Sen. Nofs supports state budget priorities

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan budget for 2018-2019 was signed by Gov. Snyder Thursday, finalizing the balanced budget ahead of schedule for the eighth year in a row.

Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, supported many of the items in the budget, including provisions for road funding, schools, public safety and veterans’ benefits.

“The funding in this budget brings our added investment in roads to $2.4 billion since 2017,” Nofs said. “While roads are the biggest issue for many Michiganders, this budget does a lot of other great things as well, including training 155 new state police troopers, investing $14.8 billion in education — the most in history — and providing over $6.2 million for programs that support our veterans.”

The 2019 budget puts $300 million toward road repairs in addition to a $30 million supplemental that was added to the 2018 budget.

The budget also provides $11.9 million to train 155 state police troopers and $9.5 million to train new corrections officers. These new hires will both replace retiring officers and expand the pool of available staff.

The school funding in this budget is the most ever allocated and the largest per-pupil increase in funding for most schools in 17 years. Details of the allocation include $500 million to help at-risk students, $28.6 million more for public universities and a $12 million increase in grants and financial assistance.

The budget provides specific services for veterans as well, investing $600,000 to help ensure Vietnam veterans get the care and benefits they have earned, setting aside $1 million to fund the Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority, and providing an additional $2.1 million to support county veterans programs statewide.

“I’m proud that this budget covers our biggest priorities while staying financially responsible,” Nofs said. “It’s a tough balancing act, but the state’s Republican leadership has been able to get it done for eight years in a row now. I hope the people of Michigan appreciate that we’re spending their tax money as cautiously as if it were our own.”

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Nofs supports recognition of Michigan’s responsible corporations

LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek, introduced House Resolution 357 designating May 30 “Corporate Citizenship Day” in recognition of the upstanding corporations operating in the state of Michigan.

Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, supported a similar resolution in the Senate and applauded Bizon’s effort to recognize the businesses within the state that are operating at a high standard.

“We should recognize the job creators that focus on sustainability and lead by example to make a positive impact on our communities,” said Nofs. “Michigan has many great companies that are committed to giving back and creating opportunities for the people of Michigan.”

Nofs pointed to Kellogg’s Global Corporate Responsibility Report as an example of a company’s commitment to transparency and philanthropy. Kellogg has a number of food-related programs in Michigan to combat hunger and improve environmental sustainability of agriculture.

A native of Battle Creek, Nofs further noted that Kellogg has been setting the standard for good corporate citizenship for nearly a century. True to its founding ideals, Kellogg is recognized around the world for ethical and sustainable business practices.

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Community beautification projects planned for 19th Senate District

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Thursday approved the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grant recommendations for development and acquisition projects in fiscal year 2019. Four of the projects are in Michigan’s 19th Senate District, including public trail expansions and trailhead creation.

“The proposed projects are great upgrades to prioritize our trail systems,” said Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “I want to thank everyone involved in securing these grants and putting them to work to improve the accessibility of our wonderful parks and nature areas.”

The MNRTF provides for natural resource protection and outdoor recreation through yearly project grants. By law, no more than 25 percent of the Trust Fund revenues can be used for development. Therefore, the majority of funding is allocated for acquisition projects. Final grant recommendations are made by the MNRTF Board and must be approved by the state Legislature.

 

Details of the four grants are below.

Eastern Calhoun – Albion – Iron Belle Trailhead Acquisition — $231,900

Acquisition of a 65-acre parcel of land in Albion Township and ultimately development of the property into a major trailhead and public recreation area for eastern Calhoun County. The trailhead will serve several recreational assets, including the Iron Belle Trail, which is being developed through the city of Albion and then through Albion College’s Equestrian Center before reaching the proposed trailhead location. The proposed trailhead is across the street from public access to the Kalamazoo River.

