LANSING–Residents of the 37th state Senate District looking for tax preparation information can obtain a free copy of the 2013 Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide by visiting Sen. Howard Walker’s website, the lawmaker said Friday.
The guide, which is a reference for the 2012 tax year, is designed to help residents prepare their state tax returns.
“It can be a challenge to keep up with the changes to the tax laws every spring,” said Walker, R-Traverse City. “But it is essential that we all have reliable, updated information when preparing our returns. That’s why once again I am happy to offer the 2013 Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide free to anyone who visits my website.”
The booklet contains information on Michigan’s income tax, property taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long listing of important property tax dates and deadlines as well as copies of the most commonly used tax forms. The guide also features addresses, phone numbers and email information for obtaining state agency tax assistance.
Walker added that the guide is meant as a helpful resource and not as a substitute for Michigan Department of Treasury tax instruction booklets.
Residents can contact Walker’s office toll-free at (866) 525-5637 to reserve a free copy.
Free copies may also be downloaded by visiting www.SenatorHowardWalker.com and clicking Publications
State Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, welcomed Mitchell Barron of Gladstone to the state Capitol today to job shadow the 108th House District lawmaker. Barron, the son of Bob and Barb Barron, accompanied McBroom to a morning Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee meeting chaired by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, for a discussion on forest and agricultural property tax issues, and in the afternoon attended House session with McBroom.
MiTV web portal will provide state government programming
Lansing – The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and Michigan Government Television today announced the launch of an enhanced online portal that will increase transparency of, and access to, state government. MGTV has served as the part-time, non-commercial cable channel providing programming from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday. Beginning in January, MGTV will transition from a cable channel to become the new MiTV web portal. Whether at home or traveling, MiTV will give Michigan citizens access to expanded and readily available programming options 24 hours a day, seven days a week by going online to www.michigan.gov/MiTV.
“The launch of MiTV will improve transparency and access to Michigan government by providing Michigan citizens with around-the-clock access to their state government,” said Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for DTMB. “The online portal modernizes the delivery of government proceedings and expands programming options by allowing anyone to point and click to live and archived government programming. Transforming MGTV into a web portal is a logical step at this point in time.”
Moving this programming to the Internet will expand potential viewership within Michigan and worldwide, since MGTV is currently carried by a limited number of cable operators throughout the state.
A newly appointed MiTV board will replace the MGTV board to act as an oversight body, with members from the House, Senate, Judiciary, and Executive branch. MiTV will:
- Modernize the delivery of government proceedings by relying on a 24/7 online portal.
- Increase transparency of and improve access to all three branches of Michigan state government.
- Develop online access to thousands of hours of copyrighted, archived government programming.
- Provide timely access to state legislative, judicial and executive branch activities.
- Expand programming options by transitioning from one channel to many different links on a web portal, which will enable the user to point and click to live and archived programming of all branches of government.
- Expand the audience of those interested in Michigan government by providing programming — anytime and anywhere — to anyone in the world who has a device with an Internet connection and the ability to stream video.
“The cable industry was instrumental in creating MGTV as a cable programmer in 1996, and the cable industry’s commitment to innovation and access is driving this transformation of MGTV from a part-time channel to a 24/7 online portal,” said MGTV Board of Directors President Lisa Birmingham. “Cable is proud to support the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget in this exciting launch of an enhanced MGTV web portal.”
This transition will begin January 1, 2013, when the new web portal launches. The cable channel will no longer be available beginning in mid-January 2013.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Patrick Miles, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, announced today a reorganization of the office’s Criminal Division, some office leadership changes, and the formation of new task forces. Miles, who took office on July, 9, 2012, is organizing the Criminal Division into the following four sections: Organized Drug Crime Section, Violent Crimes Section, Financial Crimes Section, and a National Security Section.
“These four Criminal Division Sections better align U.S. Attorney’s Office resources with Department of Justice priorities and help our attorneys and paralegals specialize in specific areas,” Miles said.
Miles described the focus of the Organized Drug Crime Section as working to disrupt large-scale drug-trafficking organizations including, but not exclusively, those that qualify for prosecution by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF targets regionally-sourced drug trafficking organizations. The Section also includes a new Drug Diversion and Prescription Fraud Task Force to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.
According to Miles, the Violent Crimes Section focuses on organized gangs and violent criminal enterprises within the district, major-target firearm offenders, bank-robbery rings and the Project Safe Childhood initiative which addresses child pornography and exploitation. It includes a Project Safe Neighborhood Task Force that works with Federal law enforcement, local law enforcement, and communities to rid neighborhoods of gang and drug violence.
The Financial Crimes Section prosecutes a variety of economic crimes, including Ponzi schemes, investment fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, bankruptcy fraud, government program fraud, and official corruption. This Section has a new Health Care Fraud Task Force, Environmental Task Force, Mortgage Fraud Task Force and Official Corruption Task Force.
The National Security Section is responsible for supporting counterterrorism and counterespionage investigations and prosecutions in the district. In addition, the Section prosecutes civil rights violations, human trafficking, alien offenses, identity theft and cybercrime. A new Anti-Terrorism Task Force, Identity Theft/Cybercrime Task Force, and Criminal Civil Rights Violations Task Force are part of this Section.
