Schuitmaker welcomes Plainwell pastor to state Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, welcomed the Rev. Steve Smail to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday. Smail serves as senior pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Plainwell and delivered the invocation before Senate session.


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: Click “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Photo Caption: Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, stands at the rostrum with the Rev. Steve Smail and his wife Sharon after Smail delivered the invocation before Senate session Wednesday morning.

Schuitmaker ‘specialty courts’ legislation signed by governor

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that seeks to reduce recidivism and ensure that our state’s specialty courts employ proven, evidence-based practices was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday.

Senate Bills 435-438 were introduced to align state statute with recent changes adopted by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) that would instruct all specialty courts to have state certification beginning with Fiscal Year 2018.

“These courts are a great alternative to traditional judicial proceedings,” said state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, the package’s lead sponsor. “Rather than issuing a fine, or jailing an individual, these courts provide alternative options and unique, personalized care aimed at healing someone versus punishing them.”

These new laws will also improve the effectiveness of the state’s treatment courts by ensuring they employ practices that have been nationally recognized and proven to be effective.

Currently, specialty programs across the state are using various methods to achieve the end goal of rehabilitating an individual. While the SCAO provides recommendations based off of practices proven to be effective, there is nothing requiring specialty courts to follow them. The new laws create uniform guidelines that treatment courts across the state will implement to achieve better outcomes.

“We need to remember that specialty courts were created for a reason,” Schuitmaker said. “The focus should be on getting people the help they need instead of letting them get caught up in the criminal justice system. I am happy to see the new certification process signed into law and we can now ensure specialty courts throughout Michigan are following consistent guidelines and achieving the results they were created to achieve.”

SBs 435-438 are now Public Acts 161-164 of 2017.


Sen. Schuitmaker announces November office hours

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, announced that November 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:


Wednesday, Nov. 8

10 – 11 a.m.

Mug Shots Coffeehouse

340 Water St.



Noon – 1 p.m.

Plainwell City Hall

211 N. Main St.



Wednesday, Nov. 15

10:30 – 11:15 a.m.

The Breakfast Place

206 N. Main St.



Noon – 1 p.m.

Railroad Café

555 Railroad St.



1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

Saugatuck-Douglas Library

10 Mixer St.



Friday, Nov. 17

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



Schuitmaker resolution calls for nationwide concealed carry reciprocity

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker on Thursday introduced a resolution urging Congress to approve a measure that would require other states to recognize one another’s concealed carry licenses.

U.S. House Resolution 38, which was introduced in early 2017, would allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.

Schuitmaker’s resolution urges the federal government to approve HR 38, which was referred to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary and subsequently to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

“The right to defend one’s self should not be forfeited upon crossing state lines,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Relying on a varying patchwork of laws that vary by state is not an efficient system, but is unfortunately one that we currently rely on. It is time Congress approved a measure outlining how states will accept one another’s permits.”

Senate Resolution 109 was referred to the Michigan Senate Committee on Government Operations for further consideration.