Meekhof announces senate committees

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LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, today announced senate standing committees and appropriations subcommittees. “Having a large caucus means we have that many more people eager to be leaders in a variety of […]

Meekhof calls for Agema to resign

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LANSING-Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, today issued the following statement regarding Dave Agema: “When the ignorance and stupidity of one individual overshadows the good work done by so many other Republicans, it […]

Senate Majority Leader-elect Arlan Meekhof Announces Key Leadership Posts

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LANSING, Mich. – Newly elected Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof announced Wednesday the appointment of two key leadership positions for the next legislative session, as well as Chairs and committee members for a formal transition process.

First, Senator Meekhof (R-West Olive) announced that Senator Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) will be the new Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, taking over for the current Chair, Senator Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw), after the new legislative session begins in January.

“I’m very proud that my first committee chair announcement is the appointment of Senator Dave Hildenbrand to lead the Appropriations Committee,” said Meekhof. “Dave has the experience, leadership and common sense we need to build on the great work of current Chairman Kahn, and to work closely with the Governor and the House to balance the budget, control spending and protect Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers.”

Senator Meekhof also announced today that his current Chief of Staff, Bob DeVries, will serve as Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader. In this role DeVries will oversee all Senate staff operations and manage the Majority Leader’s office.

“As my current Chief of Staff, Bob has had a tremendous hand in helping me both manage my Senate Office and my role as Floor Leader,” added Meekhof. “As a result, he’s had the opportunity to work closely with Senate leadership and Senator Richardville’s team for the last four years. I’m confident his transition will be seamless, and that he’ll play a significant role in helping to manage and coordinate the largest Senate caucus in 60 years.”

DeVries has a B.S. in Political Science from Grand Valley State University and a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.  He has worked for Senator Meekhof for eight years.

Finally, Senator Meekhof announced a transition process consisting of the appointment of two committees.

“I have asked Senator Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion) to Chair the Committee on Committees and Senator Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) to Chair the Policy Development Committee.  I trust these two Senators to help me lead our new caucus into the new term,” Meekhof said.

The Transition Committees will be comprised of the following senators:

Committee on Committees
• Senator Jim Marleau, Chair (R-Lake Orion)
• Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart)
• Senator-elect Jim Stamas (R-Midland)
• Senator-elect Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake)

Policy Development Committee
• Senator Dave Robertson, Chair (R-Grand Blanc)
• Senator Goeff Hansen (R-Hart)
• Senator-elect Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City)
• Senator-elect Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage)

“I am excited about the energy, ideas and commitment this newly elected caucus will bring to the legislative process,” concluded Meekhof. “While we still have to deal with some tough issues in Lame Duck, I know that the recently elected caucus is also ready to hit the ground running in 2015. We’ll have an outstanding team, and I look forward to providing further announcements in the coming days and weeks.”

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Arlan Meekhof elected Senate Majority Leader

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LANSING—Sen. Arlan Meekhof was unanimously elected by the Senate Republican caucus on Thursday to be the next Michigan Senate Majority Leader.

“I am honored and humbled to have earned the trust of my colleagues to serve as the leader of this amazing caucus of talented men and women,” said Senate Majority Leader-elect Meekhof, R-West Olive. “I am excited to begin this new role as we continue moving Michigan forward.

“I also want the residents of the 30th District to know that despite my new responsibilities, I will remain focused on working hard for the people of West Michigan.”

Meekhof was elected on Tuesday to a second term as state senator for the 30th Senate District. He currently serves as Senate Majority Floor Leader and will begin his tenure as Senate Majority Leader when the next Legislature takes office in January.

Prior to becoming a senator, Meekhof served four years in the Michigan House of Representatives in the 89th District from 2007-2010.

Arlan has lived in Olive Township with his wife Barb for nearly 30 years. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.

“As leader, I look forward to ensuring our caucus efforts will continue to be dedicated to improving our great state,” Meekhof said. “We have achieved much during the past four years, but the job isn’t done. We must continue to make Michigan competitive for new jobs and investment, ensure our students get a quality education that prepares them for success and reduce the burden of government on Michigan families and small businesses.”

