Hildenbrand to chair Senate Appropriations Committee

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader-elect Arlan Meekhof announced Wednesday that Sen. Dave Hildenbrand is his pick to serve as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for the legislative session that will begin Jan. 1, 2015.

“I’m very proud that my first committee chair announcement is the appointment of Senator Dave Hildenbrand to lead the Appropriations Committee,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “Dave has the experience, leadership and common sense we need to build on the great work of current Chairman Kahn, and to work closely with the governor and the House to balance the budget, control spending and protect Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers.”

Hildenbrand was recently elected to a second term as state senator for the 29th District. For the term beginning on Jan. 1, the district includes the cities of East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids and Lowell and the townships of Ada, Bowne, Caledonia, Cascade, Grand Rapids and Lowell.

“I would like to thank Senator Meekhof for giving me this tremendous opportunity to serve our state,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “For the past four years we have been focused on building a stronger Michigan, and an important part of this rebuilding was improving our state budget process. I want to build on the progress we have made and work tirelessly to provide great government service at the lowest cost possible.”

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Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation Elects New Board Officers: Senator Hildenbrand Joins MAAF Board of Trustees

LANSING, MI – The Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation (MAAF) elected their 2014-2015 Board of Trustees and Officers during its annual business meeting, September 23. The newly elected officers include: 
 
  • President, Ellyn Davidson, Managing Partner, Brogan and Partners Communications (Birmingham)
  • Vice President, Rhonda Huffman, MAAO III, PPE, Real Estate Manager, Adams Outdoor Advertising (Lansing)
  • Secretary, Mary Worland, Development Coordinator for the Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation (Lansing)
  • Treasurer, Tom Hahn, Finance Manager for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (Lansing)
  • Immediate Past President Michael Gottlieb, Vice President, Signal Installs (Novi)
Members elected for their first full-term include:
 
  • Senator Dave Hildenbrand (R-29), Michigan Senate
  • Dennis Martin, Midwest Communications, Inc.
Senator Hildenbrand was the author of a set of bills that were signed into law by the Governor, to include the Michigan AMBER Alert Program on the charitable tax check-off form for Michigan state taxes.  This inclusion has helped to raise nearly $35,000 for Michigan AMBER Alert, as well as statewide awareness of the program and its mission.
 
"Michigan AMBER Alert is our state's primary tool for bringing awareness when there is an abducted or endangered child in Michigan," said Senator Hildenbrand.  "No parent wants to be in that position, but with the AMBER Alert program, countless children have been found and reunited with their families.  I look forward to serving this great organization as a member of their board of trustees."
 
The MAAF congratulates and welcomes all the members to their newly elected positions and looks forward to working with the board to bring the best service to the MAAF, the Michigan AMBER Alert Program and its partners.  For more information about the MAAF and its board members please visit the website at www.miamberfoundation.org. 
 
The Michigan AMBER Alert Foundation was formed to raise and manage funds for the improvement of the Michigan AMBER Alert Program; to act as a community liaison between law enforcement and the media; to facilitate the speedy recovery of abducted children; and to perform ancillary and related services and any other improvements possible to the Michigan AMBER Alert Program.
 

Lawmakers collect brown paper bags and donations to help end childhood hunger

LANSING—State Sens. Dave Hildenbrand and Goeff Hansen have teamed up to help an organization aimed at ending childhood hunger.

The lawmakers from West Michigan are helping Kids’ Food Basket reach their goal of collecting 50,400 decorated brown paper bags by Sept. 17.

“Kids’ Food Basket is devoted to helping young people learn and live well through ending childhood hunger,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “It is difficult to think of a worthier goal than this one. I am delighted to help them in whatever way I can.”

Hansen and Hildenbrand have provided brown paper bags and crayons to each House and Senate office. The bags will later become “Sack Suppers” filled with meals for children, and the lawmakers are asking their colleagues to help give every Sack Supper a “touch of love” by decorating the paper bags.

“I have helped pack Sack Suppers in Muskegon and I know the positive impact they have on communities,” Hansen said. “When paired with other meals at school, Sack Suppers help round out the daily nutritional requirements for children.”

