Shirkey honors Hanover-Horton High School cross country champions

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey presented a tribute in the Senate Wednesday to the Hanover-Horton High School boys cross country team, which won the 2017 Michigan Division 3 cross country state championship.

“This team achieved an astonishing record this year of 182 wins and one loss en route to their state championship,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Their dedication, drive and strong work ethic will serve them well throughout their lives. Congratulations on a remarkable season, gentlemen!”

Note: For a print-quality version of this photo or other Shirkey photos, click the image or select Photowire at right.

Shirkey: New specialty plate to aid wildlife management

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Mike Shirkey announced on Tuesday that a new specialty license plate will be available starting next month.

Beginning Dec. 1, the specialty Michigan license plate featuring the common loon will be replaced with an elk plate to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the reintroduction of elk in Michigan.

“The reintroduction of elk in the state is a great success story,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “We have gone from no elk to a healthy, thriving population. This plate will celebrate this success and help maintain our natural resources.”

Michigan’s native elk disappeared from the state around 1875. In 1918, seven elk were brought in from the western United States and the population grew steadily. A 2014 survey estimated the herd to number 668.

Funds from the sale of the elk license plate will continue to help wildlife management.

For more information on specialty license plates, visit www.michigan.gov/sos. To learn more about Michigan’s elk population, go to www.michigan.gov/elk.

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Shirkey reminds residents of new hunting guidelines

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Mike Shirkey on Thursday reminded Branch, Hillsdale and Jackson county residents of new cervid importation regulations that will help protect the state’s deer population and safeguard our hunting tradition.

“Hundreds of thousands of people, including our family, will head out deer hunting in Michigan and in neighboring states over the next several weeks,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Any of us bringing deer in from out of state should keep in mind these guidelines for a successful hunt that will help protect us as well as the deer in our state.”

To help keep potential cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) from unintentionally being brought into Michigan, hunters who harvest a cervid (deer, moose or elk) in any other state or province can only import certain parts, such as hides, deboned meat, quarters, finished taxidermy products, cleaned teeth and antlers.

“If someone harvests a deer out of state, the best solution, if you want to bring it into Michigan for processing, is to skin and quarter it before taking it to your favorite processor,” Shirkey said.

CWD is a fatal, contagious neurological disease. In 2015, a free-ranging deer in mid-Michigan tested positive for CWD.

Since that discovery, nine animals have tested positive for the disease. The state has taken constructive steps to help contain this threat, with success so far. Those hunting in Michigan within areas where CWD has been found must follow specific regulations as well.

The regular firearm deer hunting season runs from Nov. 15-30. For more information on chronic wasting disease, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

Shirkey bill would fix loophole in open-carry law while protecting freedoms

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Mike Shirkey’s bill that would close a loophole in Michigan’s open-carry law and protect the rights of concealed pistol license (CPL) holders.

Senate Bill 586, along with SBs 584 and 585, would prohibit CPL holders from open-carrying guns into pistol-free zones such as schools, churches and sports arenas but would allow them to carry a concealed weapon instead.

“This legislation upholds the Constitution, protects the rights of CPL holders and reduces potential disruptions in pistol-free zones,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Since these zones were established almost 20 years ago, the courts have ruled that CPL holders can legally open-carry weapons but not carry concealed weapons.

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pointed out how disruptive it could be to students and staff if people began exercising their open-carry rights in our schools during instruction time. These bills close the loophole in the law.”

The legislation would still allow schools to prohibit students from carrying concealed guns on school property and to establish their own gun policies regarding school employees.

Shirkey noted cases in which CPL holders have legally walked into schools openly carrying a holstered pistol, after which the schools went into lockdown. SB 584-586 would avoid that unsettling situation by allowing CPL holders to carry a concealed weapon in pistol-free zones with additional training.

Under the bills, CPL holders would be required to complete an additional eight hours of CPL training that would include:

• Classroom and range time;

• A focus on the application of CPL principles to public places;

• The firing of an additional 94 rounds; and

• Completion of the training within the last five years.

In addition, the training instructor must be certified by a state or national firearms training organization.

A CPL holder could forego the training if he or she is certified as a firearms instructor by a state or national firearms training organization.

“These bills strike a balance between honoring the rights of people to defend themselves and helping ensure learning environments are secure and the school day is not interrupted by the sight of a firearm,” Shirkey said.

SBs 584–586 now head to the Michigan House for further consideration.

Shirkey to honor local WWII veteran

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Mike Shirkey announced on Tuesday that he will honor a military veteran during his regular Jackson TV interview this Friday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m.

Shirkey and Bart Hawley, host of the Bart Hawley Show, will talk with World War II veteran and retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Homer Jackson during the show.

“In recognition of Veterans Day this weekend, we wanted to pay tribute to a local veteran,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Homer Jackson’s military service is emblematic of all those who answered the call to serve their country so we could live in the land of the free. It will be an honor to speak with Homer.”

Jackson enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Air Force) in 1942 and saw action beginning in 1943. He flew B-22 and B-29 bombers, and a plane he was flying once came within feet of crashing into Mount Fuji on a dark night.

