MacGregor comments on budget passage

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement after the Michigan Senate finalized a Fiscal Year 2017 budget plan on Wednesday that increases support for education and public safety and strengthens the state’s finances:

“I was happy to support this budget, which we have once again approved ahead of schedule. It is a responsible, balanced spending plan for our state that makes good investments in key areas, like education, public health and safety, and economic development. The budget also keeps government spending in line, and does not burden hardworking families with any new taxes.

“I am particularly pleased that we were able to invest an additional $60 to $120 in per pupil foundation allowance funding for our K-12 schools, and an additional $39 million for our state universities. We have also expanded the successful Healthy Kids Dental program to now cover all Michiganders under the age of 21, and increased funding to further support private foster care agencies. The budget also provides funding to hire 65 new state police troopers and expanded the Secure Cities program to cover six more communities. More and better jobs are always a goal, and the budget adds more than $5 million to the Skilled Trades Training Fund to help job providers train workers for in-demand opportunities.

“This is a good budget that builds upon the financial foundation we have worked to establish over the past five years to help make Michigan the best place to live and work.”

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MacGregor’s Veterans Ombudsman bill headed to governor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — A bill that would establish the Office of the Michigan Veterans’ Facility Ombudsman is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for signing.

“An independent Veterans’ Facility Ombudsman will be able to identify, investigate and recommend fixes for problems at the state’s veterans homes, so our veterans can receive the quality care that they have earned and deserve,” said Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, who sponsored the bill.

Senate Bill 809 would authorize the ombudsman to investigate Michigan veterans’ facilities — the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans — for acts or conditions that allegedly violate law or policy, or that pose significant health or safety issues. The office would be able to inspect a facility at any time, on its own accord or by request, and conduct investigational hearings and subpoena individuals and documents.

The ombudsman would report to the Legislative Council. Following investigations, the ombudsman would be required to produce reports, with recommendations, to the council. Additionally, the ombudsman would be required to submit a semiannual report to the council and the Legislature.

The bill was MacGregor’s third attempt at establishing the ombudsman, and stemmed from audits conducted by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General that revealed problems at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

“I am overjoyed that after years of trying, we were finally able to come together to create the Veterans’ Facility Ombudsman Office,” MacGregor said. “Michigan’s military veterans have given so much in the service of our country, and this legislation will ensure our veterans’ homes are safe and secure places to enjoy their retirement.”

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