On May 25, state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, talks to eighth-graders in John Duffy’s U.S. history class at Wolfe Middle School about getting bills passed at the state level.

On May 25, state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, talks to eighth-graders in John Duffy’s U.S. history class at Wolfe Middle School about getting bills passed at the state level.

Photo by Maria Allard


Wolfe students meet their state senator

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 1, 2018

CENTER LINE — State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, said members of the Michigan Senate have been listening to various groups offering ideas regarding school safety.

On May 25, he shared that information when visiting with eighth-grade students in John Duffy’s U.S. history class at Wolfe Middle School. The presentation was held in the school cafeteria, and Principal Cassandra Conaton, Assistant Principal John Grob, Center Line Public Schools Board of Education Secretary Henry Newnan and Warren City Clerk Paul Wojno also attended.

“We’re looking at a whole bunch of different components … making sure troubled people don’t have access to certain types of weapons, having school drills like fire drills for dealing with a situation when a bad person is in the school,” said Bieda, the senator for the 9th District. “Some people have talked about having armed guards (or) bringing in metal detectors. That’s great, but how are you going to pay for that … raise taxes or look in the budget?”

Students having more access to counselors also has been stressed.

“The important thing is we all really need to listen,” Bieda said. “We have to listen to what the educators, students, parents and police are telling us.”

While visiting with the students, the Cousino High School graduate talked about how he ventured into politics and also what it takes to get a bill passed at the state level.  While growing up in Warren, Bieda had several interests. His dad used to read the newspaper comics to him, and that’s when Bieda “started reading the editorial page.”

Bieda also appreciates art, loves animals and is interested in environmental issues. Because of the various issues he cares about, “Somehow I was inspired to run for office.” In 2002, Bieda was elected as the District 25 state representative, where he served until 2010, when he was elected to the Senate.

As a state politician, Bieda has sponsored more than 45 public acts on subjects including tax structure, consumer protection, economic development and judicial reform. He authored, and fought for, the Legal Defense Fund Reporting Act and has supported comprehensive revisions to Michigan’s Bottle Deposit Law.

When a bill is introduced, the legislator said, “You can have stuff that takes a while to percolate.” When a bill is introduced, he said, it’s given a number and is referred to a committee.

“You need a simple majority vote when you come out of committee,” he said, for the bill to move forward to the House and then to the governor, who can either sign the bill into law or veto it. Bieda added, “Most bills that are introduced die. They don’t get a committee hearing.”

Bieda’s visit left an impact on the students.

“We are a small (school) district. It’s really cool the senator took time out of his schedule to talk with us,” Calvary Rietz said. “I think it was very informative.”
“It was pretty refreshing,” Nevaeh Shoemake said. “A lot of times we don’t get to learn what goes on in the Senate. It was nice to have him be relatable. It makes him seem more human. It was nice to see him portrayed as a person, not just a senator.”

“I like how open he was. He puts himself in our shoes,” Ashrath Chowdhury said. “He answered my question on what changes would make school a safer place.”