Zorn speaks at ‘Let Them Play’ rally

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Saturday talked about the importance of athletics during a rally of thousands of coaches, parents, student athletes and supporters to urge the governor to allow high school and youth winter sports to resume immediately.

“We had a great turnout of support for our student athletes, who have done everything the state has asked of them and now just want to play,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Sports foster valuable life skills, such as team work, leadership, responsibility and accountability. They also offer unique opportunities for kids to stay healthy and build lifelong friendships.

“Considering all the positive benefits of youth sports and the facts that repeatedly show our student athletes can compete safely, we implore the governor to let them play.”

The Let Them Play rally followed Senate action on Thursday to approve Zorn’s resolution urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on high school and youth sports and allow play to resume immediately.

Senate Resolution 7 noted that “according to the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the negative rate for over 30,000 rapid COVID-19 tests conducted over the last three months with fall sports was 99.8%.”

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

Left photo caption: Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida; Sen. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville; and U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; participated in a rally of thousands of coaches, parents, student athletes and supporters at the Capitol on Saturday to urge the governor to allow high school and youth winter sports to resume immediately.

Right photo caption: Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, speaks about the importance of athletics during a rally of thousands of coaches, parents, student athletes and supporters at the Capitol on Saturday to urge the governor to allow high school and youth winter sports to resume immediately.

Senate committee OKs Zorn local government and rental property bills

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn’s measures to increase flexibility for serving on local boards and transferring rental property became the first two policy bills to be approved by a committee in the new session.

Senate Bill 16 would allow rental property owners more flexibility when transferring property between entities. It is a reintroduction of SB 692, which was passed by the Legislature last year only to be pocket vetoed by the governor without explanation.

The Senate Local Government Committee unanimously reported the bill Thursday to the full Senate.

“This reform would end a form of double dipping that happens when an owner transfers property from one type of entity to another — even if the owners of both entities are the same people,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I was disappointed when the governor didn’t sign this reform last time. Hopefully now we can find common ground on ending these unnecessary and costly rental property reinspections.”

The second bill reported by the committee was SB 17, which would help more local communities fill first responder and public safety positions. A public servant of a Michigan township, city, village or county with a population of 25,000 or more cannot serve that community as an EMT, firefighter, police officer or public safety officer. SB 17 would expand the population limit to 40,000.

“Even before the pandemic, some Michigan townships just above the population limit were struggling to find enough first responders and police officers,” Zorn said. “Making this simple change would allow more local public servants who have the necessary training to serve their communities in their lifesaving roles.”

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Senate approves Zorn ‘Let Them Play’ resolution

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday adopted Sen. Dale Zorn’s resolution urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on high school and youth sports and allow play to resume immediately.

“This is all about giving our kids opportunities and a healthy lifestyle. Sports foster valuable life skills, such as understanding, diversity and inclusion — not to mention responsibility and accountability, which builds character. It is everything one needs in the game that we call life,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “There is little data available that demonstrates why the continued suspension of high school sports is necessary. Students in Michigan are hurting. All they want is to be able to compete with their friends and to be the very best they can be. They don’t understand why their school experience, their lives, and potential scholarships have been blocked without explanation.

“Whether its education or sports, it’s about giving our kids good, wholesome opportunities for a lifetime of success. Let them play.”

Senate Resolution 7 says, “according to the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the negative rate for over 30,000 rapid COVID-19 tests conducted over the last three months with fall sports was 99.8%.”

It also says that according to a national survey of more than 3,000 high school and college students regarding the coronavirus, 87% reported stress and anxiety, while 57% reported that their mental health had worsened. In addition, experts are concerned about potential further increases in youth suicide and argue that it is critically important for teenagers to have regular contact with their peers.

Prior to the Senate approving SR 7, Zorn welcomed several guests to testify about the measure during a committee hearing.

Let Them Play founder Jayme McElvany, Britton Deerfield Schools Superintendent Stacy Johnson, Britton Deerfield High School student-athlete Nico Johnson, and Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian School student-athlete Nataleigh Badgero spoke in favor of the measure.

