Nofs Announces Energy Workgroup Participants

For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2014

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.— Sen. Mike Nofs, Chair of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, along with committee vice chairs Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, today announced the names of those who will participate on the recently formed Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workgroup.

“We had a tremendous response to my call for participation,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “As a result, we have assembled a group with impressive credentials that represents a broad cross-section of public and private sector organizations that will be able to provide valuable insight and ideas as we examine the future of our energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in this state.”

The workgroup will be tasked with reviewing the Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act-Public Act 295 of 2008 and recommending changes and/or updates to the law.

Nofs lauded the success of the 2008 legislation and the collaborative process that brought it about.       

“I think we did a pretty good job in crafting the 2008 legislation in terms of balancing aggressive but achievable standards with affordability and reliability,” Nofs said. “The workgroup process helped in vetting ideas and creating broad-based support, which is why I’m excited about using the process again.”

The workgroup will meet over the summer with the goal of developing draft language that will be taken up by the full Senate Energy and Technology Committee in the fall.

Members of the workgroup include:

Sen. Mike Nofs, chair;
Sen. John Proos, vice chair;
Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, vice chair;
Sally Talberg, commissioner, Michigan Public Service Commission;
Jim Ault, Michigan Electric and Gas Association;
Chrissy Beckwith, Semco Energy;
Craig Borr, Michigan Electric Cooperative Association;
Brindley Byrd, Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association;
Jim Byrum, Michigan Agi-Business Association;
Keith den Hollander, Christian Coalition of Michigan;
Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy;
Michael Cicchetti, Covanta;
Greg Clark, Indiana Michigan Power;
James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council;
Rick Coy, ABATE;
Tom Frazier, Michigan Townships Association;
David Forsberg, Integrys Energy Group;
Jason Geer, Michigan Chamber of Commerce;
Ariana Gonzalez, Natural Resources Defense Council;
Randy Gross, ITC;
Janet Hanneman, CLEAResult;
Samantha Harkins, Michigan Municipal League;
Kenneth Hedrick, Chevron;
Brandon, Hofmeister, Consumers Energy;
Doug Jester, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council;
Mike Johnston, Michigan Manufacturers Association;
Marty Kushler, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy;
Gary Melow, Michigan Biomass;
Lee Mueller, Michigan Hydro Owners and Operators;
Vince Parisi, IGS Energy;
Scott Robbins, Michigan Forest Products Council;
Jill Steiner, The Cadmus Group;
Steve Transeth, Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition;
Julie Voeck, Next Era Energy;
Larry Ward, Michigan Conservative Energy Forum; and
Jim Weeks, Michigan Municipal Electric Association.

 

Nofs announces energy policy workgroup

For Immediate Release:
May 6, 2014

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.—Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chair Mike Nofs announced Tuesday the formation of a workgroup that will begin the process of reviewing the energy efficiency and renewable energy aspects of Michigan’s 2008 energy legislation.

Nofs stated that Michigan is on target to meet or exceed the goals and standards laid out in the 2008 law and therefore it’s time to review where the state should go from there. 

“I think we did a pretty good job in crafting the 2008 legislation in terms of balancing aggressive but achievable standards with affordability and reliability,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “I’m proud that Michigan will meet its targets without changes to the law while other states are scaling back or diluting theirs.”

Nofs applauded the leadership of Gov. Snyder and noted the work of his “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions” task force in 2013. He said he expects the information and data collected during that process to be very useful to the workgroup. He also indicated his support for an “all-the-above” energy strategy, similar to the governor’s “No Regrets” policy outlined in his 2012 special message on energy, which provides Michigan the flexibility to adjust to changing market conditions by maintaining a variety of fuel sources and energy optimization options.

“The governor and I are in agreement that Michigan’s next generation energy policy needs to focus on ensuring the availability of clean, reliable and affordable energy for Michigan businesses and residents,” Nofs said. “As a key manufacturing state, the cost and availability of energy is critically important to the health and well-being of Michigan’s economy. We led the way in establishing forward-looking energy policy in 2008 and I have no doubt that we can do so again.”