Fred Meijer River Valley Rail Trail – South Phase — $290,000

Development to construct approximately 14.5 miles of nonmotorized trail from the Ionia-Kent county line to the north city limits of Lowell and from the south city limits of Lowell to Saranac, where it will connect to the existing Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Trail. This trail will develop an existing nonmotorized corridor that connects the Ionia River Trail to Fred Meijer ClintonIonia-Shiawassee Trail and contributes to the planned 125-mile trail system between Alma and Owosso.

Albion River Trail Expansion — $255,000

Development of a trail to extend the Albion River Trail system on the west side of the city. This project is part of a larger push by the Calhoun County Trailway Alliance, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many others to fill the gaps that exist along the trail systems. This project is part of a larger plan to complete these regional trails. Albion is located at a hub for three major recreational trails in the state: The Iron Belle Trail, the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail, and the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Silk City Nature Trail Gathering Place Connector — $142,300

Development of the new Gathering Place Park in downtown Belding. The project will include a 650-foot extension of the Silk City Nature Trail along the Flat River and connection to the Fred Meijer Flat River Valley Rail Trail, a fishing and wildlife observation deck, interpretive and pathway identification signage, benches and landscaping.

 

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Sen. Nofs introduces bill to create school safety department

LANSING, Mich. Senator Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, introduced a bill Thursday to create a school safety office within the Michigan State Police.

The new agency would work in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Education to better facilitate cooperation between schools and local law enforcement agencies.

The department would help create safety plans, train school staff on what to do in case of an emergency and provide a structure to distribute and solicit school safety grant funds.

“Our first responders already do a great job of keeping our communities and our schools safe,” Nofs said. “This new office will make sure all agencies across the state have access to the most current resources and training they need to respond to security issues.”

Senate Bill 982 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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Sen. Nofs supports commission decision to green-light new power plant

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued its final ruling Friday on a request by DTE Energy to build a 1,100-megawatt natural gas power generation facility in St. Clair County.

The decision will provide DTE with the required Certificate of Necessity to move forward with construction.

Senator Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, supported the commission’s decision.

“I applaud the commission for their thorough work and approval of DTE’s Certificate of Necessity for a new natural gas power plant,” Nofs said.

The Legislature created the framework for the Certificate of Necessity back in 2008 and refined it in a bipartisan 2016 energy law. Nofs said it sets a rigorous and transparent process for evaluating projects to ensure Michigan’s families and businesses have the best, most efficient, and most affordable option for power generation available to them.

“The 2016 energy law was made possible by the collaboration of policymakers, the business and environmental communities and concerned citizens,” Nofs said. “It has only been in effect for a little over a year and has already had success. I look forward to continued infrastructure transformation and investment in the future.”

The new power plant would provide a cleaner source of energy and use some of the most efficient power generation technology available today. It will replace three coal-fired plants, significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions while providing reliable around-the-clock power. The plant will create 500 construction jobs and 35 operational jobs.

“I was pleased to see that there were over 50 integrated resource planning scenarios produced as a part of this process and that numerous residents and energy stakeholders participated to ensure the proposal was studied from all angles,” Nofs said.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Nofs congratulates Michigan Youth Challenge Academy cadets

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, on Thursday welcomed cadets from the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy (MYCA) to the Michigan Senate for a special tribute during session.

Nofs, a longtime supporter of the MYCA, praised the cadets and encouraged his colleagues to learn more about the program. The MYCA is an academy for at-risk youth that focuses on physical, mental and moral development to build competitive skills and achieve lifelong success.

 

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Top photo caption: State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek (second from right), and Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage (third from left), welcomed cadets from the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy to the Michigan Senate during session on April 26.

Bottom photo caption: Cadets from the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy visit the Michigan Capitol on April 26 and meet state legislators.

Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of these and other Nofs photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorMikeNofs.com and click Photowire under the Media Center tab.

**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Nofs applauds signing of 911 service upgrade bill

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Nofs (right), R-Battle Creek, attended a bill signing ceremony Tuesday for Senate Bill 400which will upgrade 911 emergency services in Michigan to improve response and emergency services.

Nofs had a distinguished, 30-year career in law enforcement before being elected to public office. He retired from law enforcement in 2002 as Battle Creek post commander after serving 25 years with the Michigan State Police.

