<![CDATA[Rep. Thomas F. Stallworth IIIs' Site Feed]]> http://007.housedems.com <![CDATA[Roads Plan Would Raise Road Funds, Protect Schools, Communities, Families]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/roads-plan-would-raise-road-funds-protect-schools-communities-families <p>LANSING &#8212; House Democratic leader <strong>Tim Greimel</strong> (D-Auburn Hills), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee vice chairwoman <strong>Marilyn Lane</strong> (D-Fraser) and Rep. <strong>Thomas F. Stallworth III</strong> (D-Detroit) said today that the roads plan approved by the Legislature is a win for taxpayers, schools and local communities. Under the plan, voters would decide on a ballot proposal that would raise the state sales and use tax from 6 to 7 percent to benefit public schools and eliminate the sales tax on motor fuel. If that passes, companion bills also take effect including those giving tax relief to middle- and low-income families, increasing funding for at-risk schools and increasing fees on heavy trucks.</p> <p>&#8220;For the first time in four years, we were able to forge an agreement that offers voters the option to generate the revenue we need to finally fix and maintain our roads, while also giving families much needed tax relief, and increasing funding to our schools and local governments,” said Greimel. “This is a victory for Michigan residents.”</p> <p>The ballot proposal would go before voters in May 2015. If approved by voters, it would raise $1.3 billion over four years by eliminating the sales tax on gas and moving to a tax on gas based on the wholesale price, while sending more, constitutionally protected, money to schools and local governments who would otherwise lose money because of the elimination of the sales tax at the pump. Upon voter approval, the following legislative action would also take effect:</p> <ul> <li>Full restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) taking it back to 20 percent of the federal credit, an increase of $277 million.</li> <li>An additional $300 million would go into the School Aid Fund and that funding would be protected under the constitution so that it would only go for PreK-12 schools through community colleges.</li> <li>$40 million for at-risk schools.</li> <li>$94 million in additional funding for local units of government.</li> <li>Additional funding for mass transit.</li> <li>Increase fees on trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds, and requiring warranties on road work.</li> <li>Commit to hiring more minority and women workers in the construction industry.</li> </ul> <p>“This plan finally addresses our road and infrastructure needs and it does so in a responsible way that holds schools, communities harmless while generating some tax relief for middle-class and low-income families,” said Lane. “Voters can be assured that this ballot proposal is a straight-up plan to fix and maintain our roads. By also protecting our schools and communities we’ve created a plan that will keep our state and local economies growing.”</p> <p>“By including my legislation to increase hiring of women and minorities in the construction industry, we ensure that Michigan workers will benefit from the road work created by this new roads funding,” said Stallworth, chairman of the Detroit Caucus and Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. “Taxpayers can vote for this ballot proposal knowing that they will voting to create new jobs for their family members, friends and neighbors, as well as fix our roads.”</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Thomas Stallworth III Farewell Address]]> http://007.housedems.com/multimedia/videos/rep-thomas-stallworth-iii-farewell-address <p>Rep. Thomas F. Stallworth III bids the Michigan House of Representatives a fond farewell.</p> <![CDATA[Stallworth, Banks Announce Change in Detroit Caucus Leadership]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/stallworth-banks-announce-change-in-detroit-caucus-leadership <p>State Representative Thomas Stallworth III (D-Detroit), chairman of the Detroit Caucus, and state Rep. Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods) announced today that following the start of the New Year, the Detroit Caucus will see a change in leadership; Banks will take over as chairman.</p> <p>“It has been an honor to serve as chairman of the Detroit Caucus, and as I turn the chair over to Rep. Banks next year, I am confident the caucus will see a smooth transition,” said Stallworth. “Rep. Banks is a hardworking legislator, and I have no doubt that he will be a successful chairman and great leader for the Detroiters we represent.”</p> <p>Rep. Banks currently serves on the Local Government, Criminal Justice and Military and Veterans Affairs committees, and has a 100 percent attendance and voting record in the House.</p> <p>Banks said, “Rep. Stallworth has set a high bar to follow as chairman of the Detroit Caucus, and I am ready for the challenge. I care deeply about Detroit and its people, and I look forward to representing them in my new capacity next year. I look forward to working closely with my fellow Detroit colleagues to ensure that our great city is well represented.”