Trifecta! 3 Zorn bills taken up in three House committees

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn this week had three bills on three different topics taken up by three separate House committees.

The House Tax Policy Committee on Wednesday heard testimony on Senate Bill 727, which would extend weatherization assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through fiscal year 2026-2027. The LIHEAP is a federally funded program for heating, cooling and weatherization assistance.

“As Michigan families continue to face sky-high inflation, we need to do what we can to help them reduce their energy costs by improving their homes’ heating efficiency,” said Zorn, R-Onsted. “By continuing this effective program to improve home heating efficiency, we can help low-income families save money for important household needs and improve the overall efficiency of our state power supply — which can benefit all Michigan consumers.”

To ensure proper oversight of the program, the bill would also continue the current requirement that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services report to the Legislature by July 1 of each year on the operation and effectiveness of home heating and weatherization programs funded by LIHEAP.

The House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday took up SB 530 to have Michigan join several other states, including Ohio, in creating a Purple Star program to support students of military families when they move to a new school. The bill would require the Michigan Department of Education to establish the Purple Star program in the state by 2023.

“Children in military families can often face huge learning challenges as they relocate to new schools and communities when their service mom or dad are assigned a new duty station,” Zorn said. “These challenges can range from graduation requirement differences to trouble connecting socially or emotionally at their new school. Creating a Purple Star program in Michigan would help meet these challenges and keep military children on track with their education.”

Earlier Wednesday morning, the House Transportation Committee approved Zorn’s legislation to exempt tow trucks and wreckers from seasonal road weight restrictions while servicing a disabled vehicle.

“Michigan is one of many states that have spring weight restrictions to help protect roadways during the annual thaw, but these restrictions should not come at the expense of driver safety,” Zorn said. “Disabled vehicles on the side of the highway present a danger to passing traffic and to the people in the vehicle. This bill will allow Michigan tow trucks and wreckers to safely and efficiently service disabled vehicles and help their passengers at all times.”

The Michigan Vehicle Code currently has seasonal road weight restrictions during the months of March, April and May. The restrictions include reduced maximum axle load, reduced wheel load and reduced speed limits. There are several vehicles exempt from the seasonal weight restrictions, including vehicles transporting agricultural goods, public utility vehicles, school buses, residential propane delivery vehicles, and milk trucks.

SB 640 would add tow trucks and wreckers to the existing list of vehicles exempted from the seasonal road weight restrictions. The exemption would only apply when the truck or wrecker is towing a disabled vehicle or traveling to or from servicing a disabled vehicle.

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