The FY 2018 budget is good news for the 37th Senate District

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

By Sen. Wayne Schmidt
37th Senate District

The Legislature has finalized a fiscal year 2018 budget that will maintain the state’s commitment to education, public safety and job creation.

For the seventh consecutive year, we completed a fiscally responsible budget months ahead of schedule. This budget is good for the state and good for the 37th Senate District.

The FY 2018 budget is included in two bills: House Bill 4323 and House Bill 4313.

HB 4323 contains budgets for state departments and the judicial and legislative branches. The measure supports several initiatives important both to northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

$3.4 million is set aside for classroom renovations and expanded learning spaces for North Central Michigan College. The bill also includes $100,000 for the Beaver Island Rural Health Center and $100,000 for the Mackinac Island Medical Center.

This funding is great news for the residents of Petoskey and these two islands. North Central students will benefit from the upgrades to the college, and the money for the island clinics will maintain essential health services.

In the Upper Peninsula, $1 million is designated for work on the Sault Ste. Marie Carbide Docks, $300,000 for power grid improvements at Lake Superior State University, and $800,000 to pay for legacy costs associated with counties consolidating into the UPWARD Talent Council.

The money appropriated for the UPWARD Talent Council in particular is a great win for the Upper Peninsula. This council is vitally important to the region, and this funding is needed for its continued operation.

HB 4313 is the education budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $16.6 billion.

The K-12 budget, which is nearly $14.6 billion, includes the key provision of “2x funding,” in which the lowest-funded school districts in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will receive up to twice as much of an increase as the higher-funded districts. Base funding for those districts will include a $120 increase per student plus an additional $25 for each high school student.

The bill also features $300,000 in funding for the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver. The Indian Tuition Waiver is important for the entire state and critical for helping to ensure that the thousands of Native Americans living in the district are able to pursue higher education, per the 1836 Treaty of Washington.

The FY 2018 budget bills are now on the governor’s desk. The budget will take effect on Oct. 1.

Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, represents the 37th state Senate District, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac counties.

Senate approves Schmidt bill combating credit card fraud

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Wayne Schmidt that would enable more secure shopping at gas stations throughout the state.

Senate Bill 415 would decrease the threat posed by credit card skimming devices by requiring all gas stations in Michigan to improve security measures at the pump.

Under the bill, filling stations would have the option of installing any of the following on individual pumps: tamper proof security tape with logo; a device to render the pump or scanning device inoperable with unauthorized access; encryption of credit card information; a new lock to replace the manufacturer’s lock; or any other security measure approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

According to MDARD, approximately 70 credit card skimmers have been found and removed from gas pumps in Michigan since 2015.

“Credit card skimming devices are one of the main ways criminals steal vital personal information from consumers’ accounts,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “We are thankful that customer protection has increased at the many gas stations that have taken the initiative to secure their pumps. My measure will help ensure that all stations in the state provide this security.”

Electronic skimming devices are typically installed in seconds, hidden inside of gas pumps, and are used to copy the credit and debit information of customers for criminal use. Most pumps have a universal master key that criminals can obtain easily to gain entry, install the device, and then return later to retrieve the stolen information.

SB 415 now heads to the Michigan House for further consideration.

Sens. Nofs, Schmidt react to the passage of the State Police and Military Affairs budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Mike Nofs and Wayne Schmidt reacted on Thursday to the passage of the State Police and Military Affairs budget for fiscal year 2018.

“This budget represents a commitment to public safety for all of Michigan,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Ensuring that the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Wing of the Civil Air Patrol have the resources they need was a top priority when crafting the budget. I want to thank my colleagues for their support of this vital investment in public safety.”

The Michigan Wing of the Civil Air Patrol is an all-volunteer organization made up of eight groups, 35 squadrons, four flights and more than 1,300 members. The volunteers perform three missions chartered by Congress: aerospace education, cadet programs and emergency service.

The Michigan Wing is part of the Great Lakes Region, which includes five other states. The funding boost in the fiscal year 2018 budget will ensure that the Michigan Wing has adequate resources for training in its support of state emergency and disaster response operations.

“The Michigan Wing of the Civil Air Patrol and the Michigan State Police consist of dedicated public servants committed to the residents of the state of Michigan,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This budget means that these critical aspects of the state’s public safety efforts will have the funding they need to operate effectively.”

The budget now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

Schmidt: 2018 budget supports key Michigan priorities

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Wayne Schmidt said on Thursday that the Legislature has finalized a fiscal year 2018 budget that will maintain the state’s commitment to education, public safety and job creation.

