*** Media Advisory *** Sen. Colbeck to hold February office hours in Canton

Who:

Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton; District Manager Penny Crider; and the general public

 

What:

Office hours

 

When and where:

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018

Time: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Canton Township Hall, Meeting Room B

1150 S. Canton Center Road

Canton, MI 48188

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and District Manager Penny Crider will hold monthly office hours for February in Canton on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 6 – 7 p.m. The office hours will be held at the Canton Township Hall, Meeting Room B (at the bottom of the stairs) and will be open to the public.

Sen. Colbeck will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of his district may have. No appointment is necessary.

“I encourage anyone who needs help, has questions, or wants to express a viewpoint to stop by,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I’m looking forward to continuing a regular series of office hours throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents about state and pocketbook issues.”

Sen. Colbeck represents the 7th Senate District, which encompasses the cities of Livonia, Northville, Plymouth and Wayne, as well as the townships of Canton, Northville and Plymouth.

For more information or to contact Sen. Colbeck, please visit www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com or call 517-373-5713.

 

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Sen. Colbeck hosts Michigan Aerospace Day at the Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, welcomed representatives from the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA) and other guests to the Capitol on Wednesday in celebration of Michigan Aerospace Day.

Sen. Colbeck introduced a resolution earlier this month (Senate Resolution 120) to designate Jan. 31, 2018 as Michigan Aerospace Day in honor of the state’s heritage of aerospace innovation and manufacturing.

According to a recent PwC report, Michigan now ranks number two in the country for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness. Sen. Colbeck, who is himself an aerospace engineer, hosted a reception in the Capitol building where lawmakers met with trade professionals to learn how the state can continue to build on the policy successes that have made Michigan a destination for aerospace manufacturing and jobs.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting SenatorPatrickColbeck.com/photowire.

*** Media Advisory *** Sen. Colbeck to hold January office hours in Wayne

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Who:

Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton; District Manager Penny Crider; and the general public

 

What:

Office hours

 

When and where:

Tuesday, Jan. 30

6 – 7 p.m.

Wayne Public Library

3737 S. Wayne Road

Wayne, MI 48184

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and District Manager Penny Crider will hold monthly office hours for January in Wayne on Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 6 – 7 p.m. The office hours will be held at the Wayne Public Library and will be open to the public.

Sen. Colbeck will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of his district may have. No appointment is necessary.

“I encourage anyone who needs help, has questions, or wants to express a viewpoint to stop by,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I’m looking forward to continuing a regular series of office hours throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents about state and pocketbook issues.”

Sen. Colbeck represents the 7th Senate District, which encompasses the cities of Livonia, Northville, Plymouth and Wayne, as well as the townships of Canton, Northville and Plymouth.

For more information or to contact Sen. Colbeck, please visit www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com or call 517-373-5713.

 

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Sen. Colbeck welcomes the Rev. Riccardo to state Capitol to lead invocation

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, welcomed the Rev. John Riccardo to the Michigan Senate on Wednesday to deliver the invocation at the start of the Senate session. Riccardo serves at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Plymouth.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting SenatorPatrickColbeck.com/photowire.

Sen. Colbeck assesses Gov. Snyder’s last State of the State address

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, reflected on his time in the Senate after listening to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address on Tuesday.

Colbeck noted that his public service began in 2011, the same year that Snyder began serving as governor. The two elected officials were able to make significant improvements in the state of our state as a result of policy positions shared by the senator and governor.

However, there were also points of difference on issues that will linger well after Snyder’s final term of office has expired, Colbeck said.

“In the wake of the passage of Michigan’s Right to Work legislation, the state has created 540,000 private sector jobs,” Colbeck said. “I was honored to have led the effort to restore the freedom of assembly to our workers and am happy to note that our job growth has also been accompanied by an average growth in income on the order of $10,000 per Michigan resident. This data stands in stark contrast to the ‘right to work for less’ claims by opponents of that legislation.”

Michigan currently leads the nation with over 122,800 additional manufacturing jobs added since 2010. The governor’s speech gave an example of successful initiatives in this area, such as the Roush Veterans Initiatives Program, and also recognized Kyle Jastren as a participant of the program who successfully transitioned from military life as a Marine who is now moving up the ranks at Roush. Jastren, a constituent from Sen. Colbeck’s district, was in attendance and was recognized by the audience.

