Senate passes Low-Income Energy Assistance package

For Immediate Release
May 31, 2012

Contacts:
Greg Moore (Sen. Nofs)
517-373-2426
David Marvin (Sen. Caswell)
517-373-5932

Senate passes Low-Income Energy Assistance package

Nofs/Caswell bills reform system; provide long-term stability

LANSING, Mich.—Bills creating low-income energy assistance passed the Senate Thursday.

Senate Bill 1134, sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, would create the Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). The legislation authorizes up to $60 million for low-income energy assistance and provides the Legislature the flexibility of several different funding options.

The fund would replace the current Vulnerable Household Warmth Fund, which is scheduled to sunset in September.

“This legislation is designed to be a long-term solution to address the critical heating needs of our most vulnerable residents,” Nofs said. “A lot of work has gone into designing a more fair and equitable system that will eliminate the double surcharges currently being paid by many utility customers across the state.”

SB 1135, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale, also passed the Senate Thursday. This measure would create the Michigan Energy Assistance Act (MEAA), which would receive funding from the LIEAF. The MEAA would add flexibility and efficiency to the current system.

“These reforms will streamline the application process for people seeking energy assistance and clarify what constitutes an emergency in order to help applicants in difficult situations in a more timely fashion, thus avoiding costly shut-offs,” said Caswell. “Furthermore, this legislation will help applicants move toward greater self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.”

The package now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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http://www.misenategop.com/senators/readarticle.asp?id=5181&District=19

Nofs announces additional funding for Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy

For Immediate Release                                                           
May 30, 2012                                                                       

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

Nofs announces additional funding for Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy

LANSING, Mich.—A doubling of the funding for the Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy (MYCA) is one step closer to becoming a reality Wednesday following actions taken by the Michigan Senate.

The Senate gave final approval to the 2012-13 budget for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which includes an additional $735,000 for the program sought by Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek. Nofs requested the increased funding last month during testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The MYCA is an award-winning program that is showing results in helping at-risk youths gain critical life skills, complete their education and get their lives back on track,” said Nofs. “This measure restores full funding to the program, which was cut in half just two short years ago.”

Major General Gregory J. Vadnais, adjutant general for the state of Michigan, lauded today’s action.

“I certainly appreciate Senator Nofs’ support of the department and our men and women in uniform, including our veterans,” Vadnais said. “I especially want to thank him for his work and commitment to increasing funding for the MYCA program and also helping to secure additional private funding to improve our facilities for these cadets.”

The Michigan Youth ChalleNGe Academy is a 17.5 month, three phase program run by the Michigan National Guard. Cadets start with a two-week Pre-ChalleNGe phase at Fort Custer in Augusta, Michigan. Then, for 20 weeks they live, work, and study on-site with other 16- to 18-year-old cadets.

In that 20 weeks, they will receive 400 hours of instruction to prepare them for the G.E.D. exam. After completion of the 22-week resident phase, cadets graduate and continue their personal growth with an adult mentor, who will provide each graduate with assistance for the next 12 months in their own community.

The legislation now awaits concurrence by the House.

For more information about the MYCA program and how it can change a child’s future, please visit www.michigan.gov/dmva.

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http://www.misenategop.com/senators/readarticle.asp?id=5172&District=19

Two Nofs bills approved today as part of eight-bill package reforming the personal property tax

For Immediate Release                                                          

May 10, 2012

Contact: Greg Moore

517-373-2426

Two Nofs bills approved today as part of eight-bill package reforming the personal property tax

Nofs amendment protecting local debt & voter-approved special millages passes

LANSING, Mich.– Legislation that would reduce the personal property tax for Michigan businesses was approved by the Senate on Thursday.

“These bills begin the process of eliminating a cumbersome tax that both job providers and local government officials agree needs to go,” said state Sen. Mike Nofs, author of two bills in the package. “They provide immediate relief for our smallest businesses while also beginning the phase-out process for our manufacturers, a segment that is key to the future well-being of Michigan.”