Anyone who is interested in serving on or providing information to the workgroup is asked to contact Sen. Nofs’ office by Monday, May 12. He can be reached at 517-373-2426 or SenMNofs@senate.michigan.gov.

 

Nofs applauds Marshall, Calhoun County for earning grant to consolidate law enforcement services

LANSING—The city of Marshall and Calhoun County have been awarded $1.3 million from the state’s Competitive Grant Assistance Program for the construction of a consolidated law enforcement center in Marshall, said Sen. Mike Nofs.

“This project has been in the works for many years, and I am thrilled to see it finally come to fruition,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. 

Nofs drafted the original consolidation plan in 1996 while a first lieutenant with the Michigan State Police in Battle Creek.

“It made sense then and it makes even more sense now,” Nofs said. “This collaboration will reduce operating costs and response times for citizens while increasing communication and efficiency among all three law enforcement agencies, all of which is good for taxpayers and bad for criminals.”

The Michigan Department of Treasury announced the grant on Tuesday. The two local units have been awarded up to $1,319,583 to be used toward the building of a $14.1 million Marshall Regional Law Enforcement Center.

“We’re excited about the opportunity this presents for our three agencies and the citizens of Calhoun County,” said Sheriff Matt Saxton. “I want to thank Senator Nofs for his tremendous leadership on this project and the state of Michigan for being a wonderful partner in this process.”

Jim Schwartz, Marshall director of public safety said, “The city of Marshall is excited about this announcement and is looking forward to moving ahead with our local and state partners on this collaborative project.”

The purpose of the grant program is to provide incentive-based grants to stimulate more efficient government and encourage merges, consolidations and cooperation between two or more qualified jurisdictions.

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***Photo Advisory***

For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2014

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.— State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, welcomed the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP) Tribal Council to the Michigan Senate today.

Nofs and House Speaker Bolger awarded Council Chair Homer Mandoka, Vice-Chair Jamie Stuck, and Secretary Dorie Rios state tributes. The three council members have all been recognized nationally in the past year for outstanding tribal leadership. Under the leadership of the current council, the NHBP has become a national model of innovation and stability in tribal government.

Pictured are Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (left), Homer Mandoka (center), tribal council chairman and Nofs (right).

 

PPT repeal measure signed by governor

For Immediate Release                
March 28, 2014              

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426
                                                                     

LANSING, Mich.— Legislation dealing with the elimination of the Personal Property Tax (PPT) was signed into law Friday in Lansing, said Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek.

Senate Bill 822, which represents one of the final legislative actions necessary to effectively repeal the PPT, will help fund vital assistance to local governments. The elimination of the PPT has been a priority of this session as it is a tax that is considered dated and a barrier to new investment by municipal leaders and the business community alike.

“I want to thank Lieutenant Governor Calley and his staff, as well as all those who worked so hard crafting this bi-partisan legislation,” said Nofs. “This marks the conclusion of nearly four years of work and represents an important step in making Michigan more competitive for job providers.”

SB 822 is now Public Act 80 of 2014.

 

Nofs bill will assist law enforcement teams

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2014

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.— Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill authored by Sen. Mike Nofs that will help law enforcement agencies that choose to share resources to better serve their communities. 

The Urban Cooperation Act of 1967 allows such combinations, which are most frequently found in the form of taskforces that focus on a single type of crime.

A 2008 Michigan Supreme Court ruling found that when police agencies combine their resources, a new legal entity is automatically created that does not have the liability protections afforded to regular law enforcement agencies. Public Act 36 of 2014 clarifies that an inter-local agreement does not create a new entity unless that is a specific condition of the agreement.

“This legislation simply removes a legal barrier that has served as a deterrent to inter-local cooperation,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Criminals are becoming more sophisticated every day and the police need all the tools available to successfully protect Michigan residents.”

 

Nofs introduces bill to assist those who inherit property

For Immediate Release                
Feb. 27, 2014              

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426
                                                                       

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mike Nofs has introduced Senate Bill 831, which will protect individuals from increased taxes on property they inherit by will or intestate succession.

