Zorn applauds grants for Bedford, Monroe schools to use more local produce

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn on Friday applauded new state grants that will help schools in Bedford and Monroe purchase more locally grown produce.

“This is great news for Monroe and Bedford students and the entire region,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Helping provide growing children with healthy and nutritious food is critical to developing sharp minds and promoting long-term fitness. This grant will help these schools team up with local farmers will increase students’ access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

Bedford Public Schools and Monroe Public Schools are among 32 school districts statewide that will receive additional funding in 2017 to purchase locally grown produce.

The grant awards are from the 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms pilot program, which is now in its second year. Legislators expanded the program to $375,000 for the upcoming school year and added the southeast Michigan region. Michigan Prosperity Region 9 consists of six counties in southeast Michigan, including Monroe and Lenawee counties.

“I want to thank Senator Goeff Hansen for his leadership in expanding this successful program to southeast Michigan,” Zorn said. “I also want to applaud the leadership at both Bedford and Monroe schools for their efforts in earning this grant.”

For more information on the 10 Cents a Meal program, visit www.tencentsmichigan.org.

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Sen. Zorn tours Monroe downtown developments

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn recently toured new businesses and developments in downtown Monroe with Mayor Robert Clark and Economic/Downtown Development Coordinator Annette Knowles.

“It was amazing to see what is being done currently in downtown Monroe and to hear from developers about the issues and successes they have had in the process,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Local leaders, developers and innovative business owners are working together to revitalize downtown Monroe. As a result, we are seeing new investment and opportunities, which is great news for the community and the entire region.”

The tour started with Zorn meeting with Ryan Houser and Hannah Loop from Patriot Group, which is looking to create office space that will offer flexible renting options through various forms of membership. The group then toured recently refurbished apartments with Greg Schafer above a future open retail development on the main floor and saw condominiums owned and operated by Adam Davis above the Jones for Men clothing store on Front Street.

“I want to thank Mayor Clark and Annette Knowles for hosting this tour,” Zorn said. “It is important to remember that each development means more buildings in our downtown communities put back to productive use and more jobs for local residents.”

The tour met with Book Nook owner Janet Berns, Mike Stolisov and Nick Wilkens of MNX Solutions, and the Art Insight Emporium’s Christy LaRoy before concluding at one of the newest retail locations, RunHip with co-owner Deric Tedora. The fitness store is in the former United Furniture building, which is one of several properties developed by Ken Wickenheiser.

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Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.

Senate panel OKs Zorn bill targeting opioid drug dealers

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to increase punishments for drug dealers feeding the state’s growing opioid epidemic.

“This is about targeting drug dealers who are helping feed an opioid addiction epidemic that is killing thousands of Michigan residents every year,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Opioid addiction is impacting every community in our state, and we must take a comprehensive approach to win this battle.”

Under Senate Bill 460, a person who illegally provides a Schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance, such as an opioid-based pain medication, that is the cause of serious injury to the user or another person would be guilty of a felony punishable by two years in prison.

A second conviction would result in a punishment of five years in prison, and subsequent convictions would be punished by 10 years in prison. The sentences would be in addition to punishments from other related convictions and would be required to be served consecutively.

“Our goal is to reduce access to the supply of these powerful drugs by prosecuting those who illegally provide them,” Zorn said. “This bill would give prosecutors another tool to punish drug dealers when their actions cause serious injury to those that are drug dependent.”

The Michigan State Police support the measure, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.

House committee OKs Zorn’s opioid abuse prevention bill

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The House Health Policy Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help combat the state’s growing opioid addiction epidemic.

“The abuse of prescription and illegal opioids is the deadliest drug epidemic in American history, and we have seen the terrible impacts here in Monroe and Lenawee counties,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We must address the supply of these medications if we are serious about ending an opioid addiction epidemic that killed roughly 2,000 Michigan residents in 2015, an increase of 25 percent in two years.

“While we stop abusers from taking advantage of the system to get excessive amounts of dangerously addictive drugs, we must also ensure continued access to pain medications for patients who truly need them.”

Senate Bill 47 would mandate more use by prescribers and dispensers of the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), a state-run program that tracks patients and prescribers for over-supply of Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances.

Earlier this year, the state announced that it will fund a full integration of MAPS into Michigan health systems, physician groups and pharmacies that apply.

“It is critical that doctors have a quick and accurate prescription database to check a patient’s history,” Zorn said. “This bill gives doctors another tool to recognize potential addiction that can lead to early substance abuse treatment and would help stop doctor shopping that leads to addiction.

“Opioid abuse is a complex problem. My bill is part of a common-sense, grassroots approach to a comprehensive solution to protect our communities, save lives and maintain access to necessary pain medications.”

Zorn’s bill is part of a Senate package to help curtail the rising opioid abuse epidemic.

The bills now head to the full House for consideration.

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Senate approves Zorn bills to restore sales tax exemption for dental devices

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to eliminate the sales and use taxes on dental bridges, crowns, dentures and other prosthetics.

“One of the things I hear regularly from my constituents is frustration with the ever-increasing cost of health care,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “As we do what we can to make health care and dental care as affordable as possible for Michigan families, it doesn’t make any sense to start taxing dental products that greatly improve the health of hundreds of people every year.”

“This legislation is about helping all consumers in need of these products by clarifying that dental prosthetics were never supposed to be taxed.”

Since a Department of Treasury opinion letter in 1985, Michigan had exempted dental prosthetics from the state’s sales tax. Many Michigan tax laws were rewritten in 2004 to reduce the burden of compliance and improve tax administration.

Citing language in the 2004 rewrite, the Department of Treasury recently decided that dental prosthetics are not exempt and made an administrative decision to start charging sales tax on the products beginning July 1.

Senate Bills 566 and 567 would restore the sales and use tax exemptions for dental prosthetics.

“These products had been exempt from Michigan’s sales tax for more than three decades,” Zorn said. “This summer the state Department of Treasury arbitrarily wiped out 32 years of tax policy and started applying Michigan’s sales tax to dental prosthetics. My bills will restore this exemption and help curb unnecessary cost hikes for dental care.”

SBs 566 and 567 have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Zorn announces October coffee hours in Monroe and Adrian

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn has announced that he will conduct district coffee hours this month in Monroe on Oct. 9 and in Adrian on Oct. 16.

Coffee hours are open to residents to express their opinions or concerns about state government or to request assistance with a state issue.

The Monroe coffee hour will be held on Monday, Oct. 9 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Agua Dulce Coffee & Tea, 17 W. First St., in Monroe.

The Adrian coffee hour will be held on Monday, Oct. 16 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Country Skillet, 1422 S. Main St., Suite C in Adrian.

“I am holding these local coffee 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. I look forward to continuing a regular series of meetings throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents in one-on-one discussions.”

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

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

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