by The Bay City Times
Tuesday March 31, 2009, 3:56 PM
A plan to protect consumers from winter utility shutoffs passed its first test in the state House on Tuesday.
State Rep. Jeff Mayes, D-Bay City, and Sen. Jim Barcia, D-Bay City, announced the House approved a package of bills that will protect Michigan residents by reforming the way Michigan utilities handle shutoffs. The plan now moves to the Senate.
"This comprehensive plan will ensure that Michigan residents are not left out in the cold," said Mayes, chairman of the House Energy and Technology Committee. "We've seen too many tragedies already. I will not stand idly by while our residents are forced to suffer through another winter at risk of having their utilities shut off without proper notification."
The plan bans winter utility shutoffs for seniors and low-income individuals who have sought assistance paying their bills, and bans the use of electric limiters for senior citizens and those with a known medical emergency.
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State Representative Jeff Mayes is conducting a mailing on Saturday, March 21st at 12:00p.m. Volunteers are needed to help out. If you are interested, please stop by the IBEW hall around 12:00p.m. Food will be provided!
Senator Debbie Stabenow will be at Brewtopia from 3:30 - 4:00 this Sunday,
March 22nd for an informal coffee hour with her constituents. Please stop
by and meet the Senator!
Brewtopia (formerly the Harvest) is located at 810 Saginaw Street in
downtown Bay City.
In case you missed it, yesterday Governor Granholm moderated the first White House regional forum on health reform in Dearborn with Gov. Doyle of Wisconsin and Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. As President Obama said in his video message yesterday, "the crushing cost of healthcare is battering our businesses and squeezing our states." As a result of the uneven international healthcare playing field, cars and other goods can be produced at less cost in Canada than the United States making our companies less competitive while our citizens still don't have access to the care they need or deserve. President Obama is committed to reforming health care this year, and has opened up the process to the public, in town meetings and over the Internet, at healthreform.gov.
To learn more about the current state of health care in America and reforms that could make our businesses more competitive, click here to watch Governor Granholm yesterday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" discussing why health care needs an 'American' solution. At yesterday's forum, the Governor helped solicit questions and input on health reform from the audience, and the White House is collecting the feedback and will present it to the President. Submit your idea to healthreform.gov, or to @govgranholm on Twitter!
Stay tuned to jennifergranholm.com to learn more about how Governor Granholm is moving Michigan forward!
Granholm Leadership Fund
"Today, Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives passed "Hire Michigan First," an aggressive job-creation plan that makes sure our tax dollars create jobs for our workers – not people from other states or even other countries.The plan now goes to the Senate. We call on leaders there to step up and how that they, too, support Michigan's working families."
The "Hire Michigan First" plan will:
- Award state tax breaks and other economic development tools to companies that hire the most Michigan residents. This rule would apply to projects handled by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and certain state-funded programs, including the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the Renaissance Zone Act and several others.
- Encourage transparency and accountability by requiring companies that take economic development incentives to report on who they hire to ensure that Michigan residents are put first.
- Crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers by canceling their state contracts and tax incentives, requiring them to pay back incentives they received and barring them from future contracts.
Visit this website to learn more or sign up in support to put Michigan's workers first! http://www.hiremichfirst.com/
39 years ago today, many of our heroes stood on the Edmund Pettis bridge in Selma, Alabama. They stood boldly in the face of Alabama State Troopers to protect the right to vote for all American citizens.
The commitment and bravery of those citizens inspired me to dedicate my career to working to eliminate barriers to voting and preserve the integrity of our elections. That’s why I’m announcing today that I am forming a committee to explore a run for Michigan Secretary of State in 2010.
I believe that with the right leadership, Michigan can become the national leader for ethical government and excellence in election administration. We need to put aside partisanship and implement common sense reforms that will help us promote fair elections. And with your help, we can build a campaign focused on doing just that.
Please visit our website, www.VoteBenson.com and get involved. Make a contribution. Volunteer to host a house party. Share an idea on how we can improve elections in Michigan. We need your ideas, your energy, and your shared commitment to fighting for change.
The official press release is posted below.
| Benson Press Release.pdf|
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By Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council
People often ask me these days what it is like to advocate for
environmental protections under the Obama administration. My answer is
simple: it is a tremendous relief. It has only been five weeks since
President Obama took office, but already the landscape has changed
Back in the long dark days of the Bush administration, NRDC kept what we
called the Bush Record. It was a compendium of the many Bush policies that
undermined or completely eradicated our nation's environmental safeguards.
