Colbeck votes “no” on adoption of “ballot proposal-lite” proposals

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich.State Sen. Patrick Colbeck voted “no” on two initiative proposals that were placed before the Legislature on Wednesday for potential adoption in lieu of going onto the November General Election ballot.

The measures, known as IL 3 and IL 4, would force employers to provide a minimum number of paid sick days and raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour, respectively. Both are moves that would hurt individuals seeking to find jobs and small business owners already burdened with state mandates that impact their ability to operate successfully, Colbeck said.

“Growing up, I recall reading the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It is evident from today’s vote that Democrat legislators have become adept at replicating Tom Sawyer’s ability to get others to paint their fences for them,” said Sen. Colbeck, R-Canton. “Rather than challenge the merits of the proposed minimum wage and paid sick leave proposals, members passed ‘Republican’ versions of these ballot proposals to avoid having the ostensibly more onerous versions proposed by Democrats on the ballot this fall. We need to start opposing policies detrimental to the economic prosperity of our state by clearly stating why they are bad rather than rely upon procedural tactics. Our citizens deserve robust policy debates that allow voters to better understand the pros and cons of pending legislation.”

Both measures passed the Senate on a vote of 24-13, and now go before the House. You can listen to the senator’s “no vote” explanation by clicking here.

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Colbeck recognized for his commitment to small business success

LANSING, Mich.State Sen. Patrick Colbeck has been recognized for his support of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), an advocacy group representing America’s small and independent business owners.

“We are delighted to recognize Senator Colbeck,” said Charlie Owens, state director of NFIB in Michigan. “Clearly he understands the important role that small business plays in providing jobs and economic development in his community.”

NFIB maintains a record of votes on issues relevant to small businesses, such as governmental red tape, regulatory burdens and tax policy. Sen. Colbeck scored a 90 percent positive record for the 2017-2018 session, one of only 38 House and Senate members to score 90 percent or above.

“I’m honored to be acknowledged by NFIB for my small business voting record,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “The independent business owners of our state are the backbone of our economy as well as a huge source of job growth and technological innovation. Creating a policy environment where these job providers can prosper is part of my duty as a representative for the people of Michigan.”

The full 2017-2018 NFIB Voting Record will be posted to the NFIB website in August. For more information on the specific votes that were considered, go to the Michigan page on www.nfib.com.

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Colbeck: Law must be changed to increase penalties for utility violations

 More money must go towards affected customers and enforcement of consumer protections

LANSING, Mich. — In the wake of a massive investigation into DTE by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, will be introducing legislation to provide needed updates on how much a utility can be fined, as well as to provide guarantees that affected customers receive compensation for accidental or illegal electric shut-offs.

“The maximum that utilities can be fined under some of our laws has remained unchanged for nearly 100 years and is no longer a real deterrent for the people managing our public utilities,” said Sen. Colbeck. “Many fines and penalties in general only flow back to the MPSC and not to affected customers. Fine money must to go towards specific consumer protection purposes and not just the MPSC as a whole, and affected customers need to receive compensation as well. Whether it is the cost of burst pipes in the winter or spoiled food in the summer, it is outrageous how many people are inappropriately getting their power turned off, and affected customers deserve far more than just an ‘oops, we’re sorry’ from our utilities.”

During a related legislative hearing regarding the shut-offs, testimony offered on behalf of DTE acknowledged that they have not yet paid any financial penalty, saying: “the biggest penalty that we pay is detriment to our customer [satisfaction].” Sen. Colbeck said because most residential customers are stuck in a monopoly market for utility service, it is clear that additional penalties are needed.

Preliminary MPSC findings, released Feb. 21, highlighted how DTE has been violating several consumer protections rules, sometimes resulting in people having their power cut for inappropriate reasons. While the company has blamed many of the problems on a new computer system, Sen. Colbeck said the most recent problems fit into a longstanding pattern of poor customer service that arises when people don’t have the options to show dissatisfaction by voting with their dollars.

“We’re dealing with residential abuses against captive customers here,” said Sen. Colbeck. “Many of these people were getting shut off in error during some of the coldest months we’ve seen in a decade, and it frequently took much too long for power to be restored. We need to change the law to create real deterrents and to compensate the real victims of these utility errors. Losing power can be life threatening, and these illegal shut-offs should not be lightly dismissed in any way, shape, or form.”

Case U-20084 investigating DTE will begin in earnest this fall.

