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ADMINISTRATIVE RULES & REGULATIONS:
QUESTION: The Michigan Legislature passes legislation that the Governor signs. As part of the legislation the executive department agencies are given the responsibility of "developing the rules" that are associated with that legislation. This process places the decision making process in the hands of unelected bureaucrats.
What do you feel can be done to change the rule making process to assure a less draconian rule making process on the part of the executive branch and the various departmental agencies?
QUESTION: Earlier this year the DNR issued an Invasive Species Order that classified feral hogs as an invasive species. Their order defining what a "feral swine" was so broadly written, that it included the livestock of many Michigan farmers who raise old-world "heritage" breed pigs within fully-fenced farms. The farmers must now slaughter their livestock, without reimbursement, or risk a felony conviction. Sixteen state legislators have requested that Governor Snyder amend the DNR's Invasive Species Order to not include swine raised under the husbandry of humans and inside a fence. Senator Booher testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee that "The actions taken by the DNR are a perfect example of government and bureaucrats moving . . .with total disregard for the law, private property rights and the Constitution."
What is your opinion regarding the DNR's decision, what recourse do the farmers have in regard to the decision, and what can be done to assure that the DNR adequately addresses issues such as this in the future?
QUESTION (professional qualifications): Each of you offers a different set of professional qualifications, education, and experience.
Why will your specific attributes better qualify you for the job as our next state representative?
QUESTION (time in the district): Many people believe that it is important that our next state representative be someone that knows and understands the dynamics of the district. Looking at each of your resumes there is a big disparity between the time you have lived in the district and your experiential backgrounds.
How do you feel that your time in the district and your experience would adequately qualify you to represent the people of the 93rd house district?
QUESTION: There is a petition drive to amend the constitution to allow for seven new casinos in Michigan including one in DeWitt Township at Clark Corners.
Are you in favor of amending the Michigan Constitution to approve this amendment and/or for allowing additional casinos in Michigan and if so why?
CLINTON COUNTY JUDGESHIP:
QUESTION: The Michigan Legislature approved the elimination of Clinton County's district judgeship.
Were you in favor of the elimination of Clinton County's only District Judge and if not, what would you do to reverse that decision?
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF FEDERAL LAWS/MANDATES:
QUESTION: In 2010 Rep. Opsommer introduced House Joint Resolution YY in the Michigan House. If it would have been approved by the legislature and the governor it would have put a ballot proposal up for consideration by the People of the state of Michigan. If it had passed it would have created a "joint federalism commission" that would have been responsible for examining the constitutionality of certain actions by the federal government in regard to the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution relating to State’s Rights.
Are you in favor of amending the Michigan Constitution in this way to limit the federal government's intrusion into issues that should fall under the responsibility of the state?
QUESTION (petition drive): There is a petition drive to place a question on the ballot that would require voters to approve any new bridge or tunnel from Michigan to Canada.
Are you in favor of this becoming part of Michigan's constitution and do you feel it would impact Governor Snyder's decision to build the bridge without legislative approval?
QUESTION (early childhood education): There is much debate in the Republican House over budget cuts and including that of education. What is your current policy view on the importance of early childhood education in the turnaround and recovery of the State of Michigan.
As a Candidate for the 93rd house seat what are your current views on education, including the funding for early childhood education?
QUESTION (funding based on performance): Should a portion of school funding be tied to improvement measures such as graduation rates, education attainment scores, and attendance?
QUESTION (unfunded liability of school health and pension funds): School funding is a major budgetary issue every year.
Do you feel that the latest compromise by the Governor to address the unfunded liability of the pension and health care benefits is a responsible solution or should they have gone farther in placing greater responsibility on the school’s employees?
QUESTION (Funding of schools sources): Michigan funds it's schools with money from a variety of sources including local property taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, and a six-mill state education tax and others. Many argue that the funding base is unreliable and that it needs to be changed.
Would you be in favor of changing the school funding plan that is currently used and if so how would you change it?
QUESTION (Vouchers): Private schools in Michigan currently do not receive funding from state tax dollars. Several states do allow for vouchers from state tax revenues to be used by parents who choose to send their kids to private and/or religious schools.
Would you be in favor of changing the school funding plan to allow for vouchers to be used in this way and if so why?
QUESTION (teaching alternative lifestyles): Some school districts in Michigan have modified their sexual education curriculum to include alternate lifestyle information.