The pager bags the lawmakers distributed will be collected from House and Senate offices on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

“Kids’ Food Basket provides a vital service to our community’s children,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “Without this program, a large number of children would not have a stable, healthy source for meals outside of school. Groups like this are just another example of how the Grand Rapids community excels at coming together to help those in need.”

Residents interested in more information on Kids’ Food Basket, including how to help with Sack Suppers, may contact Melissa Yutzey at 517-371-1400.

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Editor’s note: To view a print-quality version of the above photo, and others, you may visit www.SenatorDaveHildenbrand.com and click the Photowire link.

Hildenbrand resolution declares September ‘Childhood Cancer Awareness Month’

LANSING— Debilitating and unpredictable, childhood cancer claims the lives of dozens of children each year. Unlike many types of cancer acquired in adulthood, childhood cancer is most often unrelated to lifestyle and brings with it fewer safe treatment options.

State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, has been working to generate awareness for additional funding and research in childhood cancer.

“Regardless of economic standing, race, or gender, cancer can affect anyone,” Hildenbrand said. “Our children and their families should not be faced with the burden of fighting chronic illness without at least the reassurance of reliable and safe treatment options.”

In the last 25 years, only two drugs have been specifically developed for pediatric cancers. In the last 20 years, the FDA has initially approved only one drug for childhood cancer.

Funding for research and treatment is severely lacking, with less than five percent of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research dedicated to childhood cancers. Despite rising pediatric cancer rates in the past few decades, funding for research has decreased steadily since 2003.

On Sept. 11, 2014, the Michigan Senate adopted Hildenbrand’s Senate Resolution 176, declaring September 2014 “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.”

“Although there is still much work to be done, this resolution aims to shed light on childhood cancer in hopes of providing safer treatment options,” Hildenbrand said. “I remain committed to the health and well-being of Michigan’s children and hope that future medical advancements include contributions to pediatric cancer.”

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Hildenbrand announces $2 million for critical local road projects

For Immediate Release         
July 3, 2014        

Contact: Fred Schaible
(517) 373-1801

LANSING—Two critical road projects in the city of Grand Rapids are now green-lighted thanks to an appropriation of more than $2 million of state general fund revenue.

State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, worked closely with city officials and the Michigan Department of Transportation to ensure Grand Rapids received its fair share of critical road dollars.

“Everyone agrees that we need to invest more into fixing our transportation infrastructure,” said Hildenbrand. “This appropriation of over $2 million in general fund revenue will help complete two long-overdue significant road projects. Once completed, these improvements will enhance the condition of the roadway for daily commuters and ensure that Grand Rapids is able to accommodate the increased use and demand of these roads.”

The two projects that will be completed with this state general fund revenue are:
• Michigan Street from Barclay to Lafayette and Eastern Avenue to Fuller ($998,850)
• Bridge Street from Lake Michigan Drive to Mt. Mercy Drive and Valley to Summer ($1,125,000)

This money will be used during the current construction season. With the fast-track schedule, motorists should be able to see the results of this investment before the end of the year.

“We have made fixing our roads a priority in Lansing. In addition to these two projects, almost $1 billion of additional funding has been approved by the Legislature and governor to improve our state's infrastructure over the next two years.” Hildenbrand said. “I remain committed to working with my colleagues to continue to invest more in our roads and improve the quality of our infrastructure here in Michigan.”

 

Hildenbrand legislation authorizes income tax refund checks for homeowners

Lansing, MI— State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand announced today his plan to introduce legislation to expand the existing Homestead Property Tax Credit to include more Michigan homeowners.  The proposal would be retroactive to the 2013 tax year and would authorize refund checks to qualifying home owners this year.

“As Michigan’s economy continues to improve, we have seen surpluses in state tax collections,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. "As we begin the state budget process, I will push for continued investment in our priorities: education, roads, seniors, veterans and public safety.  I will also push for returning some of the surplus back to our hard-working taxpayers.”

Under current law, the Homestead Property Tax Credit is an income tax credit for homeowners with household resources below $50,000. Hildenbrand proposes to increase this threshold to $70,000.  Depending on revenue estimates, this threshold amount may change based on final budget agreements between the House, Senate and governor’s office. 

