Marleau bill would enable Michigan to enter health care compact, protect health system

LANSING—State Sen. Jim Marleau introduced legislation on Thursday that would help protect the state’s health care system by enabling Michigan, not the federal government, to control how the state spends money on health care.

Senate Bill 973 would allow Michigan to enter into an interstate Health Care Compact (HCC), which would return control of health care to the states in the compact.

“Michigan must manage its own health care dollars. We cannot be burdened by intrusive bureaucracy and regulation from the federal government,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “By rejecting the ‘one size fits all’ approach for federal health care reform and letting states decide how to best serve their residents, the compact will allow for a more efficient and effective system.”

The HCC would be an agreement between two or more member states to restore to those states the responsibility and authority over their health care programs. The compact, which would require U.S. congressional approval, would allow a member state to suspend operation of any federal laws, rules and regulations that are inconsistent with the laws and regulations of that state.

Sen. Goeff Hansen is a co-sponsor of SB 973 and sponsor of Senate Resolution 120, which expresses support to the U.S. Congress for the Health Care Compact.

“Michigan should have a say on how funds are spent on health care in the state, not the federal government,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “This vital measure will ensure that our health care system is protected. I fully support this bill along with my resolution and encourage my colleagues to act quickly.”

Marleau said his measure would not include health care programs for veterans and Native Americans, which would remain with the federal government.

SB 973 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy.

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Combating Michigan’s methamphetamine production

LANSING – An online tracking system has been effective in combating meth production in Michigan by enforcing limits on the amount of the drug’s main ingredient individuals can purchase, said Sen. Jim Marleau, co-sponsor of the new law.

“As is the case in other states with e-tracking, this system in Michigan has proven to be the most effective way to prevent the manufacture of methamphetamine,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “More and more of this devastating drug is being kept off the streets, while people in true need of over-the-counter cold medications are able to purchase them lawfully. I am thrilled with the success of this law.”

In the three months since e-tracking was launched in Michigan, the system has blocked the illegal sale of 42,955 grams of a key methamphetamine ingredient. This means the production of more than 21,000 grams of meth was prevented, with a street value of more than $2.1 million.

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an addictive, illegal drug that is commonly manufactured using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are common ingredients in cold medications.

Public Act 84 of 2011 requires retailers or pharmacies to consult the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) before selling products containing pseudoephedrine to make sure buyers have not exceeded a set limit. NPLEx is a real-time electronic logging system provided at no cost to taxpayers or retailers and is used only by law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing precursors to methamphetamine.

“I am proud to have led the effort to have Michigan join 16 other states using this online system with a proven record in stopping illegal purchases before they are made,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This outstanding news illustrates that we did the right thing to safeguard our communities.”

Pharmacies across the state have been using the program for one to three months. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, but many retailers started using the system in November 2011. During that time, Michigan residents were able to legally buy 567,000 boxes of medicine for their families.

“I sponsored this law because Southwest Michigan has been hit hard by this drug and tracking sales is critical to preventing meth manufacturers from skirting the law by going from store to store buying supplies,” Proos said. “Importantly, e-tracking effectively combats meth production without unfairly impacting a resident’s access to necessary cold medications.”

Pharmacies and retailers that have not yet registered for the system may do so at: www.NPLExsurvey.com.

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Sen. Marleau offers free 2011 tax preparation guides

Residents of the 12th state Senate District looking for a free tax preparation reference can obtain a copy of the latest Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide through Sen. Jim Marleau’s website.

The guide, which is a reference for the 2011 tax year, is designed to help residents prepare their tax forms.

“Every year, the tax laws change,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “The Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide can help readers navigate the sometimes murky waters of the tax laws when they fill out their taxes. I encourage residents of the 12th District to take advantage of this free publication.”

The booklet contains information on Michigan’s taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long taxpayer’s calendar with reference to important tax dates and filing deadlines. Also inside are copies of the most commonly used tax forms, as well as addresses and phone numbers for obtaining state agency tax information assistance.

Free copies of the tax guides are available for residents of the 12th Senate District on Marleau’s website at www.SenatorJimMarleau.com.

Those without web access can obtain a free copy by contacting Marleau’s office at 517-373-2417.