Macomb County Delegation gathers to discuss initiatives

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published September 27, 2019

 A legislative delegation town hall was held Sept. 23 at the Macomb County Board of Commissioners meeting. During the session, elected officials were given time to discuss a couple of initiatives they are involved in.

A legislative delegation town hall was held Sept. 23 at the Macomb County Board of Commissioners meeting. During the session, elected officials were given time to discuss a couple of initiatives they are involved in.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Elected officials were tasked with discussing a couple of initiatives they’re involved in at a recent town hall meeting.

At the Macomb County Board of Commissioners’ finance/audit/budget committee meeting Sept. 23, the second annual legislative delegation town hall was held.

During the session, members of the Macomb County Delegation — which includes state representatives, state senators and members of Congress — were given time to discuss two initiatives they are involved in, how those initiatives affect Macomb County and explain any upcoming issues that county officials should be aware of.

Amanda York, from U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s office, began the town hall saying that Stabenow earlier this year introduced legislation to expand funding for the excellence in community health bill.

“It expands funding for community health and addiction services in local communities,” York said. “We’re hoping that funding will come to Macomb County as well.”

State Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, said real dialogue must be had regarding road funding.

“The tri-county area makes up almost 40% of registered vehicles in Michigan,” he said. “Yet we get 38 cents on the dollar. If my team of county commissioners and my executive don’t help, it will never get changed. It hasn’t in 70 years.”

Lucido was referencing Public Act 51 — a formula created in 1951 that provides 39% of available funds to state roads, 39% to counties and 22% to cities and villages.

Two initiatives that fellow state Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren, addressed were Michigan’s opioid crisis and voting for military personnel.

“A bill I’ve worked on would provide Narcan in our public libraries,” he said. “Our military personnel were unable to return their ballots electronically. We’ve tried introducing legislation through the years.”

State Sen. Michael MacDonald, R-Macomb Township, said that since Macomb County is the “home of defense” in the Midwest, he’s involved with the Michigan Launch Initiative.

“That would turn the state into a space state,” he said. “I’ve gotten calls from Florida and Texas saying that Michigan has a bigger economic opportunity than ever before. Macomb County would be the biggest benefactor of this.”

The initiative would allow multiple aerospace companies to launch thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit.

State Rep. Nate Shannon, D-Sterling Heights, said he’s proud of the creation of an educators caucus.

“We hope we can come up with legislation that will benefit Michigan’s education system,” he said.

His second initiative was about what it takes to build a road.

“It shed light on how complicated it is,” Shannon said. “My office is looking at possible ways of dismantling (Public Act 51).”  

State Rep. Lori Stone, D-Warren, said she’s working on policy for a tax on health care workers.

“Working on high-stress situations, like in health care, people aren’t always on their best behavior and sometimes need to be reminded they are held to the same standards as everyone else,” she said.  

State Rep. Diana Farrington, R-Utica, wants the state to increase financial literacy in schools.

“I think it’s important to get the tools to our young ones in order to make the decisions they need to make when it comes to financial issues,” she said. “I’m also passionate about data breach, that we up the notification timeline for people to be notified when their data is breached.”

State Rep. Bill Sowerby, D-Clinton Township, discussed payday lending. A House bill he introduced would increase consumer payday lending. He also mentioned a bill regarding personal financial disclosure of state elected officials.

Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown, who represents northern Macomb County, said it’s rare to have the entire delegation in one room.

A question-and-answer session followed the presentations.

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