Sen. Schmidt’s bill to promote Native American heritage becomes law

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation to recognize places throughout Michigan that are significant to the history of Native Americans, including along trails that served as a foundation for many state roadways, has been signed by the governor.

“Michigan has deep ties to Native American heritage and this law ensures that it is preserved and recognized,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, the bill sponsor. “This continues our efforts to build and maintain a lasting relationship with the 12 Native American tribes that reside within Michigan’s borders.”

Senate Bill 523, now Public Act 247 of 2016, amends the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to require a general recognition effort of Native American heritage and allows the state Department of Natural Resources to provide signage and recognition of places along trails in the Pure Michigan Trails network.

Under the new law, the state Department of Natural Resources will collaborate with tribal governments, educators, universities, the state Department of Transportation, the Michigan Historical Commission, the council for the arts and cultural affairs, Travel Michigan, the state historic preservation office, state archaeologist, and historical societies to develop and implement a plan to preserve Native American history in the state.

Numerous trails, including the Grand River Trail between Detroit and Grand Rapids; the trail from Toledo, passing through Saginaw to Mackinac; and the St. Joseph Trail out of Detroit, have all contributed to the formation of Michigan’s current highway system.

The Senate previously adopted Senate Resolution 93, establishing the fourth Friday in September as Michigan Indian Day. It recognizes the shared history between Michiganders and the peoples of the 12 federally recognized tribes, and the partnership established in a government-to-government accord that helped to enhance and improve communication, foster respect for sovereign status and facilitate the resolution of potentially contentious issues.


Schmidt votes for education budget, against general government budget

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Closure of Pugsley Correctional Facility a factor

LANSING, Mich. — After the Michigan Senate finalized the state’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan on Wednesday, Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, issued the following statement:

“I am happy to have once again cast my vote in support of a School Aid budget that invests in our children’s future. This year’s budget provides more than $261 million above last year, and dedicates an additional foundation allowance of between $60 and $120 per pupil. Since 2011 we have increased state funding for our K-12 school districts by $1.5 billion. It is a remarkable achievement that ensures more money gets to our classrooms to educate the next generation of Michiganders.

“While I gladly supported funding our schools, I could not, however, vote in support of the remaining budget. Last week it was announced that the Pugsley Correctional Facility, which is located in Kingsley, in my district, is to be closed as a way to save money in this budget. I could not, in good conscience, vote for that.

“Pugsley has served Grand Traverse County and northern Michigan for 60 years. It employs hundreds, helps support the region’s economy, and provides great services to rehabilitate prison inmates so they can get out and get on with living productive lives. Through no fault of its own, Pugsley is being closed to shave money off a budget. This is in spite of the good things it is doing for society and to the detriment of the hardworking people who pay taxes, have homes, and send their kids to school in Grand Traverse County.

“So while there are good things in this budget, I could not vote for it and ignore the closure of the Pugsley Correctional Facility and the effect it is going to have on our community.”


Sen. Schmidt’s June coffee hours announced

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt will hold coffee hours with constituents throughout the 37th Senate District this month.

The senator will be available to answer questions and provide information and assistance, as well as take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Schmidt, please visit or call 517-373-2413.

Sen. Schmidt’s June coffee hours are as follows:

Monday, June 6

11 a.m. – Noon
Tilted Skillet
115 Main St.
East Jordan

1 – 2 p.m.
Shirley’s Café
528 S. Williams St.

3 – 4 p.m.
Grand Traverse Pie Co.
525 W. Front St.
Traverse City

Friday, June 17

10 – 11 a.m.
Mackinac Grille
251 S. State St.
St. Ignace

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Zellar’s Village Inn
7552 State Highway M-123

3 – 4 p.m.
Kenneth J. Shouldice Library
Lake Superior State University
906 Ryan Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie

Monday, June 20

1 – 2 p.m.
Purple Tree Books
334 N. Main St.

3 – 4 p.m.
Jesperson’s Restaurant
312 Howard St.