Schmidt’s bill providing health care benefits to families of fallen officers becomes law

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Health care benefits for the surviving spouse and dependents of officers who die in the line of duty will be guaranteed after legislation sponsored by state Sen. Wayne Schmidt was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder this week.

“Public safety officials put their lives on the line for us each day — willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us and their families,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “It is important that we give back to those families for their sacrifices, and providing health care coverage to the spouses and children of officers who die in the line of duty is one way we can.”

Senate Bill 218, now Public Act 284 of 2016, provides medical benefits to surviving family members of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, rescue squad members, or ambulance crew members. The bill expands on current benefits to include 60 months of health care in addition to an existing one-time payment of $25,000. The law is retroactive to Oct. 1, 2015.

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Schmidt applauds Strategic Fund decision on St. Marys Cement project

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Wednesday congratulated St. Marys Cement company on receiving inducement resolution approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) for up to $150 million in private activity bonds to expand its Charlevoix plant.

“This is great news for St. Marys, its employees and customers,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Not only will this project help the company to grow its Charlevoix plant and expand its capabilities to better serve customers, but it will also create new jobs in the community.”

According to MSF, the brownfield plant upgrade would expand the plant’s infrastructure to maximum productivity. The project is expected to qualify for bond financing as a solid waste disposal and recycling facility. The company currently employs 232 people, and the expansion project is expected to add up to 200 jobs during construction and up to 10 permanent jobs upon completion.

MSF indicates that private activity bonds are a source of financial assistance to economic development projects in the state. They provide profitable firms with capital cost savings stemming from the difference between taxable and tax-exempt interest rates. A bond inducement is the first step in a bond transaction.

According to St. Marys Cement, the company has been a major producer of cementitious materials in the Great Lakes region since 1912. It operates six plants that are strategically located to serve Canadian and U.S. customers and has a production capacity of more than five million metric tons.

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Schmidt’s survivor benefits bill headed to governor

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Health care benefits would be guaranteed for the surviving spouse and dependents of officers who die in the line of duty under legislation sent to the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder this week.

“After more than a year of hard work, I am glad that we were able to get this bill through the Legislature and on to the governor,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Public safety officials willingly put their lives on the line for us each day, sometimes paying the ultimate sacrifice for us and their families. It is important that we give back to those families for their sacrifices. Providing health care coverage to the spouses and children of officers who die in the line of duty is one way we can. I thank my colleagues for their support and look forward to the governor signing this bill soon.”

Under Senate Bill 218, sponsored by Schmidt, spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, rescue squad members, or ambulance crew members who lose their lives as a result of their duties on the job would be provided health care coverage comparable to those of retired state police officers.

The bill would allow eligible spouses and dependents to receive benefits for a maximum of five years, starting from Oct. 1, 2015. Funding for the benefits would need to be appropriated by the Legislature annually.

The state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget’s Office of Retirement Services would be responsible for determining and administering the health plans.

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Schmidt recognized at I-500 ceremony at Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, was presented with a shovel used during a ceremonial groundbreaking of a new, state-of-the-art, multi-purpose building project at the site of the I-500 snowmobile race. 

Organizers of the Sault Ste. Marie-based race held the ceremony in the rotunda of the state Capitol on Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking, which was held in August.

Each year the I-500 attracts thousands of attendees and millions of dollars to the community, and the new building will feature VIP rooms and a kitchen area to feed the hundreds of volunteers who work to make the race a success.

The project, which received a $250,000 grant from the state and additional local funding, is expected to be complete in time for next year’s 49th annual race.

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A print-quality version of this photograph is available by visiting the senator’s website at: SenatorWayneSchmidt.com/photowire.

Video from the event can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/nP41ZDhQHYA

Schmidt applauds redevelopment project awarded to Grand Traverse County

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Monday applauded the recent awarding of a Clean Michigan Initiative Brownfield Redevelopment Loan of $700,000 to the Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

“Downtown Traverse City is thriving, and this is an important project that will help the city reach its full potential,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Redevelopment projects like this one have contributed to our state’s comeback, and I thank the DEQ for its continued support of northern Michigan.”

The project, which is for a property located at 124 W. Front St. in Traverse City, was approved in August and announced by the state Department of Environmental Quality last week.

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Schmidt’s bill providing health benefits for families of fallen officers sees action

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would guarantee health care benefits for the surviving spouse and dependents of officers who die in the line of duty was approved by the state House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Under Senate Bill 218, spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, rescue squad members, or ambulance crew members who lose their lives as a result of their duties on the job would be provided health care coverage comparable to those of retired state police officers.

As passed by the committee on Thursday, the bill was amended to allow the spouses and dependents to receive benefits for a maximum of five years, and money to provide for the benefits would need to be appropriated by the Legislature annually.

“Public safety officials willingly put their lives on the line for us each day,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, the bill sponsor. “They each know they may one day not come home, and the debt we owe to our fallen officers cannot be fully repaid.

“We can, however, do something to support their families, and providing health care coverage to the spouses and children of officers who die in the line of duty is a small token of our appreciation to help those who paid so dearly. I encourage my colleagues in the House of Representatives to act quickly to approve this bill.”

The state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget’s Office of Retirement Services would be responsible for determining and administering the health plans.

SB 218, which was unanimously approved by the Senate in April 2015, now advances to the full House for consideration.

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