Michigan 105th District State Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) offers highlights of his work and accomplishments in a monthly newsletter, which has been republished here.
It is an honor and privilege to serve you and your family. As your state representative, I am making decisions in Lansing for the betterment of our local community. This newsletter will provide greater insight into the latest achievements by the Michigan House of Representatives and invite you to get involved in the process.
You are the reason Michigan is on the road to recovery and together we can chart the course for continued recovery. I am working on innovative ways to improve Michigan’s economy, bring jobs back to our local community and ensure the safety and security of families across the state.
Thank you for the opportunity to be the voice of the 61st House District. Please do not hesitate to contact my office. I am ready to listen and assist in any way I can. What matters to you, matters to me.
With Independence Day approaching, please visit your local chamber for more information regarding fireworks, parades, and festivals.
Serving the constituents of the 105th House District is very important to me and I encourage
residents to contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-0829,
The 105th House District includes Antrim County, Charlevoix County, Montmorency County,
Oscoda County, and Otsego County. I look forward to serving you and encourage everyone to contact my office if I can assist you anyway, or if you have a great idea to help move our state forward.
Wolverine Power Cooperative Commissions Alpine Power Plant
Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc has announced that the new Alpine Power Plant is now fully powered and capable of producing 410 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power nearly 120,000 homes. Northern Michigan residents know that brown-outs are all too common reoccurrence in local communities. The Alpine Power Plant will help reduce power outages by utilizing natural gas to boost current infrastructure.
Rep. Cole’s morel mushroom legislation approved by House
The Michigan House of Representatives today approved my sponsored legislation to remove the certification requirement necessary to pick and sell morel mushrooms. As far back as I can remember I was able to forage for morels and sell them to local businesses and restaurants in Northern Michigan, until recently in 2015 when the state adopted a law to require mandatory certification training to sell morels. House Bill 5532 will simply eliminate the training necessary to pick and sell morels and revert back to the original law, which did not allow the government to infringe upon an individual’s livelihood. HB 5582 amends Chapter Six of the Michigan Food Law (Standards for Food Establishments) by adding “morel mushrooms” to the limited list of items that are exempt from required food safety training, as referenced in the U.S. Food Code. Morel mushroom hunting can be a tremendous source of fun for residents and revenue for various regions across the state. This is common-sense legislation because the commonality and unique identification of morel mushrooms make them ideal for exemption to existing regulations.
Rep. Cole’s ‘no greater than the feds’ legislation clears House
The Michigan House of Representatives today approved state Rep. Triston Cole’s legislation to limit the state government’s ability to adopt a rule that is more stringent than the federal government’s regulations. House Bill 5613 will further solidify the fact Michigan is open for business. This legislation does not prohibit greater rules from ultimately being implemented, but does require greater justification. It also does not prohibit the Legislature from enacting laws greater than the federal government. This is rock-solid policy, a positive move forward and works to keep the separation of powers in check. House Bill 5613, also nicknamed ‘no greater than the feds,’ will increase and protect Michigan’s competitiveness by stabilizing our state’s regulatory climate. Bureaucrats do not make policy, the Legislature does. This bill will strengthen that separation and distinction, something my constituents have repeatedly asked for. Moreover, such burdensome rules put Michigan at a competitive disadvantage with other states. Overregulation is debilitating to Michigan’s economy and with this legislation implemented we can effectively prevent the burdensome regulations that hinder local growth for businesses within communities across the state. Prospective clients from out-of-state will be more inclined to consider developing a business in Michigan if we cut the red tape and allow people to build their businesses without government interference.