</p> <![CDATA[Stallworth Condemns Continued Water Shut-offs]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/stallworth-condemns-continued-water-shut-offs <p>DETROIT - State Representative Thomas Stallworth III (D-Detroit) said today that the continuing water shut-offs and the lengthy wait people are enduring to get their water turned back on is unacceptable. Based on the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department&#8217;s (DWSD) own self-reporting, approximately 35 percent of those who were shut off in May did not have service restored after 48 hours and there is no further information available on the status of those households.</p> <p>&#8220;These water shut-offs expose our community to contagious diseases and, in the worst case scenario, epidemics resulting from families living in extended unsanitary conditions,&#8221; said Stallworth. &#8220;This is not an issue of whether DWSD has right to get paid for services rendered. It&#8217;s an issue regarding their responsibility to protect the larger community in the course of conducting their business.&#8221;</p> <p>Based on the potential health risks and the need for clean drinking water, Gleaners has begun to deliver thousands of bottles of water to affected families. Further, the United Nations has announced plans to formally intervene based on the pervasive human rights violations.</p> <p>Stallworth said the DWSD practices are making the shut-off problems worse. The DWSD&#8217;s shut-off practices do not require contact with the resident before discontinuing service. The utility also does not routinely collect information on if households include elderly members or children.</p> <p>&#8220;Michigan&#8217;s Child Protection Act and Adult Protection Act for the elderly define the absence of water as environmental neglect,&#8221; said Stallworth. &#8220;Y??et we are allowing water to be shut off without any knowledge of who is living in the home, and there is no follow-up being done on accounts that have not been turned back on.&#8221;</p> <p>In contrast, there is a state mandatory reporting requirement for child and elderly care providers in situations of abuse and neglect. In such situations where a resolution is not immediate, children and the elderly may be removed from the home.</p> <p>&#8220;The state has an obligation to ensure the health and safety of our citizens,&#8221; said Stallworth. &#8220;Much more accountability and oversight is needed regarding shut-off practices for water. Every effort should be made to be aware of the risks that are being created when water is turned off and the appropriate agencies notified, so that health problems and other dangerous situations can be avoided.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Stallworth Says Detroit Water Shut-offs Should End Until Customer Service is Better]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/stallworth-says-detroit-water-shut-offs-should-end-until-customer-service-is-better <p>DETROIT - State Representative <strong>Thomas F. Stallworth III</strong> (D-Detroit) today said that water shut-offs for delinquent bills need to end until the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is better equipped to restore water service in a more timely manner once the past due bills are paid.</p> <p>&#8220;Families are being told that after they have paid their water bill they will have to wait two to three days before water service is restored, and that they must be available over a 24-hour period to meet the water department crew. A working parent can&#8217;t afford to take a day off work to meet the water crew,&#8221; said Stallworth. &#8220;The water department is playing hardball and refusing to work with people who are trying to pay their bills and get their service restored, and that is unacceptable and unnecessary.&#8221;</p> <p>Recent weeks have seen an increase in water shut-offs in the city of Detroit as the water department tries to collect some of the millions of dollars it is owed in unpaid water bills. Customers receive a notice that their water will be shut off, and then when they try to call and deal with their bill, they face wait times of at least an hour and lengthy waiting periods for restoration.</p> <p>&#8220;Shutting off water to thousands of customers in the middle of summer without being able to promptly handle calls and restore service is an injustice to our community,&#8221; said Stallworth. &#8220;I can understand that past due bills have to be paid, but the water department should have a streamlined process in place so that once a bill is paid, the water is turned back on quickly. A home without water service is dangerous for a family because food spoils and sanitary conditions deteriorate, and when this happens in the hot summer months, it&#8217;s even worse. The department needs to act quicker to restore water service before we end up with a public health emergency in the city.&#8221;</p> <p>Stallworth said that water services should be brought under the auspices of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to prevent situations like this from ever arising again.</p> <p>&#8220;I am going to work hard to convince my legislative colleagues that water services should fall under MPSC oversight, which would protect consumers from unfair shut-off practices, unreasonable rate increases and poor customer service practices,&#8221; said Stallworth. &#8220;Just because you might be behind on your water bill does not mean you should be treated poorly and forced to endure a lengthy waiting period when you do settle up for water service to be restored. The water department announced recently that they had more crews to do shut-offs. Now they need to find more crews to restore service just as quickly as it was shut off.