ultimately be passed on to drivers in the form of higher rates.

“The Senate is taking the lead on reducing burdensome car insurance costs facing Michigan families, and there is now an easy way for residents to let their voices be heard,” Stamas said. “A new website has been launched to allow drivers to let policymakers know what reducing auto insurance rates would mean to them.”

Residents can tell their stories about what lower auto insurance rates would mean to their family at www.IfMiRatesWereLower.com.

“I encourage drivers to submit their stories as we continue to work on achieving much-needed relief through comprehensive reform that adds flexibility, combats fraud and reduces costs,” Stamas said.

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Stamas clears up principal residence exemption misinformation

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas is alerting Michigan homeowners about inaccurate information being shared online about the principal residence exemption.

“Unfortunately, many residents are receiving false information on social media saying that their principal residence exemption is only good for 25 years and they will see a huge tax increase once they hit that mark,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “I want to be as clear as possible: Your principal residence exemption never expires, and you do not need to refile for it unless you move.”

According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, state officials and local assessors are experiencing a surge in inquiries from residents who are trying to verify the misinformation or submit unneeded paperwork.

A principal residence exemption (PRE) exempts a residence from the tax levied by a local school district for school operating purposes up to 18 mills. To qualify for a PRE, a person must be a Michigan resident who owns and occupies the property as a principal residence.

For more information about property taxes, residents can visit www.michigan.gov/propertytax.

Residents can also contact Stamas’ office toll-free at 1-855-347-8036 or via email at SenJStamas@senate.michigan.gov.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Stamas, Daley welcome Standish Chamber president to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, and Sen. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, welcomed Standish Area Chamber of Commerce President Tara Binder to the Michigan Capitol on Thursday. She was a guest of Stamas and spent the day learning more about state government.

Binder lives in Pinconning, is a graduate of Unionville-Sebewaing High School and is the bank manager at Independent Bank’s Standish office. Last year, she was honored by Independent Bank with its first-ever Volunteer of the Year Award.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Stamas chairs joint committee meeting for governor’s budget recommendation

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, listens as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (left) presents her fiscal year 2020 state budget recommendation during a joint meeting of the Senate and House appropriations committees on Tuesday. The governor’s recommendation starts the process of enacting a state budget for the next fiscal year.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.

Stamas comments on governor’s 2020 budget recommendation

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to the governor’s presentation of her fiscal year 2020 state budget recommendation on Tuesday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:

“This is the beginning of the budget process, and I am committed to working with our House colleagues and the governor to pass a responsible budget that helps build a better Michigan for families, workers and job creators.

“With smart budgeting, we can continue to fix our roads and infrastructure, support our schools and our students, keep our state on solid financial footing, and promote efficient and effective government.

“We must continue to invest in Michigan’s future. Over the last eight years, we have increased state funding for schools by $2.2 billion, and we’ve put $2.8 billion in new investment into our roads since 2017 — but more needs to be done.

“As we work to once again pass a balanced budget ahead of schedule, I look forward to hearing from Michigan families and residents about their priorities.”

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Stamas: Enjoy free winter fishing this weekend

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Jim Stamas is reminding residents that the state’s annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17.

“This weekend, Michigan anglers and those who have never gone fishing have the chance to experience some of the world’s best fishing — free of charge,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “I encourage area families to take advantage of this opportunity to introduce the joy of fishing to children or to just get away from the stress of life and relax in the Michigan outdoors.”

During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived and vehicles will be able to enter state parks and use boating sites without a recreation passport.

Residents and visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland lakes and the Great Lakes for all species of fish, but all fishing regulations still apply.

“Be mindful that ice fishing can be dangerous if people do not follow safety procedures or head out on the ice unprepared,” Stamas said. “For those who have not tried winter fishing, information is available online to help make your experience safe, fun and successful.”

For more information on Winter Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

The website also includes a link to information about ice fishing in the “Learn to Fish” section. An “Ice Fishing Basics” article features good safety advice and basics on getting started and commonly used equipment.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Stamas welcomes Northern Michigan guests for 2019 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, welcomed Bob Young of Presque Isle County and Ken and Brenda Borton of Otsego County to the Michigan Capitol as his guests for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address on Tuesday night.

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Editor’s note: The above photographs of Stamas with his guests are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.

Top photo caption: Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, welcomes Ken and Brenda Borton of Otsego County to the Michigan Capitol as his guests for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address on Tuesday night. Ken Borton is chairman of the Otsego County Board of Commissioners and board president of the Michigan Association of Counties.

Bottom photo caption: Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, welcomes Bob Young of Presque Isle County to the Michigan Capitol as his guest for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address on Tuesday night. Young is the owner of Young Appliance in Alpena.

Stamas comments on 2019 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to the governor’s 2019 State of the State address Tuesday night, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, R-Midland, issued the following statement:

“We have achieved much over the last eight years to make Michigan better — turning around a decade of decline, helping create more than half a million Michigan jobs, and reducing our unemployment to its lowest point since 2000.

“We need to work together to build on that record of success and improve our state for families, workers and job creators.

“Fixing the roads, protecting our water, preparing our students for success, reducing the cost of car insurance, and enhancing government efficiency and accountability are all critical parts to continuing Michigan’s comeback.

“I look forward to seeing the governor’s budget recommendation in March and working with her to invest in these priorities while also growing our economy, increasing opportunity and keeping Michigan working.”

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