Jones introduces Patty Birkholz recreation passport bill

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Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Wednesday introduced legislation to honor of the service and legacy of the late Sen. Patty Birkholz by renaming the state’s recreation passport fee in her name. Birkholz passed away in May after a short battle with cancer.

“Enjoying our great outdoors is part of what makes Michigan such a great place to live, work and raise a family,” said Jones, R- Grand Ledge. “No one understood that more than Patty Birkholz. She was a fierce advocate for Michigan’s natural resources and environment, and it would be a fitting tribute to Patty’s lifetime of work and dedication to our outdoors that we name the program that engages people with Michigan’s natural beauty in her honor.”

Jones’ bill would rename the current Michigan Recreation Passport Fee the “Senator Patty Birkholz Recreation Passport Fee” as a testament to Birkholz’s efforts to protect Michigan’s natural resources and ensure Michigan’s state parks were safe and accessible for generations to come.

Birkholz was first elected to the Michigan Legislature in 1996. She served in the House from 1997 to 2002 and in the Senate from 2003 to 2010.

Upon leaving the Senate, Birkholz was appointed director of the Office of the Great Lakes by Gov. Rick Snyder and as the Michigan representative to the Great Lakes Commission.

“It will be hard for anyone to match Patty’s contributions to our state,” Jones said. “In addition to the state parks passport program, she led the effort to have Michigan join the Great Lakes basin compact and enact significant laws to protect our waters — including ballast water standards to prevent the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes.”