Sen. Kowall honors West Bloomfield Township Public Library

LANSING — The West Bloomfield Township Public Library was honored by the Michigan Senate Thursday, said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, who presented the library director with a special Senate tribute.

The library recently received the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries.

“It was a privilege to highlight the tremendous achievement of the West Bloomfield Township Public Library and its staff,” Kowall said. “They deserve recognition for the good work they do.”

Clara N. Bohrer, library director, and community member, Cameron Thomas-Shah, were presented the award at a White House ceremony late last year by first lady Michelle Obama.

At the award presentation, Obama stated, “You are an integral part of your community … as you strive every day to meet the needs of the people who walk through your doors. And that’s particularly true in time of challenge and crisis, when you offer vital services, stepping up to be there for folks when they need you the most.”

West Bloomfield was one of only five libraries in the United States to receive the 2010 national medal. The medal is given to libraries and museums that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and inclusiveness, which exceed accepted standards for community outreach.

“Our great country has more than 123,000 public, school, academic and special libraries and only five, including the West Bloomfield Township Public Library, were chosen for this prestigious award,” Kowall said.

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Editor’s note: A photograph of Sen. Kowall recognizing the West Bloomfield Township Public Library is available by clicking on the photo above, or on the senator’s photowire at: www.senate.michigan.gov/senators/photowire.asp?District=15.

Senate panel approves measure banning ergonomic mandates

LANSING — Legislation to ban administrative rules mandating workplace ergonomics rules in Michigan was approved Wednesday by a Senate panel, said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake.

The Senate Economic Development Committee, chaired by Kowall, approved Senate Bill 20. The measure is expected to be taken up soon by the full Senate and sent to the House of Representatives.

“Job providers cannot afford to have these burdensome regulations in place,” Kowall said. “Right now we have to focus on making Michigan an attractive place to do business, so job providers stay or locate here and offer our residents good-paying jobs.”

California, which just passed Michigan in unemployment rates, is currently the only state with separate mandatory workplace ergonomics rules. Ergonomics standards are indicated in the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration guidelines and companies must operate under these rules. The state of Washington previously mandated workplace ergonomics rules, but the law was overturned by voters there.

According to Charlie Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business organization, Michigan having its own set of ergonomics standards does not “throw out the welcome mat to businesses.”

Studies show that state ergonomic rules could cost Michigan employers an extra $400 to $500 million.

“I’m glad my colleagues on the panel approved this vital legislation,” Kowall said. “I look forward to this proposal becoming law and I’m sure Michigan businesses are anxiously awaiting it too.”

Sen. Kowall makes free 2010 tax guides available

LANSING — To help ensure residents of the 15th Senate District have the most up-to-date information when preparing their taxes, Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, has made the latest Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide available on his website.

A reference for the 2010 tax year, the guide is designed to help residents prepare their tax forms.

“Filing your taxes is confusing enough without the tax laws changing every year,” Kowall said. “I hope that this free tax preparation guide makes the tax filing process easier for residents across the 15th Senate District.”

The booklet contains information on Michigan’s taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long taxpayer’s calendar with reference to important tax dates and filing deadlines. Also inside are copies of the most commonly used tax forms, as well as addresses and phone numbers for obtaining state agency tax information assistance.

Residents of the 15th Senate District can obtain a free copy of the tax guide on Kowall’s website at: www.senatormikekowall.com. Anyone without Internet access can obtain a free copy by contacting Kowall’s office toll free at 1-866-301-6515.