Horn applauds completion of 2018-2019 state budget

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to the state of Michigan budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“For eight years, we have worked hard to negotiate balanced budgets well before the beginning of the fiscal year,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “We’ve made record investments in roads and schools again this year.”

The School Aid (K-12) budget invests $14.8 billion into Michigan schools, which is the largest investment in the state’s history. Schools will see a foundation allowance increase of between $120 and $240 per pupil — the largest increase for most schools in 17 years. Skilled trades programs will also see $40.9 million to prepare workers for high-demand jobs.

“From my first days as a legislator, I’ve been focused on skilled trades,” Horn said. “Employers in my district are begging for machinists, welders and other specialized hands-on professionals.  This is an investment in our state’s workers.”

The budget also includes record investments to address the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.  An additional $330 million was added to the original road funding appropriation, and when combined with the recent road funding package, the Legislature will have invested $2.4 billion in     our roads since 2017.

“In addition to the statewide increase, Saginaw and Genesee counties will benefit from additional dollars that I went to bat for,” Horn said. “This budget shows that every corner of the state matters. It celebrates small towns and lets our neighbors know they aren’t forgotten.”

Some specific projects in the 32nd District include:

  • $1,070,000 to finish the Dixie Highway project in Bridgeport Township
  • $200,000 to replace the Chapin Road bridge in Jonesfield Township
  • $303,600 for Seymour Road in Flushing Township
  • $100,000 for the Saginaw River Deepening Feasibility Study

“The need to reopen the Chapin Road bridge was brought to my attention by local residents and township officials. As a small rural township, they were certain they’d be overlooked but their voices were heard,” Horn said. “I’m pleased that the bridge will be rebuilt and residents can safely return to their daily lives.”

Horn supported several other funding measures in the budget.

“We are training 155 state troopers and investing in school safety initiatives like the reporting program OK2SAY,” Horn said. “Like the blue collar community I represent, we put in a little overtime for the district and crafted a budget the hard working taxpayers of Michigan deserve.”

The finalized budget will now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval.

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Horn supports auto insurance reforms

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn applauded Thursday’s Senate passage of numerous reforms to the state’s current no-fault auto insurance system.

“This is something I have been working on since first being elected to the state Legislature,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Reforming auto insurance consistently remains at the forefront of issues important to residents of my district, and understandably so. I am looking forward to continuing this conversation because people throughout the state are fed up with unreasonable insurance rates.”

Michigan is one of 12 states that currently operate under a no-fault system of automobile insurance. Under the current system, a driver’s own insurance company covers all accident-related medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. Because of this, all motorists in the state are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for an individual’s medical expenses resulting from injuries sustained in an auto accident.

“Michigan is one of the most expensive states in the nation to purchase auto insurance,” Horn said. “Because of our insurance requirements, we’ve turned our auto insurers into providers of the most expensive health insurance in the state. It’s an odd position for them to be in.”

There are many reasons for rising costs, including Michigan’s unique uncapped benefits, fraud and the skyrocketing cost of health care service.

Senate Bill 1014 would address the rampant fraudulent activity within the system by creating the Michigan Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority within the attorney general’s office. The authority’s primary operation would be investigating insurance fraud, which according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan is estimated to be about $400 million per year.

The bill would also make changes to attendant care, setting limits on the amount that could be paid to family and household members to help protect against inflated costs. Coverage for the first 56 hours of attendant care provided in a week would be limited to a reasonable and customary amount, and coverage of care in excess of 56 hours would be limited to $15 an hour.

Included in the package is legislation that would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older the option to choose a capped auto-insurance policy. SB 787 would set the cap at $50,000 and personal insurance or Medicare would cover remaining medical expenses from an automobile accident after the $50,000 limit is reached. Seniors who opted for the limited coverage would see their catastrophic claims assessment drastically reduced.

Seniors would also have the option to remain in the current no-fault system.

“I would love to see a more comprehensive approach to reforming Michigan’s auto insurance laws that allow more choices for all Michiganders, but the reality is the Legislature hasn’t been able to get that passed in the decades that reforms have been attempted,” Horn said. “These bills put us in a better position to make reforms than previous versions have. I look forward to the upcoming conversations with my colleagues on how we can lower rates for all Michigan motorists.”

