Pavlov hosts summer reading contest winners at Michigan Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Thursday hosted the winners of his 2017 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest at the Michigan Capitol.

Ten students from Huron, Macomb, Sanilac and St. Clair counties traveled to Lansing with their parents to participate in a mock swearing-in ceremony and committee hearing and a guided Capitol tour.

“A love of reading provides a sure foundation for success in school and an enriched life,” Pavlov said. “By getting kids to read over the summer, this contest helps develop their skills. Thanks to all the libraries who participated in the 2017 Be a Senator For a Day contest.”

After taking their “oaths of office” in the Senate chamber and a tour of Michigan’s historic, 139-year-old Capitol, the “junior senators” vigorously debated the merits of a hypothetical bill to require uniforms in Michigan’s public schools in a mock committee hearing chaired by Pavlov.

The contest was held throughout the summer and was open to all first- through fifth-grade students who completed their local public library’s summer reading program in Huron, Sanilac and St. Clair counties and the communities of Richmond, Armada and New Baltimore in Macomb County.

Pavlov’s office received nearly 300 entries for the competition and randomly selected winners from each participating library.

The 2017 contest winners are:
• Nick Rujan, Bay Port
• Annie Bowman, Sebewaing
• Benjamin Cairns, Lexington
• Sawyer Kerr, Brown City
• Jacob Gormley, Croswell
• Payge Roskey, Melvin
• Wyatt Wallace, Burtchville Township
• Amelia Morgulec, St. Clair
• Emmanuella Beauchemin, New Baltimore
• Jack Ayers, Armada

Left photo caption: Winners of the 2017 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest participate in a mock swearing-in ceremony on the Senate floor in Lansing on Thursday. The contest was sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. The “junior senators” also participated in a committee hearing and a guided Capitol tour.

Right photo caption: Winners of the 2017 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest and their parents attend a mock committee hearing in a Senate hearing room in Lansing on Thursday. The contest was sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. The “junior senators” also participated in a swearing-in ceremony and a guided Capitol tour.

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Pavlov’s landmark MPSERS reform signed into law

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — After Gov. Rick Snyder signed comprehensive reform to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), bill sponsor and Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov issued the following statement:

“This landmark reform makes responsible changes to ensure a secure retirement for the state’s current and future school employees while protecting future generations of taxpayers from further debt.

“Retirees and current school employees with pension plans will see no change to their retirement. With this reform, future school employees will receive a competitive retirement plan that is flexible and portable to meet their long-term goals.

“Smart, corrective action was required to address a school employee pension system that has an unfunded liability of nearly $30 billion. The unsustainable growth in retirement costs impacts our schools ability to provide the best education possible to our children.

“This is a sustainable and affordable solution that provides new teachers with a modern retirement that mirrors plans offered to state employees and legislators.”

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Comprehensive retirement reform protecting teachers and taxpayers passes Senate

‘Smart, corrective action is needed now to modernize our retirement system and protect future generations from further debt.’

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would help ensure a secure retirement for the state’s current and future school employees while limiting future impact to Michigan taxpayers.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov, the sponsor of Senate Bill 401, said his measure provides a sustainable and affordable solution that protects teacher retirements and doesn’t gouge taxpayers.

“This bill will provide future school employees with a competitive retirement plan that is flexible and portable to meet their long-term goals,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “School employee pensions are protected by the Michigan Constitution, so retirees and current school employees with a defined benefit plan will see no change to their retirement under this plan.”

Under the current Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), about half of new teachers leave before they are eligible to receive their full benefits. New employees who enroll in the defined contribution plan would be eligible to access all benefits after four years.

Under the reform, a public school employee would have their employer contribute 4 percent of the employee’s wages into a 401k plan. The employee could then contribute another 3 percent, which would be matched by the state — for a total of 10 percent each year.

The school pension system has an unfunded liability of nearly $30 billion — a growth in debt of more than 11,000 percent since 2000.

“State spending on K-12 education is at record levels, yet the required MPSERS debt payments continue to grow,” Pavlov said. “Smart, corrective action is needed now to modernize our retirement system and protect future generations from further debt.”

New employees who opt out of the defined contribution plan have the option to participate in a more stable hybrid pension option.

SB 401 now heads to the Michigan House.

Pavlov announces ‘Be a Senator for a Day’ summer reading contest

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Monday announced his 2017 “Be a Senator for a Day” summer reading contest in coordination with local libraries.

The contest begins Monday, June 19 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 19. It is open to all first- through fifth-graders who have completed their local public library’s summer reading program in Huron, Sanilac and St. Clair counties or the communities of Richmond, Armada and New Baltimore in Macomb County, or the reading program at the Blue Water YMCA.

“It is not enough for our children to be physically active over the summer; their minds should be active and engaged as well,” Pavlov said. “The 2017 ‘Be a Senator for a Day’ contest and the reading programs at local libraries encourage kids to keep up their learning in a fun way.”

The first- through fifth-grade students may be enrolled in any public, private or home-based school. Once students have completed the summer reading program, they may fill out a contest entry form at their local public library branch.

One winner from each branch will be selected as a “Junior Senator.” The Junior Senators will bring their parents to Lansing for a tour of the state Capitol, mock committee hearings and a pizza party with Pavlov.

Continue to check this website for the most up-to-date information.

Sen. Pavlov and guest honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and Master Sgt. Chris Smith, director of the St. Clair Department of Veterans Affairs, paid tribute in the Senate on Thursday to those who gave their lives defending America.

Smith was Pavlov’s guest for the Michigan Senate’s 23rd Annual Memorial Day Service. Each year, the ceremony honors the service members who fought with bravery to defend the nation’s freedom.

