Huron County View column: Reading Month fosters lifelong love of reading

The following column was printed by the Huron County View on March 10, 2016. The piece can also be read online at the Huron County View website.

By Sen. Phil Pavlov
25th Senate District

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

March is an exciting time of the year. It is when parents, children, teachers and students all across America focus on one of our most enriching pastimes. March is Reading Month is a time to celebrate reading and to work together to foster strong reading habits in our children.

Last year, and again last month, House Education Committee Chairwoman Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, and I challenged our colleagues in the Senate and House to read to 1,000 students across the state in honor of March is Reading Month. In March of 2015 I visited local schools and read to more than 1,000 students throughout the Thumb area. It is a great joy to go into the classroom and read to kids. I look forward to visiting schools again over the next several weeks.

I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate the importance of developing good reading skills. About one in six children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers. Encouraging students to read and teaching the basics of language is a vital step on the path to a brighter Michigan future.

Another way I like to help encourage reading is by running a summer reading contest. For the past several years, I’ve hosted the “Be a Senator for a Day” summer reading contest in coordination with local libraries. The contest is open to all first through fifth graders who have completed their local public library’s summer reading program in Huron, Macomb, Sanilac and St. Clair counties. The contest encourages students to keep their minds active and growing over the summer months.

Once students have completed the summer reading program, they fill out a contest entry form at their local public library branch. Then one winner from each branch is selected as a “Junior Senator.” The Junior Senators bring their parents to Lansing for a tour of the state Capitol, mock committee hearings and a luncheon hosted by me and their state representatives.

Reading opens up new worlds for children and adults. It teaches us to question and imagine in ways we have never done before. A lifelong love of reading is essential for a balanced and successful life, and fostering this love in students at a young age leads to greater achievements at all levels of their education.

I applaud teachers, parents and young readers throughout Michigan for their work this month and encourage all of us always to become more active readers.

Senator Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, is chairman of the Senate Education Committee. He serves the residents of the 25th Senate District, representing Huron, Sanilac and St. Clair counties; and Armada Township, Memphis, New Baltimore, Richmond and Richmond Township in Macomb County.

Pavlov, full Senate approve $4 million for Natural Resources Trust Fund projects for the Thumb

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation allocating $27.9 million from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) to natural resources improvement and acquisition projects across the state, including more than $4 million for projects in the Thumb.

The trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund helps fund projects in the 25th District and throughout the state,” said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “The money in this bill will help support six important projects in Huron, Macomb and St. Clair counties and enhance the quality of life for those in the area.”

The projects in the Thumb benefiting from the NRTF grants are:
•    Macomb County: New Baltimore will receive $2.85 million for a marina acquisition;
•    Macomb County: The Parks and Recreation Division will receive $1 million for a Lake St. Clair Boating Access Site;
•    Huron County: Harbor Beach will receive $295,000 for a waterfront enhancement project;
•    St. Clair County: The county will receive $97,500 for Pine River property acquisition;
•    St. Clair County: The county will receive $65,800 for Belle River property acquisition; and
•    St. Clair County: Algonac will receive $50,000 for riverfront park lighting replacement.

House Bill 5377 authorizes the trust fund to spend $27.9 million to support 70 land acquisition and recreational development projects statewide.

The NRTF uses constitutionally restricted funds to provide financial assistance to local governments and the Department of Natural Resources to purchase land or rights in land for public recreation or protection of land because of its environmental importance or its scenic beauty. It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation.

HB 5377 now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign the measure.

Media Advisory: Pavlov to celebrate national reading month by reading to schoolchildren across the Thumb

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, announced that he will be reading to schoolchildren at three elementary schools in the Thumb on Monday, March 21.

