*** Media Advisory *** Sen. Colbeck to hold November office hours in Northville

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Who:

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

 

What:

Office hours

 

When:

Tuesday, Nov. 28

6-7 p.m.

 

Where:

Northville District Library

212 W. Cady St.

Northville

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and District Manager Penny Crider will conduct monthly office hours for November in Northville on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The office hours are at the Northville District 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. All are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.

“I’m looking forward to continuing our regular series of office hours throughout the district in Northville,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I encourage anyone who needs help or wants to express a viewpoint to attend. I believe it is very important to hear 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 commends Gov. Snyder’s creation of new PFAS Response Team

State website now made available

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, on Monday commended Gov. Snyder for his creation of the state’s new Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Response Team.

The stability of PFAS compounds results in their accumulation as they do not readily degrade. High concentrations of these compounds have been linked to significant health issues such as cancer.

“The governor’s formation of the PFAS Response Team is a responsible, proactive first step toward defining the scope and significance of the PFAS contamination issue throughout our state,” Sen. Colbeck said.

For many years, PFAS chemicals have been widely used within industry and on military bases. While the use of the chemicals has been declining, investigations looking into the public health effects of potential contamination are being conducted. The chemical is used across Michigan and the country. PFAS chemicals had been commonly used in firefighting foams, cleaning products, household cookware and carpets, and some food packaging.

“It is my duty as an elected official to ensure that my constituents are informed on this issue and others that potentially impact their health,” Sen. Colbeck said. “My staff and I will be coordinating with both the DEQ and the new state PFAS Response Team to ensure the constituents of the 7th Senate District have the latest information. These updates will be shared in our monthly e-newsletter.”

The PFAS Response Team will be responsible for coordinating efforts between 10 different state agencies to ensure the public is well-informed on the issue.

In order to facilitate these communications, the state has created a website where the public can find out information about PFAS contamination in Michigan. The website address is http://michigan.gov/pfasresponse.

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Sen. Colbeck votes in favor of Second Amendment, right to self-defense

LANSING, Mich.State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, voted in favor of several changes to Michigan firearms laws today.

Senate Bill 366 is designed to allow adults aged 18-20 who can lawfully own a firearm to also lawfully apply for a concealed pistol license. Sen. Colbeck previously voted in favor of the legislation when he was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in a previous press release, he highlighted the sad hypocrisy that young adults could serve in the military and protect our freedoms overseas, yet were not allowed to personally protect themselves and their families when they were back here at home.

“As a strong supporter of people being able to defend themselves, this bill will allow legal-aged adults in Michigan the full ability to exercise their right to carry a concealed pistol as many other states currently allow,” Sen. Colbeck said. “It’s important that the Senate passes this legislation that ensures adults who are of legal age to vote, serve in our nation’s armed forces, and own a gun can also enjoy the protection that comes with being able to carry a concealed pistol.”

Sen. Colbeck also voted in favor of Senate Bill 527, designed to make sure that foster parents do not need to surrender their Second Amendment rights in exchange for being able to adopt a family member. Sen. Colbeck previously highlighted the story of how a former Marine and Michigan resident was told he would have to give up certain Second Amendment rights in exchange for being able to foster parent their grandchild.

“No one should be required to choose between their family and their Second Amendment rights,” Sen. Colbeck said. “The rules that were promulgated by the state administrators here are clearly wrong and counter to law, and they can’t be allowed to stand.”

Sen. Colbeck said he has also asked the attorney general for a formal opinion on what he sees as other Second Amendment violations that the state’s departments are improperly foisting upon Michigan’s residents.

“We now have an executive branch that continues to promote regulations that go well beyond expressed legislative intent,” Sen. Colbeck said. “That needs to change considering the real-world impacts these regulations have upon the people we serve.”

Sen. Colbeck also voted in favor of Senate Bill 584 and other related bills that would require further training for lawful CPL holders in order for them to carry in so-called “pistol free zones.”

Under Michigan’s current firearms law, valid CPL holders can carry pistols in some areas only if they do so in an “open carry” fashion. This creates situations at public schools, for example, where lawful gun owners who don’t want to falsely alarm people can’t instead carry a concealed pistol. There has also been a false impression about this legislation that it would somehow allow more firearms in schools.

“Many proponents of the Second Amendment, myself included, have seen how so-called ‘pistol free zones’ should really be viewed as ‘criminal empowerment zones’ where people with evil in their hearts will go to try to find victims that they believe will be unarmed,” Sen. Colbeck said. “These bills still respect private property rights and won’t allow people to carry concealed on private property where they are not allowed. It will, however, make sure that our Second Amendment rights and the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves won’t artificially end in our public spaces due to arbitrary governmental laws.”

The bills now head to the House for further consideration.

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Colbeck questions Michigan Public Service Commission

Does the MPSC serve the public?

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, slammed the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on Wednesday for dereliction of duty for their policies that allow utilities to cut the power of people who are trying to keep their analog utility meters.

