Father’s Day

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

The beautiful Michigan weather we have been waiting for has finally arrived. In just a few short days, we’ll formally begin the summer season, and as you make your plans to hit the lake, float the river or enjoy a backyard barbecue with your family, remember that June is also a month to celebrate dads, and to take time to remember how they improve and influence our lives.

Father’s Day is a special time for me because it allows me to spend time with my father and reflect on the impact he has had on my life. My brother and I were very fortunate growing up. My father was incredibly involved with his family, and I believe his kindness and ability to act as a friend and mentor are what shaped my brother and me into who we are today.

When my brother and I were younger, my father was a traveling salesman. He worked hard and spent many nights away from his family to support us back home and make sure we were always taken care of.

I believe his work ethic, kindness and family involvement greatly influenced the relationships I have with my boys. I was fortunate to grow up with strong family values — we were taught to respect others and both the importance and reward of a hard day’s work.

I owe a great deal of thanks to my father, not only for teaching me these critical, lifelong skills, but for helping me be a good father to my kids and inspiring my passion for helping others. I am also thankful that my father has continued his influential role as my two sons continue to grow up.

I, like many, have several childhood memories of my father. One of my most-cherished memories is going on business trips with him and visiting local bakeries. It was always a fun and exciting time to check out the local treats from various towns, villages and cities across the state. My father also enjoyed reading. He graduated with a degree in journalism, and his love for the written word was certainly passed down to me. Like him, I thoroughly enjoy the experience and knowledge that can come from a good book or publication.

Many of you have similar memories — a character trait, a specific family trip, a meaningful conversation — of your fathers. We have all been shaped in some way by our fathers and how they raised us. For those of you who are fortunate enough to still have loving fathers in your lives, it is my hope that on Father’s Day you will take the time to visit your father. Plan an activity he enjoys and make sure he knows how important he is to you.

For those who are unfortunately separated geographically, consider giving your dad a call — any measure will do and is certain to make his day. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in the 37th District.

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.

Editor’s note: Video of Schmidt discussing the importance of Father’s Day is available here, or on his website under the “Media Center” tab.

Schmidt supports 2018-2019 fiscal year budget

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature on Tuesday approved two bills that will fund the state of Michigan for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“Final passage of the two budget bills marks the eighth year in a row the Legislature has approved the state’s budget ahead of schedule,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “I commend my colleagues for putting our differences aside, negotiating hard and coming up with a product that will benefit Michigan’s hardworking taxpayers.”

Schmidt noted he was especially pleased with the commitment to our state’s education system. School Aid will see a record investment of $14.8 billion and schools will see a foundation allowance increase of between $120 and $240 per pupil.

“The vast majority of schools across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will receive $240 per student as part of the 2X formula,” Schmidt said. “Which means more money for classrooms and students.”

The “2X” funding formula allows districts at the minimum foundation allowance to receive two times the amount of that increase. Most northern and Upper Peninsula schools are at the base amount, so $240 per student is another step in closing the gap between northern Michigan and other parts of the state.

The 2018-2019 budget also increases funding for our state’s aging roads and bridges.

“We listened to Michiganders who said roads are a priority,” Schmidt said. “Through continued commitment and prioritization, transportation funding has risen to record levels. Our roads and bridges have benefitted from an additional $2.4 billion since 2017.”

Schmidt also applauded an appropriation for a specific road funding project in his district.

The senator announced that with the help of local officials, he was able to secure an additional $300,000 to rebuild a section of Eighth St. in Traverse City.

“This major cross-town route desperately needs repairs,” Schmidt said.

The budget includes money to hire new state police troopers, more corrections workers and more conservation officers. The budget also increases revenue sharing for localities to spend on local operations, further improve sexual assault programs on our state’s campuses and boosts Pure Michigan tourism promotion funding by $1 million.

The budget also invests $58 million in school safety initiatives like OK2SAY that keep our students safe, and increases the state’s rainy day fund to $1 billion from a $1.8 billion structural deficit 8 years ago.

“I’m very glad to see this budget make it to the governor’s desk,” Schmidt said. “I applaud my colleagues for working through several challenges and coming up with a product that will benefit Michigan taxpayers. This budget ensures funding for essential services, pays down debt, invests in our future and makes sure the state lives within its means.”