Pavlov will be reading at the following schools at the following times:

Monday, March 21
11 a.m. to noon
Brown City Elementary School
4290 2nd St.
Brown City, MI 48416

Monday, March 21
1 to 2 p.m.
Krause Elementary School
23900 Armada Center Road
Armada, MI 48005

Monday, March 21
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Lottie M. Schmidt Elementary School
33700 Hooker Road
New Baltimore, MI 48047

“It is a great joy to go into the classroom and read to kids,” Pavlov said. “I look forward to reading to these students on Monday and visiting other schools in the coming weeks.”

Senate committee passes Pavlov resolution to help attract STEAM talent, promote economic development across Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee unanimously approved legislation on Thursday that would help attract professional talent and promote economic development throughout the state.

Senate Resolution 146, sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov, encourages Michigan communities to pursue innovative policies to attract young professionals working in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM), especially in financially distressed areas.

“Despite Michigan’s economic turnaround, many young professionals are still leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “The lack of young professionals working in fields demanding a STEAM background hinders local economic development. Senate Resolution 146 calls on leaders to address financial disincentives for STEAM professionals wanting to remain in Michigan and rebuild their distressed communities.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan has seen a net reduction of 4.4 percent in young workers aged 22 to 34 in the past five years. SR 146 states that reversing the outgoing tide of young STEAM professionals is of the highest priority.

Mackenzie Price, executive director of the Huron County Community Foundation, testified in support of the resolution.

“This focus on the retention and attraction of STEAM graduates in Michigan is a critical step towards mobilizing the philanthropic sector in this space,” Price said. “By supporting Senator Pavlov’s resolution, the state Legislature is opening the door for foundations to address the issue of talent retention on a local level. For Huron County, that means implementing a new ‘Reverse Scholarship’ program that will provide partial student loan repayment for those returning to live and work in the county.”

Randy Maiers, president and CEO of Community Foundation of St. Clair County, also expressed support for the measure.

“Senator Pavlov’s resolution would be another critical step in engaging more community stakeholders, and specifically community foundations throughout Michigan, in a collaborative effort to attract more STEAM graduates back home to Michigan,” Maiers said. “The issue of talent retention and attraction is something that impacts all aspects of community prosperity throughout the state.”

Among the economic development policies suggested in the resolution are incentives such as student loan assistance and employment relocation reimbursement expenses.

SR 146 now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

Photo caption: Community Foundation of St. Clair County President and CEO Randy Maiers (left), Huron County Community Foundation Executive Director Mackenzie Price and Sen. Phil Pavlov testify in the Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee in support of Senate Resolution 146, Pavlov’s measure to help attract professional talent and promote economic development throughout the state. The committee unanimously approved the resolution.

Note: For a print-quality version of this and other Pavlov photos, click the image or click the Photowire link under the Media Center tab, above.

Pavlov applauds reopening of public comment period on pipeline under the St. Clair River

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Phil Pavlov on Tuesday praised the recent decision by the U.S. State Department to reopen the public comment period for an additional 30 days for the proposed use of pipelines under the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers.

Earlier this month, Pavlov sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to act immediately to reopen the public comment period. He also introduced Senate Resolution 155 reiterating this request.

Pavlov issued the following statement on the extension:

“The decision by the U.S. State Department to extend by 30 days the comment period on a controversial and potentially dangerous pipeline permit under the St. Clair River is good news. The St. Clair River helps provide clean drinking water for up to 4 million residents across the region. It’s part of our way of life, and it’s why last week I introduced a Senate resolution urging the U.S. State Department to re-open the public comment period.

“This new window of time now gives residents an opportunity to make their opinions known about this important issue. It also gives Plains LPG, the company requesting the permit, the opportunity to clearly indicate in its request for revised usage that it will eliminate the possibility of these pipelines being used for transport of crude oil.

“A crude oil spill would be devastating to our region’s environment and water supply, and it can never be allowed to happen.”

Note: Audio comments by Pavlov are available on this website. Click Audio under the Media Center tab, above.

Photo Advisory: Pavlov welcomes FFA students to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Thursday welcomed to the Capitol students from Bad Axe, Sanilac, and North Huron attending the 88th Michigan FFA State Convention at Michigan State University. Pictured, from left: Riley Good, Brianna Hunsinger, Pavlov, Nicole Patterson, Charlie Hass, Faith Yageman, Ryan Rich, Katelyn Jaworski, and Haley Talaski.