“It‘s been roughly eight years since Marvin Schur died a painful death as he slowly froze in his own home because he had problems paying his utility bills,” Sen. Colbeck said. “Government reacted then by taking steps to make sure that could never again happen. Yet as the weather turns colder, untold people who have paid their bills but who are simply trying to keep their analog meter are having their power cut right now, setting the stage for history to repeat itself.

“Does the MPSC feel that some lives are more valuable than others? Given the monopoly status of our utilities, the MPSC is supposed to represent the interests of the ratepayers who are the captive customers of our utilities.”

Sen. Colbeck said he does not know how many people have had their power cut over “smart meters” because he has not been able to get an answer from the MPSC, which may not even know the answer themselves. Sen. Colbeck said he believes that hundreds of ratepayers have potentially received the shut-off notices, and that over twenty have contacted his office personally after their power was indeed cut.

More often than not the callers are elderly or disabled. Many have medical devices that require power, and many have phones that don’t work when power is out.

Given the latest wave of shut-off notices, Sen. Colbeck wonders how many more people who are elderly like Mr. Schur either haven’t reached out for help or are cut off from the outside world without a cell phone or a way to keep one charged.

“I’m being contacted by the friends and families of people in their 70s and 80s who are disabled or have asthma or congestive heart failure,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I’m getting contacted by people who have cancer or whose children have cancer and are now in the damp cold. People who are dependent on nebulizers of other powered medical devices.

“Some are homebound and are getting their power cut without a knock. Some go out to the grocery store and come home to darkness. I know of one elderly disabled couple who is going into their third winter without power. This is supposed to be the United States, not some third world country.”

Sen. Colbeck said he has not received any response to a letter he wrote to the MPSC commissioners two weeks ago. In this letter he asked for them to change their rules so people would have the ability to access electric service independent of whether they wanted to accept so-called “smart meters” on their property.

*** Media Advisory *** Sen. Colbeck to hold November office hours in Plymouth

Who:

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

 

What:

Office hours

 

When:

Wednesday, Nov. 1

6 – 7 p.m.

 

Where:

Plymouth District Library

223 South Main St.

Plymouth, MI 48170

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and District Manager Penny Crider will conduct monthly office hours for November in Plymouth on Wednesday, Nov. 1. The office hours will be held at the Plymouth District Library in the Friends Board Room 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. All are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.

“I’m looking forward to continuing our regular series of office hours throughout the district in Plymouth,” Sen. Colbeck said. “I encourage anyone who needs help or wants to express a viewpoint to attend. I believe it is very important to hear 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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*** Media Advisory *** Sen. Colbeck to hold October 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, Oct. 20

11 a.m. – noon

Livonia Civic Park Senior Center

15218 Farmington Road

Livonia

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and District Manager Penny Crider will hold monthly office hours for October in Livonia on Friday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. until noon. 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.

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Teachers union opposes additional education funding, cost transparency, parental empowerment

Enhanced education savings bills passed out of Senate Education Committee

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation being advanced by State Sen. Patrick Colbeck was voted out of the Senate Education Committee last week that would offer a means of providing additional funding for education in Michigan without raising taxes.

Currently, students can participate in the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP), which allows for limited tax-free contributions to savings accounts that can only be used for college. The new Enhanced MESP (E-MESP) accounts provided by the bills would extend the eligible uses beyond college to include K-12 school expenses and professional development.

“Current tax-advantaged education savings programs don’t go far enough because they can only be used for college,” said Sen. Colbeck, R-Canton. “The Enhanced MESP accounts are designed to help make education a lifelong pursuit in this ever-changing world. Eligible education services could include special education services, extracurricular activities currently not funded by schools, skilled trades preparation, and later-in-life professional development.”

Sen. Colbeck said he was surprised that Senate Bills 544-549 were opposed by the American Federation of Teachers-MI and several other educational organizations because they have traditionally wanted to see more money made available for education.

“I was disappointed by the testimony by AFT-MI in opposition to additional funding for education on the grounds that these additional funds would be controlled by parents rather than what they termed as ‘public direction,’” Sen. Colbeck said. “To make matters worse, they also took issue with cost transparency provisions within the bills saying that they were concerned with putting a ‘price tag on individual services.’”

In addition to the American Federation of Teachers-MI, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, Wayne RESA, Oakland Schools, Michigan Association of School Administrators, Middle Cities, Michigan League for Public Policy, and the Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe Intermediate School Districts opposed the legislation.

Participation in the Enhanced MESP program would be entirely voluntary for parents and public schools. Under the proposed legislation, the educational categories eligible for payments would not include what are defined as “core services.”

Core services are already provided free of charge to public school students under the Michigan Constitution. The list of eligible services would ultimately be defined by the Michigan Department of Education in accordance with the constraints of the Constitution. The Michigan Constitution prohibits the use of tax-advantaged funds to pay for tuition at private schools.

Under the law, funds from private sources such as businesses, charities, family or friends could be deposited into E-MESP accounts. These contributions would be exempt from taxation by the state of Michigan. Sen. Colbeck is also pursuing exemption from federal taxation with officials in Washington.

One of the private sources highlighted during the committee testimony pertains to businesses that contribute as much as $7,000 per year to the education of students participating in work-study programs. In addition to these funds, students earn valuable work experience and insight regarding where they may wish to focus future studies.

