Horn sponsors resolution opposing fees on canoes, kayaks

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn on Tuesday introduced a resolution formally opposing a recent Michigan State Waterways Commission (MSWC) recommendation that canoes, kayaks and other paddle vessels be subject to state registration fees.

“Paddle sports, especially kayaking, are exploding in popularity,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful natural resources in the world, including many scenic waterways in my district. Imposing an additional tax on people who want to go outdoors, get some fresh air and enjoy these resources is completely unnecessary.”

MSWC passed Resolution 02-2018-01, which recommended the Legislature pursue an effort to require the registration, with a new fee, of all rigid-hulled kayaks, canoes and paddleboards eight feet or longer. Such vessels are currently exempt from registration fees when used recreationally.

Senate Resolution 153 would formally oppose this recommendation.

“I see absolutely no need to hinder our tourism industry with new fees, so I introduced Senate Resolution 153 to oppose the commission’s recommendations,” Horn said. “Not only do these activities contribute more than $140 million to our economy, from both in and out of state, they get people outside and exercising while having fun with friends and family.”

SR 153 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.

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Horn announces April office hours in Montrose

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, announced that April office hours are scheduled for the 32nd Senate District.

Horn will be available to meet with constituents at the following date, time and location:

Monday, April 16

Noon – 2 p.m.

Montrose Historical and Telephone Pioneer Museum

144 Hickory St.

Montrose

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

For more information or to contact Horn, please visit www.SenatorKenHorn.com or call 517-373-1760.

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Senate approves registration discounts for handicap-accessible vehicles

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate recently approved legislation that would eliminate a requirement that allows only vans that are modified with a wheelchair lift to receive discounted vehicle registration.

“Under current law, a passenger vehicle can be completely handicap-accessible and not receive discounted registration because it isn’t a van,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “I don’t think that’s very reasonable. The changes that need to be made to these vehicles are sometimes quite extravagant and extremely costly. Offering discounted registration, regardless of the type of vehicle, is a sensible way to help offset some of those costs.”

The Michigan Vehicle Code currently allows a van owned by an individual who uses a wheelchair, or an individual responsible for transporting a member of their household who uses a wheelchair, to receive a 50 percent discount on their registration. The tax is calculated based on the weight and type of vehicle and is levied by the secretary of state when the vehicle is registered.

As vehicle engineering and technology continue to advance, more vehicles are capable of being modified to include wheelchair lifts or hand controls to allow someone who is disabled improved mobility. Senate Bill 815, which Horn sponsored, would allow vehicles that have been modified with a permanently installed wheelchair lift or hand controls designed to replace the brake and gas pedals of the vehicle to qualify for the discounted registration.

“This issue was brought to me by a constituent at one of my monthly office hours,” Horn said. “Once I realized how outdated this law was, it was an easy, commonsense bill to sponsor.”

The bill has been read into the Michigan House of Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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Senate approves farming equipment exemptions

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved a package of bills that eliminates confusion surrounding sales tax exemptions for equipment used specifically for agricultural purposes.

House Bills 4561-4564 stem from an incident in the Thumb that not only denied a farmer a deserved exemption, but ended up costing him thousands of dollars in fees contesting the Michigan Department of Treasury’s interpretation of the law.

“What this bill does is bring clarity to a common sense idea,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, who joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in supporting the bills. “Agriculture is one of the state’s largest industries and is one we certainly need to protect. We’ve all seen the ‘no farmers, no food’ bumper stickers, but I think few people realize how true that really is.”

The bills would rephrase current sales tax exemptions in an effort to clarify when they can be claimed. Equipment or technology that is purchased to grow, harvest and sell agricultural goods would be exempt under the legislation. Structures and structural components related to the production and sale of agricultural goods would also be exempt.

“It shouldn’t be up to auditors within the department to decide that paint — but not the paintbrush — used to paint a barn is exempt from sales tax,” Horn said. “The department’s interpretation imposed a great financial burden on Michigan’s farmers. These bills were easy to support and I’m happy to have stood behind our agricultural industry.”

The bills will now return to the House for a concurrence vote to the Senate changes.

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Horn, O’Brien host Saginaw press conference to discuss sexual assault legislation

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, joined Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R- Portage, and Saginaw-area leaders on Monday to discuss the recently introduced package of bills aimed at combatting sexual assault.

Senate Bills 871-880 would update and expand numerous existing laws and also create new protections in statute. The bills would update current law to allow prosecutors to bring charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a minor at any time after the act occurs, while also allowing charges of third-degree CSC against a minor up to the survivor’s 48th birthday, or within 30 years of an accuser being identified by DNA evidence.

The bills would also allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to remain publicly anonymous when bringing a claim in the Michigan Court of Claims and eliminate the current time limit for filing a claim.

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Editor’s note: Print-quality versions of the above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Photo caption one: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands at the podium with Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, as she discusses SBs 871-880 at Monday’s press conference in Saginaw.

Photo caption two: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands with Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R- Portage; Judge Patrick McGraw; CAN Council President Suzanne Greenberg; Margaret Bach of Child and Family Services; and Mark Gaertner of the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s office as they discuss important updates to the state’s sexual assault laws.

Photo caption three: Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, discusses Senate Bills 871-880 at Monday’s press conference in Saginaw.

Governor signs updates to state’s 911 system

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn joined Gov. Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Senate Energy and Technology Chairman Mike Nofs on Tuesday as Snyder signed legislation that would make updates to the state’s 911 system.

