Nofs bill to combat mortgage fraud signed

LANSING –- Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs was signed by the governor on Thursday as part of a package to help combat mortgage fraud and punish offenders.

“Today Michigan has taken important steps to combat the crime of mortgage fraud, which drives down property values and robs the American dream of homeownership from many innocent families every year,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “These new laws are an example of everyone coming together in a bipartisan manner to do the right thing for all Michigan residents. The new statutes will protect consumers and empower law enforcement officials to investigate, prosecute and punish mortgage fraud offenders.”

Nofs’ measure, Public Act 203, extends the statute of limitations for bringing an indictment for mortgage fraud from 6 to 10 years.

“Mortgage fraud can often take a long time to come to light,” said Nofs, vice chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “By giving law enforcement more time to investigate, my measure will help ensure that criminals do not escape justice because it is too late to prosecute them by the time their victim discovers and reports the crime.”

Public Acts 201-208 classify mortgage fraud as a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine and include reforms to increase the penalties for fraudulent activities such as counterfeiting or forging real estate deeds and violating the notary public law.

Editor’s Note: A print-quality photograph of Nofs at the governor’s bill signing is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at:

www.senate.michigan.gov/senators/photowire.asp?District=19

Nofs, Bolger welcome Michigan Youth Challenge Academy cadets

LANSING— Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, and House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, (left) welcome the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy cadets and Director Jim Luce (right) to the state Capitol.

A print-quality version of the above photograph of Nofs and the cadets is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at:

http://www.MISenateGOP.com/senators/photowire.asp?District=19

Nofs bill to combat mortgage fraud sent to governor

LANSING –- Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs was sent to the governor on Wednesday by the Michigan Senate as part of a package to help combat mortgage fraud and punish offenders.

“Mortgage fraud is a crime that robs many innocent Michigan families of realizing the American dream of homeownership,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Michigan families deserve protection against this devastating crime that undermines the faith in our financial system and drives down property values. When signed into law, my bill and the entire bipartisan package will help protect consumers and empower law enforcement officials to investigate, prosecute and punish mortgage fraud offenders.”

Nofs’ measure, Senate Bill 251, would extend the statute of limitations for bringing an indictment for mortgage fraud from 6 to 10 years.

“I sponsored this reform to give fairness to victimized homeowners and allow for proper punishment for criminal offenders,” said Nofs, vice chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “Unfortunately, mortgage fraud can often take a long time to come to light. Offenders should not be able to escape justice due to it being too late to prosecute by the time their victim discovers and reports the crime. My reform will expand the timeframe to solve this problem and give law enforcement more time to investigate.”

The eight-bill package would classify mortgage fraud as a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. It includes reforms to increase the penalties for fraudulent activities such as counterfeiting or forging real estate deeds and violating the notary public law.

Senate Bills 43 and 249-252 now head to the governor. House Bills 4462, 4478 and 4492 have been sent back to the House to be enrolled and sent to the governor.

Senate Republicans unveil plan to meet Michigans challenges

By Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek

Michigan is facing many serious challenges that require serious solutions. Senate Republicans recently unveiled our fall agenda that offers real answers to spurring job creation, strengthening education, protecting our citizens and making government more accountable and efficient.

As we work to reinvigorate our economy, we must embrace new ideas and restructure how the state operates if our economic and fiscal problems are going to be resolved.

Jobs remain our top priority. That’s why fostering job growth is the main focus of the Senate Republican plan. The cornerstone of this strategy is reforming the state’s personal property tax. This tax punishes businesses that expand and invest in Michigan by taxing the value of the new equipment and technologies the company purchases to stay competitive.

The personal property tax hits manufacturers especially hard, and even though manufacturing is the state’s number one industry, we are the only state in the Great Lakes region that taxes job providers in this manner. Michigan should be encouraging businesses to grow and invest.

To attract new jobs to Michigan, we must remove the barriers that make our state uncompetitive. That is why I sponsored Senate Bill 34. This will begin the discussion on how we go about reforming this cumbersome tax.

Cutting through the bureaucratic red tape and rebuilding our roads are also key initiatives in the Senate Republican agenda that will help attract job providers to Michigan. Time is money, and the quicker a business can navigate the regulatory process, the faster they can grow their business and put Michigan residents to work.

A highly educated workforce is also vital to businesses attempting to compete in the 21st century economy. That is why Senate Republicans will help ensure our children get the education they need by empowering parents to be more proactive in their child's education with more and creative choices.

Senate Republicans will also protect our seniors against those who would take financial advantage of their trust. We want to create a statewide alert system to find and safely return missing vulnerable adults, as well as strengthen tools to prosecute cases of elder abuse. Our caucus has also taken steps to ban partial birth abortions in Michigan and clarify the medical marijuana law to stop people from using loopholes to obtain marijuana for recreational use.

While protecting Michigan families, we will also protect their American dream. The Senate has already approved legislation to make mortgage fraud a felony and increase the punishments for those who prey on financially vulnerable homeowners. I look forward to seeing this reform become law so that we can retain the dream of homeownership for all Michigan families.

The Senate fall agenda is about improving Michigan’s economy, preserving our values and returning government to the people. I look forward to tackling our challenges with real, long-term solutions that will improve the lives of all Michigan families and restore our great state’s position as a leader in the world.
 

Nofs: Ending health care benefits for future retired lawmakers the right thing to do

LANSING—The Michigan Senate approved legislation Wednesday to end health care benefits for retired state legislators, said Sen. Mike Nofs, who supported the measure.

“I have voted to end this benefit in the past and did so today because it is the right thing to do,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Michigan workers in both the public and private sectors do not get retirement health care benefits after only six years of work, and neither should lawmakers.”

House Bill 4087 will end the practice that funded 90 percent of health care costs for retired lawmakers from age 55 to age 65, when they would be eligible for Medicare.

“Michigan can no longer afford this benefit for our elected public servants, especially considering the state’s recent budget deficits,” Nofs said. “Last year these benefits cost the state $5.3 million. By making this reform, we will save taxpayers millions of dollars as the benefits are phased out.

“Unfortunately, to avoid legal challenges, this reform only affects lawmakers not already vested, although this is still more than 60 percent of the members.”

The reform measure will strip lifetime benefits from 95 of the 147 current legislators. Benefits will remain for existing retirees and for those who have vested by Jan. 1, 2013. The bill returns to the House for concurrence, after which it is expected to go to the governor to be signed into law.