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***PHOTO ADVISORY*** Pavlov, Kowall present lapel pin to Vietnam veteran Jack Beattie

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, on Tuesday presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie at the Michigan Capitol.

The symbolism attached to the Vietnam veteran lapel pins is significant. The pins honor all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period.

Top photo caption: Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, pins a Vietnam veteran lapel pin on the coat of Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie in the office of Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, at the Michigan Capitol. Beattie served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1991 and is one of the survivors of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

Bottom photo caption: Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, on Tuesday presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie (center left) at the Michigan Capitol. Capt. Luke Clyburn (left) joined the senators for the presentation to Beattie, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1991 and is one of the survivors of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of these photos and other Pavlov photos, click the images or visit www.SenatorPhilPavlov.com/Photowire.

Sen. Pavlov introduces MPSERS reform

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov on Tuesday introduced legislation to reform to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and solve its $29.1 billion unfunded liability.

“Michigan has promised secure retirement benefits to more than 400,000 public school teachers and staff statewide, but the pension system we built to do that is failing them,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Over the last two decades, the school retirement pension system has racked up nearly $30 billion in debt. Despite our efforts to control the costs and reduce this debt, it continues to get worse and the retirement costs are already impacting our schools and threatening resources meant for the classroom to teach our children.”

“I am introducing long overdue reforms that will ensure our promises are kept to our school employees and retirees and also protect vital funding for educating our children.”

Senate Bill 401 would place all public school employees hired after Sept. 30, 2017 into a defined contribution retirement plan modeled after the plan that is offered to state employees hired since 1997.

Under the reform, a public school employee would have their employer contribute 4 percent of the employee’s wages into a 401k plan. The employee could then contribute another 3 percent, which would be matched by the employer — for a total of 10 percent each year. The employer match would be covered by the state.

“By putting MPSERS on the path to solvency, the reform will ensure that the state can meet 100 percent of the promises made to retirees and current school employees,” Pavlov said. “Current and retired public school employees who dedicated their lives to the critical task of educating our children will see no change to their constitutionally protected pensions.”

Pavlov said that the plan also benefits new, younger school employees by giving them a modern retirement that they can control and rely on.

“My reform would provide new teachers and school employees with a retirement benefit that is flexible and fully portable,” Pavlov said. “New employees would have the opportunity to own and build their retirement nest egg on their terms. The retirement accounts would be professionally managed and invested according to each employee’s individual goals.

“Most importantly, the reform would improve retirement security for all teachers, eliminate all financial risk to taxpayers over time and create the opportunity to put more money into the classroom. Frankly, we cannot afford not to reform MPSERS.”

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Reminder: Kowall and Pavlov honoring Vietnam era veterans at Sandusky event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Phil Pavlov on Monday reminded interested parties of a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” ceremony in Sandusky will be part of the “Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial” event hosted by the students of Sandusky Community Schools over Memorial Day weekend under the direction of Sandusky High School teacher George Lasecki.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, are hosting the lapel pinning to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the lapel pinning, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, in front of the Moving Wall, which will be located in front of the Sanilac County Courthouse, 60 W. Sanilac Road, in Sandusky.

RSVP to the Sanilac County Department of Veterans Affairs at 810-648-0212 or by email at director@sanilaccountyva.org or clerk@sanilaccountyva.org.

Kowall and Pavlov will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It has been touring the country from April to November since 1984. Sandusky students are bringing the Moving Wall to Sanilac County to honor and respect those who made the ultimate sacrifice through remembrance and education. Find out more about the students’ efforts at
Facebook.com/TheMovingWallSanduskyMichigan2017.

The pre-program ceremony will include the Moving Wall on display and a static military vehicle display.

The event also will include:
•    Posting of the colors by the Croswell American Legion Cecil Service Post 255;
•    The national anthem sung by Sandusky High School graduate Amanda Mrozek;
•    Invocation given by Don Rudy, Sandusky Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2945 and Russell Wakefield Post 369 of the American Legion;
•    POW/MIA Missing Man table by Sandusky High School graduate Brandon Hughes;
•    Service Medley by the Sandusky High School Saxophone Quartet; and
•    Refreshments provided by Croswell American Legion Cecil Service Post 255 and Sandusky VFW Auxiliary 2945.

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Save the Date: Kowall and Pavlov announce Sandusky event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Phil Pavlov on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” ceremony in Sandusky will be part of the “Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial” event hosted by the students of Sandusky Community Schools over Memorial Day weekend under the direction of Sandusky High School teacher George Lasecki.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, are hosting the lapel pinning to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the lapel pinning, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, on the front lawn of the Sanilac County Courthouse, 60 W. Sanilac Road, in Sandusky. RSVP to the Sanilac County Department of Veterans Affairs at 810-648-0212 or by email at director@sanilaccountyva.org or clerk@sanilaccountyva.org.

Kowall and Pavlov will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It has been touring the country from April to November since 1984. Sandusky students are bringing the Moving Wall to Sanilac County to honor and respect those who made the ultimate sacrifice through remembrance and education. Find out more about the students’ efforts at
Facebook.com/TheMovingWallSanduskyMichigan2017.

“The Moving Wall accompanied with the pinning ceremony helps add closure to the trauma of the Vietnam War,” Kowall said.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Pavlov agreed.

“Vietnam veterans and their families deserve the utmost respect and honor,” Pavlov said. “It is a great privilege to present them with these Commemorative Lapel Pins as a token of our gratefulness for their sacrifice to our nation.”

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Photo Advisory: Sen. Pavlov welcomes guest to Capitol for State of the State

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, stands in the Senate chamber with Scheurer Hospital Director of Marketing and Communications Clark Ramsey (left). Ramsey joined Pavlov for Gov. Rick Snyder’s seventh State of the State address Tuesday night.

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