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Stallworth on House approval of road kill legislation:]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/rep-stallworth-on-house-approval-of-road-kill-legislation <p>LANSING - &#8220;I&#8217;m elated that SB 613 (taking possession of road kill) passed the House today. Given the number of urgent meetings held by State Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), it appears this has been a greater priority than protecting human lives by improving regulation on security guards. Now that we&#8217;ve taken care of road kill issues, maybe we can get movement on implementing required training for security guards and avoid any further loss of life.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Hobbs and Stallworth Pressure Senator to Move Security Guard Legislation]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/hobbs-and-stallworth-pressure-senator-to-move-security-guard-legislation <p>LANSING –- State Representatives <strong>Rudy Hobbs</strong> (D-Southfield) and <strong>Thomas F. Stallworth III</strong> (D-Detroit) today continued their push to implement new training requirements for security guards as state Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart) sits on new drafts of the legislation. The lawmakers urge Booher to quickly introduce and work on passing a package of bills they have been working on together for months, but are now experiencing significant delays.</p> <p>Following a number of tragic incidents involving interactions between the public and untrained security guards that resulted in loss of life, including two separate occurrences this year, Hobbs and Stallworth introduced legislation (House Bills 5333-4) in February that would establish basic training requirements for security guards. The bills received immediate attention and praise from the community, the media and their colleagues.</p> <p>“This political holdup unnecessarily places more lives at risk,” said Hobbs. “But I assure you, Rep. Stallworth and I are committed to getting this done. It’s not often in Lansing you have so many voices at the table all agreeing on the problem and the solution.”</p> <p>Since introducing the bills, Hobbs and Stallworth teamed up with state Senators Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) and Booher, forming a legislative work group designed to quickly and effectively address the public’s growing concerns about untrained guards. The group spent the early part of their spring meeting with various stakeholders and holding thorough discussions on their bills and the best approach. Booher, who has been working on an update to the public act regulating security guard agencies for over two years, agreed to incorporate the new training requirements as part of his larger overhaul. After the group of lawmakers and stakeholders arrived at a general consensus on the overhaul and training requirements in early April, the four-bill package was expected to be introduced before summer recess – but that window of opportunity is quickly closing. Now, the group led by Booher remains at a standstill despite an overwhelming desire from the public and the industry to see this accomplished.</p> <p>Michigan is one of seven states that currently requires no training for security guards, even for those who are armed. While the company that hires a guard must be licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, each individual guard the company employs is not licensed and is not required to go through training before engaging with the public.</p> <p>“There is no acceptable reason for our process to drag on this long after the number of lives that have been lost. With each passing day, Michigan’s guards and the general public are unnecessarily put at risk due to the lack of these basic requirements,” said Stallworth. “Every day I go home to my community and have to explain why my Republican colleague in the Senate does not have the same sense of urgency as Hobbs and I to get this done. I’m calling on Senator Booher to make protecting our families a priority.”</p> <p>The four-bill package the legislators intend to introduce will amend Public Act 330 of 1968 to remove private security guards and guard agencies and place them and their new regulatory requirements in the Occupational Code. The other bills amend the State License Fee Act to include and increase fees on the industry to help pay for oversight, and another amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to reflect the changes made in regulatory requirements and provide recourse for not following the new requirements.</p> <p>By moving security guards out of their current act and into the Occupational Code, where most other professions and industries are regulated, there will be increased oversight on security guard companies by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Doing this will help protect both the security guards and the public at large, by ensuring that all security guards are properly trained and equipped to handle multiple situations that can occur at public facilities, retail stores and businesses.</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Stallworth Speaks on the Detroit Grand Bargain Bills]]> http://007.housedems.com/multimedia/videos/rep-stallworth-speaks-on-the-detroit-grand-bargain-bills <p>Rep. Thomas F. Stallworth III rises in support of the bi-partisan effort involved with the Grand Bargain Bills for Detroit. This is a unique point in time to effect individuals lives. The package of bills provides $194.8 million to help the City pension systems, and helps to expedite Detroit out of bankruptcy.