During my four years in the Senate I have had 25 of my bills signed into law by the Governor. Theses laws will help strengthen Michigan's economy, improve education, protect our children, and provide for proper management of the environment. The following is a sample of these new laws. For a complete list of my bills that have been signed into law please visit .
  • Increased the number of Agricultural Renaissance Zones to 20. This economic tool has helped local businesses create hundreds of jobs in West Michigan.*

  • Exempted research and development grants to job providers from being taxed. This change in the law will spur new investment in energy and technology sector.*

  • Updated the Neighborhood Enterprise Act which is a local economic development tool designed to strengthen urban neighborhoods.*

  • Updated the right to food process law to provide protection against nuisance lawsuits against local job providers. Food processing is a critical component of the rural economy in Michigan.*

  • Increased funding for the MSU extension and experiment station.*

  • Voted for increased funding for the life sciences corridor in West Michigan that will help diversify the state's economy.

  • Voted to create 21st Century job fund to help grow economy.

  • Voted to create several new Renaissance Zones for tool and die, forestry products and alternative energy.

  • Created a rural tax credit to help job providers expand in less populated areas.*

  • Voted to increase the minimum wage in Michigan to $6.95 October 1st of this year.

  • Voted to accelerate the elimination of the Single Business Tax.

  • Voted to create a roundtable for farmers, food processors and rural governments to meet with the DEQ and discuss how their regulations are impacting them. The first such meeting was held in Fremont last year.

  • Voted to create tax credits to train agricultural processing apprentices.
  • Replaced the MEAP test with the ACT test as the merit award exam. The merit award exam, which I voted to establish when I was a member of the House, provides students the opportunity to earn scholarship money for college.*

  • Voted for increased per pupil funding to the public schools by 20 percent since being elected.

  • Voted to create statewide graduation requirements to make sure our children are prepared for the new economy.

  • Voted for school employee insurance and retirement reform that protected teacher's benefits while saving millions of dollars.
  • Prohibited the selling of sexually explicit video games to minors. I also voted for similar legislation to prohibit selling violent video games to minors.*

  • Require background checks on all school employees and prohibits convicted sex offenders from working in the schools.*

  • Strengthened Michigan's ability to combat identity theft by allowing prosecution on crimes that occur across state borders.*

  • Required electronic payment of child support payments. This change in the law will allow families to receive their child support in a more timely manner.*

  • Placed liens on someone's inheritance if they owe back child support. As a result any money received would first go to their kids.*

  • Added funding in the budget to continue a Juvenile re-entry program in Muskegon County that helps rehabilitate kids with criminal backgrounds.*

  • Protected funding for the MI-Choice Waiver program that allows seniors to stay in their homes rather than go to nursing homes.*

  • Secured funding for a West Michigan food stamp program in our district, but unfortunately, that money was vetoed by the Governor.*

  • Voted for more drug treatment courts to help rehabilitate addicts and control the rising prison population.
  • Prohibited the possession of non-native invasive species and created criminal penalties for possessing these species. Invasive species pose a grave threat to native Michigan plants and waters.*

  • Required property owners with large water withdrawals to register with the state and encourages the development of best management practices. This law will allow the state to protect our most valuable natural resource without placing burdensome restrictions on farmers and manufacturers.*

  • Secured $500,000 to repair Hamlin Dam.*

  • Worked to obtain $3.7 million in state funding to clean up polluted Ruddiman Creek.*

  • Worked to include funding in the budget to clean up Little Black Creek, but that money was vetoed by the Governor three times.*

  • As a State Representative, fought to include funding in the state budget to clean up White Lake's Tannery Bay.*

  • Voted to help restrict the flow of Canadian waste to Michigan.

  • Provides funding assistance to help local governments pay for expensive water and sewer projects.*
  • As a State Representative, secured funding for Access Health that provides health coverage to small business employees in Muskegon County.*

  • Added money to the Community Health budget to help control and treat diabetes in Muskegon County.*

  • Voted to allow persons with disabilities to work and continue receiving their health insurance benefits.
      (*) - denotes primary sponsor

Phone: (231) 733-6400   •   Fax: (231) 733-9100


© 2006, Paid for by Friends of Gerald VanWoerkom, All Rights Reserved.
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