Governor signs Booher bill allowing veterans designation on state ID cards

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher and co-sponsored by Rep. Ray Franz to allow honorably discharged veterans to add a special veteran designation to their driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday.

“To show their support of our veterans and say thank you for protecting liberty, many places offer discounts to veterans and their families,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I sponsored this reform after hearing from veterans in my district about finding an easier way for them to receive these generous benefits — instead of carrying around their discharge papers. Veterans can now have a special insignia appear on their driver’s license or state ID that verifies their military service.”

Booher’s bill, now Public Act 28 of 2013, requires the Michigan secretary of state to develop a veteran designation on state-issued identification cards for veterans who provide proof of service like a certificate of release or discharge from active duty, referred to as a DD 214 form.

PA 27; co-sponsored by Franz, R-Onekama; provides the same designation on driver’s licenses.

“Veterans with the new designation on their driver’s license will have proof of their service right at their fingertips, making it easier than ever to verifying they qualify for program benefits or discounts,” said Franz, vice chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “This legislation eliminates hassles for our veterans and removes obstacles as a way to say thanks for their service to our country.”

Under the new laws, the secretary of state’s office will require proof of service status as a veteran before providing the designation.  The secretary of state will consult with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to determine what documentation will be required.

The designation will be available on driver’s licenses and personal state IDs in May 2014. It is not legal proof of prior military service and will not replace the DD 214 when a veteran applies for federal or state benefit programs requiring proof of military service and honorable discharge.

Editor’s Note: A print-quality photograph of the governor’s bill signing is available by visiting the Sen. Booher’s website at: www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com. Click on the Photowire tab.

 

Governor signs Booher bill allowing veterans designation on state ID cards

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher and co-sponsored by Rep. Ray Franz to allow honorably discharged veterans to add a special veteran designation to their driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday.

“To show their support of our veterans and say thank you for protecting liberty, many places offer discounts to veterans and their families,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I sponsored this reform after hearing from veterans in my district about finding an easier way for them to receive these generous benefits — instead of carrying around their discharge papers. Veterans can now have a special insignia appear on their driver’s license or state ID that verifies their military service.”

Booher’s bill, now Public Act 28 of 2013, requires the Michigan secretary of state to develop a veteran designation on state-issued identification cards for veterans who provide proof of service like a certificate of release or discharge from active duty, referred to as a DD 214 form.

PA 27; co-sponsored by Franz, R-Onekama; provides the same designation on driver’s licenses.

“Veterans with the new designation on their driver’s license will have proof of their service right at their fingertips, making it easier than ever to verifying they qualify for program benefits or discounts,” said Franz, vice chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “This legislation eliminates hassles for our veterans and removes obstacles as a way to say thanks for their service to our country.”

Under the new laws, the secretary of state’s office will require proof of service status as a veteran before providing the designation.  The secretary of state will consult with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to determine what documentation will be required.

The designation will be available on driver’s licenses and personal state IDs in May 2014. It is not legal proof of prior military service and will not replace the DD 214 when a veteran applies for federal or state benefit programs requiring proof of military service and honorable discharge.

Editor’s Note: A print-quality photograph of the governor’s bill signing is available by visiting the Sen. Booher’s website at: www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com. Click on the Photowire tab.

 

Booher bill would require unfunded liabilities to be part of state revenue conference report

Legislation introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher on Tuesday would require that the January and May state revenue estimating conferences report on the state’s unfunded liabilities. 

The May revenue estimating conference is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15.

“This is about ensuring that lawmakers and the public have a comprehensive picture of the state’s financial situation when making important budget decisions,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The revenue estimating conferences in January and May are designed to bring the state’s best minds together to look at all the data and economic forecasts and come to an agreement on how much the state can expect to budget for in the next year. Having attended the conferences for the past nine years, it only makes sense that the state’s long-term unfunded liabilities should be taken into account.”

Senate Bill 359 would require the revenue estimating conference participants to report on the state’s unfunded liabilities. The January and May conferences include the state budget director or state treasurer, the directors of the Senate and House fiscal agencies and state economists.

Each conference provides a report on items, such as the amount collected in taxes by the state, General Fund and School Aid Fund revenues and an official economic forecast for the year. There is currently no requirement that the conference report on unfunded liabilities.      

“It was reported last year that the state’s unfunded liabilities actually exceed the total annual state budget,” Booher said. “These liabilities are the cost of the benefits we have promised to employees and retirees that are not paid for by investment returns and employee contributions. Simply put, it is the amount taxpayers will be forced to cover.”

Booher noted that current legislators are addressing the state unfunded liabilities through reform and paying down debt.