</p> <![CDATA[House Approves Detroit Reps' Bills to Move Detroit Forward From Bankruptcy]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/house-approves-detroit-reps-bills-to-move-detroit-forward-from-bankruptcy <p>LANSING - State Representative and Detroit Caucus Chairman <strong>Thomas F. Stallworth</strong> (D-Detroit) today joined with his colleagues Reps. <strong>Fred Durhal</strong> (D-Detroit) and <strong>Alberta Tinsley-Talabi</strong> (D-Detroit) to vote in support of a package of House bills, including ones they sponsored, to move the city of Detroit out of bankruptcy. The bills are part of the Grand Bargain agreed to by Gov. Rick Snyder that would have the state contribute $198.4 million to lessen the impact on city retiree pensions, give city leaders a seat on the oversight commission that will monitor the city for a period of time and preserve the Detroit Institute of Arts, which will also contribute money to the Grand Bargain.</p> <p>&#8220;With a seat at the table for city council, a pathway out of oversight and the a plan that lessens the cuts on retiree pensions, these Grand Bargain bills are the best options for Detroit, its residents and my constituents,&#8221; said Stallworth, sponsor of House Bill 5574, which provides a lump-sum payment of $194.8 million from the state to provide funds for Detroit&#8217;s pension systems as part of the bankruptcy settlement. &#8220;This Grand Bargain is critical to the survival of Detroit, and ultimately the entire state of Michigan. The alternative to this package would be to sentence retirees who worked hard for the city to a life of poverty by drastically cutting their pensions, and I could not be a part of that. These bill are the best deal and we need to move them through the Legislature and to the governor to be signed into law.&#8221;</p> <p>HB 5573, sponsored by Tinsley-Talabi, transfers money from the tobacco settlement fund to the state&#8217;s Budget Stabilization Fund to pay the state back for the lump-sum payment. HB 5575, sponsored by Durhal, creates an authority through which the state would disburse the funds to Detroit&#8217;s retirement systems.</p> <p>&#8220;In a situation like this, any plan we agree to will disappoint someone, so my goal was to find a solution that would give as much protection to retirees as possible while helping the city provide necessary services to its residents,&#8221; said Tinsley-Talabi. &#8220;This compromise plan does that, and I am glad that I can be a part of this plan to move Detroit forward by sponsoring this bill.&#8221;</p> <p>In addition to appropriating the state&#8217;s contribution to funding the Grand Bargain, the bills passed today also set up an oversight commission designed to see that the city is on track and meeting its obligations. Appointees to the commission include the mayor of the city of Detroit or his appointee, and the president of the Detroit City Council or their appointee. The city will have a say in its governance during this time, and there is also a pathway out of oversight.</p> <p>&#8220;My city is in a difficult spot, and I believe that by joining my colleagues and approving these bills today, we have done our best for the retirees and residents of Detroit,&#8221; said Durhal. &#8220;The important fact is that there is now a plan to get Detroit back on track and delivering services to my constituents and all Detroit residents. A compromise doesn&#8217;t give everyone what they want, but this compromise gives us better than the alternative, and that&#8217;s why I am a bill sponsor and voting yes.&#8221;</p> <p>The bill package, House Bills 5566-5575, now go to the Senate for consideration.</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Stallworth on Detroit’s Grand Bargain:]]> http://007.housedems.com/news/article/rep-stallworth-on-detroit-s-grand-bargain <p>“On Monday, ballots were sent to Detroit pensioners as part of the Grand Bargain plan to settle Detroit’s bankruptcy. With these ballots, Detroiters are being asked to make a difficult decision regarding their pension funds: to accept the Grand Bargain or let the case continue in court. Sadly, instead of carefully informing pensioners about the important decision they were about to make, confusing information was sent along with the ballots, leaving many Detroiters with unanswered questions.</p> <p>“I am calling on the courts to ensure that those who received ballots will have appropriate outlets to have their questions answered before the voting deadline, and I also invite pensioners to contact my office with any and all questions they might have. Committee members have heard the concerns of the public and I&#8217;m optimistic they can be addressed. Assuming the major issues have been addressed, I believe the grand bargain will provide the best alternative for retirees.</p> <p>“I want to ensure all Detroiters that I will continue working hard over the weekend to resolve any issues with the Grand Bargain regarding collective bargaining agreements and governance, and to ensure the funding associated with the Grand Bargain, designated by my bill – House Bill 5574 ? is secure.</p> <p>“This Grand Bargain is critical to the survival of Detroit, and ultimately the entire state of Michigan. We cannot sentence our hardworking retirees to a life of poverty by so drastically cutting their pensions as proposed in the alternative.”</p>