The fiscal year 2018-2019 budget will now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for consideration.

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Schmidt reminds residents of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Wednesday reminded residents of the upcoming opportunity to enjoy fishing Michigan’s vast waterways at no cost.

“As Michiganders, we are never too far from a body of water. Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are home to numerous world-class fishing opportunities,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “We have numerous inland lakes and ponds, endless miles of rivers and streams, and of course, three of the five Great Lakes.”

The state of Michigan hosts two free fishing weekends every year — one in the winter and one in the summer. This summer, residents will have an opportunity to enjoy the many spectacular fishing opportunities Michigan has to offer on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10.

During these two days, residents and nonresidents alike can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Entry fees for state public boating access sites, state parks and recreation areas are also waived during this time.

Since 1986, Michigan has celebrated the free weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and to give families a great chance to pass along the joy of fishing to the next generation.

“This annual fishing celebration gives Michigan anglers, and those who have never gone fishing, a chance to experience some of the world’s best fishing for free,” Schmidt said. “For many in my district, it’s just a short trip over to one of the Great Lakes. I encourage everyone to get out and keep this statewide pastime alive.”

For more information, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.

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Editor’s note: Audio of Schmidt discussing the upcoming free fishing weekend is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.

Schmidt visits Alcona Health Center

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, recently toured Community Health Centers of Northern Michigan – Alcona Health Center to meet staff and see firsthand the organization’s mission.

“It was interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at their daily operations and how they help the local community,” Schmidt said. “I commend the organization’s dedication to ensuring residents get the care they need regardless of their financial situation.”

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting SenatorWayneSchmidt.com/photowire.

Photo caption: Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, stands with staff members of the Alcona Health Center as his recent tour comes to an end.

Sen. Schmidt reschedules coffee hours in late June

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt announced on Wednesday that he has rescheduled office hours because of an unexpected Senate session this coming Monday.

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.

Schmidt’s rescheduled June coffee hours are as follows:

Thursday, June 28

1 – 2 p.m.

Garfield Township Hall

N6760 State Highway 117

Engadine

 

Friday, June 29

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Cup of the Day

406 Ashmun St.

Sault Ste. Marie

 

Friday, June 29

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Newberry Country Club

5073 M-123

Newberry

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Schmidt wishes residents a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Friday wished residents a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

“While Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives on behalf of our nation and freedoms, it is also a time when families across the state choose to cherish time with one another,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City.

Schmidt, who represents one of Michigan’s most heavily traveled districts, also noted that Memorial Day is also considered by many to be the unofficial start of summer.

“The 37th District is home to several of the state’s top tourist destinations,” Schmidt said. “Northern Michigan draws staggering amounts of people this time of year.”

Schmidt advised residents and travelers that this weekend’s traffic will be heavier and travel will likely see some delays. Travelers can visit www.michigan.gov/midrive for updated road conditions.

He closed by adding local police will be out in full effect looking for distracted drivers, drivers not wearing seat belts and especially people driving under the influence.

“Please be sure to have a designated driver if you plan on consuming alcoholic beverages,” Schmidt said. “Don’t risk your future by driving under the influence.”

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Editor’s note: Audio of Schmidt discussing these safety tips is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.

 

Sen. Schmidt to host June coffee hours

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

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.

Schmidt’s June coffee hours are as follows:

Monday, June 4

1 – 2 p.m.

Garfield Township Hall

N6760 State Highway 117

Engadine

3 – 4 p.m.

Newberry Country Club

5073 M-123

Newberry

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Cup of the Day

406 Ashmun St.

Sault Ste. Marie

 

Monday, June 18

9 – 10 a.m.

Village of Kingsley Town Hall

207 S. Brownson Ave.

Kingsley

11 a.m. – noon

Elk Rapids District Library

300 Isle of Pines Drive

Elk Rapids

 

Wednesday, June 27

10 – 11 a.m.

East Jordan City Hall

201 Main St.

East Jordan

Noon – 1 p.m.

