Sen. Booher welcomes his grandniece as guest for Senate Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, welcomed his grandniece, Jessica Wright, to the Michigan Senate Thursday for the Senate’s 24th Annual Memorial Day Service.

Wright served as a specialist E4 in the U.S. Army Michigan National Guard from 2001-2009.

The Senate Memorial Day Service is a time to honor Michigan’s military servicemen and servicewomen who have lost their lives in the service of the United States.

The ceremony will be archived on MISenate.viebit.com and will be available to stream or download.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com/photowire.

Michigan Senate passes bills to improve outdoor recreational funding

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate Wednesday passed a series of bills to support state and local parks, fund recreational projects and needs throughout the state, and create more flexibility in the use of both the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) and the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund (MSPEF).

Senate Joint Resolution O, and Senate Bills 763, 931, and 932 would alter the way that revenues to the MNRFT and the MSPEF may be used – increasing the ability to address the demands and opportunities for Michigan’s recreational areas.

“The proposed changes will allow for greater flexibility to focus grant funding on natural resources needs relating to recreation development, redevelopment and renovation at the state and local levels,” said Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. “The NRTF has been very successful overall since it’s since its beginning 41 years ago. Now it would be helpful to have some added flexibility so the trust fund board can build on the wise use of the MNRTF and MSPEF funds. These changes will help meet the natural resource needs of our local communities and the state, things like trails and park infrastructure, for many more years to come.”

The bills include reforms agreed upon by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), conservation and recreation groups, local units of government, and recreation area users.

“We applaud Senate passage of Joint Resolution O, which after significant stakeholder engagement, increases funding for state parks while addressing a critical outdoor recreation need at the local level,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The Senate action today is an important step in assuring funding derived from oil, gas and mineral royalties from state land supports natural resources and outdoor recreation in Michigan for current and future generations.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provides a source of funding for public outdoor recreation and the public acquisition of lands for resource protection. The trust fund was established in 1976 and is constitutionally protected.

The Michigan State Park Endowment Fund was established in 1994 for the operation, maintenance and capital improvements of the Michigan state parks. When the trust fund reached its funding cap in 2011, the annual revenue from mineral royalties began to be deposited in the MSPEF.

Previously, these funds were strictly allocated toward acquiring new land for public use and conservation, and for minor updates to park infrastructures.

While many of the restrictions remain in place, the new funding allocations included in the legislation would allow for more money to be spent on parks and recreational resources. Municipalities and other government bodies would be able to apply for this funding through competitive grants similar to the system already in place for the MNRTF.

“I’m very excited to be able to open this funding up for more local investment,” said Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart. “Michigan is a regional destination for outdoor tourism and this is one more way that we can provide communities with the resources necessary to improve or create more recreational opportunities.”

As the law stands now, until the MSPEF reaches $800 million half of the annual revenue is credited back into the principal of the MSPEF. The remaining funds may be spent on operations, maintenance, and capital improvements at state parks and for the acquisition of land or rights in land for state parks.

This new package of bills would change that distribution to the following:

  • 30 percent directed to the principal of the MSPEF
  • 55 percent towards state park operation and infrastructure
  • 15 percent to a new local development projects grant program

“This legislation hasn’t been updated in sixteen years,” said Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart. “It’s long overdue that we begin to free up these funds for improvement to our communities and natural resources. I hope the voters see the value of what we’re trying to do here, and that they’ll come out to support these improvements.”

Changes to the funding structure would apply beginning Jan. 1, 2020, and would be further increased as the funds continue to mature. Once the MSPEF reaches $800 million, oil and gas royalties would return to the MNRTF and up to 50 percent plus interest and earnings could be spent each year.

The bills will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. If they pass the House, Michigan residents will have a chance to vote on the changes via ballot initiative.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Booher welcomes his daughter as guest for State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, welcomed his daughter, Judge Kimberly Booher-Hammer of Evart, and his granddaughter Madison to the Michigan Capitol before Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address. Booher-Hammer serves on the 49th Circuit Court for Mecosta and Osceola counties.

 

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Booher photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com and click Photowire under the Media Center tab.

