MacGregor attends turkey tract dedication at Flat River State Game Area

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Peter MacGregor recently joined the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Department of Natural Resources in introducing the second turkey tract in southern Michigan.

The dedication was the formal opening of the tract at the Flat River State Game Area.

Turkey tracts are designed to highlight public hunting areas where intensive habitat management for turkeys has been conducted. Management practices include timber harvest, selective use of herbicides, invasive species treatment and removal, and controlled burns that reduce the potential for severe wildfires by clearing accumulated debris.

“Wild turkeys are found in all 68 counties of the Lower Peninsula and most of the Upper Peninsula as well,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “In recent years harvest numbers have pushed Michigan into the top ten turkey hunting destinations, landing at number eight. Hunters are coming from all over to experience our beautiful natural resources and take part in this historic wildlife conservation story.”

Michigan’s 2017 fall turkey hunting season runs Sept. 15 to Nov. 14. There are 51,350 licenses available, including 4,650 general licenses and 46,700 private-land licenses.

Information about fall turkey hunting, including drawing results and leftover license availability, can be found at mi.gov/turkey.

###

Editor’s note: Print-quality versions of these photos will be available for download at SenatorPeterMacGregor.com/photowire.

PHOTO CAPTION: State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, stops for a photo in front of the kiosk at the site of the new turkey tract at the Flat River State Game Area. The kiosk gives hunters information about the newly dedicated tract and was built by students at Belding High School.

 

 

Sen. MacGregor issues statement in response to tragic death of Rockford trooper

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement following the confirmation that Michigan State Police Trooper Timothy O’Neill of Rockford died on Wednesday as a result of an on-duty crash:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Trooper Timothy O’Neill.

“Trooper O’Neill began with the Michigan State Police in 2014 and served the community of Rockford for the entirety of his career.

“Our law enforcement officers work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe and unfortunately, Trooper O’Neill made the ultimate sacrifice — and for that his family will never be the same.

“This is a huge loss, not only for his family, but for both the community of Rockford and the Michigan State Police as well. I ask that we all stand together and pray for his family and colleagues during this most-difficult time, especially his bride-to-be.”

###

Senate honors fallen heroes during Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday welcomed veterans, Blue Star Mothers and family members of fallen soldiers to the Capitol for the annual Senate Memorial Day Service.

The event, which is held every year on the Thursday before Memorial Day, serves as an occasion to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as pay tribute to the families of fallen soldiers.

“It is always a humbling occasion to welcome all of the brave men and women who fought on our behalf to the Capitol for this event,” said state Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Some of us will never know the feeling of a loved one giving their life in defense of our freedoms, but for those who have, they will forever be affected by this loss, and the rest of us will forever be in their debt.”

Thursday’s ceremony marked the 23rd anniversary of the Memorial Day service, which began and was first hosted by former state senator and U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers. This year’s keynote speaker was Major General Gregory Vadnais, the adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard and the director of Military and Veterans Affairs for Michigan.

The event also serves as a special recognition for those from our home state who have lost their lives during the past year.

“Unfortunately we did have one fallen hero from Michigan at this year’s ceremony,” MacGregor said. “My heart goes out to the family of Lt. Col. Flando Jackson in this most difficult time. Jackson, who was active duty with the Washington Air National Guard exhibited the highest form of patriotism and is no doubt a hero to each and every one of us here in this chamber.”

MacGregor added that life as we know it would not exist without the heroic actions of the men and women of the armed services.

“As we stand here today, we honor those who served, those who are currently serving, and especially those who gave it all,” MacGregor said. “There is no greater sacrifice — and to those who answered our nation’s call and put themselves in harm’s way, we will forever be indebted.”

Video of Thursday’s ceremony can be found here and photos can also be found online by clicking here.

Reminder: Lawmakers honoring Vietnam era veterans at Grand Rapids event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake; Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell; and Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford on Saturday reminded interested parties of a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony next Saturday, March 4 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The legislators are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Grand Rapids to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event is made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356. It will be held at noon on Saturday, March 4, at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club 401 N. Park St. NE, in Grand Rapids. American Legion Post 258 Color Guard will present the colors.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP to American Legion Post 356 Commander Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630 or skysoldger@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Hot dogs and hamburgers will be prepared, available for purchase and served by the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Post 258. Singer-songwriter Kelly Trudell will sing the national anthem, the “Armed Forces Medley” and “The Sound of Hope.” Trudell has been awarded the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award for her work with veterans, soldiers and their families.