Petoskey City Hall

101 E. Lake St.

Petoskey

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Cheboygan City Hall

403 N. Huron St.

Cheboygan

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Schmidt issues statement on DNR’s emergency rule regarding anchor drops in the Straits

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, issued the following statement on Thursday after Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would be implementing an emergency rule prohibiting the deployment of anchors in the Straits of Mackinac:

“Many in my district and throughout the state were sorely disappointed in the recent incident that resulted in severed electric cables and dents to the infamous Line 5 pipeline.

“I was pleased to hear Gov. Rick Snyder and the DNR will be pursuing an emergency ruling to temporarily mandate a no-anchor zone in the Straits.

“Previous studies have shown us that anchoring in this area has the potential to cause severe environmental damage and disrupt energy and communication services between the Upper and Lower peninsulas. The U.S. Coast Guard has advised vessels against deploying anchors in the area, though before today’s announcement, no formal rule prohibited them from doing so.

“The eastern boundary of the no-anchor zone is defined by the Mackinac Bridge. The western boundary is defined by a line beginning at the western edge of McGulpin Point in the Lower Peninsula to the western edge of an unnamed island immediately southwest of Point La Barbe in the Upper Peninsula.

“The emergency rule will remain in place for six months, with the option of an additional six-month renewal. Discussions with the U.S. Coast Guard on a permanent ruling are ongoing.

“Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful natural resources in the world. While I am thankful that no harm was done to the environment, we must ensure that an incident like the one in early April never happens again. I am happy to see the DNR acting to prohibit this from happening again by instituting this emergency ruling.

“I’d like to thank all stakeholders involved in these conversations for putting our state’s residents and our environment first. I look forward to additional discussions on how we can continue to keep our Great Lakes safe.”

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Senate holds 24th Annual Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, welcomed John West, father of Staff Sgt. Matthew West, to the Capitol for the Michigan Senate’s 24th Annual Memorial Day Service on Thursday.

West served in the U.S. Army’s 71st Explosive Ordnance Group and gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country on Aug. 30, 2010.

“This ceremony is for people like Staff Sgt. Smith,” Schmidt said. “His bravery and commitment to both his brothers and sisters in arms, as well as his country, will be forever honored by every American.”

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting SenatorWayneSchmidt.com/photowire. Video from Thursday’s service is also available here, or on Schmidt’s website under the “Video” tab.

Photo caption: State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, stands on the Senate floor with John West, father of Staff Sgt. Matthew West, during the Michigan Senate’s 24th Annual Memorial Day Service on Thursday.

Senate approves Schmidt legislation allowing regulation of drones on Mackinac Island

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Wayne Schmidt that would allow the regulation of drones on Mackinac Island.

“This was something that was suggested to us by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Members of the task force spent a great deal of time and effort studying the issue from all aspects and limiting the use of drones on Mackinac Island was one thing that gained traction.”

The task force itself was created by legislation that received final approval from the governor late last year. The task force’s primary purpose was to develop a statewide policy regarding the operation and regulation of drones.

The report made several recommendations, including the request for a state law addressing drones interfering with facilities like prisons, bridges and other tourist areas. The report specifically cites Mackinac Island as an area that should be protected because instances of drones startling horses has created a safety concern.

“Mackinac Island is a top tourist destination that draws large amounts of people,” Schmidt said. “One of the island’s top features is the prohibition of automobiles. Visitors must travel by horse, carriage, or on a bicycle. These horses typically do well around crowds of people, but anyone can see that a frightened horse mixed with a crowd of people is bad news. I think there is a valid safety concern there.”

Senate Bill 715 would codify the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force’s recommendation to allow Mackinac Island to regulate drones into state statute.

“Aircraft, including drones, falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Authority, so we had to be careful to make sure this bill was drafted very narrowly to address the safety issue at hand,” Schmidt said. “The popularity of drones has drastically increased in recent years and continues to increase as advancements in their capabilities continue. With more and more people pursuing the hobby, we need to make sure we get out in front of the issue and make sure the use of these aircraft doesn’t create a safety concern for others.”

SB 715 received bipartisan approval in the Senate and will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio of Schmidt discussing the Senate passage of his drone legislation is available here or on his website. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.