The reform stimulates business growth while protecting homeowners from property tax increases. Amendments successfully championed by Nofs ensure that voter-approved millages for bonded debt are 100-percent protected from declining revenue along with police, fire, senior and other similar millages.

Nofs indicated that his amendments were the result of collaboration with local officials to ensure security for vital municipal services.

“We listened closely to our local units and did our best to try and provide an increased level of certainty for them,” explained Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “As a former local official, I understand their hesitancy, but I believe this package will help increase investment in Michigan and improve our overall economy.”

The eight-bill package would alter the personal property tax in the following ways:

• Effective Dec. 31, 2012 any commercial or industrial businesses that have personal property valued at $40,000 or less will not pay taxes and will not file a return. This would eliminate 75-80 percent of returns that currently need to be filed.

• Effective Dec. 31, 2015 all eligible industrial personal property bought after December 31, 2011 will not be taxable.

• Effective Dec. 31, 2015 any eligible personal property that is 10 years old will no longer be taxed. This will continue each year until all property is tax exempt.

Nofs’ measures, Senate Bills 1070 and 1071, implement the exemption for personal property valued below $40,000 and the phase-out of all industrial personal property tax over a 10-year period, respectively.

“When job providers are able to grow and provide jobs, everyone is better off.” “A growing, vibrant economy can solve many of the problems that our state is facing. This package will attract new businesses to Michigan and will allow new companies to expand as they see fit.”

SBs 1065-1072 now advance to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.

http://www.misenategop.com/senators/readarticle.asp?id=5087&District=19

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Sen. Nofs receives 2012 Distinguished Service Award

May 8, 2012

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

Sen. Nofs receives 2012 Distinguished Service Award

LANSING, Mich.— Sen. Mike Nofs was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Jackson Community College (JCC).

The award was presented to Nofs, R-Battle Creek, on Saturday, April 28 during the JCC commencement ceremony in the Harold Sheffer Music Hall at the Potter Center.

“I am truly grateful to have received such an award from an institution that exemplifies the mission of the many community colleges across our great state,” said Nofs. “Michigan’s community colleges provide many different educational opportunities to citizens of varying education and work experience. JCC is a prime example of this.”

Nofs has been an avid supporter of community colleges across the state and recognizes the great opportunities they provide to students of all ages.

http://www.misenategop.com/senators/readarticle.asp?id=5068&District=19

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Senate approves kindergarten enrollment reforms

For Immediate Release                                                                  
May 3, 2012

Contact: Greg Moore
(517) 373-2426

Senate approves kindergarten enrollment reforms

Nofs amendment maintains parental control

LANSING, Mich.— The Senate gave unanimous approval Thursday to a set of bills designed to improve academic success by ensuring children are prepared to learn before they start kindergarten.

Senate Bills 315 and 316 would move up the date by which a child needs to be age 5 in order to enter kindergarten. That date would move from Dec 1 to Nov 1 for the 2013-14 school year, and would move up one month each year until reaching Sept 1 for the 2015-16 school year. Research suggests that delaying kindergarten by as little as three months could lead to significantly improved test scores in math and reading and reduce the number of students needing to repeat the grade level.

Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, won approval of an amendment which encourages parents and schools to communicate about a child’s readiness and clarifies that parents or legal guardians still maintain discretion as to whether to enroll a child.

“There are a variety of factors that go into determining whether a child is prepared to start kindergarten,” Nofs said. “But the ultimate decision about whether or not to enroll a child should be left to the parents or legal guardians. My amendment makes that clear, while also encouraging communication between parents or guardians and the school to help ensure any concerns are shared and that children are as prepared as possible.”

Under the amendment, parents of a child who would turn 5 years old by Dec 1 could request that the school district enroll their child even though he or she would not meet the revised deadline. Schools would also need to report the number of parents or guardians making such requests.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

http://www.misenategop.com/senators/readarticle.asp?id=5053&District=19

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