“We have completed a fiscally responsible budget months ahead of schedule,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This budget is good for the state and it is good for the 37th Senate District.”

House Bill 4323 contains budgets for state departments and the judicial and legislative branches.

The measure supports $3.4 million for classroom renovations and expanded learning spaces for North Central Michigan College. The bill also includes $100,000 for the Beaver Island Rural Health Center and $100,000 for the Mackinac Island Medical Center.

“This funding is great news for the residents of Petoskey and these two islands,” Schmidt said. “North Central students will benefit from the upgrades to the college, and the money for the island clinics will maintain essential health services.”

HB 4313 is the education budget for K-12 education, state universities and community colleges, totaling $16.6 billion.

The K-12 budget, which is nearly $14.6 billion, includes the key provision of “2x funding,” in which the lowest-funded school districts in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will receive up to twice as much of an increase as the higher-funded districts. Base funding for those districts will include a $120 increase per student plus an additional $25 for each high school student.

The bill also features $300,000 in funding for the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver.

“The Indian Tuition Waiver is important for the entire state and critical for helping to ensure that the thousands of Native Americans living in the district are able to pursue higher education, per the 1836 Treaty of Washington,” Schmidt said.

The bills now head to the governor to be signed. The FY 2018 budget takes effect on Oct. 1.

Governor signs Schmidt’s community foundation bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Wayne Schmidt (standing, left) on Tuesday attended the governor’s ceremonial bill signing of Schmidt’s legislation to allow certain personal property to be transferred to community foundations.

Senate Bill 102 creates the Michigan Community Foundation Act, which will allow the transfer of intangible personal property from a municipality, public library and/or school board to a community foundation.

“This law will save money for local organizations,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Having these donations managed by the local community foundation can lead to reduced administrative expenses for the local entity making the donation. And this can lead to more funds being available for charitable purposes for that agency.”

SB 102 is now Public Act 38 of 2017.

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Schmidt introduces bill to clarify fantasy sports law and protect player rights

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The rights of 1.6 million people who play fantasy sports in the state would be protected under legislation introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Wayne Schmidt.

Senate Bill 461 would clarify outdated state laws and update regulations to reflect the latest technology and new ways residents enjoy this massively growing pastime.

“New technology has made fantasy sports more popular than ever,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “For 1.6 million Michiganders, this activity has become a major way they enjoy sports and a way to connect with friends, family and co-workers.

“It makes sense to ensure that residents are able to enjoy fantasy sports under a regulatory framework that includes some basic consumer protections, similar to the rules in place for many other industries that interact with large numbers of consumers.”

Schmidt’s bill would update the law to maintain that fantasy sports contests are legal in Michigan, create a simple set of regulations for fantasy contest operators to follow to operate in the state, and put in place rules to protect Michigan fantasy sports players.

Ten states have recently passed similar legislation, and 21 other states are moving in the same direction.

The bill’s consumer protections would be established and enforced by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and would include:
• Requiring players to be 18 or older;
• Requiring all fantasy game operators to be licensed by the state;
• Offering introductory onboarding for new players;
• Prohibiting any contest based on a collegiate or high school sport or athletic event;
• Restricting employees of fantasy sports contest companies from playing;
• Requiring “highly experienced players” to be clearly identified for all users to see;
• Disclosing the number of entries a player may submit to each contest and the number of total entries allowed for each contest;
• Taking measures to protect the privacy and online security of players and their accounts;
• Keeping player funds separate from operating funds;
• Ensuring player money is accessible to the players at all times; and
• Requiring fantasy sports operators to make resources relating to compulsive behavior available and allow any player to self-exclude from further fantasy contest play.

SB 461 has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

Sen. Schmidt to host June coffee hours

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator 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 SenatorWayneSchmidt.com or call 517-373-2413.

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

Monday, June 19
2 – 3 p.m.
Grand Traverse Pie Company
525 W. Front St.
Traverse City

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Java Jones
131 River St.
Elk Rapids

Friday, June 23
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Harbor View Café
100 Antrim St.
Charlevoix

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Roast & Toast
309 E. Lake St.
Petoskey

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The Whistle Stop
4853 Afton Road
Wolverine

Wednesday, June 28
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Bentley’s B-N-L Café
62 N. State St.
St. Ignace

5 – 6 p.m.
Timber Charlie’s
110 Newberry Ave.
Newberry

7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Studebaker’s Restaurant and Lounge
3583 I-75 Business Spur
Sault Ste. Marie