Before the temperatures really start to drop, I want to remind you about Michigans Home Heating Credit.

While it may not officially be fall yet, many folks are already turning on furnaces to keep their homes warm overnight. Before the temperatures really start to drop, I want to remind you about Michigan’s Home Heating Credit.

Federally funded through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Home Heating Credit is designed to help low-income Michigan families with the cost of heating their homes.

Residents who qualify for vital assistance only have until Friday, Sept. 30 to apply.

According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, eligible individuals must maintain their homestead in Michigan, must own or rent the home in which they live, and for the standard allowance, their income must fall with certain limits.

For example, a single person must have an annual income of $11,929 or less to qualify. The income limit increases $4,114 for each additional exemption. Special exemptions are available for individuals who are deaf, blind, disabled or over the age of 65.

For the application form, visit the Michigan Department of Treasury website at: www.michigan.gov/taxes, or call (517) 636-4486.

Additional information is available at the Energy Assistance Programs website at: http://www.michigan.gov/heatingassistance.

No one should go cold. If your finances are tight this year and you qualify for this vital assistance, I strongly encourage you to apply before the Sept. 30 deadline.

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.
 

To get Michigan back on the path to economic prosperity, we need to do more with every taxpayer dollar.

To get Michigan back on the path to economic prosperity, we need to do more with every taxpayer dollar. That’s why the Michigan Senate recently approved a comprehensive welfare reform package that limits the length of time benefits can be collected throughout a recipient’s life.

It is projected that these vital reforms will save Michigan taxpayers more than $65 million in the next fiscal year alone. Additionally, these measures will help ensure that welfare is safety net for people who really need it, not those who would bilk the system to avoid working.

House Bills 4409 and 4410 will reduce the welfare caseload by 12,600 cases statewide. Among other changes, the bills will:

  • Permanently cap lifetime benefits at 48 months;
  • Increase the amount a beneficiary is allowed to earn in a job and still qualify for assistance;
  • Prohibit assistance from being used for lottery tickets, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and illegal activities;
  • Require the state to verify an applicant’s immigration status for non-U.S. citizens; and
  • Exempt cases that are child-only or for adults older than 65.

The bills were approved earlier by the House of Representatives with a bipartisan majority. I hope that the governor signs these proposals into law quickly.

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.

 

It’s hard to believe the end of August is nearly here. Before we know it, our children will be back in school.

It’s hard to believe the end of August is nearly here. Before we know it, our children will be back in school.

As you prepare them for the school year by buying new clothes and stocking up on school supplies, I want to update you on legislation we’re working on in Lansing to help ensure our children receive a quality education and get to and from school safely.

The Legislature approved new laws to sharpen the focus on safety by increasing penalties and treating moving violations in school bus zones like violations in road construction zones. A school bus zone covers the area lying within 20 feet of a stopped school bus that is flashing its lights.

Signed into law this summer, Public Acts 59 and 60 of 2011 make it a one-year misdemeanor for injuring and a 15-year felony for killing a child getting on or off a school bus.

I hope that these new laws help Michigan motorists take bus stop lights more seriously.

With limited funding, we have to make every dollar work harder. Along with my Senate colleagues, we are proposing common sense reforms to keep more money in the classroom. Here are some of the measures we are proposing.

  • Senate Bill 7 limits school districts to paying no more than 80 percent of employee health care costs;
  • SB 400 requires school districts to provide the insurance claims data necessary to “shop around” for the best deal in health care; and
  • SBs 426 and 427 require school elections to be held in November of even-numbered years, saving schools and taxpayers millions of dollars, and encouraging a greater turnout of concerned parents and taxpayers.

You can count on me to continue fighting to ensure our children are protected and prepared for their futures.

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.

Sen. Hune awarded MUCCs 2011 Youth Conservationist of the Year

 

LANSING — The Michigan United Conservation Clubs recently honored Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township, as its “2011 Youth Conservationist of the Year.”

“Receiving this award from MUCC is a real honor,” Hune said. “It’s always a pleasure to be recognized for job well done. I care deeply about conserving Michigan’s beauty for all to enjoy.”

Hune was selected for his work on a two-bill package known as the “Hunter Heritage Bills,” which includes Senate Bill 207 (Public Act 109 of 2011) and House Bill 4371 (Public Act 120 of 2011) introduced by Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle.

The Hunter Heritage Bills allow minors under the age of 10 to hunt and mandate the Natural Resources Commission to establish a new mentored youth hunting program.

Before these measures were signed into law, Michigan had some of the most stringent regulations on youth hunting in the nation. These rules discouraged young people from enjoying one of Michigan’s great outdoor traditions.

Under the new state laws, minor hunters under the age of 10 can obtain a mentored youth hunting license (which includes a small-game hunting license, a combination deer hunting license, an all-species fishing license, a spring and fall turkey hunting license and a resident fur harvester’s license) for $7.50.

MUCC is the largest statewide conservation organization in the country and home to Michigan Out of Doors Magazine. Founded in 1937, the organization’s goal is to provide Michigan’s outdoors community with a place to gather and take a unified stance on conservation issues.
 

One of the best things about summer is all the fruit you can enjoy at the peak of freshness. A highlight I look forward to every summer is attending the Howell Melon Festival.

One of the best things about summer is all the fruit you can enjoy at the peak of freshness. A highlight I look forward to every summer is attending the Howell Melon Festival.

This year, the festival takes place Aug. 19 through 21, with a kickoff ceremony the evening of Thursday, Aug. 18.

The family-friendly event will feature concerts, carnival rides and games, historic steam locomotive rides, the 34th Annual Melon Run, boat cruises, sidewalk sales, trolley tours and of course, plenty of delicious Howell melon!

Celebrating its 51st year, the melon festival was first held in 1960 and was started by the Howell Jaycees. Nowadays, the annual tradition is carried on by the Howell Downtown Development Authority and brought to you in partnership with the city of Howell, Howell Parks and Recreation Authority, Livingston Arts Council, Howell Rotary Club, Howell Area Historical Society, Howell Kiwanis Club, Howell Area Chamber of Commerce, Humane Society of Livingston County and is sponsored by numerous local businesses.

For more information on the Howell Melon Festival, visit: www.howellmelonfestival.com.

Whether you come out for the fun-filled events or to get your fill of delicious Howell melon, I hope to see you at the Howell Melon Festival!

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.
 

Michigan’s Credit Rating

I’m happy to report some good news for Michigan and its residents. Fitch Ratings recently revised the state’s credit rating for all bonds to positive from stable and our General Obligation Rating was improved to “AA-.”

This improvement is a result of all the hard work the Legislature accomplished so far this year. While we have had to make many difficult decisions, those choices are now paying off and we finally have Michigan headed in the right direction.

Having our credit rating upgraded is a direct reflection of how the state’s financial position has improved in the past seven months. This fantastic news benefits Michigan and its residents across the state.

While we have made tremendous progress in getting Michigan back on the path of fiscal responsibility, restoring Michigan’s AAA credit rating status is a long-term goal, not a sprint to the finish line. We cannot lose sight of the work ahead of us.

To reach our objective we must continue our efforts to put Michigan back to work, help the state’s economy recover and budget responsibly.

I am committed to staying the course and doing whatever is necessary to get our fiscal house in order. I look forward to updating you as our economic recovery continues.

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Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.