SBs 787 and 1014 have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Horn reminds residents of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend

LANSING, Mich. — State Ken Horn on Wednesday reminded residents of the upcoming Summer Free Fishing Weekend.

“We in the 32nd District are blessed to have the beautiful Great Lakes Bay Region right in our backyards,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Whether you’re on a river in Saginaw County or a lake in Genesee County, there are endless opportunities to get out with the family and enjoy this timeless pastime.”

The state of Michigan hosts two free fishing weekends every year — one in the winter and one in the summer. This summer, residents will have an opportunity to enjoy the many spectacular fishing opportunities Michigan has to offer on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10.

During these two days, residents and nonresidents alike can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Entry fees for state public boating access sites, state parks and recreation areas are also waived during this time.

Since 1986, Michigan has celebrated the free weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and to give families a great chance to pass along the joy of fishing to the next generation.

“I am proud to have passed down the love for this Michigan tradition to my grandson Liam,” Horn said. “I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the beautiful resources Pure Michigan has to offer. The memories will last a lifetime.”

For more information, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.

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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. Audio of Horn discussing the upcoming free fishing weekend is also available on his website. Click “Audio” under the Media Center tab.

Photo caption: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and his grandson Liam prepare for a fishing trip in the 32nd District.

 

Horn announces June office hours in Chesaning

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, announced that June 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, June 25

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Chesaning Nursing Care Center

201 S. Front St.

Chesaning

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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Horn welcomes Saginaw pastor to Capitol for Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, welcomed The Rev. Douglas R. Jackson to the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday. Dr. Jackson serves as pastor at Community Baptist Church in Saginaw and delivered the invocation before Senate session.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph of Horn welcoming Tuesday’s guest 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 at his desk on the Senate floor with The Rev. Douglas R. Jackson and his wife Kathy after Dr. Jackson delivered the invocation before Senate session.

Sen. Horn welcomes Bridgeport-area veteran to state Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, welcomed Kimberly Napoleon, commander for the Wallace C. Schultz/Dwight A. McKinney Jr. Post 9931, in Bridgeport, to the Capitol for the Michigan Senate’s 24th Annual Memorial Day Service on Thursday.

Napoleon was the first female commander of her local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and the first African American woman to command a post in the state of Michigan. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served during three military operations, including Operation Just Cause, Operation Earnest Will and Desert Shield/Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War from 1987-1996. She was awarded the Bronze Star for her bravery and sacrifices on behalf of this country.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph of Horn welcoming Thursday’s guest 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 for a photo on the Senate floor with post commander Kimberly Napoleon, his guest for the Michigan Senate’s 24th Annual Memorial Day Service.

 

Horn honored by retired police, firefighters

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn on Tuesday was named Legislator of the Year by the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association (RDPFFA).

“It is quite an honor to receive an award from such an exemplary group of individuals,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “These men and women spent their entire careers facing danger and working to better their communities. It takes a special type of person to put the needs of others above their own. I’ve enjoyed working with Don over the past few years and sincerely appreciate this recognition.”

RDPFFA President Don Taylor recognized Horn for his continued efforts to allow firefighters and police to increase income deductions for their pensions in order to cover benefits that are not covered by Social Security.

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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 Don Taylor (left), president of the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighter Association, and Al Grant, secretary/treasurer of the association.

Snyder signs registration discounts for handicap-accessible vehicles

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday gave final approval to legislation that allows vehicles other than vans to be modified as handicap-accessible and receive a reduced rate on their annual registration.

The Michigan Vehicle Code 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.

“When this first began, vans were the only vehicles capable of such modifications, so they were the only vehicle included in the law,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “At one of my local office hours, a constituent made me aware that more vehicles can accommodate these changes so I introduced Senate Bill 815 to correct the disparity.”

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

These modifications are typically quite expensive and can greatly increase not only the cost of a vehicle, but the associated fees as well. Because the tax is based on the weight and type of vehicle, modified vehicles have much higher vehicle registration fees.