On another occasion, when their planes were flying at over 400 miles per hour, a kamikaze attacked Jackson’s B-29. The Japanese fighter missed Jackson’s plane but hit another American bomber next to it, killing the entire crew.

After the war, Jackson served in the military reserves until 1983.

“Homer Jackson’s military career was particularly dramatic and heroic,” Shirkey said. “I am grateful to Homer and to the hundreds of thousands of other military veterans in Michigan for sacrificing their own comfort for the sake of their neighbors and their nation. May we all remember to thank a veteran this Saturday on Veterans Day.”

Shirkey is on the Bart Hawley Show every month. During the interviews, Shirkey discusses current events in the state Legislature.

To see Shirkey on this Friday’s show, tune in at 1 p.m. to Comcast channel 90 or AT&T U-verse channel 5380.

Governor signs Shirkey bill aiding local hospital’s transition

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Shirkey that will ease a Coldwater hospital’s upcoming merger.

Senate Bill 450, now Public Act 148 of 2017, will enable the Community Health Center (CHC) of Branch County to become a nonprofit entity and make the transition to ProMedica Health Systems more seamless.

“Bureaucracy had threatened to make a mess of what should be a smooth transition,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Now the CHC is free to merge with ProMedica and continue to provide its patients with quality care.”

Shirkey said that if nothing had been done, the CHC would have become a new entity under the transaction. This would have required the hospital once again to take the many steps necessary to continue operation, such as re-acquiring all of their licenses, filing a new certificate of need with the state, and enrolling with Medicare and Medicaid and other insurers as a new provider.

Shirkey: Trunk or Treat activities abound!

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announced Thursday that several communities in Branch, Hillsdale and Jackson counties are providing alternatives to trick-or-treating.

“Numerous churches, libraries and other organizations are once again offering ‘Trunk or Treat’ as a fun activity for kids the next two weeks,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “We want to thank everyone who is helping organize these events for families!”

Note: The above graphic of Trunk or Treat times and locations is available by clicking on the image or by selecting Publications under the Resources for You tab, above.

Shirkey honors Eagle Scout at Branch County Shelter House

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, honored Eagle Scout Bryce Taber Wednesday at the Branch County Shelter House playground open house.

Bryce built four benches and a shed and donated money toward the playground. The Branch County Shelter House is a women’s care center in Coldwater.

Great servant leadership, Bryce!

Note: The above photo is available by clicking on the image or by selecting Photowire at right.

Committee OKs Shirkey bills to help communities like Coldwater set bonding limit

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved Sen. Mike Shirkey’s legislation to address the impact of personal property tax (PPT) reimbursements to local communities.

“The personal property tax was penalizing investment and putting us at a disadvantage in the competition for new jobs, and phasing it out was an important step in improving our economy,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “This legislation is in response to a local concern brought to my attention about the phaseout. The bills would maintain a community’s current ability to bond for necessary improvements as the PPT reforms take effect.”

In 2012, the Legislature passed PPT reforms that phased out the tax for eligible manufacturing personal property. Local units of government are required to be fully reimbursed by the Local Community Stabilization Authority (LCSA) for lost revenue. The voters approved the reforms in August 2014.

The amount of debt that a community can have is limited to 10 percent of its assessed value of real and personal property.

“An unintended consequence of the PPT reform is that it reduces a community’s assessed property value, and therefore, the amount that the community can bond for to make critical investments,” Shirkey said. “This legislation does not increase a local government’s debt limit. It simply maintains the ability to bond at current levels.”

Senate Bills 590-593 would retain the debt capacity that each local unit of government had prior to the time the PPT phaseout began. The only difference now is that the funds are coming from the LCSA instead of through a PPT assessment.

The bills have been sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Shirkey resolution honors Michigan manufacturers

‘We applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of our manufacturers and their role in making Michigan the Comeback State!’

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Mike Shirkey honoring the long-standing contributions made by Michigan’s manufacturing community.

“It is appropriate for many reasons to celebrate Michigan manufacturing this week,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Not only is Michigan solidly leading the nation in creation of manufacturing jobs, but manufacturing is rewarding work that provides the richest training ground for success in nearly any career field one may choose to follow.

“To encourage those who are contemplating their first or next career decision and to honor the giants who have built our manufacturing foundation, Senate Resolution 101 recognizes manufacturers and their important work.”

Oct. 1 – 7 is Michigan Manufacturing Week. The week celebrates the state’s diverse manufacturing sector, which includes the fields of transportation, machinery, alternative energy, food and beverage, computer and electrical products, furniture, bioscience, defense, and many others.

Shirkey noted that one out of every seven nonfarm jobs in Michigan is in manufacturing, which employs 608,500 men and women.

Michigan has created more than 156,500 new manufacturing jobs in the last eight years — an increase of more than 34 percent — remaining the national leader in manufacturing job creation and outpacing all other states.

“To those who are continuing to add to Michigan’s incredibly rich manufacturing heritage, we proudly introduce this resolution recognizing them and their work,” Shirkey said.