Kowall has held numerous lapel pinning ceremonies, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Sen. MacGregor applauds business expansion in Kent County

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Peter MacGregor today applauded Poultry Management Systems for the company’s decision to expand its operations in Vergennes Township.

The firm specializes in the manufacture of control systems and software used in the poultry industry, serving customers around the world. The company plans to invest more than $2 million in a new facility in the township, which will help create 27 jobs.

“This is more great news for Kent County,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “That west Michigan was chosen over several other states not only speaks to the strength of our economy, but also to the hardworking people who call our part of the state home.”

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Poultry Management Systems is experiencing increased growth as poultry farms transition to raising cage-free chickens, requiring the expansion. The company chose Michigan over competing sites in North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa.

As a result of its decision, the company has been awarded a $175,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, and Vergennes Township has been offered a property tax abatement.

###

Save the Date: Lawmakers announce Grand Rapids event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, Sen. Dave Hildenbrand and Sen. Pete MacGregor on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, March 4 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The legislators are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Grand Rapids to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event is made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356. It will be held at noon on Saturday, March 4, at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club, 401 N. Park St. NE, in Grand Rapids.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP to American Legion Post 356 Commander Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630 or skysoldger@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events that thank and honor the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Hildenbrand agreed.

“Those who serve in our military make unimaginable sacrifices on a daily basis,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “Many Vietnam veterans faced criticism from their fellow Americans when they returned home and never received the thanks they deserved. Our goal is to show them that they were not forgotten and that we appreciate their service to our country.”

MacGregor said he is looking forward to the event.

“Michiganders care deeply and have the utmost respect for our military veterans,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Unfortunately, those sentiments were not always communicated during the Vietnam era. It is fitting then, that during this 50th anniversary of that conflict, we make the time to publicly thank and commemorate the service and selfless sacrifices of those brave veterans who served during that time.”

Kowall has held numerous events, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Lawmakers, business leaders discuss brownfield redevelopment legislation

What: A press conference introducing a legislative package to create a new category in the Brownfield TIF Act for large-scale, transformational projects that will be known as transformational brownfield plans.

 

Who: Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, 32nd District

Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, 38th District

Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, 28th District

Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren, 9th District

Members of the MI Thrive Coalition including:

JoAnn Crary, Saginaw Future

Andy Johnston, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Kent Wood, Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance

 

When: Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 2:45 p.m.

 

Where: Michigan State Capitol

Rooms 402/403

Lansing, MI 48933

 

Brief: The state of Michigan has a substantial amount of sites, known as brownfield properties, scattered throughout the state that due to previous industries, are costly to clean up and redevelop. These sites simply sit empty or vacant.

From Monroe to Marquette, communities are asking for tools that will enable them to clean up brownfield sites and replace them with transformational developments that will bring jobs and growth. These developments have the ability to completely transform the communities around them.

For more information, contact Horn’s office at 517-373-1760 or SenKHorn@Senate.Michigan.gov.

###

Sen. MacGregor reacts to the State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement Tuesday following Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2017 State of the State address:

“Governor Snyder shared many positive highlights in his address tonight, including the continued growth of our state’s economy. More and more people are moving to Michigan, finding work, earning more, and buying more. This is great news and I’m committed to working to keep the positive momentum going.

“I was particularly pleased that the governor mentioned Michigan’s national role in the brewing industry. West Michigan is world-renowned for its craft beer, and this was a great moment to highlight such a bright spot in our state’s economy.

“Additionally, I appreciate the continued focus on investing in education and improving educational opportunities for our young people. Science, technology, engineering and math, and the skilled trades are important subject areas that are necessary for the jobs of tomorrow. This also extends to our veterans, and I am glad the governor mentioned efforts to ensure they receive a good education, job opportunities and health care when their time in the service is up.

“Lastly, I would like to see more discussion on making state government more accountable to taxpayers and efficient and effective with their money, and I will continue working with my colleagues to enact legislation that will do so.

“Michigan has come a long way, with many positives to promote, but there is still much yet to accomplish and I look forward to the challenge.”

