Booher welcomes local pastor to state Capitol to lead invocation

LANSING— Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, welcomes the Rev. Douglas Stockwell (right) to the Michigan Senate. Stockwell is the pastor at First Baptist Church of Prudenville and delivered the invocation before Senate session.

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A photograph of Sen. Booher with Pastor Stockwell is available by visiting the senator’s photowire at:
www.misenategop.com/senators/photowire.asp?District=35.

 

Booher introduces resolution urging IRS to protect community colleges from ‘Obamacare’

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher introduced a resolution on Thursday calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that the employer mandates in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not negatively affect Michigan’s community colleges.

“Obamacare contains many employer mandates that could significantly impact the cost of higher education in Michigan – especially our community colleges,” said Booher, chair of the community colleges budget subcommittee. “One community college testified that if the IRS adopts a higher standard in how employee status is determined for adjunct professors, it could increase their costs by $3 million. This level of higher costs would force community colleges to raise tuition — directly impacting Michigan students.”

Senate Resolution 37 urges the IRS to adopt a formula for the purpose of the ACA that determines full-time employment based on an assumption that adjunct professors work one hour outside of the classroom for each hour they teach.

Some organizations are urging the IRS to use a two-to-one ratio, assuming two hours worked outside of the classroom for each hour taught.

“Under the two-to-one ratio, an adjunct professor who teaches eight hours of classes would be considered a full-time employee and the colleges would be required to either give them full health care benefits or pay an Obamacare penalty,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The one-to-one ratio is a better reflection of the actual workloads for adjunct teaching faculty and would help our community colleges continue to offer an affordable higher education option.”

Booher said that his concern about this impact prompted him to include a boilerplate provision in the state’s community college budget that would require the colleges to estimate the financial impact of Obamacare on their institutions and to post that data on their websites.

“I believe in being accountable to the people for how our limited state resources are being used,” Booher said. “This accountability includes knowing how state and federal mandates are affecting the bottom lines of our community colleges.”

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Booher introduces resolution urging IRS to protect community colleges from ‘Obamacare’

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher introduced a resolution on Thursday calling on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that the employer mandates in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not negatively affect Michigan’s community colleges.

“Obamacare contains many employer mandates that could significantly impact the cost of higher education in Michigan – especially our community colleges,” said Booher, chair of the community colleges budget subcommittee. “One community college testified that if the IRS adopts a higher standard in how employee status is determined for adjunct professors, it could increase their costs by $3 million. This level of higher costs would force community colleges to raise tuition — directly impacting Michigan students.”

Senate Resolution 37 urges the IRS to adopt a formula for the purpose of the ACA that determines full-time employment based on an assumption that adjunct professors work one hour outside of the classroom for each hour they teach.

Some organizations are urging the IRS to use a two-to-one ratio, assuming two hours worked outside of the classroom for each hour taught.

“Under the two-to-one ratio, an adjunct professor who teaches eight hours of classes would be considered a full-time employee and the colleges would be required to either give them full health care benefits or pay an Obamacare penalty,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The one-to-one ratio is a better reflection of the actual workloads for adjunct teaching faculty and would help our community colleges continue to offer an affordable higher education option.”

Booher said that his concern about this impact prompted him to include a boilerplate provision in the state’s community college budget that would require the colleges to estimate the financial impact of Obamacare on their institutions and to post that data on their websites.

“I believe in being accountable to the people for how our limited state resources are being used,” Booher said. “This accountability includes knowing how state and federal mandates are affecting the bottom lines of our community colleges.”

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Booher dredging bill approved by Senate

LANSING — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Darwin Booher’s legislation requiring regular state dredging assessments of Michigan public harbors and specifying that more waterways dollars be used for dredging or projects that are critical for water use and access. 

“Harbors that are open, safe and accessible are vitally important to the Michigan economy and Michigan jobs,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Our harbors are facing significant access issues due to low water levels and the failure of the federal government to do its job. This dredging problem is affecting more than just our shipping ports; it’s also impacting recreational harbors — where thousands of local jobs rely on boaters having access to Michigan lakes and rivers.”

Booher’s measure, Senate Bill 243, would require the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to conduct an assessment of the state’s public harbors every three years to determine the need for dredging and infrastructure improvements.

