Schuitmaker welcomes Paw Paw pastor to state Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, welcomed the Rev. Joseph Xavier to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday. Xavier serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Paw Paw and delivered the invocation before Senate session.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photo is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com. Click “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Photo Caption: Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, stands at her desk on the Senate floor with the Rev. Joseph Xavier after Xavier delivered the invocation before Senate session Wednesday morning.

Schuitmaker, Higher Education subcommittee hear testimony from interim MSU president

LANSING, Mich. — Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education on Thursday continued a series of meetings to discuss current sexual misconduct policies at Michigan’s public universities and necessary changes that would further ensure the safety of their students.

Thursday’s committee meeting focused on the ongoing issue at Michigan State as lawmakers took testimony from former governor and Interim President of Michigan State University John Engler.

The presentation was meant to take a further look into actions the new administration is taking to address the Dr. Nassar scandal, while also discussing with Engler new initiatives to ensure the safety of current and future students as well.

“Recent events have shown us that discussing current policies and attempting to increase protections for students is absolutely a top priority and must be addressed as quickly as possible,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, who chairs the Senate subcommittee. “Committee members and I wanted to hear what the new administration’s plans are moving forward. We are going to continue these hearings and continue looking at what we can do to create a safe learning environment for students.”

Future meetings can be found by clicking here, or on the Legislature’s home page at www.legislature.mi.gov and by clicking “Committee Meetings” on the left side of the screen.

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 Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph from Thursday’s hearing is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

PHOTO CAPTION: State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, listens to former governor and Interim President of Michigan State University John Engler as he speaks about actions taken by the school to remedy the injustices suffered by the victims of Dr. Nassar and new initiatives taken by the school to ensure the safety of all current and future students.

 

Senate adopts ‘Women in Public Office Day’ resolution

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Tuesday approved a resolution co-sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker designating March 19, 2018 as Women in Public Office Day in Michigan.

“Unfortunately, history has shown that women are traditionally underrepresented in the realm of public office,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “These numbers have steadily increased in recent years with 2018 being a major breakout year. In 2018 we saw a record number of women pursuing elected office, and I hope to see that trend continue.”

Schuitmaker joined Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, in introducing Senate Resolution 140. Schuitmaker, who is only the second woman in the state’s history to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate, said she hopes this will encourage more women to run for office.

“Since the 1970s, the number of women serving in state legislatures across the United States has increased drastically,” Schuitmaker said. “Michigan’s female legislators bring a unique perspective to the state Legislature — and we have championed numerous legislative efforts that may have otherwise not been considered. I hope that more young women consider public office as they move into their professional careers.”

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Sen. Schuitmaker announces March office hours

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, announced that March office hours are scheduled for the 26th Senate District. Schuitmaker’s district director, Deb Shields, will be available to meet with constituents at the following dates, times and locations:

Thursday, March 15

10 – 11 a.m.

Antwerp Township Hall

24821 Front St.

Mattawan

Noon – 1 p.m.

Railroad Café

555 Railroad St.

Bangor

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

Saugatuck-Douglas Library

10 Mixer St.

Douglas

 

Monday, March 19

10 – 11 a.m.

Mug Shots Coffeehouse

340 Water St.

Allegan

Noon – 1 p.m.

Plainwell City Hall

211 N. Main St.

Plainwell

 

Wednesday, March 21

10 – 11 a.m.

Gaines Township Hall

8555 Kalamazoo Ave. SE

Gaines Township

Schuitmaker welcomes area residents to attend mobile district office hours this month hosted by District Director Deb Shields throughout Van Buren and Allegan counties, as well as Kentwood and Gaines Township.

Shields will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns that residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, please contact Deb Shields at (269) 303-5564 or by email at DShields@senate.michigan.gov.

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Tax relief legislation sees final approval from Legislature

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker would ensure state and local exemptions remain in place despite recent changes on the federal level.

“The recent federal changes were largely welcomed in my district, though many have shown some confusion or uncertainty as to what the federal changes may mean for next year’s taxes,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “These measures will ensure Michigan residents are able to claim the personal exemption on their state and local income taxes.”

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in addition to lowering income tax rates, included a process that set the federal personal exemption to zero. Though the exemption is not explicitly eliminated by the new law, Michigan’s current state income tax law ties the state’s personal exemptions to the federal number of exemptions. Without a revision to the law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim the personal exemptions on their state taxes.

Senate Bill 748 makes necessary changes to maintain the state’s personal exemption, while SB 750 would provide the same assurance for city income taxes.

SB 748 would also increase the state’s personal exemption to $4,900 by 2021. In 2018, the exemption would be $4,050. It would increase to $4,400 in 2019, to $4,750 in 2020 and finally to $4,900 in 2021.

“These bills allow residents to keep these much-needed, and much-deserved exemptions,” Schuitmaker said. “When coupled with the recent federal tax reforms, Michiganders should be able to start putting more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.”

The bills will now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for further consideration.

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Lawmakers to host university presidents to discuss sexual misconduct policies, necessary changes

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education on Wednesday morning kicked off a series of meetings to discuss current sexual misconduct policies at Michigan’s public universities and meaningful changes that each institution can make to further ensure the safety of their students.

“I have always made it a priority to fight for measures that reduce sexual assaults, especially on our college campuses,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, who chairs the Senate subcommittee. “We need university administrators, lawmakers, students and parents to all come together and work to keep our kids safe.”

