West MI lawmakers call for balanced federal budget

LANSING — Measures calling on Congress to submit for ratification an amendment of the U.S. Constitution to require the federal government to operate with a balanced budget were approved Tuesday by a Senate panel.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 26, Senate Resolution 115 and House Concurrent Resolution 6 were approved by the Michigan Senate Government Operations Committee.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, and Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, welcomed U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, to Lansing to testify in support of the measures.

“Michigan operates on a balanced budget, while the federal government isn’t required to,” said Meekhof, a member of the Senate panel. “Not having to balance the budget is how we end up with a national debt of $14 trillion and an annual budget deficit of $1.3 trillion. Spending more than we bring in is not sustainable and we must try to change the culture in Washington.”

Huizenga, a member of the Balanced Budget Caucus, spoke to members of the committee about the dangers of the country continuing to operate without a balanced budget.

SCR 26 (sponsored by Hansen), SR 115, and HCR 6, urge Congress to adopt and submit to the states for ratification an amendment to the Constitution to require a balanced federal budget.

“When I made investments in the grocery store I owned, I could only spend up to the amount of revenue my store generated – not a penny more. Just like our families and job providers, our federal government should also live within its means,” Hansen said. “I look forward to seeing my resolution approved by the Senate. I strongly encourage Congress to act and bring the federal budget and national debt under control.”

SCR 26, SR 115 and HCR 6 now go to the full Senate for further consideration.



Sen. Meekhof named ABC’s ‘Legislator of the Year’


LANSING — Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof recently received the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Michigan “Legislator of the Year” award.

“Being selected as the Associated Builders and Contractors’ 2012 Legislator of the Year is a distinct honor,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “I am humbled to be recognized with this award for simply doing the job I was elected to do.”

The lawmaker was presented with the award at the organization’s Legislative Conference on Feb. 15 in Lansing.

According to ABC, Meekhof was chosen as legislator of the year for supporting the end to discriminatory project labor agreements and his efforts to reform the state’s tax system.

ABC of Michigan is a statewide trade association dedicated to providing Michigan with high-quality, affordable, safe and on-time construction.


Measures create ‘Environmental Leader’ program

LANSING — A four-bill package designed to reduce regulations and provide incentives for businesses that volunteer to become certified “environmental leaders” was introduced in the Michigan Senate Thursday, said key sponsor Sen. Arlan Meekhof.

Senate Bills 939-942 would create the “Environmental Leaders” program within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The measures are aimed to reduce cumbersome regulations on job providers that choose to go above and beyond current state environmental requirements.

“The job providers I know want to protect the environment and our natural resources,” said Meekhof, Senate Majority Floor Leader. “The Environmental Leaders program can play a key role by incentivizing them to take the next step.”

Becoming an environmental leader would be voluntary and would require significant time and investment, including operating in accordance with an approved environmental management standard and creating a pollution prevention program.

Environmental leaders would be rewarded with incentives such as:

·         Less frequent inspections;

·         Increased notification of inspections;

·         Extended length of permits;

·         Preference for state contract bidding; and

·         Protection against civil fines.

“The goal of this legislation is to reward those businesses who choose to be more environmentally responsible,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “It also prioritizes state resources by reducing the number of inspections on companies that are doing the right thing on their own.”

Senate Bills 939-942 were referred to the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee for consideration.


Sen. Meekhof welcomes Grand Haven Eagle Scout


Sen. Meekhof welcomes Grand Haven Eagle Scout

LANSING — Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, welcomed Eagle Scout Kyle Snodgrass of Grand Haven’s Troop 246 to the state Capitol. Snodgrass joined other scouts from the Gerald R. Ford Council to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of Boy Scouting and 100 years of the Eagle Scout program.

Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Meekhof photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorArlanMeekhof.com and click the Photowire link.