Booher attends unveiling of veterans designation on driver’s licenses, state IDs

LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, (left) joined Secretary of State Ruth Johnson on Wednesday to unveil the new veterans designation, which will be available for honorably discharged veterans to add to their driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards beginning May 1.

Pictured from left are: Booher; Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director Jeff Barnes; Secretary of State Ruth Johnson; Steve and Gail McGee; Rep. Nancy Jenkins, R-Clayton; and House Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland.

Public Act 28 of 2013, sponsored by Booher, required the Michigan secretary of state to develop a veteran designation on state-issued identification cards for veterans who provide proof of service such as a certificate of release or discharge from active duty, referred to as a DD 214 form. PA 27 provided the same designation on driver’s licenses.

Veterans can add the designation for free when renewing their state-issued ID or pay a small fee if they wish to add it immediately.

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Editor’s Note: The above print-quality photograph of Booher at the unveiling is available by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

 

Booher’s brownfield redevelopment bill signed

LANSING?Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to give local and state officials flexibility to renegotiate brownfield redevelopment loans whose terms may not reflect current financial realities.

“Clean Michigan loans are an important tool the state offers local agencies to help support economic growth and job creation while protecting our environment through the reuse of existing property,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Unfortunately, sometimes market or economic conditions change during the loan period, resulting in local agencies struggling to repay the loan. This new law gives the state the flexibility to renegotiate repayment terms for these brownfield redevelopment loans.”

Public Act 115 of 2014 amends the Brownfield Redevelopment Loan Program to allow the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to alter the terms of a brownfield loan, including the length of the loan, the interest rate and the repayment terms. Under PA 115, the loan can only be altered if requested by the loan recipient and if there was proof of a financial hardship related to the financed project.

“Importantly, the new law has safeguards to ensure this flexibility is used appropriately and is not abused,” Booher said. “This transparency will require a report to the Legislature on the number of loans refinanced, the local unit involved and the change in the loan terms.”

In previous testimony on the bill, Booher was joined by officials from Harrison and Clare County, who supported the bill and told the committee about their situation.

“This fix will help cities like Harrison that rely on increased property values to help pay off these loans,” Booher said. “Simply, it gives officials the ability to craft a workable solution that benefits both the state and the local agencies.”

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Gov. Snyder signs off on Natural Resources Trust Fund plan

LANSING— Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation into law on Friday thatprovide funding for 76 recommended Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects throughout Michigan, said Sen. Darwin Booher, sponsor of the measure.

Public Act 114 of 2014 authorizes the trust fund to spend $27.6 million to support 32 acquisition projects and 44 development projects. Matching funds of $18.9 million bring the total investment to more than $46.5 million.

“The trust fund is about helping to make Michigan a better place to live and raise a family,” said Booher, R-Evart. “This plan invests more than $27 million in constitutionally restricted funds for state and local projects that will improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Michigan families and tourists.”

Booher said the bill will provide more than $1.1 million in funding for four NRTF projects in the 35th Senate District.

PA114  specifically provides $300,000 toward nearly $3.3 million in improvements to 40.8 miles of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park from LeRoy in Osceola County to Sand Lake in Kent County, including trail surface and bridge enhancements along the route.

Booher said the plan also allocates $30,900 toward a $51,500 development to Sands Park in Kalkaska County. The project includes adding two accessible playgrounds to the six-acre park, which is the only public access site to Manistee Lake.

The project also invests $800,000 for the acquisition of 240 acres along Dair Creek in Benzie County and 15 acres of Little Manistee River property in Lake County.