Zorn bill part of effort to reduce health care costs, increase access to care

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn and Dr. Elias Kassab, M.D. on Wednesday told the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services about the need for Zorn’s reform to cut unnecessary red tape, reduce health care costs, improve access to care, and ensure patient safety.

“New technologies enable outpatient health care providers to offer lifesaving medical care at a much lower cost,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “My bill would eliminate burdensome regulations for cardiac catheterization procedures that can be safely performed in an outpatient setting.

“Access to safe and affordable medical care cannot be delayed by obsolete state government requirements.”

Senate Bill 675 would eliminate the certificate of need for outpatient cardiac catheterization services for which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has already approved a Current Procedural Terminology reimbursement code as an outpatient service.

A certificate of need (CON) is a legal document that enables the establishment or expansion of health care facilities or services in Michigan. A commission appointed by the governor governs the CON standards; regulates proposed increases in the number of hospital, nursing home and psychiatric beds; and oversees a variety of specialized medical services.

Zorn’s bill is part of a seven-bill package designed to reduce medical costs and provide more access to medical care by eliminating some unnecessary medical care CON requirements.

SB 669 would eliminate covered capital expenditures from the CON process. SB 670 would exempt critical access hospitals over 35 miles away from another hospital from having to be regulated by CON, and SB 674 would repeal the CON requirement for air ambulance services.

SBs 672 and 673 would repeal the CON requirement for psychiatric beds and would require, as a condition of licensure, a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric unit to accept public patients and maintain 50% of beds available to public patients. SB 671 would add two new public members to the CON commission and make it easier to appoint members to standard advisory committees.

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

Sen. Dale Zorn scores perfect voting record in 2019

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate recorded 370 roll call votes in 2019, and Sen. Dale Zorn made sure to cast a vote on every single one of them.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve on behalf of the hardworking people of Monroe and Lenawee counties — which starts with being at work each session day to be their voice in the Senate,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I take the responsibility that has been entrusted in me seriously, and I am proud to have never missed a vote.”

Zorn has not missed any of 3,482 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 6,344 roll call votes during his nine years in the Legislature.

“As the men and women of Michigan’s 17th Senate District go to work each day, I believe they deserve the same dedication from their elected officials,” Zorn said.

A full recording of missed votes is available at www.MichiganVotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx.

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Trooper Adams memorial highway bill approved by Senate

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to honor Trooper Rodger Adams, who was the 25th Michigan State Police officer to die in the line of duty.

“Our state troopers and local law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe, and we often take that for granted,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This memorial highway would honor the life and death of Trooper Rodger Adams — a husband, veteran and dedicated officer who was tragically killed while serving and protecting the people of Michigan.”

On May 14, 1971, Adams was killed instantly when his patrol car was hit nearly head-on by an oncoming car on U.S. 12 near Tipton Highway as Adams and his partner were responding to a traffic crash shortly after 1 a.m.

Senate Bill 132 would designate a portion of U.S. 12 in Lenawee County from M-52 to the Monagan Highway as the “Trooper Rodger M. Adams Memorial Highway.”

Prior to Senate passage of the bill, former Lenawee County Commissioner Jim Driskill testified in support of the measure, which has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

If the bill is signed into law, it will have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. State law requires sufficient private contributions to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining markers indicating the name of a memorial highway.

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Senate OKs Zorn bill to reduce opioid prescription abuse

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to combat opioid abuse by requiring prescriptions for the drugs to be transmitted from the doctor to the pharmacy electronically.

“This reform is designed to help stop the state’s opioid abuse problem by reducing fraudulent availability of these highly addictive drugs,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “While improving overall patient safety and efficient access to necessary medications, requiring the use of electronic prescriptions would reduce the illegal supply of opioids through fraud and virtually eliminate ‘doctor shopping’ — where someone acquires drugs from several different doctors.”

Senate Bill 248, sponsored by Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, would require the electronic prescribing of prescription drugs in Michigan by Jan. 1, 2021. If a prescriber could not meet the electronic transmission requirements due to a technological limitation that was not reasonably within their control, they could apply for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Zorn’s bill, SB 254, would apply to prescriptions for controlled substances containing opioids or benzodiazepines.

Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, is the use of a technological system by prescribers to write and transmit a patient’s prescription to a participating pharmacy.

“We have seen the terrible impacts of the opioid epidemic in our state and our local communities,” Zorn said. “It’s time for Michigan to join other states with an e-prescribing requirement for controlled substances to help us stop abusers and drug dealers from using fraudulent prescriptions to get these dangerous drugs.”

