Sen. Zorn named to MiSTEM Advisory Council

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn has been appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to the MiSTEM Advisory Council, which is dedicated to making Michigan a world leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

“It is an honor to serve on this council as we work to improve STEM education in our state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We need an effective and innovative STEM system that ensures all our students have access to an education that gives them the knowledge and skills they need to be successful and have a rewarding career. I will put to use a mix of legislative and real-world experience to achieve that goal.”

Created in 2015, the council is tasked with overseeing the MiSTEM Network, recommending high-quality programs for funding, and making recommendations to the governor and the Legislature each year on how best to maximize STEM education opportunities for students.

Along with two senators and two House members, the council features business, higher education, K-12 education and philanthropic leaders appointed by the governor.

“Not enough of our children are going into critical STEM-related fields, yet the demand for skilled workers in these areas continues to grow,” Zorn said. “I look forward to working with the council to make recommendations that will help increase STEM education opportunities and encourage more learning in these challenging areas of study.”

###

Zorn encourages anglers to enjoy free winter fishing

LANSING, Mich. — Free fishing! Sen. Dale Zorn is reminding area residents that Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17, mark the first of two free fishing weekends in Michigan this year. The summer weekend is scheduled for June 8-9.

“Michigan offers two weekends every year when residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy Michigan’s world-class fishing — at no charge,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The free fishing weekends provide excellent opportunities for families to introduce the joy of fishing to children. This weekend is also a chance for even the most experienced angler to try winter fishing for the first time.”

During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived and vehicles will be able to enter state parks and use boating sites without a recreation passport.

Residents and visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland lakes and the Great Lakes for all species of fish, but all fishing regulations still apply.

For more information on Winter Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

The website also includes a link to information about ice fishing in the “Learn to Fish” section. An “Ice Fishing Basics” article features good safety advice and basics on getting started and commonly used equipment.

“Winter fishing can be a fun and unique outdoor activity, but remember that it all starts with being safe — which is as easy as following safety procedures and being prepared before heading out on the ice,” Zorn said.

###

Zorn comments on 2019 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — After listening to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address on Tuesday night, Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement:

“We cannot forget how far we have come in Michigan over the last eight years or take that success for granted. We created a positive environment for growth that has resulted in more than 560,000 jobs being created, renewed optimism, and the ability for us to continue to invest in critical priorities.

“We must focus on solutions that fix our roads and infrastructure, provide our students and workers with the education and skills to succeed, and protect our lakes and drinking water.

“The people of Michigan sent us to Lansing to work for them, and we have a responsibility to show them that divided government can still be effective in improving the lives of Michigan families and making our state more attractive to new talent and job providers.

“I look forward to working with the governor to build on our success and address the challenges we still face.”

###

**PHOTO ADVISORY** Zorn welcomes Don and Sharon Taylor to Capitol for State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, welcomed Don Taylor and his wife Sharon to the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday night for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address. Taylor is a retired entrepreneur from Adrian and was Zorn’s guest on the House floor.

Pictured from left: Zorn, Zorn’s wife Cindy, Sharon Taylor, and Don Taylor.

###

Editor’s note: The above photograph of Zorn is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.

**Media Advisory** Zorn available for comments following 2019 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn will be available for comments following the governor’s 2019 State of the State address on Tuesday.

Who:
Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, chairman of the Local Government Committee.

What:
Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:
Immediately following the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Where:
By phone.

Brief:
Zorn will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please call Paul Egnatuk at (269) 209-3867 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

###

Sen. Dale Zorn comments on death of former Congressman John Dingell

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement after the death on Thursday of former U.S. Rep. John Dingell:

“John Dingell was committed to service, dedicated to his constituents, clear in his goals, and always focused on working with people to find common ground and get results.

“He was a true gentleman. No matter what side of the aisle we came from, my congressman treated us all with dignity.

“Throughout his life, John kept his great sense of humor and deep devotion to his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of tremendous loss.”

###

Zorn bill would exempt contact lenses from sales tax

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Dale Zorn has introduced legislation to eliminate the state sales tax on contact lenses.

“In Michigan, eyeglasses are exempt from the state’s sales tax, but contact lenses are not,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The result is higher costs on Michigan patients who wear contacts. My bill would reduce these costs by treating contact lenses the same as glasses when it comes to Michigan’s sales tax.”

Michigan currently exempts certain devices from the state’s sales and use taxes, including eyeglasses; hearing aids; braces; kidney dialysis and oxygen delivery equipment; canes; walkers; corrective shoes; crutches; and pacemakers.

