Legislature sends budget to governor

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature passed a fiscal year 2019 budget on Tuesday that includes increases in road funding and K-12 education and a hefty investment in school safety, said Sen. Jim Marleau.

The combined 2018 and 2019 budgets include $58 million for school safety and $330 million more in road funding — bringing the total new investment in Michigan roads to $2.4 billion since 2017.

“This budget once again demonstrates Senate Republicans’ commitment to fiscal responsibility,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “The state’s rainy day fund has been increased to $1 billion — from a $1.8 billion structural deficit eight years ago — and for the eighth consecutive year, Senate Republicans have balanced the budget ahead of schedule.”

Marleau said that under this budget, most schools will see the largest per-pupil increase in 17 years, once again increasing funding for our schools to record levels. The budget also continues to encourage economic growth and make government more efficient and effective with taxpayer dollars.

Some of the budget highlights include:

Education
The K-12 budget invests $14.8 billion in education, which is the most in state history. The K-12 foundation allowance has been increased between $120 and $240 per pupil, representing the largest per-pupil increase for most schools in 17 years. With this budget, state funding for our schools will have increased by $2.2 billion since fiscal year 2011.

School Safety
The budget invests $58 million in school safety initiatives to keep our students safe. This includes increased funding of $3 million for the OK2SAY program, an investment of $30 million for mental health support services within schools, and increased funding for school safety security grants to $25 million.

Jobs and the Economy
The budget fully funds the $100 million Marshall Plan for Talent initiative and invests $40.9 million in Going Pro skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

Fixing Michigan’s Roads
The budget puts an additional $330 million into fixing our roads and bridges. With this budget, we will have cumulatively added a total of $2.4 billion to our roads since 2017 as a result of the road funding package and prioritized spending.

“Today’s budget will continue to provide opportunities for working families,” Marleau said. “The economy is strong, and this budget sets us up to continue that growth with fiscal responsibility.”

The budget now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed into law.

Marleau reminds residents of weekend of free fishing

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Marleau on Tuesday reminded residents of a great opportunity to take advantage of one of the favorite summertime activities of Michiganders at no cost.

“Michigan’s annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend is this Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Our state offers unparalleled natural resources, including 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes that offer spectacular fishing opportunities. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy Pure Michigan this weekend.”

Marleau said residents and nonresidents alike can fish without a license on these two days, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Entry into state public boating access sites, state parks and recreation areas is free of charge.

Since 1986, Michigan has celebrated the free weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and to give families a great chance to pass along the joy of fishing to the next generation.

The Summer Free Fishing Weekend concludes the Michigan Boating Week, an annual celebration of the great outdoor activities offered by the state. It is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Michigan Waterways Commission and the Michigan Boating Industries Association.

The week-long event offers many opportunities to start boating, get back onboard or learn some new skills to use on the water. For more information, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.

Marleau said Saturday and Sunday also mark one of the summer’s free ORV weekends, a time off-road enthusiasts can ride Michigan DNR-designated routes and trails without an ORV license or trail permit. Riders can find out more at www.Michigan.gov/ORVInfo.

To encourage visitors to visit a state park during the weekend, the state is waiving the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks.

“With free fishing and trail opportunities, this weekend is a great time to kick off the summer anywhere in the state,” Marleau said.

Sen. Marleau ranks near top of economic freedom survey

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Marleau is among the top-ranked senators in the 2017 Economic Freedom Scorecard for Michigan legislators.

The scorecard, released by the grassroots advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, uses voting records from key legislation of the previous year to calculate each senator’s commitment to standards of economic freedom.

“To continue Michigan’s economic comeback, it is critical that we safeguard economic freedom,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Being in the top eight in the Senate for this cause is a proud achievement.”

Americans for Prosperity is a national grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the policies and goals of a free society. Among other principles, the organization advocates for limited government, low taxes and increased opportunities for work and achievement.

“I look forward this year to continuing to fight for policies that promote economic growth in the state,” Marleau said.

Marleau: Senate’s 2019 budget continues focus on improving Michigan

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Marleau on Thursday supported a Senate budget plan for fiscal year 2019 that increases support for key priorities, including educating Michigan students, protecting families and continuing the state’s economic recovery.

“This budget reflects a commitment to continued economic growth and wise spending,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Once again, we are enhancing public health and safety, encouraging economic development, and increasing state funding for schools to record levels.”