Are you in favor of passing legislation to make the teaching of alternative lifestyles a requirement in public schools and if so why and should kids be able to opt out upon parental approval?
SUBSIDIES & TAX ABATEMENTS:
QUESTION: Michigan has used subsidies and tax abatements as an enticement for businesses to come to Michigan and/or stay in Michigan. An example of that would be the film industry tax subsidies that were recently increased from 25 million dollars to 50 million dollars for 2013.
As a member of the House are you in favor of "spot" subsidizing business interests or granting tax abatements and if so why?
QUESTION: Governor Snyder has already started the process to implement a health care exchange in Michigan but the house has failed to pass legislation to fund the program that the Affordable Health Care Act requires state legislatures to do.
Are you in favor of Michigan moving ahead with healthcare exchanges?
QUESTION: We all know the power in Lansing is vested in lobbyists, party caucuses, and in the Governor's office.
When push comes to shove will you be willing to compromise your position to vote against what you believe because the party "NEEDS YOUR VOTE" if they promise you something in return?
QUESTION (Privatizing): The Michigan Senate has passed Senate Bill 877 and sent it to the House for approval. The bill would allow for the privatization of a prison by the Department of Corrections.
As a member of the House would you vote for approval of the privatization of prisons and if so why?
QUESTION (costs): Michigan currently spends 23% of its yearly general fund budget on prisons.
With almost a quarter of the general fund budget being spent on prisons what would you propose to reform Michigan's corrections department?
RENEWABLE AND GREEN ENERGY:
QUESTION: There is a ballot proposal to require Michigan's electric utilities to provide 25% of their electricity from renewal energy resources by 2025.
Are you in favor of the state mandating renewable energy requirements from utility energy providers?
QUESTION: Natural gas supplies are projected to last for decades but the extraction for getting the gas requires the use of a process called fracking. There will probably be a ballot proposal this November that would ban the process of fracking.
Are you in favor of banning fracking as a method for the extraction of gas?
QUESTION: A national electronic ID (RFID) has been proposed for years and Michigan currently offers an enhanced Driver's license that uses that technology. With Obamacare it has also been suggested that everyone have an electronic ID in order to receive services. Additionally it has been proposed that the national ID be required for employment verification.
What is you position on requiring RFID's in Michigan for driver's licenses and on a national ID being required as a condition of employment?
SAME SEX MARRIAGE:
QUESTION: The U.S. Supreme Court will probably be considering the constitutionality of same sex marriage that is being passed by various states. Additionally the "Defense of Marriage Act" signed into federal law in 1996 is no longer being upheld by the U.S. Attorney General. Public Act 324 of 1996 amended the Michigan statute governing marriage to specify that a marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in Michigan.
Are you in favor of changing the law to allow for same sex marriage?
SAME SEX and DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS:
QUESTION (Benefits for partners): Same sex and domestic partner benefits are an issue that has been in the news in Michigan over the last year. The Attorney General has filed suit over a decision by the Civil Service Commission to allow these benefits to state employees and the court has thrown out the suit.
As a member of the House are you in favor of offering benefits for same sex and domestic partners and if so why?
QUESTION: Consumers Energy and DTE are in the process of installing and/or replacing electric meters with "Smartmeters". Smartmeters will send information on electricity usage through the use of pulses that may be harmful to the residents of the home. Additionally the Smartmeter technology will allow the utility to determine if you are using too much energy and to potentially shut off or control your electric usage remotely. Currently the utility companies are not offering an opt out option to homeowners who choose not to have the meters installed or replaced.
What is your stand on Smartmeter technology and the utility companies unwillingness to allow for an opt out option and would you be in favor of passing legislation that would force the utilities to offer an opt out that wasn't cost prohibitive?
QUESTION: "Sustainable Development," was originally authored by the United Nations. George H.W. Bush (and 177 other world leaders) agreed to it in 1992, and in 1995. Bill Clinton signed Executive Order No. 12858, creating a Presidential Council on "Sustainable Development".
Are you in favor of "SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT" and the measures that it would require of local and state government to be in compliance?
QUESTION (voter approval of increases): There is a current petition drive that seeks to add a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or statewide ballot vote to raise taxes.
Are you in favor of such an amendment to the constitution?
QUESTION (income taxes): Michigan currently has a fixed income tax rate of 4.35%. There have been several discussions regarding changing how Michigan taxes income including; 1) The fair tax, 2) a flat tax, 3) and a graduated income tax.
Should Michigan's income tax be changed and if so what should it be changed to and why?