Under current Michigan law, when a property owner dies and the property transfers by will or intestate succession to another person, in most instances any homestead exemption on that property is lifted and the new owner is subject to the full 18-mill limit instead of the reduced 6-mill levy.

Nofs said this can be a tremendous burden on family members or others who are dealing with the costs of settling the estate and simply want to sell the property.

“Individuals who are already dealing with the loss of a loved one and all of the legal steps that come with it shouldn’t be further burdened with the potential for much higher taxes simply because the property transfers to them,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This will give individuals and families the necessary time to deal with these difficult matters while getting the property listed and sold.”

Under the bill, a new owner could retain an existing homestead exemption on the property for up to three years as long as the property is not occupied, is listed for sale, is not leased, and is not used for any business or commercial purpose. The owner would simply need to file a conditional rescission form with the local unit of government.

SB 831 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Bipartisan plan keeps repeal of punitive tax and protects local governments

For Immediate Release                
Feb. 25, 2014              

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426
                                                                       
LANSING—Upon introduction today of a 10-bill package (Senate Bills 821-830) dealing with the elimination of the Personal Property Tax (PPT), Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, issued the following statement:                        

“I want to thank Lt. Gov. Calley and his staff, as well as all those who worked so hard crafting this compromise package over the last 18 months. I’m pleased that the end result will allow us to fulfill our commitment to fund vital local government services while eliminating a tax that is much despised by all parties.

“Under this plan, elimination of the PPT will decrease the paperwork and administrative burden for businesses and local governments, provide a much more stable funding source for local units and place us in a much more competitive position for new jobs and investment relative to our neighboring states.

“I look forward to putting this issue before voters for their approval in August.”

 

Nofs receives Legislative Leader Award

For Immediate Release
Feb. 20, 2014

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.— Members of the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm (CTKMW) met Wednesday with state lawmakers at the Capitol in Lansing to raise awareness about the energy assistance needs of Michigan’s low-income households.

Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Snyder issued a formal proclamation designating February 2014 as Keep Michigan Warm Month.

“We met with legislators to provide them with the most current data regarding Michigan’s low-income population and energy assistance availability,” said Shaun Taft, chairperson of the CTKMW. “We’re confident that these lawmakers will be even more supportive of Michigan's energy assistance programs after they’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the realities our most vulnerable citizens are facing.”

As part of Wednesday’s events, the coalition presented its 2014 Legislative Leader Award to Sens. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, and Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale, and Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, who were instrumental in passing legislation last year to reform and fund Michigan’s low-income energy assistance programs.

“I am honored to receive this award from those on the front lines who see firsthand the importance of the programs and funding we put in place last year,” said Nofs. “Michigan has been hit with a particularly brutal winter this year, which only underlines our need to keep all Michiganders warm.”

The event at the Capitol is only one way in which the coalition works with state lawmakers to improve the delivery of energy assistance. Since 1987, the CTKMW has worked to improve the availability of financial and human resources to meet the energy assistance needs of Michigan’s low-income households.

Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Nofs photos, click the image or visit SenatorMikeNofs.com and click the Photowire link.

Nofs’ Senate Bill 528 passes Senate as part of child support reform package

For Immediate Release
Feb. 20, 2014

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Mike Nofs announced Wednesday that legislation he sponsored as part of an overhaul of the child support system passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Senate Bill 528 would amend the Michigan Lottery Act to codify and centralize the procedure for cross-referencing lottery winners with individuals who have failed to pay court-ordered child support.

“This is common sense policy,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “A parent who fails to pay to support their child should be held accountable, particularly when benefiting from a Lottery prize.”

Under the bill, before a prize of $1,000 or more can be distributed, the individual claiming the ticket must be cross referenced with the Department of Treasury liability system to ensure that the winner does not have an unpaid child support obligation. If one is found, the winnings must first go to the child support arrearage after which the balance would go to the winner.

The 12-bill package came about as the result of more than a year of work by the Michigan Office of Child Support (OCS), which engaged legislators and the stakeholders of the child support system to identify weaknesses in the current format.