Michael Khoury, President of Detroit Cristo Rey High School, testified before the Senate Education Committee on how their work-study program works. As a parochial school, Detroit Cristo Rey would not be affected by the legislation, but Mr. Khoury testified as a means of demonstrating how the program might benefit public schools. Committee testimony describing a work-study program example can be viewed by clicking here.

SB 544-549 now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

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Proposed constitutional amendment would empower citizens and rein in executive branch

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, spoke on Thursday regarding the need for a new constitutional amendment designed to empower citizens and rein in an executive branch that often exceeds legislative intent with their regulations. The introduced measure is Senate Joint Resolution M.

“A properly functioning government is one that is accountable to the people and features a balance between three branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial,” Sen. Colbeck said. “But now we have an executive branch that continues to promote regulations that go well beyond expressed legislative intent. That needs to change considering the real world impacts these regulations have upon the people we serve.”

The push to rein in the powers of the executive branch has a renewed sense of urgency in light of proposals to reduce the influence of the legislative branch via a part-time legislature.

Michigan is one of only 12 states that have a full-time legislature. Sen. Colbeck is a strong and long-time supporter of a part-time legislature, but he has also indicated he wants to make sure that any power lost by the legislature goes to the people and not to the executive branch.

“Part-time legislatures work just fine in the majority of other states,” Sen. Colbeck said.  “But one of the keys to success for a part-time legislature is an appreciation for limited government.

“Full-time legislatures are typically found in states known for big government policies where the people depend heavily upon government services. Our challenge in Michigan after decades of big government policies is to restore an appreciation for freedom and the empowerment of our citizens to manage their own lives.”

Sen. Colbeck specifically noted a few of what are many recent examples of administrative overreach, including actions by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and the Department of Environmental Quality. In those instances, rules are being made that clearly run counter to legislative intent, and permitting is being required that is not warranted and has never been necessary in the past.

“In one example, the ink is barely dry on our new energy law but the MPSC is already trying to create new rules that would prohibit customers from accessing out-state energy generation when they know that is not what the legislature intended or voted for,” Sen. Colbeck said.

“No matter how clear we as legislators try to be with the letter of the law, and despite assurances from staff attorneys on what the laws that we send to the governor mean, there is all too frequently what can only be described as a willful amnesia and creative interpretation over what some of our laws were explicitly designed to do. We’re now even seeing groups specifically lobby non-elected officials to reinterpret laws, as is the case with Equality Michigan and our civil rights laws.

Colbeck’s proposed legislation would amend Articles IV and V of the Michigan Constitution.  The Article IV changes would improve regulatory oversight by the legislature. The Article V changes would also provide improved transparency regarding executive budget priorities and agency performance.

“Today, the government has more information on the people than the people have about the government and how effectively it spends your hard-earned tax dollars,” Sen. Colbeck said. “We need to right the ship and make sure it goes back to being the other way around.”

If approved by both chambers, SJR M would be subject to a vote of the people before any changes would be made to the Michigan Constitution.

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Sen. Colbeck welcomes Pastor Brown to state Capitol to lead Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, (left) welcomed the Rev. Steve Brown to the Michigan Senate on Tuesday to deliver the invocation at the start of the Senate session. Brown leads the Parkview Baptist Church congregation in Livonia.

Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by selecting Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Sens. Colbeck, Schuitmaker urge federal action on immigration

LANSING, Mich. — State Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker and Patrick Colbeck on Tuesday introduced a pair of resolutions urging Congress to cut funding to sanctuary cities and to pass Kate’s Law.

U.S. House Resolution 3004, which is commonly referred to as Kate’s law, increases penalties for those who are deported and caught trying to return to the United States. The legislation is named after Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman who was killed by a man who had been deported numerous times, but was able to enter the U.S. again. Many attribute Steinle’s death to the city’s sanctuary city status, a term coined for cities that limit cooperation between their workers and federal officials attempting to enforce federal immigration law.

“This man should never have been here and Kate should still be with her loved ones,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “This was a senseless, devastating crime that could have and should have been prevented. I applaud the House taking action and approving this measure, but the Senate needs to act quickly and get this to the president’s desk before this happens again.”

Michigan Senate Concurrent Resolutions 20, sponsored by Schuitmaker, and 21, sponsored by Colbeck, urge the U.S. Senate to approve Kate’s Law, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in early June. The pair of resolutions also urge the federal government to cut funding to any city that proclaims itself a sanctuary city.

“It makes no sense to financially reward government bodies that try to impede state and city employees from working with federal immigration authorities,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “It should go without saying that public safety demands our police be allowed to report to immigration authorities and detain people who are here illegally.”

Schuitmaker agreed.

“It baffles me that cities across the U.S. are not only getting away with knowingly violating federal law, but are also advertising their sanctuary city status and encouraging more people to violate the law,” Schuitmaker said. “This is not only a matter of public safety, but a matter of preserving the rule of law. We cannot let local governments decide which federal laws they choose to follow.”

Both resolutions were referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary for further consideration.

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