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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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MacGregor pays tribute to outgoing intern

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Pete MacGregor presented outgoing intern Meg Vindischman with a special tribute during Tuesday’s Senate session.

“Meg has been an outstanding addition to my staff over the past semester and she will be missed,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Meg brought a wide array of skills and strengths, is extremely personable and a joy to be around. These skills helped her communicate with constituents while she completed the important tasks of answering constituent phone calls, emails, and letters.

“I wish her nothing but the best in the future and am confident that she will accomplish any career objective she has set for herself.”

Vindischman, of Oxford, is a junior at Michigan State University studying Criminal Justice. She is heading to Washington, D.C. for the winter semester to intern with the U.S. Department of Justice and Kidsave, a non-profit organization focused on family advocacy.

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Editor’s note: Video of the special tribute presentation is available at SenatorPeterMacGregor.com/Video.

MacGregor’s telehealth bill headed to governor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — A bill that could improve access to health care services in Michigan was finalized by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday and is now headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature.

Senate Bill 753 would define telehealth in the state’s health code to encourage medical professionals to utilize modern technologies, like live interactive video, audio and others to connect and communicate with patients remotely, and to also provide patient protections under the law.

“This is a common sense health care reform for a modern age,” said Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford, the bill sponsor. “Society has never been more connected, yet a patient’s ability to see a medical professional is becoming more and more constrained as hospital wait times grow. This bill would help improve access to care, which could lead to healthier patient outcomes.”

SB 753 defines telehealth in the state health code as the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support or promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, or health administration. Telehealth may include telemedicine, which was established in the state insurance code in 2012.

Under the bill, medical professionals would be permitted to diagnose, prescribe and administer referrals within the existing legal framework when providing telehealth services.

Additionally, like traditional health professional practice, a disciplinary subcommittee may place restrictions or conditions on a health professional’s ability to provide telehealth services.

The bill has received broad support from within the health care community and beyond, including from the U.S. Department of Justice, General Motors, Michigan Association of Health Plans, Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners, Teledoc, Economic Alliance for Michigan, Michigan Manufacturers Association, Spectrum Health, and Ascension Michigan.

“Telehealth could transform health care in Michigan,” MacGregor said. “It allows health care professionals to extend their reach beyond a corner office to meet patients where they are. It enhances access to and use of health care in our state, reduces costs, encourages competition, and, most importantly, could lead to healthier lives.”

SB 753 was unanimously approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives and awaits the governor’s signature.

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MacGregor to host Senior Brigade on identity theft in Byron Township

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Peter MacGregor announced he will host a Michigan Consumer Education Presentation on Monday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Byron Township Community Center, located at 2120 76th St. SW in Byron Center.

The free event, which is presented by the Office of the Attorney General, will feature two 45-minute presentations on identity theft and phone, mail, and electronic scams, which increasingly threaten communities. No RSVP is required.

Residents interested in attending may review the identity theft handouts related to the presentation at the Attorney General’s website, Michigan.gov/CE.

For more information call 855-347-8028 toll free or email SenPMacGregor@senate.michigan.gov.

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Sen. MacGregor honored as a Legislator of the Year by Michigan Manufacturers Association

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Peter MacGregor has been named a recipient of the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) Legislator of the Year Award.

“I am honored to have been chosen as one of the MMA’s legislators of the year,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Manufacturing remains one of our district’s, and the state’s, most important industries, and I will continue to work hard to ensure the industry thrives in our communities.”

The MMA Legislator of the Year Award recognizes legislators for their leadership and dedication to Michigan’s manufacturing sector and their role advocating on behalf of Michigan’s largest job-creating industry.

MacGregor was honored for his vocal leadership on tough issues affecting manufacturing’s future in Michigan.

“Thanks to Senator MacGregor’s drive to reduce health care costs, Michigan manufacturers have more resources to put toward hiring and retaining talent,” said Chuck Hadden, MMA president and CEO. “Michigan is a stronger state and its manufacturing jobs are a more attractive career option thanks to his support of job creators.”

The Legislator of the Year recipients were honored at the 2016 MMA Legislative Reception on Tuesday at the MMA Headquarters in Lansing. The ceremony was attended by manufacturers, legislators, executive branch officials and manufacturing champions and partners from across the state.

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