Sen. Zorn scores perfect voting record in 2021

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn made sure to cast a vote on every Senate roll call vote in 2021, according to information compiled by MichiganVotes.org, a project of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

“The hardworking people of Monroe and Lenawee counties deserve a voice in the Senate — especially as we continue to deal with a global pandemic,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I am proud to have never missed a vote in 2021 and throughout my legislative service.

“As the men and women of Michigan’s 17th Senate District continue to work each day to provide for their families, they have my commitment to do my best to show up every session day to fight for them and help improve our state and local communities.”

Zorn has not missed any of 494 roll call votes in 2021 or the 4,608 roll call votes during his time in the state Senate. He also had perfect voting records all four years of his service in the House of Representatives from 2011 through 2014.

In total, Zorn has not missed a single vote of 7,470 roll call votes during his 11 years in the Legislature.

For a full list of legislative votes, visit www.michiganvotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx.

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Zorn supports Make it in Michigan plan, funding to continue fight against COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday supported legislation to make Michigan more competitive for new investment and jobs, support local small businesses and continue the fight against COVID-19.

“We came together in a bipartisan way to approve innovative measures and important funding that will help attract and create good jobs and support our schools and communities as we continue to deal with the pandemic,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The game-changing Make it in Michigan package will give our state better tools to attract new opportunities while including safeguards to ensure to our taxpayer dollars are being used effectively to create long-term, high-wage jobs.

“The plan also features personal property tax relief for our local small businesses that were tremendously affected by the pandemic and includes additional funding to support local governments who may be impacted by the personal property tax savings.”

Senate Bill 769 would create the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund, which would receive funds through a legislative appropriation. Funds from SOAR would be transferred to the Critical Industry Program (CIP) or Michigan Strategic Site Readiness Program (MSSRP).

House Bill 5603 would create the MSSRP to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for eligible applicants to conduct activities creating investment-ready sites. SB 771 would create the CIP, which would provide funds for qualified investments to qualified businesses for deal-closing, gap financing, or other economic assistance that create new qualified jobs and/or make capital investments (not for administrative purposes).

SB 85 would designate $1 billion for the program and includes $75 million to help hold local governments harmless for any revenue shortfalls they would see from a change in HB 5351 that would increase the state’s Personal Property Tax (PPT) exemption from $80,000 to $180,000 for small businesses to help counter losses incurred because of COVID-19.

“To build a better and stronger Michigan, we need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow while still supporting the job providers we have today,” Zorn said. “This achieves both goals and includes strong repayment provisions and reporting requirements to the Legislature to ensure the program is working and companies are living up to their end of the deal.”

HB 4398 is a budget supplemental, which is primarily funded through federal grants provided to Michigan in response to COVID-19. It includes:
• $150 million to assist K-12 schools in dealing with COVID-19 testing;
• $193 million to assist local airports and rural transit authorities;
• $140 million for emergency rental assistance;
• $14 million to hire nurses at nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
• $67 million in substance abuse and mental health block grants; and
• $100,000 to support mental health services for students, teachers, parents, administrators and first responders in the Oxford community dealing with the recent tragedy.

“We are being mindful that we need to ensure we effectively use the unprecedented level of federal funding our state has received to help our communities and our students come back from the coronavirus pandemic strong and ready to succeed,” Zorn said.

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Zorn recognizes milestones for Monroe County Fair, 4-H

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn is recognizing the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the 4-H Club in Monroe County and the 75th anniversary of the Monroe County Fair at the M-50 location.

“The county fair and 4-H have been important parts of the fabric of our community and the lives of countless families for generations,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I have been a long-time supporter of the county fair and 4-H, and I look forward to presenting legislative tributes next year to each of them in recognition of their impact in our community and their historic milestones.”

Among the support Zorn has provided the fair during his time in the Senate was securing $40,000 in County Fair Capital Improvement funding to help increase access to the fair for people with disabilities by resurfacing the roadways on the fairgrounds to allow people in wheelchairs and those with physical disabilities to have access to the grounds — bringing them up to standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Zorn also regularly attends the fair and supports 4-H kids at the small animal auction.

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Zorn applauds grant for $14M investment in Dundee

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn is applauding a recent announcement from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approving a grant to help bring a $14 million manufacturing project to Dundee that will create 195 jobs.

The MSF awarded EOI Pioneer Inc. a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to establish new manufacturing operations in an existing building at its facility in Dundee. The manufacturing area will be converted to electrostatic discharge and temperature- and humidity-controlled clean enclosure for a cutting-edge electronics manufacturing process.

“This is exciting news for the people of Dundee, our automotive industry and our entire state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This project will create good jobs for local workers, boost the local economy, enhance Michigan’s leadership in automotive manufacturing, and help meet the huge demand for automotive electronics. I applaud EOI Pioneer, state officials and leaders in Dundee for their work in making this opportunity a reality.”

