Michigan senator seeks to end ‘revolving door’ of lawmakers turned lobbyists

February 18, 2019

By Lindsay VanHulle, Bridge Magazine

A Republican state senator is again trying to prevent Michigan lawmakers from taking new jobs lobbying their former colleagues in the Legislature immediately after leaving office.

Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, introduced a bill to prohibit former state legislators from working as registered lobbyists for two years after they leave office — three, if they ever served as chairman of a legislative committee. The fear, he said, is that, without a “cooling-off” period, lawmakers may be tempted to support policies that help them gain their next job, rather than focusing their votes on what’s best for Michigan.


Sen. Rosemary Bayer, a freshman Democratic state senator from Beverly Hills, is a co-sponsor of Runestad’s latest bill. She said the relationship between lobbyists and legislators is “too tight” and a function of strict legislative term limits.

“It looks very suspicious, even if it’s not,” Bayer said. “If we put a boundary in there, a barrier in there, then it becomes obvious that we’re working above the board, right? It’s very clear that there’s no direct relationship between what I just did last December and what I’m doing now not that I’m in the Legislature.”

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Legislature votes to reject Whitmer's environmental executive order

February 14, 2019

By Paul Egan & Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press

LANSING – Michigan lawmakers on Thursday rejected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order reorganizing the state's environmental agency, signaling an early power struggle between the GOP-controlled Legislature and the state's newly elected Democratic chief executive.

At the crux of the dispute is one aspect of Whitmer's much broader environmental order — the abolition of industry-dominated panels created by the Legislature last year to review environmental rules and permits.

The governor said Thursday she will issue a new and similar executive order soon, possibly as early as Tuesday. The Legislature's action “is not going to hamper my effort to get it done because people are counting on me," she told the Free Press.

The Senate voted 22-16 Thursday to reject Whitmer's executive order after the House took similar action on Feb. 6, in a 58-51 vote. It's the first time in 42 years the Michigan Legislature has voted to reject a governor's executive order, Gongwer News Service reported.

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Oakland County Electeds Respond to Governor’s State of the State Speech

February 13, 2019

By Crystal A. Proxmire, Oakland County Times

Lansing, MI- The Capitol was bustling as Senators and Representatives from around the state and their guests gathered to hear Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State address.

In the hour before the speech, guests mingled in the common areas, munching on food at receptions and posing for photos to remember the day. Afterwards officials shared their views on Whitmer’s address and the direction Michigan is moving in.


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State lawmakers make water their priority

February 11, 2019

By Tiffany Esshaki, C&G Newspapers (Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle)

LANSING — Michigan legislators can, for the most part, agree on a few things. Making sure residents have safe, accessible water is likely one of them.

But how to accomplish that goal in the midst of a decaying infrastructure and a constant struggle for funding makes the task a bit more complicated than some nicely worded legislation.

State Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-District 14, proposed efforts last month that they said would provide clean water for residents and students. They addressed different issues, including clean water as a state constitutional right and guaranteed clean water in Michigan schools, but the goal is the same — keep chemicals out of water, and make sure even low-income communities can afford it.

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Village cops get tribute from state

February 06, 2019

By CJ Carnacchio, The Oxford Leader

State Rep. John Reilly (R-Oakland Twp.) was spotted at the Oxford Village Police Station Monday morning. But he wasn’t in any sort of trouble. He was there to honor the department as part of National Law Enforcement Recognition Day, which was Jan. 9.

Reilly presented Police Chief Mike Solwold with a special tribute signed by himself, State Sen. Rosemary Bayer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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Bayer on Whitmer decision to enter climate alliance, reorganize to protect water

February 04, 2019

Press Release from Senator Bayer's office - Contact: Katie Reiter, (517) 373-2417, kreiter@senate.michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to enter the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, and her administration’s focus on protecting Michigan’s water resources through the creation of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and expansion of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team:

“We must safeguard our drinking water, air and other resources now and for generations to come. Access to clean, affordable drinking water and bipartisan solutions to address the impacts of climate change are critical to the future of our state and the well-being of our families. I look forward to working with Gov. Whitmer and her administration to move these issues forward.”

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Bayer’s first bill aims to make clean water access a human right

January 24, 2019

Press Release from Senator Bayer's office - Contact: Katie Reiter, (517) 373-2417, kreiter@senate.michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills) made access to safe, affordable water her first priority in Michigan’s 100th legislative session with the introduction of a bill that would establish water as a basic human right. 

Senate Bill 49, the “Human Right to Water Act,” also would require state departments establish affordable water criteria that could be applied throughout Michigan. If adopted, the legislation would safeguard critical water resources used for drinking, cooking and sanitary purposes.

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Michigan cut school funding and school performance plummeted. Coincidence?

January 23, 2019

By Ron French, Bridge Magazine

Michigan ranks dead last in the nation in school funding growth in the quarter century since Michigan radically changed how it funded public education system, according to a new Michigan State University study.