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

Who:

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

 

What:

Office hours

 

When and where:

Friday, June 15

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

Livonia Senior Center

15218 Farmington Road

Livonia

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and District Manager Penny Crider will hold monthly office hours for June in Livonia on Friday, June 15, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The office hours will be held at the Livonia 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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Public forums on social studies standards announced

Opportunity for parents to weigh in on curriculum

 

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich.State Sen. Patrick Colbeck announced Friday that the state will be conducting a series of public forums to get parents’ feedback regarding newly proposed social studies standards to be used in schools.

The drafts to be reviewed are the product of a nonpartisan workgroup whose aim was to ensure a politically neutral and factually based framework for the state’s social studies curriculum. Colbeck joined the workgroup after it was announced the standards would be updated.

“Society may be getting more polarized, but our commitment to making sure our nation’s history is taught in a nonpartisan manner has not changed,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “I was concerned that some elements of our social studies standards were inaccurate and leaning away from being politically neutral.

“The diverse group of people that came together to inspect this curriculum framework worked well with each other to propose new standards, and we believe that people from a variety of backgrounds will now be able to support them.”

The state will next be conducting a series of “listen and learn” forums within communities throughout the state so that the Department of Education can receive feedback and learn more about public sentiment regarding its educational standards.

One forum has been scheduled in the city of Wayne on June 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency, 33500 Van Born Road. Other dates in the greater southeast Michigan area will be offered as well. To learn more, call the Michigan Department of Education at 833-633-5788.

Interested parties can view a draft of the proposed social studies standards by clicking here. No RSVP to attend any of the events is required.

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Colbeck testifies on neighborhood placement of cellular equipment, 5G safety issues

rushing of SB 637 jeopardizes health

 

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck testified Tuesday against Senate Bill 637, legislation that would largely remove citizen’s power through their local government to determine where “small cell” telecommunications equipment could be placed, even including in neighborhoods and around schools.

“As an Aerospace engineer and certified IT professional, I am a big fan of innovation and a frequent early adopter, and like many people find current wireless technology immensely convenient,” said Colbeck. “However, as a legislator, it is important for me to go beyond convenience and even economic opportunity when evaluating new legislation. It is important for us to consider the potential adverse health impacts for the sake of our citizens. We simply can’t afford to put convenience and expediency ahead of Article IV, Section 51 of the Michigan Constitution.”

Article IV, Section 51, states: “The public health and general welfare of the people of the state are hereby declared to be matters of primary public concern. The legislature shall pass suitable laws for the protection and promotion of the public health.”

“The health of our public is supposed to be a matter of primary public concern,” said Colbeck. “We are now seeing that the adverse health impacts associated with wireless radiation are severe and include cancer as well as DNA damage, fertility degradation, and cardiac issues. SB 637 subordinates health concerns to those of convenience and economic potential.”

While SB 637 would ostensibly allow people to appeal for a prohibition on permits for industry placed equipment, citizens could only be successful in the appeal if they can demonstrate that the emissions from wireless transmitters exceeded current federal RF Radiation exposure limits. These limits are defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which Colbeck said is routinely staffed by former telecommunications industry executives and leads to predictable results: exposure limits are defined at a level much higher than the radiation levels demonstrated to have adverse health impacts.

Because federal and pending state legislation references these exposure limits, telecommunications companies are effectively indemnified from lawsuits related to damages for these adverse health impacts.  In other words, there is no incentive for telecommunications companies to ensure that the technology is truly safe before it is deployed.

Colbeck implored committee members to look beyond the convenience and economic potential associated with the deployment of 5G technologies if it meant sacrificing the health of Michigan residents. Instead he advocated that Michigan can still leverage significant convenience and economic potential from the “Internet of Things” by deploying wired connection technology such as fiber optic cables.

“The health of our citizens needs to be of primary concern,” said Colbeck.

 

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Colbeck: Road construction transparency requirement will lead to longer lasting roads

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, testified today before the Senate Transportation Committee on legislation that would expressly make public the construction data for road projects throughout the state.

Senate Bill 210 would require the Michigan Department of Transportation to provide the general public with informational profiles of major road projects. These profiles would include the material used, specified design life of the pavement, and the names of the organizations responsible for the design, construction and inspection of the road. Not only would this information provide more transparency to taxpayers but it would also importantly provide the data necessary to help better enforce our existing road warranties.

“As we drive throughout Michigan we all see some roads that are clearly lasting longer, while others are clearly failing prematurely,” Sen. Colbeck said. “We need as much light shown as possible on those companies that are doing a good job and those who are doing poorly. SB 210 will help us to isolate whether or not the root cause of poor quality roads is in outdated design and construction methods, or is just because of improper construction where taxpayers are due necessary rework and reconstruction.”

