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 to host May office hour meeting in Edwardsburg
Join me at an office hour meeting on Monday, May 23 in Edwardsburg. The time and location for the meeting are as follows:
Monday, May 23
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
No appointment is necessary. Please feel free to drop in to share issues that are important to you!
Recognizing Michigan’s dedicated law enforcement officers
Countless officers across the state of Michigan serve their communities with valor and distinction and go above and beyond to keep residents safe.
Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs imaginable, and they deserve our honor and respect.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. This year, Police Week runs from Sunday, May 15, to Saturday, May 21.
Police Week grants us time to reflect on, support and honor the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement officers and pay homage to those who never returned home after their shift. I encourage everyone to take a moment to thank our local police officers for all they do to keep us safe and for the sacrifices they and their families make on our behalves.
To learn more, visit policeweek.org.
Working for Michiganders
After the governor recently vetoed legislation to provide a break at the pump for Michigan drivers, a second measure to suspend the state’s tax on gasoline and diesel fuel was introduced in the Senate.
This measure would reduce the burden on virtually everyone in Michigan — including families trying to make ends meet, businesses facing higher transportation costs, farmers growing the food we need, and an entire tourism industry relying on visitors vacationing in our state.
The state of Michigan currently imposes a 27.2 cents per gallon excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. Senate Bill 1029 would suspend both taxes through Sept. 15, 2022.
According to AAA, as of May 16, the average price per gallon for regular gasoline in Michigan is $4.39. It was $2.95 a year ago. The average diesel price is currently $5.26, over $2 more per gallon than a year ago.
Both prices are the highest recorded average price in Michigan history.
This is an issue that needs to be addressed and SB 1029 is a step in the right direction.
LaSata supports 21st District recreation opportunities
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved funds to improve recreation projects across the state — including seven in the 21st Senate District.
Michigan is home to some of the best outdoor opportunities in the country. Completion of these projects will help improve outdoor opportunities for local residents to enjoy.
Senate Bill 1028 would authorize the Natural Resources Trust Fund to use $45.6 million for 22 land acquisition and 95 recreational development projects throughout Michigan.
Under the bill, Southwest Michigan is set to receive $5.5 million for local outdoor and recreation projects. Brief details can be found below:
• Berrien County: $4,700,000 for Berrien Springs State Game Area acquisition. Acquisition of 839 acres for a new State Game Area. The property has approximately one mile of frontage along the St. Joseph River, and it has diverse upland forest habitats, open fields, and wetland areas. The property would be managed primarily for wild turkeys, small game, and deer, and it will provide hunting, fishing, and wildlife-viewing opportunities in an area of the state with a low percentage of public land.
• Berrien County: $50,000 to the city of Bridgman for renovations to the Toth Park playground.
• Berrien County: $232,800 to the city of Niles to make upgrades at Niles Dam Park, including a parking lot and boat launch on the Dowagiac River.
• Berrien County: $124,600 for development of a trailhead at Ontario Street for the Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail in Niles Charter Township.
• Berrien County: $50,000 for Carronde Park tennis court renovation in St. Joseph Charter Township.
• Berrien County: $50,000 for Kedzie Kids Park playground improvements in St. Joseph Charter Township.
• Cass County: $300,000 for Riverside Park improvements in Dowagiac. Funds will be used for an overlook platform, benches, a fishing platform, trash and recycling bins and other general improvements.
The NRTF is supported by interest earnings from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The fund’s dollars are constitutionally restricted to recreation improvements and land acquisitions. The Legislature has no authority in the project selection process, it can only choose to support or deny the full funding recommendations from the board.
The NRTF helps provide tremendous outdoor activities for Michigan residents and works to both improve and preserve Michigan’s one-of-a-kind natural resources.
Since 1976, the Trust Fund had granted more than $1.3 billion in grants to local governments and state agencies for projects in all 83 counties. A complete list of projects can be found here.
SB 1028 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Addressing election concerns
After the 2020 election, several shortfalls in our election processes were brought to light and I have been working hard to carefully address the issues that have been presented.
I co-sponsored legislation to make sure Michigan’s electronic voting systems don’t use equipment or parts made by foreign companies that are deemed a national security risk by the U.S. government. There are benefits of being proactive — especially when it comes to potential security risks.
Senate Bill 884 would apply the same standards in the federal Secure Equipment Act to all new electronic voting machines purchased or approved by election officials in Michigan.
The bill prohibits any electronic voting system purchased in Michigan on or after July 1, 2022 from including any parts or equipment produced or provided by a company with any communications equipment or services determined to represent a national security concern by the FCC.
We need to work to stay ahead of potential threats and to ensure our voting machines are secure and protected from foreign influence and cybercriminals. Leaders in both parties have taken steps to protect our communications service from the growing threat of foreign-made technology — and this bill makes similar protections for our electronic voting systems.
The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Buchanan Therapeutic Equestrian Center
The Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Buchanan recently hosted me for a tour and an inside look at the wonderful work it does for residents.
They provide unique opportunities and do a great job inspiring people to grow and seek their full potential. You can read more about their admirable work here.
Southwest Michigan summer festivals
Did you know tourism is Michigan’s third-largest industry? Spending time as a tourist in our home state is a wonderful way to help our state and local economies while creating new memories and traditions with loved ones.
With so many fantastic festivals, fairs and events happening right here in Southwest Michigan, there are plenty of opportunities to keep you and your family entertained all summer long. This small sampling of the many unique events across our community is just a start. You can access additional information and more activities at Michigan.org.
I hope this information helps you plan your family’s next adventure! Best wishes for a beautiful Pure Michigan summer!
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
My website and my Facebook are the best ways to stay current on what is happening in both our Senate district and the state’s capital.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. You may sign up to receive this newsletter also at my website.
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