“In some areas of the state, Michigan lags far behind available 911 technology,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “We’ve seen incredible advancements in what devices are capable of doing and with this new law, Next Generation 911 will be deployed statewide. This bill is a reasonable and responsible approach that will benefit law enforcement and any resident in need of assistance.”

Senate Bill 400 provides a range of upgrades to the tools dispatchers currently use. Upgrades include the ability to send pictures and videos to 911 dispatchers as well as utilizing more accurate GPS location tools, giving dispatchers and officers a better idea of a distressed caller’s location.

“First responders risk their lives protecting each of us. Every bit of information we can provide to them before they arrive is critically important,” Horn said. “Allowing those in an emergency situation to text or send pictures or videos to dispatchers will also provide additional options for those who are unable to make a phone call.”

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

Photo caption: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands with Gov. Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, as SB 400 is signed into law.

Horn, O’Brien announce Saginaw press conference to discuss sexual assault legislation

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, announced on Thursday he will join Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, to discuss a recently introduced legislative package designed to combat sexual assault.

Who:

Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth;

Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage;

Judge Patrick McGraw;

Sheriff William Federspiel;

Prosecutor John McColgan; and

CAN Council President Suzanne Greenberg.

What:

A press conference to discuss legislation aimed at combatting sexual assault.

When:

Monday, March 12 at 3:30 p.m.

Where:

Saginaw County Governmental Center

Board Chambers: Second Floor, Room 200

111 S. Michigan Ave.

Saginaw

Brief:

Horn and O’Brien will be discussing a recently introduced legislative package with Saginaw-area officials. The 10-bill package seeks to curb sexual assaults and would also increase protections for survivors under the law.

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Horn announces March office hours in Thomas Township

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, announced that March office hours are scheduled for the 32nd Senate District.

Horn will be available to meet with constituents at the following date, time and location:

Monday, March 12

Noon – 2 p.m.

Thomas Township Library

8207 Shields Drive

Saginaw

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

For more information or to contact Horn, please visit www.SenatorKenHorn.com or call 517-373-1760.

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Sexual assault reforms clear Senate committee

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce legislation Tuesday aimed at further curbing sexual assaults in the state of Michigan.

The bills were announced at a press conference Monday afternoon with victims of the convicted Michigan State University Doctor, Dr. Larry Nassar.

“There are so many victims who are fighting a daily battle known only to them,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “This is about supporting and protecting victims, but also giving them the ability to come forward when they are ready.”

The 10-bill package would expand numerous existing laws and also create new protections in statute. The bills would update current law to allow prosecutors to bring charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a minor at any time after the act occurs, while also allowing charges of third-degree CSC against a minor up to the survivor’s 48th birthday, or within 30 years of an accuser being identified by DNA evidence.

The bills would also allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to remain publicly anonymous when bringing a claim in the Michigan Court of Claims and eliminate the current time limit for filing a claim.

“People heal differently,” Horn said. “Not everyone is able to immediately come forward to assist in bringing their perpetrator to justice. By expanding the tools available to prosecutors, while also allowing victims more time to come forward, and the ability to come forward anonymously, I hope we can prevent something like the Nassar case from ever happening again.”

Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, the package’s lead sponsor, added that adjusting the statute of limitations will allow prosecutors to crack down on abusers and prevent them from hiding behind an expired clock.

“This package of bills should put fear into the heart of any possible perpetrator,” O’Brien said. “It’s my hope that these bills will prevent someone from offending. But if they don’t, justice will be served.”

The bills also increase reporting requirements for certain education employees and youth sports coaches. If passed, assistant coaches, athletic trainers and volunteers involved in youth athletic activities would all become mandatory reporters of child abuse. If an individual fails to report such crimes, they could face a felony of up to two years imprisonment, up to a $5,000 fine, or both

“Recent events have cast a dark shadow over the state of Michigan,” Horn said. “It’s a disappointment on a number of levels — there are so many adults who failed these young women. While my heart hurts for all of the victims, I applaud the strength and courage it took to face their abuser in court and work with lawmakers to make sure these horrific events never happen again.”

The bills received approval from the Senate Committee on Judiciary Tuesday afternoon and will now go before the full Senate for consideration.

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Sen. Horn offers free tax guides to assist with tax preparation

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn announced on Thursday that residents of his district who are getting ready to file their taxes and would like up-to-date information can contact his office for a free copy of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 or visit his website for a digital copy.

“These booklets provide a great deal of information and can assist you and your family in preparing your taxes,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “I am happy to provide these to residents of the 32nd District at no cost. Please contact my office or visit my website if you or someone you know would like a copy.”

The guide, which is a reference for the 2017 tax year, is designed to help residents prepare their state tax returns. The booklet contains information on Michigan’s income tax, property taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long listing of important property tax dates and deadlines as well as copies of the most commonly used tax forms. The guide also features addresses, phone numbers and email information for obtaining state agency tax assistance.

It is important to note that while the guide is meant to be a helpful resource, it should not be used as a substitution for Michigan Department of Treasury tax instruction booklets.

Free copies of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 may be downloaded by visiting www.SenatorKenHorn.com/publications or clicking here.

You may also call Horn’s office at 517-373-1760 or send an email to SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov to request a printed copy of the guide.

Horn also wants to make residents aware of the AARP’s free tax preparation services. The AARP offers free tax preparation assistance for low to moderate income taxpayers. You don’t have to be a member and there’s no age requirement to get tax help from IRS-certified volunteers. The organization also pairs with other volunteers to provide free tax preparation assistance to those 60 and older.

Check the Tax Aide Site Locator for locations or call 888-227-7669 toll-free for more information or to find a location near you. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code.

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