Senate approves Marleau legislation to protect taxpayers


LANSING— Legislation that prevents local taxpayers from having to foot the bill when funds are mismanaged by local school districts, school boards or superintendents was approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, said sponsor state Sen. Jim Marleau.

“This is common sense legislation that I introduced to protect the hardworking taxpayers across Michigan,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Under proposal A, taxpayers are protected from having operational costs passed along to them.”

Marleau sponsored this legislation due to an issue with the Pontiac school system that is in his Senate district.

The Pontiac school district had an agreement that MESSA (Michigan Education Special Services Association) be their health care administrator at the cost of $500,000 per month. For approximately eighteen months, MESSA provided the service, even though the district had stopped making payments. MESSA sued the Pontiac school district and a judge awarded them a judgment of $7.8 million and ruled that this money could be raised by a millage.

“Taxpayers have already paid for this service once, the idea that they should pay for them a second time is ridiculous,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion.

Senate Bills 442 and 443 now advance to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senate signs off on bipartisan legislation to help protect Michigan neighborhoods

LANSING— Legislation that would increase the penalty for a drive-by shooting was approved by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Jim Marleau.

“Firing a weapon out of a moving car is irresponsible and dangerous, and when it is done with innocent people around it is just plain stupid,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “This legislation allows for longer prison sentences and increased fines when a drive-by shooting occurs.”

Senate Bill 582, sponsored by Marleau, would increase the penalties for anyone convicted of intentionally discharging a firearm from a vehicle into a home or potentially occupied structure.

Senate Bill 583, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, would increase the number of years and offender can spend in prison for purposefully doing a drive-by shooting.

“The Senate's swift action on these bipartisan measures demonstrates how urgent it is to address violent crime in our neighborhoods,” said Ananich. “These changes are an important part of the comprehensive solutions we need to keep our families safe.”

Marleau added “If passed, these bills will give prosecutors one more tool to keep dangerous criminals behind bars and off the streets,” Marleau added.

SBs 582 and 583 now advance to the Michigan House of Representatives. 

Senate panel hears testimony on Marleau bills protecting school districts from certain court judgments

LANSING–A state Senate committee heard public testimony Wednesday on legislation that would prohibit court judgments to be levied against school districts for operating costs, said the bills’ sponsor Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion.

Senate Bills 442 and 443 are designed to protect taxpayers from financially irresponsible school districts.

“These measures address a gaping problem in the current law, which was exposed by a court decision in my district,” Marleau said. “As was evident from today’s testimony, the adverse consequences of the decision have had a profound effect on people.”

The legislation was prompted by a $7.8 million court judgment against the Pontiac School District for the district’s missed payments to Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA), the organization that administers the district’s health and related employee benefit plans.

Responsibility for paying for the judgment will be passed on to taxpayers in the district.

Those who testified Wednesday in support of Marleau’s bills included residents and businesses owners from his district.

“The Legislature passed Proposal A years ago to protect taxpayers from paying for school operating costs, but this judgment puts taxpayers in the Pontiac School District on the hook for such costs, to the tune of nearly $8 million,” Marleau said.

The lawmaker said by law it is too late for his measures to address the situation with Pontiac Schools.

“Unfortunately taxpayers in the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills, as well as those in Orion Township, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield and Sylvan Lake, will most likely notice a significant increase in their summer tax bills,” he said. “It’s sad that the $8 million levied against taxpayers will pay off the MESSA credit, not to fund our children’s education. MESSA spent 18 months providing a benefit our community could not afford, confident that taxpayers would foot the bill. It remains to be seen if the Pontiac School District will ever recover.”

Senate Health Policy Committee to hear presentation on alarmingly low immunization rates in Michigan

State Sen. Jim Marleau, chairman of the Senate Health Policy Committee, along with members of the committee, Michigan physicians, pharmacists, school nurses, public and health plan organizations, and concerned citizens.

Senate Health Policy Committee meeting regarding statewide immunization rates.

Thursday, Oct. 10
2:30 p.m.

Senate Hearing Room, Ground Floor
Boji Tower
124 W. Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48933

The Senate Health Policy Committee will hear a presentation by the Department of Community Health regarding immunization rates in the state.

At 5.3 percent of the population, Michigan has the fourth-highest rate in the nation of parents refusing to immunize their children, according to numbers compiled by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the Michigan State Medical Society, less than 72 percent of Michigan children and 63 percent of adolescents are fully immunized, leading to recent outbreaks of preventable diseases.

Several health organizations and individuals plan to testify at the hearing on the need to raise immunization rates in Michigan.

Bipartisan bills take on problem of deadly drive-by shootings

LANSING?Drive-by shooters would face stiffer penalties under legislation introduced Thursday by Sens. Jim Marleau and Jim Ananich and a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The measures come at the request of law enforcement officials, who are working to prevent the increased occurrence of innocent families and children falling victim to violent crimes in many communities across the state.

“The broad support from both sides of the aisle shows that this is an urgent problem and one we can take action on,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Our brave men and women in law enforcement should have the strongest tools available to keep people out of harm’s way, and this legislation is an important piece of that effort.”

Senate Bills 582 and 583 would increase the penalties for drive-by shootings by authorizing life sentences to anyone convicted of intentionally discharging a firearm from a vehicle into a home, in the event that the victim is murdered. The bills also authorize an increase in the maximum years of imprisonment and fines associated with the crime if there was intent to harm and/or the person is injured.
“We must work together to ensure safer communities if we want to secure an economic turnaround and the opportunity for investment and jobs,” said Ananich, D-Flint. “These measures are part of the strong, comprehensive approach to public safety that is needed to get results.”

The legislation is expected to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee as early as next week.