Zorn comments on Whitmer’s long-overdue reopening plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined a plan to phase out the state’s COVID-19 restrictions as the state meets certain vaccination rates for people age 16 and older:

“Better late than never. Since mid-April of last year, we have been calling on the governor to give the Michigan people clear guidance about when she would lift her restrictions and allow the state to safely reopen.

“While I am glad the governor has finally come forward with a set of long-overdue benchmarks for fully reopening our state, I am frustrated it took this long and that she continues to act without working with the Legislature on this critical issue.

“Although Michigan families can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is nothing to stop the governor from changing direction on the benchmarks.

“It also leaves open some important questions, like what will happen if Michigan doesn’t meet her vaccination percentage goals, and what was the science used in determining the percentage numbers?”


Zorn’s rental property and local government bills soon heading to governor

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s measures to increase flexibility for transferring rental property and serving on local boards.

Senate Bill 16 would allow rental property owners more flexibility when transferring property between entities. It is a reintroduction of a bill passed by the Legislature last year only to be pocket vetoed by the governor.

“I was disappointed the governor didn’t sign this reform last year, but I’m confident that this time she will help us end this form of double dipping,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Michigan rental properties are currently subject to unnecessary and costly reinspections if they are transferred from one type of entity to another — even if the owners of both entities are the same people. This fixes that for these limited types of transfers.”

SB 17 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 of our communities were struggling to find enough first responders and police officers to protect their residents,” Zorn said. “This simple reform would give more communities much-needed flexibility in providing public safety by allowing more local elected officials — who have the necessary training — to also serve in lifesaving roles.”

Both bills have been returned to the Senate, which is expected to send them to the governor on Thursday.


Zorn calls on Biden to send Michigan more vaccine, glad Whitmer is not imposing new restrictions

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encouraged a two-week pause for youth sports, in-person learning at schools and indoor dining at restaurants and urged the federal government to send more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to Michigan and other states where cases are dramatically increasing:

“President Biden needs to step up and send Michigan more doses of the life-saving vaccines. Even with the restrictions and safety mandates still in place, Michigan has been seeing alarming COVID-19 numbers for weeks and is currently leading the nation in new cases per capita. The president should have already recognized Michigan’s COVID-19 needs and stepped up to help remedy the crisis.

“I’m glad to see that the governor is finally agreeing with the Legislature that the Michigan people are the best ones to decide what is best for them — this time encouraging families to choose to pause activities to help fight this virus surge instead of ordering another statewide shutdown or imposing new restrictions.

“I join the governor’s call for everyone to reduce their risk of exposure and to consider if getting one of the vaccines is best for their health.”


Zorn applauds grant for Uckele $6.7M investment in Adrian

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday applauded the announcement of a state grant for a development project in Adrian that will create 102 jobs and a $6.7 million investment.

“This is great news for the Adrian community and everyone in the area,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This grant will bring much needed jobs and investment to Lenawee County and will be a real shot in the arm for Michigan families and workers. I applaud Uckele for its commitment to our region and everyone who helped make this project a reality.”

Uckele Health & Nutrition was established in 1962 in Blissfield Township and manufactures its own line of human and animal dietary supplements. The company currently has 171 employees in Michigan and a smaller facility in Toledo.

Uckele is planning three large projects in the high-tech pharmaceutical supplement arena and plans to purchase two facilities in Adrian that will allow it to duplicate its current lines of production and invest in new equipment.

As a result of the investment and job creation, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Uckele a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over the company’s facility in Toledo.

Uckele supports personal growth of its employees by fostering an environment of continuous learning and improvement and offers external and internal trainings, seminars and courses. The company also promotes from within by providing pathways to higher-paying jobs. Lenawee Now has offered staff time and resources in support of the project.


Zorn appointed to Midwest passenger rail commission

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has been appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to serve as the as the Senate’s alternate designee to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC).

“Railroads are becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for more efficient ways to transport products and materials and tourists and commuters look for alternatives to driving or flying,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I am happy to serve on this bipartisan commission to work with our neighboring states and the federal government to improve our passenger rail system. My goal is to work with both the public and private sectors to help provide families with cleaner, safer, more affordable and more efficient rail service.”

The MIPRC brings together state leaders from across the region on a bipartisan basis to advocate for passenger rail improvements. The commission meets at least once a year. Its 2020 meeting was held virtually, but the MIPRC plans to hold its 2021 annual meeting in-person in Detroit in October.

Formed by compact agreement in 2000, MIPRC’s current member states are Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

The main purposes of the compact are to promote current improvements and long-range plans for intercity passenger rail service in the Midwest, coordinate interaction among state officials and between the public and private sector at all levels, and support state efforts in developing and implementing a 21st century passenger rail system.