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Meekhof welcomes local pastor to state Capitol

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LANSING—Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, welcomed the Rev. Don Van Slyke (right) to the Michigan Capitol on Thursday. Van Slyke is the pastor of Hudsonville Reformed Church in Hudsonville and delivered the invocation before Senate session. Also pictured is Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of Meekhof photos, visit www.SenatorArlanMeekhof.com. Click on Photowire under the Media Center tab.
 

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Meekhof: $1.5 million approved to fix local roads in West Michigan

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LANSING—State Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, announced two new road projects in West Michigan totaling $1.53 million.  This funding comes as part of the Priority Road Investment Program that was passed earlier this year by the Legislature.  

“I’m happy to see our community receive these funds to help repair our vital roadways,” said Meekhof. “These extra dollars will benefit our district’s transportation needs immediately while we try to find a long-term fix for Michigan’s crumbling roadways.”

Infrastructure improvements within the 30th District include $1.33 million allocated to make improvements to M-104 between Lake Avenue to the east and 124th Avenue to the west and $200,000 for repairs to Ottawa Beach Road between 106th Avenue to the east and 144th Avenue to the west.

The total statewide amount allocated for the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Priority Road Investment Program is $114,942,610.   This amount is part of more than $700 million extra general fund dollars allocated to fix Michigan roads.

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Senate approves Meekhof’s Pure Michigan Trails legislation

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LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof to encourage use of Michigan’s growing network of multi-use land and water trails was unanimously approved on Wednesday by the Senate.

“Michigan is blessed with wonderful water resources, and this package will help highlight the unique nature of water-based trails and how they add to our outdoor recreation options,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “By designating these trails as Pure Michigan water trails, we can help to open the door for residents and tourists to these great trail opportunities.

“In doing so, the Pure Michigan Trail initiative will help support Michigan tourism jobs and improve local economies by attracting more visitors to Michigan’s great outdoors.”

Meekhof sponsored Senate Bill 874 and co-sponsored the other four bills to update the current Michigan Trailways designation process to reflect recent recommendations from the Trailways Advisory Council. 

Senate Bills 873-877 would also allow for the designation of “Pure Michigan Trail Towns” that support multi-use trails and develop a process for the state to create and update a broad database of trail maps.

“Like many Michigan residents, I enjoy spending time on our lakes and in the outdoors. It is part of what I love about living and working in Michigan,” Meekhof said. “I am proud to be part of an effort to effectively use existing resources to promote the entire system of trails we have to offer Michigan families and out-of-state visitors.

“With more trails being added every year by both local communities and nonprofits – toward a goal of creating an integrated, statewide trail network – this legislation would keep trail maps updated and make them available for everyone to access on their smartphone or online.”

The other bills in the package were sponsored by Sens. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart; Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba; Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell; and John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

SBs 873-877 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Meekhof, local officials and business leaders attend bill signing for personal property tax reform

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LANSING — Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, (left) joins Michigan local officials, law enforcement and business leaders as Gov. Rick Snyder signs legislation to provide more stable local government revenue for essential services including police and fire protection as the punitive, job-killing personal property tax is phased out.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of Meekhof photos, visit www.SenatorArlanMeekhof.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.
 

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Meekhof supports balanced budget amendment

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LANSING—The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday approved a joint resolution, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, to officially petition Congress to call a constitutional convention for a federal balanced budget amendment.

“The debt burden America is leaving our grandchildren is shameful,” said Meekhof, R-Olive Township. “The national debt is currently $17.5 trillion, which is more than $55,000 per person. Yet, even though our staggering debt is more than our entire gross national product and expanding faster than the economy, leaders in Washington refuse to stop abusing the nation’s credit. A balanced budget amendment will force them to live within our means.”

Senate Joint Resolution V officially petitions Congress to take the necessary steps toward passing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would require an annual federal budget in which spending does not exceed existing revenues.

“Unlike the inaction in Washington D.C., leaders in Michigan made the tough choices and improved government efficiency to finally structurally balance the state’s budget – taking the state from a $1.5 billion deficit in 2011 to annual surpluses,” Meekhof said. “As a result of addressing our budget challenge, Michigan now has an economy that is creating jobs and a budget that enables us to invest more in key priorities, such as roads and education.”

