Zorn to hold office hours in Adrian on July 8

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn has announced that he will conduct district office hours in Adrian on Friday, July 8.

Office hours are open to residents to express their opinions or concerns about state government or to request assistance with a state issue. No appointment is necessary.

The office hours will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Adrian District Library, 143 E. Maumee St., Adrian.

“I am holding these local office hours 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.

“This is the latest of a regular series of meetings that I have held throughout the district to hear directly from constituents in one-on-one discussions.”

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

###

Zorn resolution declares July 3-9 as Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan residents are encouraged to observe Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week on July 3-9 under a resolution sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn and adopted by the state Senate.

“Raising public awareness and engaging the people in the fight against aquatic invasive species are the best actions we can take to protect the health of the Great Lakes, Michigan’s inland lakes and our economy,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “As outdoor enthusiasts head out to enjoy boating or experience some of the world’s greatest fishing, this awareness week gives us a chance to enlist them in helping prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.”

Senate Resolution 184 encourages residents to increase their understanding and awareness of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and their ecological and economic impacts, and to take preventative measures to help stop the spread and introduction of the species in Michigan.

“Stopping the invasion of invasive species like Asian carp and controlling the species already here like zebra mussels are both important fights that we cannot afford to lose,” said Zorn, vice-chairman of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee. “Our state and economy are defined by the Great Lakes and depend on a safe and healthy fresh water system for numerous uses. Aquatic invasive species have the potential to devastate our ecosystems; our fishing, boating and tourism industries; and the livelihoods of thousands of Michigan families.”

SR 184 states that more than 180 nonindigenous AIS have been introduced to the Great Lakes, many of which are displacing native species; disrupting habitats; and degrading natural, managed and agricultural landscapes — resulting in millions of dollars for control efforts each year.

“Michigan has more than 900,000 registered boaters, and they can play a key role in preventing the accidental spreading of invasive species,” Zorn said. “We urge boaters to simply take a few proactive steps, such as washing boats and trailers before leaving access areas and drying boats and equipment for at least five days before launching into a different body of water.”

For more information about AIS, visit www.michigan.gov/Invasives.

###

Zorn applauds grant to support $4.7 million development project in downtown Adrian

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn announced on Tuesday that a project in downtown Adrian to redevelop three historic properties into 17 new residential units and approximately 5,800 square feet of commercial space is moving forward thanks to a recently approved state grant.

“Our downtown areas are the heart of our communities, and helping revitalize our downtown districts is an important part of maintaining healthy economic growth,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This grant will support a $4.7 million private-public partnership that will help continue the renaissance of downtown Adrian and attract new opportunities and investment.”

Zorn addressed the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board in support of the project.

After hearing from Zorn, the MSF awarded the city of Adrian and Strongback Properties $2,866,446 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for blight elimination through historic preservation and rental rehabilitation needed for the Strongback Four Corners Redevelopment project in downtown Adrian.

The project, which includes $1.62 million in private investment from Strongback Properties, would build out three parcels at 101-111 East Maumee Street, currently owned by the Lenawee County Land Bank Authority and the city of Adrian, that have been vacant for 10 years.

“It is outstanding news for the people of Adrian, and I applaud the local leaders and Strongback officials for working together on this downtown development,” Zorn said. “As a result, the city will see a new investment that will act as a catalyst for renewal and success.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, on behalf of the MSF, administers the CDBG program, which utilizes funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

###

Senate approves comprehensive criminal justice reforms

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

Zorn bill would stop parole violators from receiving welfare

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn recently supported bipartisan legislation designed to reform, re-establish and rebuild a criminal justice system focused on lowering recidivism.

Included in the comprehensive package of bills was Zorn’s legislation to prevent the state from giving public assistance to parole and probation violators.

“Our criminal justice system should focus on keeping our residents safe and help break the cycle of incarceration,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Roughly 90 percent of prisoners eventually return to our communities. It is critical that we efficiently and effectively rehabilitate them so they are prepared to find success in life after prison.”

The 20-bill package was approved by the Senate on June 9. Among reforms included in the package are better tracking of data on people who re-offend, allowing judges to shorten a probation term as a result of good behavior, speeding up hearings for prisoners with serious and life threatening medical conditions, encouraging partnerships with outside volunteers who offer services to prisoners, expanding housing reforms for juvenile offenders, and creating a tax credit for employing a probationer or parolee.

