Kowall: Safety improvements coming to busy intersection in White Lake Township

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mike Kowall announced Friday that due to safety concerns, the traffic signal at a busy intersection in White Lake Township will be modified to make left turns easier and safer.

The lawmaker said that after the modification, left turns from Highland Road (M-59) at Teggerdine Road will be allowed only under a protected left-turn signal.

Kowall’s office, in conjunction with White Lake Township Supervisor Greg Baroni and the White Lake Police Department, brought this issue to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC).

“As a public servant, my first concern is always the safety of those I represent,” said Kowall,
R-White Lake. “I am glad that state and local officials are working to solve this issue.”

MDOT, RCOC and White Lake Township will work together on the project, which is expected to begin soon and will be completed no later than mid-May.

Drivers will see changes at the intersection that will include opposing traffic completely stopped during the left-turn signal from Highland Road to Teggerdine Road.

Sen. Kowall welcomes retired Navy chaplain to Capitol to give Senate invocation

LANSING—State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, (left) welcomed retired Chief Religious Program Specialist Jeff Pustelak to the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday. Chaplain Pustelak gave the invocation before the start of the Senate session. Also welcoming Pustelak was Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township.

Note: Click the image for a print-quality version. This and other photos are also available by clicking Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Kowall: Lyon Township chosen over out-of-state sites for new investment, jobs

LANSING—State Sen. Mike Kowall congratulated Lyon Township and the Michigan Strategic Fund for securing an investment of $2 million and the creation of 39 new jobs in Oakland County.

“This is excellent news for the people of Lyon Township and the entire state,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “The decision by Hirata Corporation of America to expand their Wixom location into a larger facility in Lyon Township means more well-paying jobs for Michigan workers. It reflects the hard work we’ve done to turn around our economy and attract new investment.

“Congratulations to the local and state officials who worked together with the company to see this investment in Michigan come to fruition.”

Hirata Corporation designs and manufactures advanced robotic production facilities, primarily for the automotive and semiconductor industries.

As a result of choosing Lyon Township over competing sites in Indiana and Ontario, the company has been awarded a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Lyon Township has also offered support to the project in the form of a 12-year property tax abatement valued at $50,000.

The Michigan Business Development Program is designed to provide grants, loans or other assistance for highly competitive projects that create jobs and provide investment. Grants are performance-based with preference given to eligible businesses seeking to locate or expand in Michigan rather than in another state.

Gov. Snyder signs scrap metal bill into law

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2014

Contact: Dave Biswas

LANSING, Mich.— Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed into law a bill that provides tools to help police combat metal theft, an epidemic that puts Michiganders at risk and hurts businesses and communities, Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, said.

HB 4593, now Public Act 99 of 2014, includes reforms to make it more difficult for criminals to sell the materials, collecting information from scrap metal sellers at the point of sale to give law enforcement a much-needed paper trail. The bill also prohibits cash payment for scrap metal, and payment of more than $25 would be required to be mailed to an address listed on a valid form of identification for copper wiring and pipes, catalytic converters and air conditioners, some of the most commonly stolen materials.


Spinal Column: Legislation will cut down on scrap metal theft

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Scrap metal theft has become a pervasive problem in Michigan. Catalytic converters, air conditioning components and even sewer grates are stripped and sold. Residents in target areas have taken to fencing in air conditioning units on roofs to deter potential criminals.

In 2008, Michigan changed the law to crack down on scrap metal thieves. Secondhand and junk dealers were required to obtain the identification and thumbprints of individuals selling scrap metal and to maintain records of sale. In addition, the state enacted criminal penalties and civil fines and established guidelines for monetary damages suffered.

Even with the increased regulation and penalties in 2008, scrap metal theft continues to be a challenge for law enforcement. According to a 2012 study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Michigan ranked 10th in the nation for scrap metal theft insurance claims between 2009 and 2011.

A measure before the governor will further strengthen the law.

House Bill 4593 will require the following:

  • Payment by mail for all scrap metal purchases in excess of $25 by check, money order, electronic transfer, encrypted receipt or payment card. This applies to catalytic converters, air conditioners and copper wire.
  • For all scrap metal purchases, a digital photograph of the metal and the purchaser, along with the purchaser’s fingerprints, kept at the scrap yard where the purchase was made.
  • A state police database that will provide law enforcement with details of recent sales activity of scrap metal. Information directed to the reporting system will identify the product and quantity sold and the name and other identifying information. Penalties for not reporting information to the database will be $500 for a first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $5,000 for the third offense.

The purpose of this legislation is to create a paper trail.  A stipulation in the measure requires the State Police on October 1, 2016 to report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of the law. This will give lawmakers the ability to review how it’s working and make any necessary changes.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. He serves the citizens of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.