“In 2010, I pledged to make Michigan number one in job growth,” Colbeck said. “We have achieved this objective in manufacturing, but there is much more work to do to ensure that all of our residents are able to experience the economic rebound from Michigan’s ‘Lost Decade.’”

Colbeck cited significant policy differences between himself and the governor as barriers to what would have been an even better state of the state. For example, the senator opposed policies that increased the size of government, such as the gas tax and registration fee hikes, the Senior Pension Tax hike, and the expansion of Obamacare known as Healthy Michigan.

“Governor Snyder claims that the 670,000 new Medicaid enrollees resulting from the passage of Healthy Michigan indicates success,” Colbeck said. “I believe that any time we make more Michigan residents dependent upon the government, it indicates failure. To make matters worse, Healthy Michigan is not very healthy. As with other components of Obamacare, the projected ‘savings’ for Michigan’s Medicaid Expansion program have not materialized, and it is primed for automatic repeal in 2020 due to the lack of savings.

“Without this repeal, the state would be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars of additional expenses that would drain resources from other priorities, such as roads and education. Overall, Michigan is in much better shape than when we started, but we could be doing even better if government had tuned out the lobbyists pushing for a big government agenda.”

 

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Sen. Colbeck testifies in opposition to sanctuary cities

Encourages passage of Federal Law HR 3003

LANSING, Mich.State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, testified on Tuesday before the state Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Michigan Senate Concurrent Resolutions 20 and 21.

Sen. Colbeck introduced SCR 21 to encourage passage of HR 3003 by Congress. HR 3003 is also known as the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. Relatedly, SCR 20, introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, encourages passage of HR 3004 by Congress. HR 3004 is also known as Kate’s Law.

In Michigan, five communities have adopted some measure of sanctuary policies. These communities are Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Lansing and Washtenaw County.

“Sanctuary is merely a euphemism for ‘do not enforce the law,’” Sen. Colbeck said during his testimony in support of SCR 20 and 21. “The practical implications of sanctuary cities and states is that law enforcement officers are directed by elected officials not to enforce federal law despite these elected officials not having the legal authority to do so. These decisions are typically driven by political considerations that do not include the safety of our citizens.”

Sen. Colbeck cited the tragic death of Kate Steinle as evidence of the very real safety concerns associated with the refusal to enforce U.S. immigration law.

Sen. Schuitmaker also mentioned Steinle’s death in her testimony. “This man should never have been here and Kate should still be with her loved ones,” said Schuitmaker. “Allowing police to report to immigration authorities and detain people who are here illegally should not require legislative action. Many Americans, including myself, find it troubling that cities across the U.S. are not only getting away with knowingly violating federal law, but are also advertising their sanctuary city status.”

Under HR 3003, any individual, spouse or a parent or child of that individual who is the victim of murder, rape or any felony associated with a conviction and sentence of at least one year may bring civil suit against any municipality whose sanctuary policies enabled such a crime. HR 3004 increases the penalties for illegal immigrants who commit criminal offenses in the United States.

Both SCR 20 and SCR 21 were reported favorably to the Michigan Senate floor, where they now await consideration.

 

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Sen. Colbeck testifies before House Energy Policy Committee

Investigation into DTE shut-off practices underway

LANSING, Mich.State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, testified Tuesday before the House Energy Policy Committee regarding constituents who received notices of inappropriate power shut-offs.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Gary Glenn, took testimony from utility customers who had their power inappropriately disconnected over the past several months. A formal investigation into the matter is also underway by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

“Last year my office began to see a large increase in the number of constituents contacting us and complaining about inappropriate shut-off notices and other problems that we reported to the MPSC,” Sen. Colbeck said. “The official investigation is based on preliminary data that showed at least 288 families had their power wrongfully shut off.

“The commission will be looking into the causes for these and other shut-offs, but as of now we know that many of them were simply due to a new computer system that DTE was using. We can’t have families without power for five days or more simply because of computer problems, particularly as DTE looks to have smart meters and remote shut-off capability play a more prominent role in disconnections.”

Sen. Colbeck’s testimony also outlined rules that the MPSC should update so that improper shut-offs can be detected faster and more penalties can be applied to any utility that is not following the rules.