Wednesday’s committee meeting was the first of many meetings that will give lawmakers and university presidents a chance to discuss flaws in the current system and what changes can be made to prevent something like the tragedy at Michigan State from ever happening again. The meeting also featured a presentation by representatives from Western Michigan University on Title IX compliance and necessary measures schools must take to keep students safe.

The presentation was meant to help familiarize committee members with federal laws and guidelines universities must follow regarding sexual assault claims. The committee will begin taking testimony from the university presidents in the coming weeks.

All of the state’s university presidents will be asked to testify on behalf of their institution’s policies and initiatives during upcoming committee hearings. Committee members have also asked the university leaders to be prepared to answer Title IX questions before formal testimony begins.

Schuitmaker said she looks forward to working with stakeholders to expand protections for students and resources available for victims, and for those who may have questions.

“This is just the first step in recovering from the recent tragedy that has plagued one of our state’s major universities,” she said. “This cannot happen again and we need to do more to ensure our state’s institutions are in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, as well as constantly seeking to improve the safety of students.”

She also noted that it is important to differentiate the committee’s duties with those of law enforcement.

“It is important to note that this committee’s role is not to investigate the tragedy that happened,” Schuitmaker said. “Our job is to prevent it from ever happening again.”

Future meetings can be found by clicking here, or on the Legislature’s home page at www.legislature.mi.gov and by clicking “Committee Meetings” on the left side of the screen.

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Sen. Schuitmaker announces February office hours

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, announced that February office hours are scheduled for the 26th Senate District.

Schuitmaker’s district director, Deb Shields, will be available to meet with constituents at the following dates, times and locations:

Thursday, Feb. 8

10 – 11 a.m.

Antwerp Township Hall

24821 Front St.

Mattawan

 

Friday, Feb. 16

10 – 11 a.m.

Fennville City Hall

222 S. Maple St.

Fennville

 

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Mug Shots Coffeehouse

340 Water St.

Allegan

 

1 – 2 p.m.

Plainwell City Hall

211 N. Main St.

Plainwell

 

Wednesday, Feb. 21

10 – 11 a.m.

Railroad Café

555 Railroad St.

Bangor

 

Noon – 1 p.m.

Saugatuck-Douglas Library

10 Mixer St.

Douglas

 

Schuitmaker welcomes area residents to attend mobile district office hours this month hosted by District Director Deb Shields throughout Van Buren and Allegan counties, as well as Kentwood and Gaines Township.

Shields will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns that residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, please contact Deb Shields at (269) 303-5564 or by email at DShields@senate.michigan.gov.

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Schuitmaker, Senate promote heart health

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker has once again teamed up with the American Heart Association and fellow legislators to raise awareness about the dangers of heart disease.

Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, was joined by state Sens. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, Judy Emmons, R- Sheridan, and Margaret O’Brien, R-Kalamazoo, to once again bring attention to heart disease and the dangers it presents, especially to women.

The Senate, led by Schuitmaker, formally adopted Senate Resolution 125, which proclaims February 2018 as American Heart Month and Feb. 2, 2018 as Go Red for Women Day.

“I am proud to once again partner with the American Heart Association to raise awareness and educate the public, especially women, about how to recognize warning signs of a heart attack and how heart disease can be prevented,” Schuitmaker said. “Our goal is to continue reaching more people and saving more lives.”

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Editor’s note: This and other print-quality photos are available by clicking on the image or visiting www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com and clicking the Photowire link under the Media Center tab.

Photo caption: State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, (center left) poses on the Senate floor with, from left, Sens. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, and Margaret O’Brien, R-Kalamazoo, after the Senate adopted Senate Resolution 125.

 

Sen. Schuitmaker reacts to State of the State address

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, issued the following statement on Tuesday, in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address:

“The most important thing to take away from this evening’s address is that Michigan’s comeback is very much a reality. We have had sustained population growth for six straight years and through numerous reforms, we have created a business-friendly environment that has resulted in the creation of 540,000 private-sector jobs.

“These reforms have also led to the state’s unemployment rate being cut by more than half and Michigan seeing the nation’s largest increase in manufacturing jobs.

“Now that we’ve balanced our budgets well ahead of schedule for seven years in a row and people are getting back to work, it’s time to give relief to families throughout the state. The Senate has led the charge with multiple tax reform bills that seek to provide clarity to recent action on the federal level in addition to savings for families.

“The Senate recently approved tax reforms that would restore and increase the state’s personal exemption after it was effectively eliminated by the federal government, maintain the personal exemption for cities who impose an income tax, and create a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care, such as care for children, elderly parents or disabled family members. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor to get these signed into law.

“Lastly, I applaud the governor for his continued focus on the public health crisis that is crippling our state. Unfortunately families from every demographic have been shattered by this tragedy. I have met with countless families that have had loved ones taken away or had their families torn apart because of addiction to prescription opioids and heroin.

“We have approved several measures in recent years that seek to combat the issue. We gave pharmacies, families of at-risk individuals, law enforcement officers and first responders the ability to carry Naloxone, a formula that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Toward the end of 2017, the Legislature also approved a package of bills that seek to keep opioids off the streets by reducing the number of opioids that can be prescribed for short-term injuries, require prescribers to check a patient’s history via the Michigan Automated Prescription System and put an end to doctor shopping.

“I am glad the governor signed these measures into law and am pleased to hear them being included in tonight’s speech. I know that mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends and other loved ones from around the state who have lost someone appreciate the governor giving the issue the attention it deserves.”

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Schuitmaker welcomes members of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan to Capitol for State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, welcomed members of the Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan to the Michigan Capitol for Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.