We posted it online because it had to be updated so often.
Thankfully those days are over. The decisions coming out of Washington now
are actually strengthening America's protections for the air, water, and
atmosphere that we rely on.
Of course, there will be challenges ahead. Government agencies will make
decisions NRDC doesn't agree with, and Congress will still require
vigilant watchdogs. But the Obama administration has already taken several
bold and affirmative steps to protect public health and the environment,
and I think they deserve to be trumpeted. Here is the beginning of what I
hope will be a very long list:
* January 26, 2009: President Obama directs the EPA to reconsider the
agency's decision to deny California's strong limits on global warming
pollution from cars, and he calls on the Department of Transportation to
raise national fuel efficiency standards.
* February 4, 2009: More than 100,000 acres of Utah wilderness win
protection from oil and gas drilling after the Department of Interior
announced that it will cancel 77 leases issued under the Bush
* February 5, 2009: President Obama signs a presidential memorandum
requesting that the Department of Energy set new efficiency standards for
common household appliances. This will save in 30 years the amount of
energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America over a
* February 6, 2009: The EPA announces it will reconsider its decision to
deny California permission to set standards controlling greenhouse gases
from motor vehicles.
* February 6, 2009: On instruction from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson,
the Solicitor General asks the Supreme Court to drop the Bush
administration's desperate appeal to resurrect EPA's illegal and harmful
power plant mercury rule.
* February 10, 2009: Department of Interior Secretary Salazar announces
that he is going to make a thorough review of the five-year Outer
Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing program that was announced in the
final days of the Bush administration.
* February 10, 2009: Administrator Jackson grants a petition by NRDC to
reconsider and "stay" for three months a harmful midnight air pollution
rule adopted by the Bush administration in mid-January 2009 that would
allow dirty industries to release more pollution.
* February 13, 2009: Congress came to an agreement on an economic stimulus
package that includes bold investments for renewable power and energy
efficiency, including weatherization programs that will save consumers
billions while creating up to 90,000 jobs. Repairing our nation's outdated
and corroded water and waste systems will also create more than 200,000
jobs and improve the safety of our beaches, streams, and drinking water.
* February 17, 2009: EPA Administrator Jackson grants a petition by NRDC,
Sierra Club and EDF to reconsider a disputed memo signed by Administrator
Johnson in December 2008 that refused to regulate carbon dioxide from new
coal-fired power plants. She announced that EPA would convene a public
process to review this memo, in what was widely seen as the first step to
reversing the Bush policy.
* February 20, 2009: The Obama administration puts its support behind an
international, legally binding treaty to reduce global mercury pollution.
This position--a dramatic change for the stonewalling of the Bush
years--influences policy reversals from other nations including China and
India. Now more than 140 countries commit to regulating this dangerous
* February 24, 2009: In his first State of the Union address, Obama calls
on Congress to pass legislation to cap global warming pollution and drive
expansion of renewable energy. He also pledges $15 billion a year to
invest in solar, wind, biofuels, and more efficient vehicles, and to put
American to work making our homes and buildings more energy efficient.
* February 25, 2009: Thousands of acres in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado
will be protected from harmful oil shale research and development after
Department of Interior Secretary Salazar announces that he will reverse
course on the Bush administration's leasing program.
* February 26, 2009: The Obama administration releases a federal budget
that is the first in history to make critical investments in our clean
energy future and tackle global warming head on. It includes revenue from
a cap and invest program to limit global warming pollution, which is
forecast to generate $150 billion over 10 years starting in 2012.
This is an impressive list, but it is only the beginning. President Obama
initial decisions show that he meant what he said on the campaign trail.
He has a bold, ambitious vision to move American to a new clean energy
future, and he has a powerful sense that the safeguards protecting our
health and environment must be strengthened. But most important, he has
the conviction to put those beliefs into action.
For more information visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-beinecke/off-to-a-green-start-a-ro_b_171108.htm
We are currently looking for photos from any past Bay County Democratic Party Event. This might include pictures taken during the 2008 election, membership dinner, or even photos from the Michigan convention. We'd be delighted to give you credit and, if desired, add a link to your web site.
If you are interested in adding some of your own photos, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.