Sen. Colbeck said that the wrongful shut-offs help prove why both utility choice and meter-choice urgently need to be offered in Michigan.

“In virtually any other industry, people can flee poor service when it jeopardizes their health and well-being,” Sen. Colbeck said. “But here in Michigan, they are stuck with their electricity provider. Until that changes, the state must provide proper oversight to ensure utilities provide good customer service to their captive customers.”

 

Click here to watch the committee hearing.  Senator Colbeck’s testimony begins at the 15:30 minute mark.

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*** Media Advisory *** Sen. Colbeck to hold January office hours in Livonia

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Who:

Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton; District Manager Penny Crider; and the general public

 

What:

Office hours

 

When and where:

Friday, Jan. 19

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. *Please note the time change

Livonia Civic Park Senior Center

15218 Farmington Road

Livonia, MI 48154

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and District Manager Penny Crider will hold monthly office hours for January in Livonia on Friday, Jan. 19, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The office hours will be held at the Livonia Civic Park Senior Center and will be open to the public.

Sen. Colbeck will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of his district may have. No appointment is necessary.

“I encourage anyone who needs help, has questions, or wants to express a viewpoint to stop by,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I’m looking forward to continuing a regular series of office hours throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents about state and pocketbook issues.”

Sen. Colbeck represents the 7th Senate District, which encompasses the cities of Livonia, Northville, Plymouth and Wayne, as well as the townships of Canton, Northville and Plymouth.

For more information or to contact Sen. Colbeck, please visit www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com or call 517-373-5713.

Sen. Colbeck calls for electric shut-off moratorium

Welcomes formal MPSC investigation

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, said on Thursday that he welcomed the announcement of a formal investigation into the electric shut-off practices of DTE and called for a moratorium on such practices until the investigation was completed.

“In October our office began to see a big increase in the number of constituents contacting us and complaining about inappropriate shut-off notices and other problems that we reported to the MPSC,” Sen. Colbeck said. “As the months got colder those problems shockingly got worse instead of better. This formal investigation by the MPSC is going to clearly show that people were being threatened with shut-off notices they never should have received, resulting in turn with many of them then having their power inappropriately disconnected. In addition, getting power turned back on also took much longer than it is legally supposed to.

“This has gone beyond just minor billing snafus and has unacceptably created significant stress, hardship, and endangerment for hundreds of people whose simple wish is to pay their bills and receive electric service. Especially in Michigan where people can’t just change their utility provider when they’re treated like this, it is imperative that we hold both our utilities and our oversight 110 percent accountable.”

Now that the extent of the problem is being acknowledged, Sen. Colbeck also called for the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to put a moratorium on DTE’s ability to shut off power to their residential customers until the investigation over the shut-off and billing problems has been completed. Power was wrongly cut for many reasons, but as an example, the investigation notice highlighted that at least 288 customers had their service improperly disconnected because of simple computer-related billing errors over the past six months.

“This investigation is still necessary, but it is already a forgone conclusion that DTE’s computer problems are causing people to have power cut because of internal communication problems within DTE that incorrectly put people at risk for being flagged for shut-off,” said Colbeck. “I’ve had people contact me one week saying they got an inappropriate shut-off notice, were assured the next week that it wouldn’t happen, and then a few days later they would call my office back because DTE had returned to their home threatening shut-off again.

“Until the investigation shows the exact steps that need to be taken to fix all of this, it would be prudent for the MPSC to, at the very least, have to pre-approve all residential shut-offs while this investigation is ongoing. A moratorium would be an even better course of action if simple billing errors that could affect anyone would result in shut-offs that jeopardize ratepayer health and personal safety during our cold winter months.”

Sen. Colbeck said while the main concern is for seniors, especially those who live by themselves, that in today’s high tech world a lack of power impacts everyone.

“Older individuals would be calling from the library asking for help because their VOIP phones would not work with the power off and they had no way to recharge their cell phones,” Sen. Colbeck said. “When they would try to contact DTE they could often only leave a message, but had no working phone for DTE to even call them back on. Those who could not rely on the help of neighbors were significantly impacted.