“After 40 year of experience as a banker, I know the importance of understanding your debt situation and having a plan to eliminate it,” Booher said. “I sponsored this reform so that this critical information is provided to all future legislators, especially in the era of term limits, as they make decisions that will impact the lives of my children and grandchildren.”

SB 359 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

 

Booher bill would require unfunded liabilities to be part of state revenue conference report

Legislation introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher on Tuesday would require that the January and May state revenue estimating conferences report on the state’s unfunded liabilities. 

The May revenue estimating conference is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15.

“This is about ensuring that lawmakers and the public have a comprehensive picture of the state’s financial situation when making important budget decisions,” said Booher, R-Evart. “The revenue estimating conferences in January and May are designed to bring the state’s best minds together to look at all the data and economic forecasts and come to an agreement on how much the state can expect to budget for in the next year. Having attended the conferences for the past nine years, it only makes sense that the state’s long-term unfunded liabilities should be taken into account.”

Senate Bill 359 would require the revenue estimating conference participants to report on the state’s unfunded liabilities. The January and May conferences include the state budget director or state treasurer, the directors of the Senate and House fiscal agencies and state economists.

Each conference provides a report on items, such as the amount collected in taxes by the state, General Fund and School Aid Fund revenues and an official economic forecast for the year. There is currently no requirement that the conference report on unfunded liabilities.      

“It was reported last year that the state’s unfunded liabilities actually exceed the total annual state budget,” Booher said. “These liabilities are the cost of the benefits we have promised to employees and retirees that are not paid for by investment returns and employee contributions. Simply put, it is the amount taxpayers will be forced to cover.”

Booher noted that current legislators are addressing the state unfunded liabilities through reform and paying down debt.

“After 40 year of experience as a banker, I know the importance of understanding your debt situation and having a plan to eliminate it,” Booher said. “I sponsored this reform so that this critical information is provided to all future legislators, especially in the era of term limits, as they make decisions that will impact the lives of my children and grandchildren.”

SB 359 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

 

Booher: State grant paves way for renovation of historic Vogue Theatre in Manistee

Sen. Darwin Booher congratulated the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee on Monday for receiving a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) that will help them renovate the historic venue into a 900-seat movie theater.

“This is outstanding news for Manistee and the entire community. It will pave the way for an investment in Downtown Manistee of more than $2 million while also helping put an historic building back to productive use,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I applaud the Historic Vogue Theatre, Manistee downtown development officials and local residents and businesses for working together to create jobs in Michigan by making this expansion a reality. It is an illustration of the great strides we can make to reinvent Michigan through teamwork.”

The Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee was awarded a $503,592 Michigan Community Revitalization Program incentive to renovate both the interior and exterior of the building, make structural improvements, install new sound and lighting equipment and new seating as well as improve the surrounding sidewalks. 

The program provides grants, loans or other assistance of up to $10 million to projects that will revitalize regional urban areas, act as a catalyst for additional investment in a community, reuse vacant or historic buildings and promote mixed use and sustainable development.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of approximately $2.4 million. The City of Manistee Downtown Development Authority is offering support to the project valued at $308,250 in the form of land contribution, locally committed grants and low-interest loans.

“In addition to state and local government support, the Vogue Theatre project has also received generous donations of more than $127,000 from area resident and businesses,” Booher said. “Without the hard work and cooperation of everyone involved, from the Michigan Strategic Fund board to local families, this renovation and the jobs it will bring to Manistee may never have happened.”

 

Booher bill allowing veterans designation on state ID cards sent to governor

The state Senate passed legislation Wednesday sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to allow honorably discharged veterans to add a special veteran designation to their state-issued ID.

“This measure will make it easier for our veterans to access the benefits businesses want to provide to thank them for their service,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Many organizations offer discounts to veterans and their families, but it is cumbersome for veterans to have to show their discharge forms in these situations. A special insignia on their state ID card is much more practical.”

Senate Bill 219 would require the Michigan secretary of state to develop a veteran designation on state-issued identification cards for veterans who provide proof of service like a certificate of release or discharge from active duty, referred to as a DD 214 form.

The Senate also passed House Bill 4037, similar to an earlier Booher bill, which would provide the same designation on driver’s licenses.

“Michigan veterans told us about the need to find a simpler way for them to prove their military service,” Booher said. “We investigated the issue and discovered a more simplified veteran designation was working in Florida, so we decided to try a similar approach here.”

Booher noted that, under both measures, the secretary of state’s office would require proof of service status as a veteran before providing the designation. The secretary of state would consult with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to determine what documentation would be required as proof of service.

“These reforms will help veterans and Michigan businesses alike,” Booher said. “A state agency is the entity that verifies veteran status; businesses simply need to see the veterans designation on a state ID or driver’s license.”

SB 219 and HB 4037 are now headed to the governor to be signed into law.