Sen. Mike Kowall comments on State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, offered the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address:

“One of the governor’s goals has been to establish Michigan as a leader in driverless vehicle technology, and I was delighted to hear him reiterate the importance of this auto sector tonight.

“I have been at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to autonomous vehicles. With the governor signing two of my autonomous vehicles bills and two others into law last month, guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation have been modernized, and Michigan will remain at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

“The governor emphasized the need for a strong infrastructure, including the importance of upgrading the Soo Locks. The numbers surrounding the Soo Locks are staggering. Billions of dollars of steel and other materials are shipped through the locks each year, and more than 650,000 thousand jobs depend on the iron ore shipments through the locks.

“Unfortunately, only one of the four Soo Locks — the Poe Lock — is large enough to accommodate the modern vessels that commonly traverse the Great Lakes. It is of critical importance that the locks be upgraded.

“Another pressing concern is cyber security. The state of Michigan blocks more than 650,000 cyber attacks daily. In addition, the state blocks 2.5 million web browser attacks, 5.2 million intrusions, 79.5 million network scams, and 179.5 million http-based attacks.

“In response, the governor has established October as Cyber Security Awareness Month to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empower residents to be safer and more secure online. Because of this and other initiatives, Michigan is a national leader in cyber security, and we must maintain this leadership.

“Finally, Michigan must pursue public-private partnerships. There are 33 states, including all the states in the Great Lakes region, that have some level of legislation approving public-private partnership. Similar legislation in Michigan will not only give us an opportunity to gain project delivery experience by authorizing a limited number of projects, but keep Michigan competitive nationally as well as within our region.

“I am encouraged by the governor’s address tonight and look forward to working to accelerate Michigan’s recovery.”

Note: Audio remarks from Kowall will be available for broadcast from this website. Click Audio under the Media Center tab, above.