According to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of the bills, at least 23 states require e-prescribing with certain exemptions.

SBs 248 and 254 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Lawmakers welcome Battle of the Bulge veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale W. Zorn and Rep. Bronna Kahle on Thursday welcomed Michigan’s last two remaining survivors of the Battle of the Bulge to the Capitol, including Frank Dick of Lenawee County.

“In less than nine months, Frank Dick went from graduating from high school to being entrenched in one of the most famous battles of World War II,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Frank has led a remarkable life and has continued to build upon his service and leadership as a civilian. Next week, he will travel to Belgium and Luxembourg as part of an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. It is an honor to have him here to show our appreciation for his service.”

After his high school graduation, Dick enlisted in the U.S. Army and began basic training on June 6, 1944.

By mid-December, he was oversees serving as a replacement in Gen. Patton’s Third Army, 80th Division, 317th Infantry Regiment, Company I — famously known as the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. His involvement in the division made him a participant in the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front.

On Feb. 19, 1945, Dick was injured by incoming mortar fire, suffering a 100% disability. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge, among others.

“Those who have served our great nation deserve our respect and recognition for their sacrifices,” said Kahle, R-Adrian. “Frank’s incredible desire to serve is acknowledged through his time as a soldier in World War II and as he continued to give back to those around him after returning home. It was an honor to have the opportunity to recognize Frank at the Capitol and thank him for his service on behalf of the state of Michigan.”

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

Photo caption: Sen. Dale W. Zorn, R-Ida, and Rep. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, welcome Frank Dick (center left) of Lenawee County to the Michigan Capitol. Dick is one of Michigan’s last two remaining survivors of the Battle of the Bulge. Victor Cross (center right) of Genesee County is the other remaining survivor and was the guest of Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, and Rep. Sheryl Kennedy, D-Davison.

**Photo Advisory** Panel OKs Zorn’s Trooper Adams memorial highway bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, and former Lenawee County Commissioner Jim Driskill testified on Wednesday about Zorn’s legislation to honor Trooper Rodger Adams, who was the 25th Michigan State Police officer to die in the line of duty.

On May 14, 1971, Adams was killed instantly when his patrol car was hit nearly head-on by an oncoming car on U.S. 12 near Tipton Highway as Adams and his partner were responding to a traffic crash shortly after 1 a.m.

Senate Bill 132 would designate a portion of U.S. 12 in Lenawee County from M-52 to the Monagan Highway as the “Trooper Rodger M. Adams Memorial Highway.”

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bill, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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

Zorn supports restoring many of governor’s budget cuts

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday voted to restore more than $570 million of the fiscal year 2020 budget vetoes and transfers made by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“Due to the governor’s games, the state budget is now in overtime with the Michigan people hopeful for a positive result,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I supported this partial restoration of the governor’s cuts and transfers because this funding is critically needed by our local governments, students, veterans, vulnerable children and more. It’s not everything we need, but it’s a start to restoring a responsible budget for all Michigan residents.”

After signing the state budget, the governor issued a historic 147 line-item vetoes to cut nearly $950 million in funding approved by the Legislature. She then used an administrative board to transfer $625 million in additional funding.

Senate Bills 376 and 377 would restore a total of $573.5 million of the governor’s vetoed funding and administrative funding transfers, including $38 million for the Michigan Tuition Grant program, $1.6 million for autism, $4 million in county veterans services, $13 million for county sheriff secondary road patrols, $14.8 million for county jail reimbursements, and $35 million to restore the per-pupil increase for public charter schools.

“I was very disappointed with the governor’s budget actions. They were wrong and set a terrible precedent,” Zorn said. “Her cuts hurt real people. I support restoring this important funding, but I will also work on a solution to ensure that Michigan families are not leveraged again for political gain.”

If left unrestored, the governor’s cuts will mean nearly 900 Siena Heights University students and almost 700 Adrian College students would lose their tuition grant. The governor’s cuts to county sheriff secondary road patrols would cost Lenawee County $103,000 and Monroe County $147,305 — forcing the elimination of patrol positions — and the cuts to the County Jail Reimbursement Program would cost Monroe County $160,000 and Lenawee County $27,000.

The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Local dog trainer testifies in support of Zorn’s emotional support animal bills

LANSING, Mich. — Cheryl Wassus, a certified Monroe County dog trainer and evaluator for about 30 years, testified before the Senate Local Government Committee on Thursday in support of Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to regulate the prescription of emotional support animals and requests for reasonable accommodation for the animals in housing.

