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A View from the Capitol

State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, shares his thoughts from Lansing.

From My Desk in Lansing

Lansing has been quiet over the previous month as we get to spend more time in our districts. But this just gives me a chance to spend more time in places where I am usually unable to visit while being your voice in Lansing.

Summer seems to be flying by this year as we are facing some of the hottest weather in recent memory. With the hot weather comes an opportunity for us to enjoy our waterfront community and spend some time at Lake St. Clair Metropark or . For boat owners, the weather offers even more of a reason to be out on the water. I, for one, don’t mind the hot temperature but am amazed by the number of 90+ degree days.

This is always a special time of the year as families make their way across the state to enjoy everything that Michigan has to offer. As much fun as it can be to go up north, we have had some wonderful events right here in our own backyard such as the Italian Festival in Mount Clemens, Lake St. Clair Appreciation Day, Aquapalooza and Harrison Township’s 185th birthday.

With Harrison Township’s birthday also comes the birthday of the United States.  We are very fortunate to live in this country and enjoy all of the basic freedoms that we may take for granted from time to time.  The Fourth of July has always been a reminder to me of how great this country has been and will be moving forward!

For those that have been waiting for the series of water tests and DNA profiling that we had done on Lake St. Clair in the summer of 2011, your wait is over.  We will be giving a detailed presentation on the results early next month.  Details are listed later in this column.


Independence Day

On July 4, we honored the 236th birthday of the land of the free, the United States of America.

This time of the year is always a special one for me, because it reminds me of the millions of people who have come to this country seeking a chance at the American Dream. My father is a perfect example of this as he came here from Italy in the 1950s. He saw Detroit as the land of opportunity. Give him a shovel and off he went, fulfilling his American Dream.

But does this idea of the American Dream still exist today? Some may say that it does not or times have changed. I say that the American Dream is what you make it. For those seeking the best education for their children; an opportunity to move up the social ladder; as well as the basic freedoms that we may sometimes take for granted, the United States is still the place for you!

Michigan Fireworks Safety Act

On Dec. 15, 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 256 of 2011 otherwise known as the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act. This was the first summer since it was enacted and was met with a bit of controversy.

This legislation allows for the purchase and use of commercial-grade recreational fireworks in the state of Michigan. For many years now, we have lost state revenue by not allowing the sale of fireworks in Michigan. Residents who wanted to obtain anything more powerful than sparklers would simply drive to Indiana or Ohio. Why would we not allow our constituents the opportunity to purchase fireworks here?

The enabling of our freedom is not the issue. The controversy comes when those that are not considerate of others are expending fireworks in dangerous situations or at off hours of the night when people are trying to sleep. Fireworks and celebrating during the summer dates back to 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. But with that comes responsibility.

PA 256 also keeps control of regulating fireworks with the local municipalities.  A local unit of government may enact an ordinance regulating the ignition, discharge, and use of consumer fireworks. However, an ordinance enacted under this subsection shall not regulate the use of consumer fireworks on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday. This means that a local municipality can regulate the use of fireworks for more than 330 days of the year.

This summer was the first season with the new legislation in place and the response was met with a tremendous amount of patriotism. And this year saw no lessen enthusiasm amongst residents. Now, let’s not forget our common sense and consideration for others as we celebrate our freedoms.

From what I understand the bill's original sponsor is considering some refinements to the original bill...stay tuned.

Festa Italiana 2012

From July 20-22, Festa Italiana 2012, converted historic downtown Mount Clemens into “Little Italy.” This all took place on Macomb Street where tens of thousands came to celebrate Italian-American food and culture.

The festival was praised as a success and Mount Clemens was a very gracious host. It's not every day there is a festival that is this authentic nearby. I am personally hoping that it will be back at the same venue next year.

Harrison Township’s 185th birthday

On July 22, Harrison Township celebrated its 185th birthday at Tucker Park.  This was a wonderful family-friendly event that offered township residents an opportunity to rejoice with their neighbors. Harrison Township residents have always taken great deal of pride in their community. With the hard work and dedication shown in the first 185 years, I have no doubt that the community will only continue to prosper! Here’s to the next 185 years!

Lake St. Clair Appreciation Day and Aquapalooza

What a great time this was! On July 25, we celebrated Lake St. Clair Appreciation Day and later in the week (July 28 and July 29) we celebrated Aquapalooza.

This was the opportunity that waterfront residents (and all boat owners for that matter) have been waiting for. Several days of fun out on the water! Residents came out in droves for both events. 

This is just one more reason for us to be thankful that we call Harrison Township and St. Clair Shores home.

Water Quality Town Hall Update

I am a big believer in science. For so long we have been pointing the finger at each other trying to lay blame on the water pollution. Last year I “encouraged” the DEQ director to do extensive tests on Lake St. Clair. The agency did and last fall we received and reported partial results in a town hall at the St. Clair Shores Library. Now, we have received the DNA profiling and want to report the results to you. Please join me for a town hall on water quality. 

The town hall will be on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 from 6-7:30 p.m. at MacRay Harbor Event Room located at 30675 North River Road in Harrison Township.  There will be updates regarding the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s water testing from Lake St. Clair during the summer 2011. Your attendance is highly encouraged!

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