SB 943 would require probation and parole supervisors to provide to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) a list of people who have failed to report their whereabouts as required. Zorn’s bill, SB 944, would then prevent DHHS from granting public assistance to the listed parole and probation violators.

“Simply put: People who violate their parole or probation should not be getting taxpayer-funded welfare benefits,” Zorn said. “Parole is an important step toward rehabilitation and when prisoners are given a chance to rejoin society, we expect at a minimum they will report to a supervisor. This reform would crack down on those who fail to do so and end the practice of taxpayers giving benefits to offenders who don’t follow the rules.”

The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

###

Sens. Zorn and Kowall sponsoring June 20 event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Dale Zorn and Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall are reminding area residents that they are sponsoring a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony on Monday, June 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“After hosting two previous events to give long-overdue recognition to the Vietnam War era veterans for their service, Senator Kowall and I are proudly holding another ceremony on Monday,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I invite all interested residents and veterans to join us as we pay tribute to Michigan’s Vietnam veterans — who served our country with honor, yet were often forgotten when they returned home.”

The event will take place at the Vietnam Memorial located in Monument Park, 436 E. Maumee St., in Adrian on Monday, June 20 at 11 a.m.

There is no seating at Monument Park. The ceremony is expected to be short, but anyone who is unable to stand for more than a few minutes is encouraged to bring a chair.

“It has been an honor throughout my career to work and participate with our veterans, especially on the Vietnam Veterans Museum and the Memorial Park projects in Monroe,” Zorn said.

If weather does not permit, the ceremony will take place the same day and time at the Adrian VFW Post 1584 at 726 N. Main St. in Adrian. A light lunch will be held by the post following the ceremony.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “This lapel-pinning ceremony is a way to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

The ceremony is made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. Kowall said the symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” Kowall said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

###

Zorn highlights Monroe County Fair improvement funding in state budget

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn announced on Thursday that the Monroe County Fair will receive $40,000 in County Fair Capital Improvement funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget finalized by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.

“The county fair is an important part of the fabric of our community, and this funding will increase access to the fair for people with disabilities,” said Zorn, R-Ida.

The governor’s budget recommendation cut this program.

“After the Senate restored it, I worked with Representative Jenkins to get this key funding for the Monroe County Fair to complete this improvement,” Zorn said.

The fair is currently in the process of resurfacing the roadways on the fairgrounds to allow people in wheelchairs and those with physical disabilities to have access to the grounds. The project will bring the roadway up to ADA standards.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development offers the grant opportunity to county fairs to assist in the promotion of building improvements or other capital improvements on county fairgrounds within the state.

The funding is included in House Bill 5294, which contains Fiscal Year 2017 budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches.

###

Zorn supports Lenawee County road project in state budget

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — As part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget finalized by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Dale Zorn was able to secure $5.5 million for an important road project in Lenawee County.

The road project would create a 9.7-mile primary route to run traffic between M-52 and US-223.

“Once completed, this road project will help Lenawee County safely detour emergency route traffic so that it avoids dangerous flooding and also keep the heavy traffic off local roads,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I started working on this project after last year’s flooding closed the Blissfield Bridge, causing delays in commerce and emergency response.”

This Capital Outlay funding for the project is included in House Bill 5294, which contains Fiscal Year 2017 budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches.

“Constructing an adequate route to safely detour traffic from US-223, either due to accidents or, most recently, because of severe flooding which shut down US-223 in Blissfield, has been a goal of the Lenawee County Road Commission for over 20 years,” said Scott A. Merillat, managing director of the Lenawee County Road Commission (LCRC).

“The funding being provided by the state will bring this goal to fruition by allowing the reconstruction of Weston Road and Silberhorn Highway to provide that much-needed detour route. In addition, it will solve another longstanding need by providing an all-season route across southern Lenawee County to better serve the needs of our farmers, manufacturers and residents. LCRC is honored to receive this much-needed funding.”

HB 5294 has been sent to the governor to be signed. The FY 2017 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.

###

Zorn helps secure funds for Lenawee ISD equipment

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — As part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget finalized by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Dale Zorn was able to secure state funds to help the Lenawee Intermediate School District (ISD) purchase needed career tech center equipment.