Twenty-two states have already approved the resolution. Once adopted by 12 more states, it becomes binding on Congress. Any balanced budget amendment proposed by the convention would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states before taking effect.

“Every year, Michigan families, job providers and local governments balance their budgets and it’s time for the federal government to do the same,” said Meekhof. “Borrowing from China is not a plan; it’s a gimmick that is leaving an enormous burden for future generations. A balanced budget amendment will force Congress to cut up the national credit card; prioritize how it spends taxpayer dollars; and look at ways to reduce the size, scope and cost of the federal government.”

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Meekhof announces new Senate committee

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Meekhof announces new Senate committee

Lansing—Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive; Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township; Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor gathered at the Capitol on Thursday to announce a new Senate committee. They were joined by teachers from across Michigan and other interested parties.

The Michigan Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee has been created to examine the implementation and application of laws passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. This committee will also focus on instances in which the rights of individuals are being affected due to laws being violated or potentially misinterpreted.

Meekhof offered the following statement on the establishment of the committee:

“Due to legislation passed in 2012, workers in Michigan have a choice: join a union or don’t; membership cannot be a condition of employment. When the law was signed, some employees were under pre-existing contracts that contained union security clauses. Provisions were made for these contracts. The legislation also granted employees the right to opt out of union membership. Not granting these rights to any employee would be a direct violation of Michigan law.

“The first potential violation that will be addressed by the committee will be a group of at least seven teachers from various areas who have encountered stonewalling or intimidation when they exercised their right to opt of their Michigan Education Association membership. It has been alleged that this group of teachers was told they could not leave the union because it was not during the “August window.”

“Previously, the MEA has used the August window to limit the ability of their members to opt out of their union except during the month of August. These teachers were not bound by a union security clause, and impeding them from leaving the union was a violation of the Freedom to Work Act. The teachers in question have also allegedly been strong-armed with threats and intimidation, such as being told they would face forced collection of dues and adverse reflection on their credit scores. We have the responsibility to make certain our laws are being enforced and a duty to ensure the rights of citizens are not being infringed. This is why this committee has been established.

“Allowing tactics like those being employed by the MEA to stand sends the wrong message to Michigan workers. It sends the wrong message to Michigan job providers. It sends the wrong message to workers or businesses looking to locate in Michigan.

“Teachers and workers have every right to perform their jobs without intimidation and without onerous and illegal tactics that force them to become, or remain, members of a union.”

 

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Meekhof displays student art at Capitol office

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LANSING—Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, stands with a display of student artwork in his Lansing office. Meekhof established a program with Wendy Lemus, art teacher at Allendale Elementary School, to showcase local artwork in his office.

These pictures were created by kindergarteners Jaiden Cook and Kiersten Zaiser, first-graders Meckenzie Connelly, Avrie Jones, Ashton Fuller and Nina Abrahantes and second-graders Brandon Bredeweg and Sierra Weener.

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

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Meekhof hopeful ‘The Nuge’ will join ‘The Nerd’ at next year’s Tulip Time Festival

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LANSING — Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof announced today that his office has talked to Ted Nugent about visiting the Tulip Time Festival, but that the hard-rocker will be unable to attend due to his current nationwide tour.

Meekhof’s outreach came after comments by Nugent last month about the Pure Michigan campaign that included a remark that no one comes to Michigan to go to the tulip festival.

“We recently talked to Ted about the Tulip Time Festival and tremendous impact it has on our economy,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “We invited Uncle Ted to visit Holland and see the festival, but he is busy on tour. I’m hopeful that next year he will join the governor at the Tulip Time Festival in an affair we could call: ‘The Nuge and The Nerd.’”

Meekhof said it was made clear to Nugent that the Tulip Time Festival regularly draws about 500,000 people from more than 45 states and 40 countries, and that the 8-day festival contributes an estimated at $10 million to the West Michigan economy.