Senate Bill 863 is the K-12 education budget. It includes a foundation allowance increase for all schools of between $115 and $230 per pupil, nearly $500 million to help schools educate at-risk students, $5 million for a new career and technical education incentive, and a $1.3 billion deposit into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS).

The entire state budget plan features $7 million to support rural hospitals, a $10 million boost for local public health departments, $40.9 million for Going Pro skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs, and an additional $3.6 million to combat various wildlife diseases like bovine TB and chronic wasting disease.

SBs 850-865 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Marleau honors Strand Theater during awards ceremony

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Marleau on Tuesday spoke in recognition of the restored Strand Theater in Pontiac, where the theater received the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation.

“This restoration project has increased the quality of life for Pontiac residents, and the theater is sure to be a destination for surrounding communities, bringing additional economic activity to the city,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “This great city has struggled from the economic downturn of 2008, but this restoration is representative of Pontiac’s resurgence and economic comeback.”

The Strand was built in 1921 and was a prominent theater for most of the 20th century. The city of Pontiac acquired the building in 1986 and the failure and vacancy of the venue were symptomatic of the city’s economic struggles.

Since 2012, the Strand Theater has been renovated into a 900-seat theater, a 150-seat restaurant, and classroom and meeting space.

“As the senator representing Pontiac I was excited to learn of this project and grateful that it is receiving this well-deserved recognition,” Marleau said. “The Strand Theater is providing an entertainment and education center and is bringing more than 400 jobs to the city.

“On behalf of the residents of the city of Pontiac and the 12th Senate District, I thank you all for your hard work and vision to make this project a reality.”

Marleau welcomes Auburn Hills pastor to Capitol to give Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, welcomed the Rev. John Fields of Heritage Baptist Church in Auburn Hills to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday. Fields gave the invocation before the start of the Senate session.

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Marleau offering useful guide for tax season

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan residents who are getting ready to file their taxes and want current information can contact Sen. Jim Marleau’s office for a free taxpayer’s guide or can download the booklet from the senator’s website.

The Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 is a reference for the 2017 tax year and is designed to help residents prepare their state tax returns. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and does not affect individual income taxes for 2017.

“Filling out your tax forms can be a daunting exercise,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “This free guide can help make it a little easier.”

The booklet contains information on Michigan’s income tax, property taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long listing of important property tax dates and deadlines as well as copies of the most commonly used tax forms. It also features addresses, phone numbers and email information for obtaining state agency tax assistance.

Marleau said the guide is meant as a helpful resource and not as a substitute for Michigan Department of Treasury tax instruction booklets.

Free copies of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 may be downloaded by clicking the Publications link, above.

Residents can also reserve a free copy by contacting Marleau’s office at 517-373-2417.

Kerri Kasem speaks in support of Marleau bill

LANSING, Mich. — The daughter of the late radio personality Casey Kasem testified in a Michigan Senate committee Tuesday in support of a bill sponsored by state Sen. Jim Marleau that would enable people to petition the court for visitation rights to adults.

Kerri Kasem spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of Senate Bill 713, which allows for a qualified person to petition the court for visitation of an isolated adult. An isolated adult is a person who has been denied visitation with a qualified individual.

Kerri Kasem was part of a tragic situation in which her father’s spouse denied Kerri and her siblings visitation with their father as his health deteriorated.

Kerri started the Kasem Cares Foundation to establish and fight for the rights to have visitation and reasonable access to an ailing parent, especially when under the care and control of an uncooperative spouse or sibling.

Marleau became aware of the Kasem family’s troubles and introduced SB 713 to make sure a situation similar to Kerri’s did not happen to Michigan families.

The committee voted unanimously to approve SB 713, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Sen. Marleau welcomes guest to the Capitol for State of the State

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, stands in the Senate chamber with Oakland University President Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D. (right). Pescovitz joined Marleau for Gov. Rick Snyder’s final State of the State address Tuesday night.

Note: Click the image for a print-quality version. This and other Marleau photos are also available by selecting Photowire, above.

Sen. Jim Marleau available for comments following 2018 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Marleau will be available for comments following the governor’s 2018 State of the State address on Tuesday.

Who:
Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion.

What:
Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:
After the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Where:
By phone or in:
House Appropriations Room
Third floor
State Capitol
Lansing

Brief:
Marleau will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

He also will be available by phone. Please call Marleau’s office at 1-517-373-2417 to schedule an interview time with the senator.