Zorn outlines need for firefighter certification bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday urged the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee to support his legislation to provide firefighter certification reciprocity with states that have the same certification as Michigan.

“This legislation was the result of conversations I had with several fire chiefs and local officials that recruiting and retaining firemen in local fire departments was both difficult and expensive,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Michigan currently does not recognize out-of-state firefighter certification, and this simple change will make a big difference in helping staff all fire departments at appropriate levels and reduce the cost of certifying firefighters who come from other states.”

Senate Bill 372 would require the state fire marshal to extend reciprocity certification to a firefighter from another state who seeks to work as a firefighter in Michigan, as long as the individual was certified in the other state after completing a program that meets or exceeds Michigan’s standards.

Midland Fire Department Chief Chris Coughlin, representing the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs, joined Zorn in urging support of the bill.

“We have run into a roadblock in hiring firefighters from out-of-state who are well-qualified and certified according to the National Fire Protection Association standards,” Coughlin said. “These are firefighters who have met certification standards in other states that meet, and often exceed, our own.”

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee unanimously approved the bill, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The measure is supported by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Township Association.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the Zorn’s website at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Zorn raising awareness of Dysautonomia

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn to help increase the public’s understanding and awareness of dysautonomia.

“Dysautonomia is a serious neurological system disease that disables residents of every age, gender and race from performing the most basic functions,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Although most people have never heard of dysautonomia, more than 70 million people worldwide live with some form of this medical condition. The impact on the lives of those with the condition and their families can be tremendous.”

Dysautonomia is an umbrella medical term utilized for a group of complex conditions that are caused by a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS regulates all of the unconscious functions of the body, including the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, metabolic and endocrine systems.

Senate Resolution 94 commemorates the month of October as Dysautonomia Awareness Month in the state of Michigan.

“Dysautonomia is not rare; it is rarely known and there is no cure. Because of the lack of knowledge in the medical community, it can take years for patients to find a physician that is qualified to diagnose and treat those afflicted with this disabling syndrome,” said Kim Pearch, a Monroe resident with dysautonomia. “My wish is that raising awareness will change ‘rarely known’ to ‘known’ and improve the overall quality of life for millions of people around the world.”

Zorn’s resolution states that dysautonomia can occur secondary to other medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. Certain forms of dysautonomia include side effects, such as frequent fainting, dizziness, shortness of breath and difficulty eating and sleeping, and can sometimes lead to death.

“Unfortunately, many people who have dysautonomia take a year or longer to get diagnosed,” Zorn said. “For those with dysautonomia, just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult and each day can bring new and unexpected challenges. Dysautonomia Awareness Month is an opportunity for us to help raise understanding of this condition and encourage people to contribute to finding a cure.”

For more information about dysautonomia or to donate to help raise awareness and find a cure, residents can visit the Dysautonomia Information Network website at www.dinet.org or the Dysautonomia International site at www.dysautonomiainternational.org.

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Zorn holding a coffee hour in Morenci on Oct. 2

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn will conduct a coffee hour in Morenci on Friday, Oct. 2. Coffee hours are open to residents to express their opinions or concerns about state government or to request assistance with a state issue.

The coffee hour will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Village Inn Restaurant, 121 West Main St., in Morenci.

“I am sponsoring a local coffee hour in order to help provide residents a convenient opportunity to meet with me in person,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “My aim is to provide the best service possible for the hardworking people of the 17th District. I look forward to continuing a regular series of coffee hours throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents in one-on-one discussions.”

To respect other patrons of the restaurant, no town-hall style discussions will be entertained. No appointment is necessary.

Residents who are unable to attend the coffee hour may contact Zorn’s office at (517) 373-3543 or via e-mail at SenDZorn@senate.michigan.gov.

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Zorn applauds $3 million state investment in Monroe port

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn announced on Tuesday that the Port of Monroe will receive $3 million from the state to dredge the River Raisin and conduct critical port improvements.

“This is outstanding news for Monroe and the entire region,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The port is the industrial, commercial and recreational gateway to Monroe and is Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie, yet its aging infrastructure has limited its accessibility.

“I applaud the local leaders for working together with state officials to create a first-of-its-kind plan to help the port and city make the vital improvements to enable the port to meet the needs of a growing economy and explore new opportunities for trade.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) awarded the Port of Monroe $3 million from the Investment Fund for the improvements. The board also approved a Brownfield Work Plan worth $3,643,225. The tax revenue generated as a result of the work plan will be used to repay the Investment Fund.