“We are proud of the tulip festival; proud of West Michigan; proud of our Dutch heritage; and proud of our state,” Meekhof said. “We would also be proud to have the Motor City Madman visit the festival next year. I know that he would enjoy it and that his presence would help make the festival the most successful one ever.”

 

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Sponsor of Michigan’s worker freedom laws celebrates March 28 launch – A new day

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**Media Availability**

WHO:    Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, sponsor of Michigan’s historic worker freedom legislation

HOW:    For an interview or for comments, contact Sen. Meekhof via email at SenAMeekhof@senate.michigan.gov, by calling his office at 517-373-6920 or by contacting the Senator’s Chief of Staff Bob DeVries at 616-334-6710.

WHY:    March 28 marks the launch of Michigan’s landmark right-to-work laws, giving Michigan workers the right to individually choose whether they join a union. This historic legislation is already having a positive impact on the state’s business environment and has changed the way job creators view Michigan. However, in the 11th hour, union bosses and their Democrat allies are cutting long-term, sweetheart deals with local schools to extend union contracts. These desperate, anti-taxpayer tactics hamstring schools and their ability to make future decisions, negatively impacting the education of our children.

“Today is a new day for the Great Lakes State, and with the launch of worker freedom, our message to the nation and the world is: ‘Michigan is open for business,’” Meekhof said.

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Sen. Meekhof attacks Democrat 11th-hour tactics to undermine worker freedom

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LANSING—Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, sponsor of Michigan’s historic worker freedom legislation that was signed into law last December, expressed outrage on Tuesday at the hypocrisy of statements by House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, defending 11th-hour actions by union bosses and Democrat officials to circumvent the onset of the state’s Workplace Fairness and Equality Act on March 28.

“Last year, I was proud to sponsor and work with Governor Snyder and legislative leaders to pass Michigan’s historic worker freedom legislation, which in a few weeks will be the law of the land in the Great Lakes State,” Meekhof said. “I’m also proud of what we accomplished through that landmark bill — choices for workers and their families, greater accountability for unions and a more competitive economic environment for the state of Michigan.

“Unfortunately, weeks before the onset of Michigan’s worker freedom laws, in communities and schools across the state, Democrat public officials and labor leaders are engaging in 11th-hour negotiations to extend existing contracts or sign new long-term union contracts — hamstringing the future ability of school officials to protect the education of our kids.

“I say this directly to Representative Greimel and his fellow Democrats: Put an end to the hypocrisy, desperation tactics and the games you’re playing with the future of our communities and our students. Instead, I invite you to stand with us to oppose these long-term, sweetheart union contracts that jeopardize Michigan’s economic future and irresponsibly put the future of our schools and communities — as well as our taxpayers, parents and students — at risk.”

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Meekhof honors Unity Christian boys soccer team

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LANSING—Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof on Thursday honored the Unity Christian High School boys soccer team with a special tribute at the Michigan Capitol for winning the 2012 Division II State Championship.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to congratulate the coaches and every member of the Unity Christian team for their triumphant season,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “These talented student athletes worked hard and with dedication to earn a third state championship in six years. It was the direct result of the players’ commitment to each other and the team and the leadership of their head coach. Their accomplishment – and the honorable and unselfish manner in which they earned it – has brought great pride to their school and their entire community.”

Unity Christian defeated Petoskey High School 3-0 in the Division II state title game in November. The victory earned the Crusaders their third boys soccer state championship in six years. The team also claimed championships in 2007 and 2009.

The Crusaders finished with a record of 25-2, including 10 straight wins to close the season – outscoring their opponents 37-5.

Meekhof presented the special tribute to head coach Randy Heethuis at the beginning of Senate session on Thursday. It is signed by Sen. Meekhof, Reps. Joe Haveman and Roger Victory and Gov. Rick Snyder.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph of Meekhof and the Unity Christian team is available by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorArlanMeekhof.com. Click on the Photowire tab.

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Sen. Meekhof to hold town hall meetings on transportation funding

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LANSING—Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, announced today that he will hold town hall meetings in February and March to discuss transportation funding.

The Feb. 26 meeting will be held in Spring Lake with Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, and the March 19 event will be in Jenison with Rep. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville.