Note: For a print-quality version of this and other Pavlov photos, click the image or click Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Pavlov: Public hearing needed on pipeline under the St. Clair River

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Phil Pavlov introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling on the U.S. to reopen the public comment period regarding a proposed crude oil pipeline under the St. Clair River.

A rupture of the pipeline would have catastrophic consequences for the environment and economies of Michigan, surrounding states, and Canada.

“We’ve had disastrous line breaks in Michigan in the past, but a break in this line could potentially be much worse,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Because of past catastrophes and the potential for even worse disasters in the future, experts have come out against these types of pipelines.

“We need to learn from our mistakes. At the very least, the comment period must be reopened so the public can weigh in on this proposal.”

The public comment period for the pipeline permit closed on Feb. 24, but notices for public comment are published in the Federal Register and are not highly publicized. Many people with concerns about the pipeline permits became aware of the application only after the public comment period closed.

The resolution calls on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to reopen the public comment period for Plains LPG’s presidential permit application for the pipelines under the St. Clair River. The resolution also asks the International Joint Commission to review the environmental impact of the pipelines running under the St. Clair River and Detroit River.

Pavlov has also sent a letter to Kerry, urging him to act immediately.

The 2015 Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report (MPPTF) recommended against the transportation of heavy crude oil through pipelines under the Great Lakes

The MPPTF Report was prepared in response to the Enbridge Line 6B rupture in 2010 and renewed attention to the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline running near the Straits of Mackinac, but the Plains LPG pipelines under the St. Clair River could potentially be even more dangerous, as two of the six lines are nearly 100 years old and the permit, if approved, would allow for the transportation of crude oil.

“The transportation of hazardous liquids is an important issue that requires input from the public,” Pavlov said. “The potential impact of a spill on the regional environment, public health, and economy would be significant, and decision makers should hear from the local communities before authorizing the transportation of potentially dangerous materials — especially when the company requesting the permit has recently been involved in a spill.”

Note: Audio comments by Pavlov are available by clicking Audio under the Media Center tab.

Senate committee begins hearings on bills to cut red tape for schools

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Education Committee heard testimony on Tuesday on legislation that would reduce red tape for schools.

Sen. Phil Pavlov and other Senate Republicans introduced Senate Bills 754-767 last month to eliminate unnecessary and redundant reports and streamline reporting requirements.

“Educators must be freed to spend more time focusing on student achievement and less time wading through red tape and duplicative reporting requirements,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “This package of bills eliminates unnecessary reporting and directs resources back to the classroom.”

Michigan school districts are mandated to prepare and submit hundreds of reports to state and federal entities. These reports can be time-consuming and tedious to produce and are often redundant or even obsolete by the submission date.

Education reporting requirements are sprinkled throughout Michigan law — not just in the state’s education code. Unfortunately, there is no published comprehensive index to easily locate all mandated reports. These reports are costly, often taking a great deal of staff time and resources.

Brad Biladeau, the Michigan Association of School Administrators associate executive for government relations, testified in support of the legislation.

“I want to recognize Senator Pavlov for his leadership in assisting school districts with burdensome reporting requirements. This is something our members have been concerned about for quite some time, and we’re very appreciative the committee is willing to take up the issue and look at it,” Biladeau said. “There are more reports than there are school days for school districts. We’ve heard from school districts that have hired or designated individuals whose sole function is to respond to these state and federal reports.”

The following organizations indicated their support of the bills at the committee:

•    Macomb ISD;
•    Michigan Association of School Superintendents;
•    Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals;
•    Tri-County Alliance for Public Education;
•    Oakland Schools;
•    Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators;
•    Wayne RESA;
•    West Michigan Talent Triangle;
•    Grand Rapids Public Schools; and
•    South Central Ed Policy Consortium.