“The Lenawee ISD does a great job helping area residents prepare for success in high-demand, well-paying careers,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This investment in equipment for the ISD’s career tech center will help enable the school to enhance its ability to prepare students for innovative, high-tech careers.”

Lenawee ISD will receive $76,000 in state funds toward the purchase of a CNC plasma cutting system, including the cutter, plasma table, controller, software, ventilation system, installation, training and a full warranty.

The funding is included in the Capital Outlay section of House Bill 5294, which contains Fiscal Year 2017 budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches.

“The manufacturing field of thermal cutting is one that is directly related to the world of welding and fabrication. Acquisition of this state-of-the-art CNC plasma cutter will give Lenawee Intermediate School District the opportunity to not only offer training to high school students, but it will also be used in adult learning classes; apprentice training; and even to engage 4th-, 5th- and 6th-grade students in the LISD STEM summer camps,” said Lenawee ISD Superintendent Jim Philp.

“Through adult learning, local employers will be able to send current employees to the LISD TECH Center to receive this specialized training. I am very grateful for Senator Zorn’s assistance in procuring this valuable piece of equipment for the learners of Lenawee County.”

HB 5294 has been sent to the governor to be signed. The FY 2017 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.

###

Zorn secures funding for MCCC building renovations

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — As part of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget finalized by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Dale Zorn was able to secure up to $3.75 million for Monroe County Community College (MCCC) to renovate the East and West Technology buildings.

“As Monroe County’s only higher education institution, Monroe County Community College is vital to attracting job creators to the area and preparing residents for successful careers,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This Capital Outlay funding will enable the college to repurpose the old industrial technology buildings for use as classrooms and labs for high-growth, high-demand instructional programs. It will also help retrofit mechanical and electrical systems for energy efficiency.”

The funding is included in the Capital Outlay section of House Bill 5294, which contains Fiscal Year 2017 budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches.

“Thanks so much to Senator Zorn for advocating for Monroe County Community College,” said MCCC President Kojo Quartey. “We are excited to hear this great news and will utilize the funds to further assist students and transform this great institution as we continue to enrich the lives of Monroe County residents.”

MCCC board chairman Joseph Bellino, Jr. said, “As chairman of the Monroe County Community College Board of Trustees, I would like to express my gratitude to the Senate for their faith in our mission. Receiving a fourth capital outlay from the state in less than 30 years speaks volumes about our administration, faculty, staff and students.”

HB 5294 has been sent to the governor to be signed. The FY 2017 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.

###

Sen. Dale Zorn comments on finalized 2017 state budget

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate finalized a Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan that increases support for education and public safety and strengthens the state’s finances, Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement:

“Since I joined the Legislature, we have achieved much to improve our state and — every year — we have passed a balanced and responsible budget well ahead of the deadline.

“We worked hard to finalize a budget that continues our positive momentum, ensures we live within our means and makes smart investments in top priorities facing Michigan families and businesses. Most importantly, it increases funding for our local schools and invests existing revenues into fixing Michigan’s roads.

“Once again, we are building on our commitment to all levels of education — including a more than $260 million increase for local schools and paying down more than $1 billion in school retirement costs to help put additional resources into the classroom.

“Michigan’s economy continues to grow and create jobs, and this budget will help students and workers get a well-paying job by increasing support for career and technical education and training in the skilled trades.

“This fiscally responsible budget meets our highest priorities. It supports vital services, invests in our children, improves government efficiency and continues our commitment to make Michigan more attractive to tourists and job creators.”

Senate Bill 801 is the education budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $16.1 billion. The bill includes increases for universities and community colleges, an additional $261 million for K-12 schools, $54.5 million for special education, $3.3 million for CTE equipment, and a total of $1 billion to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). It also increases MSU Extension program funding back to 2011 levels at $28.6 million.

House Bill 5294 contains budgets for principal state departments and the Judiciary and Legislative branches. It puts more resources into local revenue sharing; enables the Michigan State Police to add 65 troopers; and invests $2.5 million for Michigan Automated Prescription System upgrades, a vital tool for combatting the opioid abuse epidemic.

Under the bill, the County Fair Capital Improvement grants are restored, including $40,000 for the Monroe County Fair to repair streets and improve access for people with disabilities; and $60,000 for the Lenawee County Fair dairy barn.

The bills now head to the governor to be signed. The FY 2017 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.

###