“By having the state regularly assess the dredging and infrastructure needs of our public harbors, we can help meet the needs of boaters, shippers and our communities for years to come,” said Booher, a member of the Legislative Waterways Caucus. “Importantly, my bill is only part of a comprehensive plan to solve our harbor maintenance issues in both the short and long term.” 

Other Senate-approved dredging measures include Senate Bill 218, to restore the waterfront tax increment finance authority (TIFA) to provide local financing options for dredging, and Public Act 10 of 2013, which created a new low-interest dredging loan program.

In March, the governor signed Booher’s bill to use nearly $21 million in state funding for emergency dredging of Michigan harbors. The funding in PA 9 of 2013 included more than $2.9 million for dredging in five harbors in the 35th Senate District.

SB 243 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Booher dredging bill approved by Senate

LANSING — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Darwin Booher’s legislation requiring regular state dredging assessments of Michigan public harbors and specifying that more waterways dollars be used for dredging or projects that are critical for water use and access. 

“Harbors that are open, safe and accessible are vitally important to the Michigan economy and Michigan jobs,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Our harbors are facing significant access issues due to low water levels and the failure of the federal government to do its job. This dredging problem is affecting more than just our shipping ports; it’s also impacting recreational harbors — where thousands of local jobs rely on boaters having access to Michigan lakes and rivers.”

Booher’s measure, Senate Bill 243, would require the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to conduct an assessment of the state’s public harbors every three years to determine the need for dredging and infrastructure improvements.

“By having the state regularly assess the dredging and infrastructure needs of our public harbors, we can help meet the needs of boaters, shippers and our communities for years to come,” said Booher, a member of the Legislative Waterways Caucus. “Importantly, my bill is only part of a comprehensive plan to solve our harbor maintenance issues in both the short and long term.” 

Other Senate-approved dredging measures include Senate Bill 218, to restore the waterfront tax increment finance authority (TIFA) to provide local financing options for dredging, and Public Act 10 of 2013, which created a new low-interest dredging loan program.

In March, the governor signed Booher’s bill to use nearly $21 million in state funding for emergency dredging of Michigan harbors. The funding in PA 9 of 2013 included more than $2.9 million for dredging in five harbors in the 35th Senate District.

SB 243 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Senate panel OKs Booher sex offender loitering ban

LANSING?Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to stop child sex offenders from hanging around day care centers was approved on Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“When Michigan parents drop off their children at a day care center, they expect that it is a place where their children can have fun and play — safe from sexual predators,” said Booher, R-Evart. “More than a decade ago, Michigan enacted the Sex Offender Registration Act to help prevent convicted sex offenders from repeating their criminal sexual acts.

“The law currently protects children at school by banning violators from loitering within a student safety zone, and my legislation would add those protections to child day care centers.”

Senate Bill 76 would amend the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) to prohibit sex offenders from loitering within 1,000 feet of a licensed child care center. 

“This is about ensuring that Michigan is taking every precaution to protect our children from sexual predators,” Booher said. “Extending SORA protections will say loud and clear to sex offenders: you have no business hanging around child day care centers.” 

SB 77 would establish sentencing guidelines. Under the bill, a first-time violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. Violators with one or more prior SORA convictions would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years, a fine of up to $2,000 or both.

SB 76 would allow for exceptions only for parents who are transporting their own children to school or day care or are going to the school or day care center for the purpose of meeting with an employee regarding his or her child’s enrollment.

The bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.

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Booher’s Mortgage Industry Advisory Board reform bill signed

LANSING—Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to update the composition of the Mortgage Industry Advisory Board, which oversees many mortgage issues.

“I am proud that Michigan took the lead to preserve the American dream with several bipartisan initiatives, such as new laws to combat mortgage fraud,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I thank the governor for signing this reform to ensure that the Mortgage Industry Advisory Board can continue its important role of reviewing mortgage industry issues and making recommendations about how we can best protect current and future Michigan homeowners. This new law was needed following a merger last year of two associations with authority to suggest candidates for appointment to the board.” 

Previously, both the Michigan Mortgage Brokers Association and the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association (MMLA) submitted three suggestions for candidates to the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation commissioner, who then appointed two suggestions of each association to the board.