“I support the idea of improving our transportation infrastructure, because the safety of our families and the health of our economy both rely on quality roads and efficient ports,” Meekhof said. “I am holding these town halls to hear directly from the people about the best way to fix and maintain our infrastructure before we commit to a long-term solution.”

The town hall meetings are open to residents of the 30th Senate District.

Date                               Time                           Location    

Tuesday, Feb. 26             7 to 8 p.m.                  Spring Lake District Library
                                                                           123 E. Exchange St., Spring Lake
                                                                            (with Rep. Price)

Tuesday, March 19          7 to 8 p.m.                  Georgetown Township Hall
                                                                            1515 Baldwin St., Jenison
                                                                             (with Rep. Victory)

For more information, residents may contact Meekhof’s office toll-free at 1-866-305-2130 or via email at: SenAMeekhof@senate.michigan.gov.  Residents unable to attend may also write Meekhof at: Sen. Arlan Meekhof; P.O. Box 30036; Lansing, MI 48909-7536.

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Meekhof supports increased funding for education

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LANSING—After listening to Gov. Rick Snyder’s presentation of his proposed Fiscal Year 2014 state budget on Thursday, Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, issued the following statement: 

“The governor’s budget is a positive plan that builds on the accomplishments of the past two years. We now have a fiscally sound budget and an economy that is creating jobs.

“I strongly support the governor’s plan to increase funding for our schools and universities and look forward to working with him to make his proposal a reality.

“While I also support the idea of increasing access to health care and improving our transportation infrastructure, I think we must look at all options before we commit to a solution that could impact our budget for years to come.

“We have made great strides in just two years, but we still face economic and budgetary challenges. I will work to ensure that we once again pass a budget that improves both the lives of our residents and the economy of our state.”

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Meekhof’s freedom-to-choose bill sent to governor

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LANSING—Freedom-to-choose legislation sponsored by state Sen. Arlan Meekhof to ensure workplace fairness and make Michigan more competitive for jobs is on its way to the governor to be signed.

“By passing freedom-to-choose legislation, we are announcing to the world that Michigan is ‘open-for-business’ and open to new opportunities,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “Ensuring fairness and equality in the workplace is both pro-employee and pro-employer. It will help build a strong economy with more jobs and empower Michigan families to decide what to do with their hard-earned dollars.

“Freedom-to-choose will enhance worker rights and make Michigan more attractive to new investment and jobs, and I am proud to lead the effort to bring these benefits to Michigan.”

Meekhof’s measure, Senate Bill 116, prohibits private sector workers from being required to join or pay dues to a labor organization as a condition of employment. House Bill 4003 provides the same protections for public employees, except police and fire fighters covered under binding arbitration.

“This reform gives each and every worker in our state the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to be a member of a union,” Meekhof said. “Michigan workers will finally have the freedom to associate rather than a mandate. By ensuring this choice, we allow workers to make whatever decision they determine to be best for their families. For many that choice may be to stay with or join a union, but for some it may not be. Now, both choices will be protected.”

Michigan is the 24th state to pass freedom-to-choose legislation. Indiana became the 23rd state in February. Since that time, nearly 100 businesses have told Indiana officials that the workplace fairness law will factor into their decision on where to locate projects.

“Workplace fairness laws have already had a positive impact in neighboring Indiana and have a long, proven record of creating jobs in many other states,” Meekhof said. “In the end, this is about standing up for worker freedoms and doing everything we can to energize our economy so that we have jobs to support today’s Michigan workers and those of generations yet to come.”

SB 116 and HB 4003 now head to the governor to be signed into law.

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Sen. Meekhof announces Dec. 14 office hours

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LANSING — State Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, announced that he will hold office hours in Allendale in December.

The senator will be available to meet with constituents at the following location and time:

Friday, Dec. 14
7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Murphy’s Restaurant
4963 Lake Michigan Drive
Allendale

“Input from citizens is vital to the legislative process, and I hope to visit with constituents at my office hours,” Meekhof said. “I look forward to meeting with residents of west Michigan, discussing their concerns and answering any questions they may have about state government.”

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Meekhof’s office toll-free at 1-866-305-2130.

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