House passes Rep. Cole’s bill prohibiting the removal of collars from hunting dogs
The Michigan House of Representatives today approved state Rep. Triston Cole’s legislation to prohibit the removal of collars from hunting dogs for reprehensible reasons. Some animal rights organizations have used extreme measures to disrupt legal hunting and this bill will help protect hunting dogs and give their owners peace-of-mind during hunting season. House Bill 5215 would make it a civil infraction with a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 for an individual other than the owner that removes the collar from the hunting dog. People that are opposed to hunting, or those who just want to steal the collars, have been known to take the collars off of the dogs while they are engaged in legal hunting activities,. Many of these collars have electronic tracking devices and can be quite expensive. Taking the collars off of hunting dogs puts the animal at risk and lowers the chances for the owner finding the dog if the animal was to wonder off. HB 5215 will aid in the assurance of safety for the hunting dog and owner.
Legislature passes a new state budget
The Michigan Legislature passed it’s the state budget for next year on June 8. This marks the sixth year in a row that the Legislature has passed the annual budget months before the deadline, avoiding the disastrous government shutdowns of the past and giving schools and local governments ample time to plan their own budgets for the year ahead. Highlights this year include all-time record funding on K-12 education, all-time record funding on road and bridge repairs and targeted reductions to keep the overall growth in spending well below the rate of inflation. This financial plan is both responsible and effective. Created with real people in mind, this budget is committed to funding important public services, such as roads, education, veterans, agriculture and public safety, while saving taxpayer money.
A reform plan for Detroit Public Schools
The House passed the finalized version of the Detroit Public Schools funding plan. The plan gives Detroit students a chance at a quality education while ensuring that other school districts across the state will not suffer as a result. The state has a constitutional and ethical responsibility to provide public education to each and every student in Michigan. This plan accomplishes that and also establishes a review commission to monitor DPS finances in an effort to prevent future failures. The plan now moves to the governor’s desk for signature.
Residents will be alerted about active shooters via cell phone
Using technology to alert Michigan residents on their mobile devices is an innovative and potentially lifesaving measure. House Bills 5442, 5449 and 5567 establish a public threat system to rapidly notify residents via TV, radio and text message whenever there is a public threat, including acts of terrorism and mass shootings. The well-being of Michigan residents is a top priority and this bill package will effectively implement a system that provides information to citizens about what is going on around them and how to ensure the safety and security of themselves and their loved ones. The bill package was passed with overwhelming support and now moves to the governor’s desk for signature.
Changes to horse racing laws
Senate Bills 504-505 were introduced to fortify horse racing in Michigan by revising the law to reflect current industry operations. The Horse Racing Law of 1995 was created at a time when there were nine horse racing tracks throughout the state. Initially, this law made sense as there were significantly more Standardbred tracks in the state, so that industry was engaging in more simulcast betting. Today, Michigan has one Standardbred and one Thoroughbred track, so the industry is seeking a more equitable way to address attendance and gaming trends. The new law will make funding horse racing in Michigan fairer by allowing money made on wagering to stay at the track where the bet was made.
Genocide instruction added to social studies curriculum
Michigan students will now learn more about genocides such as the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide in social studies classes under legislation signed last month by Gov. Rick Snyder. HB 4493 requires that all social studies curriculum for grades 8-12 in school districts and public school academies include instruction on genocide in an attempt to work toward creating a more tolerant society. For more information on this and other legislation, please visit www.legislature.mi.gov.
Update on the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans
Members of the House committees on Military & Veterans Affairs and Oversight & Ethics joined together for a joint committee hearing at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans on June 13. The committees heard testimony from residents of the Home to better understand the quality of care they received prior to the Auditor General’s February report of the Home, as well as learn about how conditions have improved since that time. The legislature has appropriated $600,000 to fund additional and higher-quality staffing at the Home through the end of this fiscal year, with an additional $1.8 million appropriated for fiscal year 2017. Additionally, HB 5639 has been introduced to require more oversight and reporting from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to protect veterans from abuse and neglect at state veteran facilities. The department will be required to report staffing levels, patient complaints and responses to complaints, information regarding pharmaceutical drugs, patient money and resident deaths to the governor, the Senate and the House. We were all horrified to read the stories of abuse coming out of this home, and we are committed to doing everything we can to fix it and provide for our nation’s heroes.