Senate Bill 44 would add contact lenses to the list of devices exempted from the state sales tax. SB 43, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, would add the exemption to the state use tax. The savings of the bills is estimated to be more than $12 million per year.

According to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency in 2018, Michigan is one of 23 states that are full members of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, and 15 of those member states have exempted contact lenses from taxation.

“The current process of taxing glasses and contacts differently is burdensome for eye doctors and confusing for patients,” Zorn said. “This commonsense reform would provide clarity for consumers and reduce cost for needed vision care.”

###

Zorn reintroduces local public safety and justice bills

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has reintroduced legislation to help local communities fill first responder and public safety positions and to give county prosecutors greater ability to seek justice on behalf of their residents.

“My first bill of this term would allow more local public servants help save lives in their communities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “In the 1990s, many small, rural townships in Michigan faced decreasing numbers of candidates for volunteer firefighters or EMTs. The problem was aggravated by the fact that board members — who were trained and willing to serve — could not be considered.

“Although the law was changed in 1992 to provide more flexibility, townships just above the population limit are now having the same issues in finding enough first responders and police officers to protect the public.”

Senate Bill 19 would enable local governments with up to 40,000 residents to have board or council members serve the local government as EMTs, firefighters, police officers or public safety officers. Currently, public servants of a township, city, village or county with a population of 25,000 or more cannot serve in those roles for that community.

Zorn also reintroduced to bills to allow a prosecutor to bring charges in the drug-overdose death of a resident in the county, even if the illegal drugs were purchased in another county.

“As we continue to battle the growing epidemic of opioid addiction, we need to give prosecutors more tools to punish drug dealers,” Zorn said. “I have worked with the Monroe County prosecutor’s office and law enforcement across the state on this commonsense legislation.”

The bills are the result of a case involving the heroin-overdose death of a man in Monroe County in 2016. The cause of death was toxicity from fentanyl, which is sometimes used by dealers as a cutting agent to make heroin more potent. The dealer was charged in Monroe County with one count of delivery of fentanyl causing death. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the Monroe Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction because the delivery of the drug occurred in Wayne County.

SBs 20 and 21 would broaden the potential for prosecution of delivery of a controlled substance causing death to three possible venues: The county where the drugs were delivered, the county where the drugs were consumed, or the county where the victim died from using the drugs.

###

Zorn introduces Physical Therapy Licensure Compact bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has introduced legislation to have Michigan join the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.

“The goals of this initiative are to help better meet the needs of Michigan residents and increase access to physical therapy care — while still protecting patients,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “If Michigan joins the compact, licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in good standing would be able to help patients in other member states without having to go through a lengthy licensure process.”

Senate Bill 22 would enter Michigan into the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, which gives the option for eligible physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to obtain a “compact privilege” in other participating states.

To be eligible for the “compact privilege,” the PTs and PTAs must hold a valid, current, and unrestricted license in their home state; have no disciplinary action during the previous two years; and meet any jurisprudence requirements of the other participating states.

“Although 21 states have joined the compact, Michigan would be the first Great Lakes state,” Zorn said. “Ideally, Ohio would need to follow our lead if we join the compact. That would enable Michigan physical therapists to help patients across the border in Ohio and allow physical therapists in Ohio to help patients in Monroe and Lenawee counties.”

Zorn said the compact does not change the scope of practice of PTs and PTAs in any state. Any PT or PTA working in a state under a compact privilege would be required to follow the practice law of that state.

SB 22 has been referred to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee for consideration.

###

Sen. Zorn announces committee assignments

LANSING, Mich. — In his second term, Sen. Dale Zorn will continue to lead the Senate Local Government Committee and add new responsibilities of serving on three Senate Appropriations subcommittees.

“I look forward to continuing to put my more than three decades of local government experience to work to help improve our communities, our economy and the lives of Michigan residents,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We achieved much last term to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and I will continue to work with our local leaders to develop innovative solutions to local challenges.”

Zorn will also serve on the committees on Regulatory Reform and Families, Seniors, and Veterans.

In addition to the policy committees, Zorn will serve on the Appropriations subcommittees for Capital Outlay, Transportation, and Universities and Community Colleges.

“The work of these subcommittees will help us fix the roads, support our community colleges and public universities, and invest in needed infrastructure like the new armory in Dundee,” Zorn said. “The committee assignments will enable me to continue to stand up for our veterans, protect our children and seniors, and support our jobs providers.

“It’s time to work together to keep our eight years of positive momentum on track and build a better future for all Michigan residents.”

A full list of Senate committees and their memberships will be available online later this week at http://www.senate.michigan.gov/committee.html.

###