Senate approves Pettalia memorial highway bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Jim Stamas’ legislation to permanently honor former Rep. Peter Pettalia, who died in 2016 in an accident while traveling down to the Capitol for session.

“Representative Pettalia was a commonsense public servant who was dedicated to improving the lives of the people in Northern Michigan,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “To those of us who were blessed to know him, he was a good friend who loved life, his family, his community and the entire state.

“Pete enjoyed traveling throughout the Sunrise Side along Heritage Route 23, and naming part of that route would be a fitting tribute to his life and his tremendous impact. Although Pete is missed very much, this tribute would ensure that he is never forgotten.”

Senate Bill 622 would designate the portion of U.S. 23 in Presque Isle County between Maple Drive and Misiak Highway as the “Peter A. Pettalia Memorial Highway.”

Pettalia served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2011 until his untimely death in September 2016. He previously served as Presque Isle Township supervisor for 16 years and as a volunteer firefighter for the East Grand Lake Fire Department for 15 years. Pettalia was a member of several Presque Isle and Alpena area organizations and enjoyed spending time with his wife Karen, two children and two granddaughters.

The bill would have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. State law requires sufficient private contributions to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining markers indicating the name of a memorial highway.

SB 622 now heads to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, has introduced similar legislation.