Horn says his legislation is about extending assistance to all accessible vehicles as a way to help offset some of the associated costs of the modification.

“The intent of the original law was good,” Horn said. “But times have changed and laws need to keep up. It was a simple fix that will benefit many people in Michigan.”

SB 815 is now Public Act 152 of 2018.

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Editor’s note: Audio of Horn discussing his legislation is available here or on his website at www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click “Audio” under the “Media Center” tab.

Horn honored at annual firefighter convention

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn was recently awarded the International Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Award at the recent professional firefighter’s convention in Bay City.

“Firefighters risk their lives protecting each of us,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “These men and women are not only trained to run toward danger, but many first responders have a natural drive within them to save others. I cannot begin to explain what it means to be recognized by such an outstanding group of people. To all firefighters, thank you for your service to Michigan!”

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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 Mark Docherty, president of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union.

Horn declares Dixie Highway project a victory for Saginaw

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Friday announced that the Department of Commerce will award $2 million to rebuild and expand Dixie Highway in Bridgeport Township.

The grant from the department’s Economic Development Administration marks the end of a lengthy effort to secure the funding.

“This quest began years ago and I am happy to see it finally become a reality,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth.

One year ago, Horn was able to lock down $1 million in state dollars for the project. Securing that money was the first step in qualifying for matching federal funds that would launch the reconstruction. Horn was joined by state Rep. Vanessa Guerra, D-Saginaw; representatives from Bridgeport Township and its DDA; the Saginaw County Road Commission; Saginaw Future Inc.; the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce; and East Michigan Council of Governments to make their case for funding to state and federal officials.

“Convincing my colleagues in 2017 that this was a state priority was no small feat,” Horn said. “Many of my fellow legislators were unaware of the business and tourism impact this region provides to the state, but we were able to make them believers. Once the $1 million was obtained at the state level, we were able to take our case to the federal government, and last week’s announcement is a stunning victory for the entire Great Lakes Bay Region.”

Members of Bridgeport Township, where the stretch of Dixie Highway is located, understand all too well how this will change the landscape both commercially and economically.

“Widening the road is imperative,” said Bridgeport Township Manager Rose Licht. “Our residents win, the region wins and the state wins — as an already crowded commercial hub will have the means to expand.”

The project was able to move forward because of the plans of local businesses to expand and create jobs. Orchid Unique Orthopedic Solutions and Amigo are two companies that expect that the Dixie Highway improvements will enable their continued expansions.

“Amigo Mobility’s headquarters has been on Dixie Highway since the company was founded 50 years ago,” said Beth Thieme, CEO of Amigo Mobility. “We’ve been concerned about the number of accidents and are relieved this road will be safer for our employees, customers and the rest of the community traveling on this busy road. This will also help attract more business to this area.”

Orchid’s facility in Bridgeport was equally thrilled with the news.

“Orchid has been working for over two years with local, state and federal officials to secure these funds,” said Jason Ratcliffe, plant general manager of Orchid. “We have been in the Bridgeport community since 1997 and since that time, we have seen steady growth in our operations and of the community along Dixie Highway. These improvements will increase the safety of employees, visitors and business partners of Orchid and the surrounding businesses, while promoting future growth here in Bridgeport.”

The Saginaw County Road Commission contributed numerous hours of engineering work and planning to take the proposal to the federal level.

“We’ve fought for this as a top priority for the region for years,” said Managing Director Dennis Borchard. “We’d like to thank Senator Horn for his support, along with the Bridgeport DDA, Saginaw Future and all the businesses that are committed to economic development as part of this project. Strong partnerships locally and with our state legislators were key — those relationships and significant data showing an economic benefit made this a reality.”

Horn declared Friday’s announcement a victory for the entire region.

“I want to thank everyone who was involved in making this become a reality,” Horn said. “From the local level to my colleagues in the Legislature and our partners on the federal level, this was a tremendous team effort. Estimates expect this investment to create 54 new jobs and generate $6.5 million in private investments. It will truly transform the area.”

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