EOI Pioneer Inc. is a subsidiary of Excellence Optoelectronics, Inc., a Taiwan-based manufacturer of LED light sources and electronics assemblies for the automotive industry. EOI is seeing substantial growth in its global automotive business and created EOI Pioneer to begin manufacturing in North America in 2001.

Michigan was chosen for the project over competing sites in Ohio, Ontario and Tennessee.

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Senators Announce Port Infrastructure Improvement Legislation to Support Maritime Industry

LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), and Dale Zorn (R-Ida) today announced a bill package that would boost Michigan’s maritime industry and ensure it remains competitive with other Great Lakes states.

The bills are a result of months of work with stakeholders in the maritime industry, as well as environmental and community groups, to provide critical support and guidance for Michigan’s ports. Sen. Chang’s bills, Senate Bills 744 and 746, respectively, would create a grant assistance program for port infrastructure projects, and require each port to develop a five-year environmental impact transparency plan to mitigate adverse impacts and protect Michigan’s natural resources.

“I serve much of the Detroit Riverfront and know that Michigan’s location near the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway System is a competitive advantage in the manufacturing and agricultural industries. We can better utilize this strength to boost our local economies while simultaneously protecting our waterways and the neighborhoods closest to our ports,” Sen. Chang said. “We can create jobs and economic opportunity through a strengthened maritime industry while also protecting this precious resource our residents enjoy for recreation and living.”

In 2017, a report from Martin Associates in Pennsylvania found that 59.2 million tons of goods were moved through Michigan’s waterways, valued at $3.23 billion. The economic activity generated by commercial ports was $4.16 million, supporting 25,910 jobs and raising $763 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue. To provide more support to this thriving industry, Sen. Schmidt introduced Senate Bill 743, which creates a great lakes maritime office within the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“Michigan ports are essential to our state’s economy and this package of bills underlines their importance,” said Sen. Schmidt, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. “My bill would create a Great Lakes maritime office within the Michigan Department of Transportation. Doing so would show that we understand and value the contribution that ports and the maritime industry provide to our economy.”

Vessels on the Great Lakes are fuel and cargo efficient, so encouraging a thriving port industry will not only benefit our economy but also could have some regional environmental benefits, according to an environmental and social impact study by the Canadian Research and Traffic Group. By increasing port capacity and improving infrastructure, Michigan can further protect its precious natural resources and create more jobs in our communities. At the same time, Senator Chang recognizes that while regional improvements to the environment could be the result of increased maritime activity, there are potential localized impacts on neighborhoods located in close proximity to ports, so environmental impact transparency plans are a crucial component of the bill package.

Sen. Zorn’s bill, Senate Bill 745, would allow port authorities to use revenue bonds for transportation related improvements and further harness the efficiency of vessels in our Great Lakes.

“This legislation is about standing up for Michigan jobs and making sure our ports, like the port of Monroe, have the ability to compete with other U.S. ports for cargo,” Sen. Zorn said. “My bill would enable our ports to use revenue bonds to fund transportation-related projects which would allow ports to handle more cargo, such as shipping containers. Allowing more ships to use our ports would help reduce costs for Michigan businesses and consumers and provide more high-wage jobs for Michigan workers.”

“At a time when our nation is faced with unprecedented transportation challenges, Senators Chang, Schmidt, and Zorn have taken the lead to bolster the marine transportation system that has been the foundation of Michigan’s economy for over a century,” said Port of Monroe Director Paul C. LaMarre III. “This legislation will strengthen Michigan ports, sustain our supply chain, and ensure that our identity as the ‘Great Lakes State’ is as strong as the infrastructure that supports it.”

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Zorn supports historic water infrastructure plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday voted for legislation to invest $3.34 billion in making critical improvements to the state’s water quality and infrastructure.

“This plan would make historic investments in our water infrastructure to protect our water and help ensure that all Michigan families have access to clean drinking water,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Instead of using the unprecedented level of federal funding we are receiving to simply enlarge the size of government, this plan dedicated much of it to making positive, long-term improvements that will help make Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family.

“Among the investments in the Protect MI Water plan are funds to help replace lead pipes, protect our Great Lakes and ensure students have safe water in their schools.”

Senate Bill 565 would use $2.37 billion in federal funding, $680 million in state resources and $290 million in repurposed state bond funds to improve Michigan’s dam infrastructure, wastewater systems and groundwater protection and provide clean drinking water.

The bill features $1 billion to replace lead pipes throughout the state, $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities, $100 million in grants to remove PFAS chemicals from “orphaned” sites, $50 million to help well owners connect to a community water system or increase the depth of their well if their water was contaminated or their well failed after a disaster, and $85 million for filtered water stations in schools.

SB 565 would also designate $680 million for dam infrastructure, including $650 million for projects prioritizing dam risk reduction, $15 million for emergency response activities by the state where a dam owner fails to pay for necessary work; and $15 million for a grant program for dam rehabilitation or removal.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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