###

Legislation to modernize Michigan veterans homes sent to governor

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s veterans and their dependents would see improved access to long-term care and new state-of-the-art facilities under reform legislation that received bipartisan support and was finalized by the Senate on Thursday.

“Our veterans have served our nation valiantly and deserve only the best possible care when they are in need of additional long-term care services,” said state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “This legislation will modernize the way our veterans homes operate. These reforms will help us finally transform our veterans homes into ones that can quickly and easily adapt to the ever-changing nature of the medical and long-term care industries in order to provide our veterans and their spouses with the highest level of care possible.”

The proposal would create the Michigan Veterans Facility Authority to establish new veterans facilities in the state, in partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). The authority would focus first on construction of two new facilities, one replacing the aging facility in Grand Rapids, and a brand-new facility in Detroit to serve the large veterans population in that region. Last week the Legislature approved Senate Bill 800, a supplemental budget bill that provides the necessary funding to construct these two new facilities. The costs for these two projects will be funded with both state and federal funds.

SB 800 was signed by Gov. Snyder earlier this week.

MVAA would continue in its role of managing the existing facilities in Grand Rapids and Marquette while the new facilities are constructed. The Marquette home would continue to operate in its current building until the authority and MVAA are able to determine when constructing a new facility will be feasible. Investments have been made and continue to be funded at the Marquette home in an effort to improve the facilities for members residing there.

The bills give preference to existing employees when staffing new facilities and require the authority to consider national best practices and civil service commission rules and regulations when making operational and staffing decisions at the new homes.

“Since 2011 I have strived to ensure that our veterans across this state have a place to call home. I am pleased that the Legislature was able to come together to approve a solution to ensure that our cherished veterans will have better access to the long-term health care that they have earned, and provide new state-of-the-art facilities in more locations throughout our state,” said Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford.

The authority would be run by a board of nine and would be made up of professionals who have knowledge, skills or experience in long-term care and medicine. The board would include the director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; three members representing veterans service organizations; three members from the general public (one of whom must be from the Upper Peninsula); one member designated by the Senate majority leader; and one member designated by the speaker of the House.

One year after the second new facility opens, the MVAA director’s role as a board member would be replaced by a veteran with professional knowledge, skill or experience in long-term care, health care licensure or finance, or medicine. The board would then elect a new chairperson from the board membership.

The board must produce an annual report of its activities to the governor, Legislature and chairpersons of the respective legislative appropriations committees at the end of each fiscal year.

The four-bill package is the result of workgroup meetings that took place over several months earlier this year that involved members of the Legislature, Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, MVAA, and other veterans and health care organizations. The workgroup produced a report that, in addition to recommendations covered by this legislation, includes recommendations for further improvements.

The legislation builds upon improvements that have already been made at the MVAA and MVHS, following a Michigan Office of the Auditor General audit that revealed significant problems at the Grand Rapids home.

SBs 1097-1100 will now go to Gov. Snyder for final approval.

###

Legislature approves MacGregor’s drone bill

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would authorize the use of unmanned aircraft systems, commonly called drones, has been finalized by the Legislature and is on its way to the governor for signature.

“Drones are becoming increasingly popular with hobbyists, but they also have extensive application amongst professionals,” said Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford. “As their use becomes more prevalent, it is important that Michigan has a definite, uniform framework to regulate drone operation.”

Senate Bill 992, sponsored by MacGregor, would allow individuals licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate drones for commercial and recreational use. However, the proposed law would prohibit drone operation that could interfere with public safety officers; that would infringe on a person’s right to privacy; and that would violate a court order, such as a personal protection order. A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and/or a $500 fine would be established for violating the restrictions.

The bill would also create the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force to develop a uniform statewide policy recommendation on the operation, use, and regulation of drones in Michigan. The 27-member panel would be composed of individuals from various industries and appointed by the governor. It would be charged with producing an initial report within three months to the governor and the Transportation committees in the Senate and House.

“The goal with the task force is to adopt regulations that are in step with those in development by the FAA to ensure a uniform statewide policy,” MacGregor said. “This is a better approach as opposed to a patchwork system of laws — it’s one that strikes a balance between ensuring public safety and property rights and the public’s right to own and operate drones.”

###