Zorn, R-Ida, serves as chairman of the committee and sponsored Senate Bill 610, which specifies that someone cannot falsely represent themselves to housing providers as a person with a disability for the purpose of allowing a pet in a rental property as an emotional support animal. The bill outlines a standard for proper documentation of the need for an emotional support animal and potential penalties for violating the act. SB 609 would provide a clear distinction in the law between emotional support animals and service animals.

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

Zorn bills would clarify need for emotional support animals

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday introduced legislation to regulate the prescription of emotional support animals and requests for reasonable accommodation for the animals in housing.

“This legislation would not impact the use of service animals or people who have a clear need for an emotional support animal,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The goal of this reform is to continue to support those who legitimately benefit from an emotional support animal while stopping those who are abusing the system just to get around rental property rules concerning pets.”

Senate Bill 610 would specify that someone cannot falsely represent themselves to housing providers as a person with a disability for the purpose of allowing a pet in a rental property as an emotional support animal. The bill outlines a standard for proper documentation of the need for an emotional support animal and potential penalties for violating the act.

Under the bill, the Department of Civil Rights would serve as the reporting body to accept complaints and reports of false representation via a telephone hotline.

SB 609 would provide a clear distinction in the law between emotional support animals and service animals.

SBs 608-610 have been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee for consideration.

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Zorn disappointed with governor’s ‘reckless and senseless’ cuts

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday said he’s disappointed with much of the governor’s line-item vetoes in the fiscal year 2020 budget, including cuts to roads, schools and public safety.

“After working on the budget since March and throughout the summer — then experiencing the governor walking out of negotiations — the Legislature passed a budget supported by Republicans and Democrats to support continued economic growth, educational opportunities, improved public safety, and nearly $400 million in additional road funding,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The balanced budget plan did it all without raising the gas tax by $2.5 billion on Michigan families.

“Instead of funding opioid recovery, autism programs and environmental protections such as combating PFAS at local airports, Gov. Whitmer made reckless and senseless vetoes to cut nearly $1 billion in funding from the budget — a political move that has led to upheaval in our state departments and will affect every Michigan resident and visitor.”

Upon signing the state budget, the governor issued a historic 147 line-item vetoes to cut $947 million in funding approved by the Legislature, including $128 million from the K-12 school aid budget, $13 million for county sheriff secondary road patrols, $37.5 million for the Pure Michigan tourism promotion program, $37 million for the Going Pro job training program and $10 million for rural jobs and development.

“It was bad enough that the governor promised to fix the roads and then vetoed $375 million in additional road funding, but then to tell state workers that ‘she had their back’ only to slash the budget unnecessarily is disgraceful,” Zorn said “Many of those employees are now waiting to see if her cuts will mean lay-offs while our communities face a lack of services including in public safety.

“In my 40 years of public service, I have never seen anything more politically motivated and recklessly achieved than Gov. Whitmer’s veto actions.

“Even after all of this, the governor is now asking the Legislature for a new spending bill to restore a small fraction of the very cuts she just made.”

Here is a list of some of the cuts that will directly affect Monroe and Lenawee counties:
• Eliminating the county sheriff secondary road patrol will cost Lenawee County $103,000 and Monroe County $147,305, which will force the sheriff to eliminate the patrol positions and re-assign the officers. The Monroe County sheriff has indicated he would discontinue handling calls for service, traffic enforcement and patrolling on I-75, I-275, US-23, M-50, M-125 and US-24. The state police would need to assume that responsibly.
• Eliminating the County Jail Reimbursement Program will cost Monroe County $160,000 and Lenawee County $27,000.
• Additional cuts to the Michigan State Police include $654,500 for local law enforcement training grants; $600,000 for traffic safety during Michigan International Speedway events, and $20 million to the Civil Air Patrol that covers fuel and maintenance costs for both counties.
• Cuts to the School Aid budget include $10 million for school safety grants, $35 million for charter school operations, $16 million for career and technical education (CTE) equipment, $2 million for schools to use local produce for student lunches, $3 million to the Michigan Education Corps reading program, $1.5 million for a teacher job bank to address teacher shortages, $1.5 million for the Algebra Nation and Imagine Learning programs, and $5 million for the CTE per-pupil incentive program that pays $50 per student in CTE.
• Cuts to the Michigan Tuition Grants will affect 17,000 students, including 656 students at Siena Heights University.

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