Sen. Colbeck was a vocal opponent of the gas tax and registration fee increases implemented last session, arguing that innovation and quality were more important than simply raising taxes just to do more of the same old things in the same way. SB 210 would provide the Legislature and citizens at large with the information needed to make sure current road funds are being most effectively used.

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Michigan Senate holds 24th Annual Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and the Michigan Senate took part in a special ceremony Thursday in advance of Memorial Day that honored our fallen soldiers, especially those from Michigan who lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s upcoming Memorial Day is also special because it commemorates the nation’s 150th anniversary of its occasion.

The keynote presentation was provided by Spc. 5 James McCloughan. McCloughan was awarded the Medal of Honor last year for his heroism in Vietnam as a front-line combat medic. For additional information regarding his valor, click here.

“We are in awe of the heroism displayed by all Medal of Honor recipients, but looking at combat medics puts things into a very special perspective,” said Colbeck. “These are men and women who must frequently alternate between bullets and bandages, and who must charge onto the battlefield focusing on the wounded in front of them instead of the incoming fire being directed their way. They are all very special people, and we were especially honored to have Michigan’s own son, Spc. 5 James McCloughan, here with us today.”

With this year marking the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, the history of the event is also important. In Michigan, the state Senate has held a special ceremony to specifically honor Michigan’s fallen, a tradition started by former U.S. congressman and state senator, Mike Rogers. Colbeck has coordinated the event for the past several years after taking over those duties from former state senator Pappageorge.

“Our freedom, the liberty we dare not take for granted, is an inheritance given to us by those who fought and died to defend it,” Colbeck said. “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the heroes who gave their lives and to the families that lost their beloved children. Far from a mere holiday, Memorial Day is a call to action — a call to honor, a call to recognize our blessings, and a call to not disappoint those who sacrificed before us as we carry on the eternal fight against evil.”

The May 24 event was recorded and is available for public viewing by clicking here. Footage from Michigan’s previous Senate Memorial Day services can also be viewed at https://www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com/memorial-day-service/.

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Top photo: Senator Colbeck, R-Canton, (left) and Donald “Woody” Woodworth, a World War II, Korean War, Cold War and Vietnam War veteran from Livonia, stand in the Michigan Senate chamber Thursday after the Senate’s 24th Annual Memorial Day Service. Among his many achievements, Woodworth was awarded the Marines’ highest commendation for non-combat heroism.

Bottom photo: Senator Colbeck, R-Canton, (right) and Pastor Eddie Brown, State Chaplin of the American Legion in Southgate, who gave the invocation at the 2018 Annual Senate Memorial Session.

Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com/photowire.

Michigan Senate will hold 24th Annual Memorial Day Service at the Capitol

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Patrick Colbeck and the Michigan Senate will take part in a special ceremony during session on Thursday, May 24, in honor of Memorial Day and Michigan soldiers who have lost their lives in service.

Colbeck said this Memorial Day is especially significant because it commemorates the nation’s 150th Memorial Day honoring America’s fallen.

“Our freedom, the liberty we dare not take for granted, is an inheritance given to us by those who fought and died to defend it,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the heroes who gave their lives and to the families that lost their beloved children.

“Far from a mere holiday, Memorial Day is a call to action — a call to honor, a call to recognize our blessings, and a call to not disappoint those who sacrificed before us as we carry on the eternal fight against evil.”

With this year marking the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, the history of the event is also important. In Michigan the state Senate has held a special ceremony to especially honor Michigan’s fallen, a tradition started by former U.S. congressman, and then state senator, Mike Rogers.

Sen. Colbeck has coordinated the event for the past several years after taking over those duties from former state Sen. John Pappageorge.

The service will be conducted on May 24 beginning at 10 a.m. Seating within the Senate chamber is reserved for the families of fallen military servicemen and for other military members who are directly participating in the event. The Capitol’s main common areas will be open for members of the general public who are interested in coming to Lansing to show their support.

“I encourage everyone to take a moment this Memorial Day to pray for our heroes, now gone but never forgotten,” Colbeck said. “Please also consider thanking the families of the fallen, or donating time or resources to a local veterans group.”

To view footage from Michigan’s previous Senate Memorial Day services please visit https://www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com/memorial-day-service/.

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

Who:

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

 

What:

Office hours

 

When and where:

Friday, May 18

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

Livonia Senior Center

15218 Farmington Road

Livonia

 

Brief:

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and District Manager Penny Crider will hold monthly office hours for May in Livonia on Friday, May 18, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The office hours will be held at the Livonia 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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