“I know firsthand just how important reliable communication technology is to law enforcement,” Nofs said. “This bill is a great step to modernizing our emergency services and helping our men and women in uniform to better serve the Michigan public.”

 

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

**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Nofs welcomes guest to the Capitol for State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, welcomed Jamie Stuck, tribal council chairman of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, to the Michigan Capitol before Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address. Stuck was Nofs’ guest for the annual address Tuesday night.

 

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

Sen. Nofs votes for state income tax relief

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Nofs voted to pass legislation Wednesday that would preserve the Michigan personal exemption for state income tax and raise the exemption by $700 over three years.

This would allow taxpayers to keep more for themselves at tax time and not have to send it to Lansing.

Senate Bill 748 would make changes to Michigan tax law to retain the state personal exemption and also boost the exemption from $4,300 to $5,000 by 2021. Currently, the state personal exemption is scheduled to increase from $4,000 to $4,300 over the next three years.

“I’m glad we were able to fix a potentially serious problem for our taxpayers,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “The federal tax cuts were a good break for the average American. It’s not the fed’s fault that Michigan’s tax math is based on their number. This is a smart fix and a good opportunity to give Michiganders some much-deserved tax relief.”

Michigan’s current state income tax law ties state personal exemptions to the federal number of exemptions. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump in December 2017 simplifies the code, lowers tax rates, doubles the standard deduction and increases family tax credits. However, in streamlining the exemption process, it effectively ends the federal personal exemption. Without a revision to the law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim the personal exemptions on their state taxes.

SB 748 now heads to the House for further consideration.

In a busy day of legislative action, Nofs also voted in support of a veto override of SBs 94 and 95 that will speed up the reduction of a tax on used vehicle trade-ins. Otherwise buyers would have seen their state taxes go up when buying a new car.

“Taxes are not what Michigan drivers want to think about when trading in a car,” Nofs said. “These bills help both the drivers who want to trade up and the businesses who want to stay competitive with out-of-state dealers. I’m pleased to see bipartisan support for this veto.”

 

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Reminder: Kowall and Nofs honoring Vietnam era veterans at Battle Creek event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Mike Nofs on Friday reminded interested parties of a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Nofs, R-Battle Creek, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Battle Creek in conjunction with the 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at the 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, 3367 W. Dickman Road, Battle Creek.

RSVP to Sherry Swann, U.S. Army veteran, at 269-274-8890 (email gordonrosberg@comcast.net) or to Kowall’s Director of District Affairs Lynn O’Brien at 517-373-0563 (email lobrien@senate.michigan.gov).

Kowall and Nofs will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

The master of ceremonies at the event will be retired Army National Guard Col. Frank Walker. South Haven native, Vietnam veteran, and Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Spc. 5 James C. McCloughan and retired Army Brig. Gen. Robert Secrist will be the guest speakers, and McCloughan will perform the national anthem.

To begin the formal ceremony, American Legion Post 298, Patriot Guard Riders and the Blue Star Mothers will form a flag cordon line inside the hangar for a Vietnam veteran procession.

Additional event highlights:
• Cereal City Concert Band will perform a selection of patriotic music under the direction of Conductor Dr. Stephen White, and they will also end the ceremony with echo taps performed by Susan Owen and Derrick Anthony;
• The Hooligans Flight Team will perform a flyover in the Missing Man Formation;
• A variety of veterans service organizations will be on hand to provide Vietnam veterans and their families with current information on benefits;
• Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 313 will host a Vietnam memorabilia table; and
• Firekeepers Casino Hotel of Battle Creek has generously offered to donate sandwiches for the event.

Guests should be aware that all vehicles entering Battle Creek Air National Guard Base are subject to inspection. For security, no bags or purses will be authorized in the event area, and individuals may be subject to metal detector inspection. Handicapped parking will be limited, although a shuttle service will be provided from the on-base parking area to the event.

The lapel pinning ceremony is not an official military function of the 110th Attack Wing.

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.