“The surplus is best spent by individual taxpayers on their own personal priorities,” Hildenbrand said.  “I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature as we continue to discuss tax relief as part of the overall budget process.”

Hildenbrand will formally introduce this legislation on Tuesday in the Michigan Senate.

 

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**PHOTO ADVISORY**

For Immediate Release                                                           
Jan. 17, 2014         

Contact: Derek Sova
517-373-0793
 

LANSING, Mich.— Sens. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Grand Rapids (left), and Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, welcomed Kentwood Mayor Stephen Kepley (right) to the Michigan Capitol for Governor Snyder’s State of the State address Thursday.

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

 

Hildenbrand legislation helping disabled veterans now law

LANSING—Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand that simplifies and expands the current homestead property tax exemption for disabled military veterans.

Hildenbrand was first alerted to the need to revise the existing law when he was contacted by the widow of a disabled veteran who had been denied this property tax exemption. Due to the interpretation of the existing state law by both the local unit of government and the Michigan Tax Tribunal it was clear that changes were needed.

More information on this exemption can be found by visiting www.mi.gov/propertytaxand then clicking on the veterans and military personnel tab.

 

Hildenbrand AMBER Alert fundraising legislation bound for governor’s desk

Legislation that would provide a vital fundraising tool for the Michigan AMBER Alert Program is headed to Gov. Snyder for his consideration, said sponsor state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell.

Senate Bills 341 and 342 create a voluntary check-off box on state income tax returns that would allow taxpayers to donate funds to the Michigan AMBER Alert Program. These funds would then be deposited in the AMBER Alert Fund which is created under the measure.  Once collected, funds would be used to support the important services provided by this program.

The Michigan AMBER Alert Program is a partnership between the Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Once notified by the state Police, broadcasters relay notices over television and radio frequencies to aid in the recovery of missing or endangered children.

“This income tax check-off and the generosity of Michigan taxpayers will provide vital funds for this worthy program,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “The check-off is completely voluntary, and will give taxpayers a hassle free way to donate.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Michigan AMBER Alert Program has proven to be an effective tool in the recovery of more than 300 children. Although created by a legislative mandate, the program currently does not receive any state aid to defray the costs associated with running it.

Program costs vary each year for the program depending on the number of alerts issued. However, on average the program requires roughly $60,000 a year to function in its current form. This amount does not include donated air-time of broadcasters, the administrative costs of law enforcement or time donated by staff.

“It is imperative that funding for this program be maintained. As we all know, technology is a constantly changing field and we must ensure that personnel are properly trained,” Hildenbrand said. “By allowing taxpayers the opportunity to donate to the Michigan AMBER Alert Program, they can be a part of ensuring the necessary funds are in place to assist in the safe return of missing and endangered children throughout Michigan.”

More information on the Michigan AMBER Alert program can be found at: http://www.amberalertmichigan.org/.

Hildenbrand tax relief legislation for disabled veterans passes Senate

Legislation designed to ease the costs of homeownership for Michigan’s disabled veterans and their spouses was approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, said bill sponsor state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand.

Senate Bill 352 would simplify and broaden the current property tax exemption provided to our honored disabled veterans and their spouses.

“Today the Michigan Senate acted to recognize the significant needs facing our disabled veterans,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “By passing this legislation we are one step closer to providing the tax relief necessary for these veterans to be successful homeowners. This legislation improves the currentproperty tax exemption by streamlining the process and guaranteeing this benefit to those veterans that qualify.”

Hildenbrand was first alerted to the need to revise the existing law when he was contacted by the widow of a disabled veteran who had been denied this property tax exemption. Due to the interpretation of the existing state law by both the local unit of government and the Michigan Tax Tribunal it was clear that changes were needed.

“There are roughly 82,000 disabled veterans living in Michigan,” Hildenbrand said. “We must ensure that our veterans are treated with open arms once they return home to Michigan. Many times the disability they received in battle makes gainful employment difficult – if not impossible. This exemption recognizes that fact and provides critical financial assistance that can be used to make homeownership a reality.”