“Our kids are losing their faith in government. It’s a sad state that we are in when an entire generation of kids who will soon be of voting age have lost all faith in having their voices heard by their elected officials,” McElvany said. “What should be happening is that the state of Michigan and the health department should be asking these high school athletes and coaches for help. They should be going to them to find out how to deal with this virus, because it seems like the athletes have figured something out that the rest of us haven’t. They have figured out how to produce a 99.8% negative test rate. They have figured out how to continually test at a lower rate than the general population and the general population of other teenagers. But what are they getting out of it? Punishment.”

Stacy Johnson said, “Our student athletes are capable of meeting the challenge of COVID while still engaging in sports; they’ve proven this already.”

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Editor’s note: Video of Zorn’s floor remarks are available at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/video.

The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/photowire.

Zorn comments on 2021 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2021 State of the State address virtually Wednesday night, Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement:

“The people of Michigan have been through a lot during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. They have seen schools and businesses shut down and adjusted to wearing masks to protect themselves; and many of them have lost loved ones. We have a responsibility to them to overcome our divisions to defeat this virus and improve their lives.

“It is heartbreaking to hear from owners of local businesses that may never reopen and unemployed workers struggling to provide for their families. They are not at fault for this crisis, and we owe it to them to help them make ends meet, safely reopen and return to work.

“I have been frustrated with many of the governor’s unilateral actions, but I remain committed to working with her to protect our people and job providers, support our students and workers, make health care more accessible and affordable, and preserve our way of life.

“As part of that effort, we must help schools responsibly reopen for in-person learning and allow their student athletes to safely have fun and compete.”

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**Media Advisory** Sen. Zorn, Let Them Play leaders available after Senate committee hearing on high school sports resolution

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, Let Them Play founder Jayme McElvany, a local superintendent and a local student athlete will be available for questions Thursday after testifying before the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee in support of Zorn’s resolution urging the governor to allow winter high school contact sports to be played.

Who:
Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida;
Jayme McElvany, founder of Let Them Play;
Stacy Johnson, superintendent of Britton Deerfield Schools; and
Nico Johnson, student-athlete at Britton Deerfield High School.

What:
A media availability to hear from education leaders and student athletes about the importance of lifting the suspension of winter high school contact sports and allowing them to resume play immediately.

When:
Immediately following the committee hearing, which starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28.

Where:
Michigan Capitol
Room 403
100 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing

Brief:
A current order by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extends the suspension of organized school and youth sports until at least Sunday, Feb. 21.

Senate Resolution 7 urges Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on winter high school contact sports and allow play to resume immediately.

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Sen. Zorn introduces ‘Let Them Play’ resolution

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has introduced a resolution urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on winter high school contact sports and allow play to resume immediately.

“This is about standing up for our student athletes and the positive physical and mental health benefits that participating in sports provides our children,” said Zorn, R-Ida. Michigan schools and athletes have taken preventive steps to stay safe and worked hard to prepare for a shortened season — only to see their seasons delayed another 20 days with little evidence that they are major drivers in spreading COVID-19.

“Nearly every state, and all our neighboring states, are allowing their students to participate in winter sports and they have not seen significant outbreaks. Michigan should offer our students the same opportunity to play.”

Senate Resolution 7 says, “according to the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the negative rate for over 30,000 rapid COVID-19 tests conducted over the last three months with fall sports was 99.8%.”

It also says that according to a national survey of more than 3,000 high school and college students regarding the coronavirus, 87% reported stress and anxiety, while 57% reported that their mental health had worsened. In addition, experts are concerned about potential further increases in youth suicide and argue that it is critically important for teenagers to have regular contact with their peers.

“Allowing students to participate in high school sports would help reduce social isolation and could significantly improve their mental health,” Zorn said. “Let them play.”

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Zorn supports Senate Republican priorities for 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn said on Tuesday that he supports a list of 19 priorities for 2021 unveiled by the Senate Republican caucus ahead of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address.

“As we start the new year, I will continue to focus on helping our state safely get through this pandemic, protect our people from the virus, and support our local businesses and workers,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “These priorities are about improving the lives of families in Monroe and Lenawee counties and throughout the state — from making health care more affordable to protecting the lives and livelihoods of all Michigan families.