Booher’s bill, now Public Act 14 of 2013, reflects the merger of the two associations last year and gives the remaining organization, MMLA, the ability to provide at least six suggestions for board candidates, of which three must be affiliated with a licensed or registered broker.

“Crimes like mortgage fraud devastate families and impact entire communities,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “Having effective oversight entities do their job helps ensure a fair and open mortgage system and protects homeowners.”

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Booher’s Mortgage Industry Advisory Board reform bill signed

LANSING—Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to update the composition of the Mortgage Industry Advisory Board, which oversees many mortgage issues.

“I am proud that Michigan took the lead to preserve the American dream with several bipartisan initiatives, such as new laws to combat mortgage fraud,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I thank the governor for signing this reform to ensure that the Mortgage Industry Advisory Board can continue its important role of reviewing mortgage industry issues and making recommendations about how we can best protect current and future Michigan homeowners. This new law was needed following a merger last year of two associations with authority to suggest candidates for appointment to the board.” 

Previously, both the Michigan Mortgage Brokers Association and the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association (MMLA) submitted three suggestions for candidates to the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation commissioner, who then appointed two suggestions of each association to the board.

Booher’s bill, now Public Act 14 of 2013, reflects the merger of the two associations last year and gives the remaining organization, MMLA, the ability to provide at least six suggestions for board candidates, of which three must be affiliated with a licensed or registered broker.

“Crimes like mortgage fraud devastate families and impact entire communities,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “Having effective oversight entities do their job helps ensure a fair and open mortgage system and protects homeowners.”

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Senate OKs Booher resolution naming April Michigan Financial Literacy Month

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher’s resolution to encourage financial literacy education for Michigan students was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday.

“Being a good financial manager is an important component to achieving the American dream of owning a home, saving for college and investing for a secure retirement,” said Booher, R-Evart. “A quality personal finance education is essential to ensuring that residents have the skills to effectively manage their money, credit and debt. It is about preparing people to be responsible citizens and also about fostering tomorrow’s successful business leaders and entrepreneurs.”

According to a report by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 41 percent of adults in the United States gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on the knowledge of personal finance.

“As a former banker, I have seen the role that knowledge about personal finances can play in a rewarding life and the serious problems that can happen with a lack of financial management,” Booher said. “Understanding personal finances and how best to manage your finances are important lessons that are best learned at a young age. I sponsored this resolution to help raise awareness about the need for increased financial literacy in our schools and among our children.”

Senate Resolution 28 designates April 2013 as Michigan Financial Literacy Month. It notes that the Council for Economic Education reports that only 12 states require high school students to take a personal finance course either independently or as part of an economics class.

“I believe that a strong financial knowledge in our youth will help prepare them for a fiscally responsible future — both personally and professionally,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “I look forward to hearing the discussion in our communities and statewide about how best to achieve that goal.”

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Senate OKs Booher resolution naming April Michigan Financial Literacy Month

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher’s resolution to encourage financial literacy education for Michigan students was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday.

“Being a good financial manager is an important component to achieving the American dream of owning a home, saving for college and investing for a secure retirement,” said Booher, R-Evart. “A quality personal finance education is essential to ensuring that residents have the skills to effectively manage their money, credit and debt. It is about preparing people to be responsible citizens and also about fostering tomorrow’s successful business leaders and entrepreneurs.”

According to a report by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 41 percent of adults in the United States gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on the knowledge of personal finance.

“As a former banker, I have seen the role that knowledge about personal finances can play in a rewarding life and the serious problems that can happen with a lack of financial management,” Booher said. “Understanding personal finances and how best to manage your finances are important lessons that are best learned at a young age. I sponsored this resolution to help raise awareness about the need for increased financial literacy in our schools and among our children.”

Senate Resolution 28 designates April 2013 as Michigan Financial Literacy Month. It notes that the Council for Economic Education reports that only 12 states require high school students to take a personal finance course either independently or as part of an economics class.

“I believe that a strong financial knowledge in our youth will help prepare them for a fiscally responsible future — both personally and professionally,” said Booher, chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “I look forward to hearing the discussion in our communities and statewide about how best to achieve that goal.”

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