Legislature passes Lauwers, Pavlov resolutions recognizing Clay Township as sturgeon angling capital

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature has passed resolutions sponsored by Rep. Dan Lauwers and Sen. Phil Pavlov that recognize Clay Township as the sturgeon angling capital of Michigan.

House Resolution 353 and Senate Resolution 174 note that more sturgeon angling by far occurs in the north and middle channels of the St. Clair River within the political boundaries of Clay Township than anywhere else in Michigan.

“Designating Clay Township as the sturgeon angling capital of Michigan will help promote, preserve and protect this truly magnificent species of fish,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “People from Harsens Island have told me amazing stories about how thick the sturgeon population once was in the waters around Clay Township. By working together, we can help ensure the current population of this prehistoric fish stays sustainable.”

Jim Felgenauer, a constituent from Lauwers’ and Pavlov’s districts, is the president of the St. Clair-Detroit River Sturgeon for Tomorrow organization. He contacted Pavlov and proposed the resolution.

“Jim Felgenauer recognized that right here in Clay Township was one of the most viable, self-sustaining sturgeon populations in the state, but no group was protecting them. So he started St. Clair-Detroit River Sturgeon for Tomorrow,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.

“Jim rightly noted that by recognizing Clay Township as the sturgeon angling capital of Michigan, these resolutions will create a community identity around the sturgeon that will help protect these magnificent fish, as well as help drive tourism and economic gain by bringing anglers into the community.”

Among other things, the resolutions recognize that:
•    The waters of the St. Clair River within Clay Township have the longest and most active harvest seasons for lake sturgeon in Michigan for nonstocked waters with natural reproduction;
•    The waters of the North Channel of the St. Clair River within the boundaries of Clay Township support the only commercial charter boat fishery for lake sturgeon in the state of Michigan;
•    More tagged sturgeon are reported to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and more Lake Sturgeon Management Cooperator patches are issued to anglers fishing the Clay Township waters of the St. Clair River than to anglers fishing anywhere else in the state; and
•    Michigan’s only sturgeon and most unique fishing tournament, the North Channel Sturgeon Classic, is held fully within the Clay Township waters of the North Channel of the St. Clair River. There were more than 33 fish caught by anglers during the tournament in 2015.

National Geographic television filmed a sturgeon angling segment on the Clay Township waters of the north channel of the St. Clair River, which aired in 2009 and several times thereafter as part of the “Monster Fish” series. Michigan Out-of-Doors television has done several sturgeon angling segments over the last several years. All of these trips have taken place in the Clay Township waters of the north channel of the St. Clair River.

Copies of HR 353 and SR 174 will be transmitted to Clay Township, St. Clair County, Michigan DNR, organizers of the North Channel Sturgeon Classic, and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Senate passes Pavlov resolution opposing federal education overreach

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov urging the president and Congress to curb and clarify the role and authority of the U.S. Department of Education regarding state and local funding to school districts.

Senate Resolution 214 addresses new federal rules that contradict the purpose of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is to direct more control over education away from the federal government back to local districts.

“The U.S. government telling states and local school districts how to spend their money is federal overreach, pure and simple,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, which took up SR 214 on Tuesday. “We don’t need any more burdensome federal reporting and mandates on how we fund our educational system.”

ESSA requires districts to use a methodology to allocate state and local funds to each Title I school that ensures each of those schools receives at least all the state and local funds it would otherwise receive if it were not considered a Title I school.

The federal government, however, is taking this a step further by dictating how state and local funds may be distributed in schools that also receive Title I funding, which is earmarked for low-income students.

SR 214 points out that under current federal law, the Education secretary may not dictate the methodology a local school district should use in order to ensure the funding in Title I buildings is at least equal to the overall funding in the non-Title I buildings in the districts.

In addition, the Congressional Research Service interpreted federal law as not requiring equalized spending per pupil on a statewide basis, on a school district basis or on an individual school basis.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston testified in support of SR 214 before committee.

“The goal of promoting educational equity is laudable. We support that, of course, Whiston said. “But concerns have been raised that the proposed regulations do not take into account the many factors that affect building-by-building spending decisions at the local level.”

SR 214 states that school district personnel have complained that the proposed regulations would be unworkable. The American Association of School Superintendents stated that the proposed regulation “… glosses over the realities of school finance, the reality of how and when funds are allocated, the extent to which districts … have flexibility, the patterns of teacher sorting and hiring, and the likelihood that many students would experience the rule, as drafted, in a way that undermines true efforts aimed at increasing education equity.”

The following groups support SR 214:
•    Michigan Department of Education;
•    Michigan Association of School Administrators;
•    Michigan Education Association;
•    The Intermediate School Districts of Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe counties;
•    Michigan Association of School Boards;
•    Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency;
•    Oakland Schools;
•    West Michigan Talent Triangle; and
•    ESA Legislative Group.

Copies of SR 214 will be transmitted to the President Obama, the president of the U.S. Senate, the speaker of the U.S. House, the members of the Michigan Congressional delegation, and the U.S. Department of Education.

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 2016 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest at the Michigan Capitol.

Eight 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.

“Developing a love of reading at a young age increases the chances a student will succeed in school and later in life,” Pavlov said. “This reading contest helps foster such an appreciation. I am thankful to our local libraries for helping instill this love among the 2016 Be a Senator For a Day winners.”

After taking their “oaths of office” in the Senate chamber and a tour of Michigan’s historic, 138-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 2016 contest winners are:
•    Brianna Bielat, New Baltimore
•    David Carlson, Peck
•    Abigail Gander, Burtchville
•    Matthew Kubacki, Bad Axe
•    Collin Moroschan, Algonac
•    Logan Roskey, Melvin
•    Keegan Warczinsky, Snover
•    Roman Ward, Kimball

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