“As we consider policies to help promote job creation and economic development, it is important to remember the key role that our infrastructure plays in our economy,” Zorn said. “These improvements will increase the accessibility and efficiency of the Port of Monroe — leading to fewer cargo delays, reduced wear and tear on regional roadways, and a substantial increase in the opportunity for new trade.”

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Zorn supports bill calling for federal balanced budget

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday supported Michigan Senate approval of legislation to officially petition Congress to call a constitutional convention for a federal balanced budget amendment (BBA).

“It is long overdue for the federal government to do what Michigan families and small business owners do every month: live within your means and balance your budget,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Our country is more than $18 trillion in debt, yet our leaders in Washington keep adding to the debt burden that our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren will have to carry.”

Senate Bill 306 enters Michigan into an interstate compact to petition Congress to take the necessary steps toward passing a BBA to the U.S. Constitution. Once 38 states — three-fourths of the state legislatures — join the compact, they will then petition Congress to refer the BBA vote to the states for ratification by a three-fourths vote under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

“This measure shouldn’t be necessary,” Zorn said. “However, it unfortunately seems that a state-initiated balanced budget amendment is the only thing that will force our federal government to stop spending money they don’t have.”

The national debt is currently $18.2 trillion. By 2019, the federal debt is estimated to surpass $21 trillion.

SB 306 now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration.

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Zorn, local experts tell Senate panel about need to stop deep well injection in Monroe County

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn joined local experts in testifying on Thursday before the Senate Energy and Technology Committee on his legislation to stop deep well injection of brine waste products in Monroe County.

“I introduced legislation to protect our water after hearing loud and clear from residents about their concerns with the proposed new injection well in Monroe County,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This meeting was a chance for the committee to hear directly from local experts about why it is important to act and ensure the long-term safety of the drinking water and agriculture irrigation supplies for Summerfield Township families.”

Senate Bill 387 would prohibit deep well injection in Monroe County where karst topography exists.

Karst topography is a subsurface landscape formed by soluble rock, such as limestone. These formations allow easy movement of underground fluids, including injection materials that could return to the groundwater level and contaminate drinking water sources.

“This proposed deep injection well is an insane idea,” said Summerfield Township Supervisor John R. Chandler. “It threatens the economic viability of our township and the surrounding communities — including residents along Lake Erie.”

Ned Birkey, a local agriculture expert from Spartan Agricultural Consulting, said, “All the wells in a nine-mile area surrounding the proposed well are irrigation wells in karst formations.”

Summerfield Township Engineer Dave Kubiske, P.E. said, “Water is a precious commodity. If this aquifer would be breached, it would impact thousands of acres of farmland due to irrigation and result in an economic and ecologic disaster.”

Also joining Zorn in testifying during the committee hearing were Fred Lucas, an attorney representing Summerfield Township; Monroe County Environmental Health Director Chris Westover; and Monroe County Commissioner David Hoffman.

Current law requires both a federal and a state permit to inject brine into underground wells. Zorn’s bill targets state law to effectively rule out siting such a well in these sensitive underground settings.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com and clicking on the “Photowire” link under the Media Center tab.

Senate panel to discuss Zorn bill to stop deep well injection in Monroe County

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn has announced that the Senate Energy and Technology Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday on his legislation to stop deep well injection of brine waste products in Monroe County.

“I have heard loud and clear from residents about their concerns with the proposed new injection well in Monroe County, and I introduced legislation to protect our water,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This committee hearing is the next step in doing what we can to ensure the long-term safety of the drinking water for Summerfield Township and Monroe County families.”

The hearing will be at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 in the Senate Hearing Room in the Boji Tower, Ground Floor, 124 W. Allegan, Lansing.

Joining Zorn in testifying during the committee hearing will be Fred Lucas, an attorney representing Summerfield Township; Dave Kubiske, an engineer representing Summerfield Township; Monroe County Environmental Specialist Chris Westover; and Ned Birkey, a local agriculture expert from Spartan Agricultural Consulting.

Senate Bill 387 would prohibit deep well injection in Monroe County where karst topography exists.

Karst topography is a subsurface landscape formed by soluble rock, such as limestone. These formations allow easy movement of underground fluids, including injection materials that could return to the groundwater level and contaminate drinking water sources.

Current law requires both a federal and a state permit to inject brine into underground wells. Zorn’s bill targets state law to effectively rule out siting such a well in these sensitive underground settings.

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