State Senator Kim LaSata’s District Update
State of Michigan – April 27, 2022
Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly e-newsletter. Below you will find a brief legislative update and news from the 21st District.
As always, if you have any questions or need to get in contact with me, feel free to call my office at 517-373-6960 or email me at SenKLaSata@senate.michigan.gov.
I look forward to hearing from you.
LaSata amendment paves way for tax relief negotiations
During discussions on the upcoming fiscal year budget, I introduced an amendment that would set aside funds in anticipation of further negotiations on tax relief for families and seniors.
My amendment, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, would set aside $2 billion in the state’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget as a potential avenue to revisit efforts to provide tax relief.
As we work to meet the critical needs of our state, the needs of Michigan families should rank just as high and deserve the same consideration. The state is sitting on a surplus of funds that I believe could really make a meaningful difference as people continue to struggle with the rising cost of everyday expenses.
This amendment opens the door for discussions as we look at ways to ease the tax burden on Michigan families and get these tax dollars back to their rightful owners.
Michigan to receive nearly $800 million in opioid settlement
The opioid epidemic has put a physical and emotional strain on communities across our nation and affected families from every corner of Michigan.
Michigan is scheduled to receive nearly $800 million of a $26 billion settlement with three major pharmaceutical distributors and a manufacturer. The national agreement comes from years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of alleged misuse and abuse of opioid products.
Last week, the Senate unanimously approved legislation to receive and distribute Michigan’s share of the nationwide opioid settlement.
The legislation would establish a fund to receive dollars from this and potential future settlements and outlines how the money is to be spent. Money in this fund would only be able to be used for efforts to address the impact opioid abuse has had in our state — including support for those who are struggling with opioid addiction, mental health support for those who have been affected, along with preventative and educational measures that will help curb the onset of addiction in younger adults.
The package would also create a process for the annual review of local, state, and federal initiatives to ensure current efforts are being directed to where they can be most helpful, and to determine where improvement is needed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 104,000 people nationwide died from drug overdoses between September 2020 and September 2021 — a 15.9% increase from the previous 12-month period. In Michigan, 2,933 people died during the same 12-month period — a 7% increase.
This legislation seeks to put resources where they can best be used to battle back against these numbers and help support opioid-related education, prevention and treatment throughout our state.
Promoting job training for in-demand jobs
Legislation state Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, and I introduced to strengthen the Michigan New Jobs Training Program was recently approved by the Senate Committee on Economic and Small Business Development.
The Michigan New Jobs Training Program focuses on training Michiganders for in-demand jobs, and our legislation would help attract and retain diverse talent and strengthen our local, regional and state economies.
Michigan’s labor market continues to be constrained due to a number of ongoing issues, including an exodus of residents and a lack of qualified workers. The program would allow community colleges to provide free training for employers that are creating new jobs or expanding their operations in Michigan.
Colleges work directly with employers and local economic development agencies to support job creation and training opportunities, and this proposal would allow more employers, especially those in rural areas, to participate in the program.
LaSata congratulates Cassopolis on new economic development project
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday announced a new development in Cassopolis that will provide an economic boost to the area and is projected to bring a number of job openings for area families.
The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved an initiative to support an expansion project with Hydro Aluminum Metals USA, LLC in the village of Cassopolis. The company’s primary focus is recycling aluminum into a finished product that has a variety of uses.
The project will include the construction of a new production facility and is expected to include resources for a proprietary aluminum casting process that uses more than 75% recycled content. The company plans to use the new facility to debut a new product line to support the electric vehicle market and is set to create up to 67 new jobs.
The facility would be the first manufacturing operation located at the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology (SMART) Park in Cassopolis. Part of the project will include a new rail spur that will also allow other businesses in the SMART Park to ship and receive their own materials.
We have shown the world that Michigan means business, and I am happy to see more companies look to expand their operations here in our great state. This is great news for the local economy and for Southwest Michigan workers.
I want to applaud area leaders for their hard work in attracting this opportunity and sealing the deal.
Dark Sky Week!
Dark Sky Week is a great time to get out and take in the vast night sky!
Michigan has a long history of supporting dark sky preserves to ensure ample opportunity for stargazing and astro-tourism.
Dark Sky Week provides fun and educational opportunities for all ages. Michigan is currently home to eight dark sky preserves and two internationally designated dark sky parks. Dark sky preserves and parks are designated areas that allow visitors to observe the true beauty of the night sky free of artificial light pollution and the wonder of meteorological events, such as the Northern Lights and meteor showers.
Cass County’s Dr. T.K. Lawless Park, located between Vandalia and Jones, is now a state-recognized dark sky preserve. Check out Dr. T.K. Lawless Park this week or throughout the year to witness spectacular views of the night sky.
More information can be found here.
District Spotlight: A look inside Bolt Laserworks
I recently visited Bolt Laserworks in Cassopolis for a behind-the-scenes tour and look inside the family-owned business!
They specialize in customizations like etching, decorating products, making signs and many other things.
Thank you to Jeff and Cathy Nelson for allowing me to visit your store and showing me all of the wonderful services you provide for folks in the community!
Harbor Country Chamber Mixer
I stopped in to visit with folks at the Harbor Country Chamber Mixer event on April 21.
It was a great setting to discuss state and local issues with other chamber members and enjoy an evening of fun!
Helpful State Government Resources:
Michigan Senate website: www.senate.michigan.gov
Michigan House of Representatives website: www.house.michigan.gov
Michigan Legislature website: www.legislature.mi.gov
Michigan Citizen’s Guide: Citizen’s Guide to State Government, 101st Legislature
Michigan’s 21st Senate District
Michigan’s 21st Senate District includes all of Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph counties.
Senator Kim LaSata
S-310 Capitol Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Visit my website at: StateSenatorKimLaSata.com