 

**Photo Advisory** Sen. Booher welcomes the Rev. Swainston to deliver invocation

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, welcomed the Rev. Jeffrey A. Swainston of the United Methodist Church of Manton to the Michigan Senate on Thursday to deliver the invocation at the start of Senate session.

 

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of these photos, click the images or visit www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com and click Photowire under the Media Center tab.

Sen. Booher named chair of Great Lakes Legislative Caucus

Senator Darwin Booher

Senator Darwin Booher

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, was named the chairman of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (GLLC) effective Dec. 1.

Sen. Booher, who had previously served as vice chair of the GLLC, is the fourth legislator to chair the GLLC. The binational, nonpartisan organization was founded in 2003 by former Michigan state Sen. Patty Birkholz. Membership in the GLLC is open to all state and provincial legislators in the 10 Great Lakes states and provinces.

“We have only just begun to tap our full potential as a forum for regional action,” Booher said. “I look forward to guiding the GLLC toward a strong future as the only binational, nonpartisan forum for legislators who not only want to learn about the problems that affect our Great Lakes but who also are committed to working together to solve those problems.”

Through its mix of programming, advocacy and activities, the GLLC provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key Great Lakes issues. Its goals are to promote the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and to strengthen the role of state and provincial legislators in the Great Lakes policymaking process.

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Sen. Booher comments on State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, issued the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address:

“It was an honor to attend the seventh State of the State address delivered by Governor Snyder. The governor addressed how far we have come since he took office in 2010 and spoke about the challenges we still face.

“Michigan’s economic comeback story continues today. The governor spoke of the more than 475,000 new private sector jobs that have been created since 2010. Even more, the unemployment rate has dropped nearly ten points since hitting its high in June of 2009.

“The governor addressed the importance of investing in the future of Michigan with education being key to future success. I have stood with my colleagues to ensure that all children have access to good quality schools and that we keep education as a top priority in the Michigan Senate.

“Governor Snyder also spoke of the need to improve Michigan’s infrastructure. I agree wholeheartedly that we cannot allow our infrastructure to fail and I will continue to look for ways that we can address this critical issue.

“I look forward to continue serving the residents of the 35th District in the year to come. We are on the right track and we have a lot of positive momentum at our backs as we move into the year ahead. ”

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**Photo Advisory** Sen. Booher welcomes Ben LaCross to the state Capitol for State of the State address

 

LANSING, Mich.— State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, welcomed Ben LaCross (right) of the Leelanau Fruit Company in Leelanau County to the Michigan Capitol before Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2017 State of the State address. LaCross, who also serves as the District 9 director on the Michigan Farm Bureau Board of Directors, was Booher’s guest for the annual address Tuesday night.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Booher photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com and click Photowire under the Media Center tab.

***Media Advisory*** Sen. Booher available for comments following State of the State address

Senator Darwin Booher

Senator Darwin Booher

Who:               State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart.

What:             Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:             The address is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Where:           House Appropriations Room
Third Floor
State Capitol
Lansing, MI

Brief: Booher will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please call Booher’s office at 517-373-1725 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 17 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

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Booher’s office now open in the Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building

Senator Darwin Booher

Senator Darwin Booher

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, on Wednesday announced the opening of his new office in the Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building in Lansing.

“It is an honor to work in a building named for such a committed and dedicated public servant who served northern Michigan with great distinction,” Booher said. “Connie Binsfeld is a role model for all who serve in public office. I’m glad that Binsfeld will be long remembered into the future with the new Michigan Senate office building being named in her honor and memory.”

The building, named after former Michigan Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld, opened on Monday, Jan. 9 and is now home to Michigan Senate offices. Binsfeld was a resident of the 35th District, residing in Leelanau County, and had previously represented the area in the Michigan House and Senate.

For those visiting Booher’s office in Lansing, it is now located in room 3200 of the Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building, located at 201 Townsend St. in Lansing, across from the Michigan Capitol at the corner of Townsend and Allegan.

Residents can contact Booher’s office at 1-517-373-1725 or via email at SenDBooher@senate.michigan.gov. Residents may also visit Booher’s Senate website at www.SenatorDarwinBooher.com or send a letter via U.S. mail. The mailing address is Senator Darwin Booher, P. O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909.

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