“But even younger families faced hardships beyond the cold. People’s computers would not work, and their kids were missing school assignments. Burglar alarms were down. Birthday parties and Thanksgiving plans were disrupted. Even for people who received notices but didn’t get shut off, they went through several stressful weeks waiting for the other shoe to drop and were oftentimes afraid to leave their homes unattended for fear of finding their power cut when they returned.”

Sen. Colbeck also highlighted that because the MPSC only knows what it is told that it is critical that people call the MPSC to lodge complaints. If people don’t call, the extent of the investigation will be understated. People should call 1.800.292.9555 for any complaint they have, even if the incident occurred several months ago.

Sen. Colbeck’s previous press release on the matter also drew attention to the fact that the MPSC currently does not formally ask the utilities to report why people have their electric power involuntarily shut off. Sen. Colbeck said he felt that would be an issue that would hamper the investigation and shows the need for changes in reporting.

“State administrative rules need to be rewritten so that something like this can’t happen again,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I believe that the current law requires more detailed reporting than what the utilities are now submitting to the MPSC, but in any event it is clear that the MPSC has the legal ability to now retroactively ask for those details as they conduct this investigation. For example, it has been extremely frustrating for me to see people getting their power turned off because they simply want to keep their analog meter, to then be told that it is a rare occurrence, but then be unable to get the actual data on how frequently it is happening.

“For a start we need to change the rules that allow for such meter-choice related shut-offs, that encourage lax reporting, and that allow utilities to take too long restoring power without experiencing any real ramifications.  Waiting a week to get power restored in the cold is simply too long, especially when the person shouldn’t even be getting their power cut in the first place.”

Sen. Colbeck said that the type of behavior being exemplified by the shut-offs shows why both utility choice and meter-choice urgently need to be reexamined.

“Until people can vote with their feet we’ll continue to see these problems,” Sen. Colbeck said. “People deserve the right to flee poor service when it jeopardizes their health and well-being.”

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Michigan Senate passes legislation sponsored by Sen. Colbeck to increase funding available for education

Enhanced Michigan Education Savings Program sent to House

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, joined his Senate colleagues on Wednesday in passing legislation that would supplement existing education funding without raising taxes.

The package of bills, known as the Enhanced Michigan Education Savings Program (E-MESP), would expand the provisions of the existing Michigan Educational Savings Program (MESP) beyond higher education.

“Learning is a lifelong endeavor,” Sen. Colbeck said. “The proposed E-MESP program is a great way to invest in education through all phases of one’s life. This innovative new program empowers parents and students of all ages to enhance savings not just for college but also for K-12 educational expenses, skilled trades training and professional development.”

The E-MESP bill package will help to solve a variety of education related problems such as calls for additional funding, workforce shortages of qualified graduates, growing out of pocket expenses for parents and teachers, and improved parental involvement in education.

It is estimated that upwards of $3,000 more per-pupil per-year could be made available for education via the student-specific E-MESP savings accounts. An additional piece of legislation, Senate Concurrent Resolution 25, calls on the federal government to expand tax exemptions and contribution limits for state-sponsored education savings accounts such as those offered in the E-MESP.

“Many parents, teachers, and administrators are seeking to provide additional money for use in educating our kids and even ourselves later in life,” Sen. Colbeck said. “Services such as tutoring can be expensive, and sports uniforms and band instruments are things that parents can use help saving for.

“Some people say that it is impossible to do so without increasing taxes, but other options exist that also have the benefit of putting students and parents more in charge of how to enhance their education.”

The legislation would not replace existing public funding mechanisms for schools. It merely supplements current funding streams without raising taxes. Participation in the program is optional for both parents and schools.

In accordance with the constraints of Article VIII, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution, no public funding can be appropriated to private schools. Under the proposed legislation, the services eligible for payments from the E-MESP accounts would be determined by the Michigan Department of Education in accordance with the constraints of the Michigan Constitution.

A likely list of eligible K-12 educational services could include things such as tutoring, band instruments, football uniforms, or out-of-pocket transportation expenses. Money not used for such K-12 purposes could also be used to help pay for higher education, vocational education or professional development later in life.

The legislation provides a way to increase funding available for schools without raising taxes, improves education cost transparency, and empowers parents with choices as to how education funds are spent.

The legislation now heads to the House for further consideration.

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