From 2003 to 2015, Michigan also ranked 50th in growth in school performance on the National Assessment of Educational Performance, often called “the nation’s report card, according to the study.

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Senator Bayer on $1.59 million grant to expand Oakland County business

January 22, 2019

Press Release from Senator Bayer's office - Contact: Katie Reiter, (517) 373-2417, kreiter@senate.michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills) issued the following statement on the Michigan Strategic Fund’s decision to award a $1.59 million Michigan Business Development Program grant in support of Magneti Marelli Holding USA LLC’s Auburn Hills expansion:

“Thank you to the Michigan Strategic Fund and to Magneti Marelli Holding USA LLC for choosing to expand business in Oakland County. High-tech job opportunities in design and engineering keep college graduates in Michigan, grow the local economy and make communities a better place for our families. As a former technology entrepreneur, I support our state’s efforts to invest in infrastructure, education and training that makes Michigan an ideal place for these types of good-paying jobs.”

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Lt. Governor Addresses Groves Students at MLK Assembly

January 19, 2019

From the Oakland County Times

Wylie E. Groves High School is proud to have welcomed Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II on Jan. 16, 2019 as he addressed the student body as keynote speaker at the school’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly. The Lieutenant Governor spoke on the topic of “What Would Martin Tweet?”

This year’s assembly included:
~A meet-and-greet with State Senators Jeremy Moss and Rosemary Bayer, State Representative Kyra Harris Bolden, the Birmingham Public Schools new superintendent, Mr. Mark Dziatczak,  several Birmingham Board of Education members, and numerous Birmingham Public Schools administrators.

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Senate leaders announce committees

January 11, 2019

Press Release from Senator Shirkey's office

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, today announced senate standing committee and appropriations subcommittee members.

“We expect the committee process to be deliberative and thorough.  We look forward to robust policy debates and bipartisan work product, where possible,” reiterated Sen. Shirkey.  We’ve done our best to partner senators with the issue areas where they have interest, expertise, and passion. I know my colleagues are eager to get to work” said Sen. Shirkey.

“Committees are the front lines for making Michigan a better place than we found it,” Sen. Ananich said.  “We are ready to get to work. The incoming class of senators has a wide range of professional experience that they bring to the table, experience that makes them real-life experts on their given committees. Our constituents expect us to work together on their behalf, and I anticipate many opportunities for bipartisanship and progress this term.”

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Robotics team kicks off new season

January 10, 2019

By Shelby Tankersley, The Oxford Leader

After travelling to the FIRST World Championships last year to flex their scientific muscles through robotics, Oxford High School’s TORC 2137 robotics team kicked off a new season on Jan. 5 with another world championships appearance this spring on their minds.


In a show of support for the TORC team and STEM education, the newly-elected 12th District State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) was present at the Jan. 5 event to say a few words to students.

During an interview following her brief speech, Bayer described herself as “an absolute robot freak” and said exploring an  interest in robotics, as well as other forms of technology, is “not geeky, it’s cool.”

“I’ve worked with robots and computers my whole adult life and want to keep doing it,” she said. “So, I will help these guys as much as I can.”

Bayer is a proponent of STEM programs in schools and is particularly interested in “getting girls more involved” in them.

“FIRST robotics really does help prepare those kids for the next stage,” she said. “When we look at what’s needed for our economy, especially (in) Michigan, we need more high-tech. We need more people that are motivated to study that (field) and do work in that (sector). FIRST robotics is particularly  strong (when it comes to) bringing forward kids who will pursue technology as they go farther in school.”

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Senator Bayer ready to get to work for Oakland County residents in 100th Legislature

January 09, 2019

Press Release from Senator Bayer's office - Contact: Katie Reiter, (517) 373-2417, kreiter@senate.michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills) took the oath of office today to serve the citizens of Michigan’s 12th Senate District. “I will be a strong advocate for all of Oakland County to hold polluters accountable, fix our roads and expand access to health care,” Sen. Bayer said. “As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I will work to grow and support our emerging economy.”

Sen. Bayer named Katie Reiter as chief of staff, Chloe Grabowski as legislative director and Spencer Bussineau as constituent services director.

The 12th Senate District includes the cities of Auburn Hills, Keego Harbor, Pontiac, and Sylvan Lake, the townships of Addison, Bloomfield, Independence, Oakland, Orion, Oxford and Southfield, and the villages of Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin, and Clarkston in Oakland County.

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53 women in Michigan's Legislature is alarming. Here's why.

January 06, 2019

By Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press

For Michigan women, the 2018 midterm elections were an unparalleled triumph. Women ran for office in record numbers. Organized, campaigned and voted in record numbers. And won, in record numbers. Michiganders elected women to the offices of governor, attorney general and secretary of state, and sent six women to the U.S. Congress. 

Michiganders elected a whopping 53 women to the state Legislature, enough to propel Michigan from the middle ranks of female representation to 12th in the nation, per the Center for American Women and Politics. These are remarkable victories, and after years of stagnation, it's real growth. 

And it's depressing. 

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