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 “Once I realized how outdated this law was, it was an easy, commonsense bill to sponsor.”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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