“I am also committed to working together to ensure our students are prepared for success, to attract new talent and job providers to our state, and to restore the people’s voice in critical state government decisions.”

The priorities are presented in three categories: Healthier Families and Communities, a Healthier Economy, and Building a Healthier Future. The Senate Republicans identified protecting Michiganders from COVID-19, making Michigan a welcoming home for new and existing businesses, and getting students back on track as some of the top issues facing the people of Michigan at the start of the 101st Legislature.

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Zorn applauds resignation of DHHS Director Gordon

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Friday applauded the resignation of Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon.

“Two weeks ago, I called for the resignation of Director Gordon due to the unacceptable COVID-19 vaccination results under his leadership,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “It was an outrage that many small businesses and workers were struggling to stay afloat due to the state’s lockdown orders — yet our vaccination rate was among the worst in the country.

“I am glad to see he has agreed to step down, and I hope that the new director, Elizabeth Hertel, can provide our state with better solutions as we move forward and efficiently get our people the vaccine to save lives.”

At the time Zorn called for Gordon to resign, Michigan ranked 39th in the country in terms of the number of people administered the vaccine per capita, according to data tracking from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The DHHS is in charge of the vaccine in Michigan. According to its online COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, the state had distributed 725,850 COVID-19 vaccines as of Jan. 6, but only 174,749 doses had been administered.

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Zorn amazed at Whitmer’s continued abuse of power

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Department of Health and Human Services announced they are allowing in-person dining at restaurants after Feb. 1 with a 25% capacity limit but keeping high school winter contact sports shut down:

“I am still amazed at the governor’s continued abuse of power and her lack of understanding about the impact of her actions. She acts like she’s being gracious as she tells Michigan restaurants that in 10 days they can reopen at 25% capacity, yet she’s still jeopardizing their family businesses and the livelihoods of their workers.

“There is no evidence that indoor dining at restaurants has been a significant spreader of the virus. If the governor has such evidence, she should release it to the public. I would also like to see the specific data that justifies the arbitrary 100-person limit for larger facilities and the 10 p.m. curfew.

“Besides the repeated attacks on family businesses, I’m also frustrated that the governor continues to shut down high school winter contact sports. Our youth and student athletes continue to have their seasons delayed regardless of the preventive actions they have taken to stay safe and with absolutely no evidence these sports are a major driver in spreading COVID-19. Many of these kids will never get back these lost opportunities.”

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Zorn sponsors school busing, local government and rental property measures

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has reintroduced legislation to increase flexibility for purchasing new school buses, serving on local boards and transferring rental property.

Senate Bill 20 would expand the use of a sinking fund to allow school districts to use it to purchase school buses.

“As schools return to in-person learning and try to keep up with increasing costs, we should give them more flexibility in safely transporting their students,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Older buses are more expensive to operate and maintain, are more polluting and are the least reliable. This reform would allow local voters to decide how best to provide school busing. It can also help lower costs compared to bonding or borrowing, which can help put more education dollars into student instruction.”

SB 17 would help more local communities fill first responder and public safety positions.

Currently, a public servant of a Michigan township, city, village or county with a population of 25,000 or more cannot serve that community as an EMT, firefighter, police officer or public safety officer. SB 17 would expand the population limit to 40,000.

“This simple reform would allow more local public servants — who are trained and willing to serve — to help save lives in their communities,” Zorn said. “The law was changed decades ago to provide more flexibility to rural townships that were struggling to find volunteer firefighters or EMTs. Now townships just above the population limit are having the same issues in finding enough first responders and police officers.”

SB 16 would allow rental property owners more flexibility when transferring property between entities. It is a reintroduction of SB 692, which was passed by the Legislature last year only to be pocket vetoed by the governor without explanation.

“This is about ending unnecessary and costly rental reinspections simply based on the transfer of a property from one type of entity to another — even if the owners of both entities are the same people,” Zorn said. “I was frustrated when the governor didn’t sign this reform, and I hope we can find an agreement to end this form of double dipping that happens when an owner transfers property from one business entity to another or from personal ownership into an LLC, IRA or trust.”

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