U.S. Attorney Miles named Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Nils Kessler as the new Chief of the Criminal Division and supervisor of the Financial Crimes Section. Kessler is in his 12th year as an AUSA. During that time he was the lead AUSA in the District’s branch office in Marquette before transferring to the main office in Grand Rapids following a stint as an AUSA in the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). He has past service as the office’s Project Safe
Neighborhood coordinator. Miles said of Kessler, “As a line AUSA, he has handled and excelled at virtually every substantive area of criminal practice handled by the office, including areas as diverse as complex financial crime, violent crime in Indian Country and drug crime. He is regarded as a leader among the line AUSAs and management in the integration of technology and litigation practice, making him uniquely qualified to lead the Criminal Division going forward as new software and related technologies increasingly infiltrate our handling of discovery and case presentment.” Kessler is a U.S. Military veteran, having served five years as an active duty officer in the U.S. Air Force. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia.
Kessler replaces Brian Delaney as Criminal Chief. Delaney served in that capacity since January 2006 and is now a Deputy Chief supervising the Organized Drug Crime Section and the Asset Forfeiture/Financial Litigation Unit. Delaney joined the Office in 1989 and served briefly as an Interim U.S. Attorney in 2007. “AUSA Delaney has served the Western District of Michigan in a variety of ways, gets results, and is an excellent prosecutor who leads by example,” Miles stated. Delaney is a DePaul Law School graduate and a former FBI Special Agent.
Miles named Daniel Mekaru as the other Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and he will supervise the Violent Crimes Section and the Marquette Branch Office. Mekaru has been an AUSA for 17 years. In that time he has been the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) coordinator, which investigates and prosecutes child exploitation, abuse, and pornography distribution. In his role as a Deputy Criminal Chief, he will continue to supervise the PSC initiative along with other violent crime prosecutions. He is also the office’s Grand Jury Coordinator. According to Miles, “As Grand Jury Coordinator AUSA Mekaru has overseen the introduction of technology in the grand jury room, transitioned the office to an electronic system for reserving time before the grand jury and capably monitored the efficient use of grand jury time on the whole. He is a dedicated prosecutor who has handled some of the most difficult and challenging cases the office receives.” Mekaru is a graduate of the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University College of Law.
Miles selected AUSA Donald Daniels as supervisor of the National Security Section. Daniels became an AUSA in 1980. He has served as Executive Counsel (Indictment Reviewer) for the past 10 years and will remain in that position. He was also a supervisor in the General Crimes Unit from 1993 to 1994, and Deputy Criminal Chief from 1994 to 1998. Following his graduation from the University of Michigan School of Law, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Wendell A. Miles, District Court Judge for the Western District of Michigan. “Don Daniels is an invaluable member of this office. He contributes in a variety of ways and will continue to do so,” Miles added.
Miles appointed Philip Green as the office’s Senior Litigation Counsel. In that capacity AUSA Green will mentor and assist in the training of new AUSAs. Green had been Deputy Criminal Chief since December 2006. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1998 as the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division until serving as interim U.S. Attorney for ten months in 2001, and then served as the First AUSA from the fall of 2001 until the end of 2004. Following his graduation from St. Louis University Law School in 1990, he clerked for the Honorable Theodore McMillian of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
U.S. Attorney Miles asked AUSA Andrew Birge to continue in his role as First AUSA, a position Birge has held for the last five years. The First AUSA helps the U.S. Attorney manage the day-to-day affairs of the office. Miles likewise is retaining AUSA Ryan Cobb as Chief of the Civil Division, a position held by Cobb since 2010, and AUSA Jennifer McManus as Chief of the Appellate Division, a position she has held since 2008. Birge is a graduate of Columbia University Law School and both Cobb and McManus are Harvard Law School graduates.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan has a Criminal Division, Civil Division, Appellate Division, and Administrative Division. The Western District of Michigan has 49 counties, including the entire Upper Peninsula and 11 Federally-recognized Native American Tribes. The main office for the Western District of Michigan is located in Grand Rapids. There are staffed offices in Marquette and Lansing, and an unstaffed office located in Kalamazoo. Current staffing levels include 36 attorneys and 38 support staff.
Source: Press Release
LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced his support for legislation approved by the House of Representatives to create a fast-track process to ban dangerous synthetic drugs like K2 and Spice.
“The connection between these dangerous synthetic drugs and violent crime in our communities is disturbing,” said Schuette. “Government’s first priority is to ensure public safety and the bills passed this week will give law enforcement the tools they need to stop K-2 crimes.”
The legislation approved by the House this week creates a fast-track process for the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Board of Pharmacy to declare dangerous synthetic drugs as controlled substances. Current state law has been unable to keep up with the evolving variations of synthetic drugs appearing on store shelves, said Schuette.
The legislation also amends state law to expand the definitions of synthetic cannabinoids (a.k.a. “K2,” “Spice,” “Incense”) and synthetic cathinones (a.k.a. “Bath Salts,” “Plant Food”) currently classified in schedule 1, and includes broader language to address future variations of synthetic drugs.
Schuette noted the legislation strengthens the hand of law enforcement by making it a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both, to sell or deceptively market substances that are designed to mimic any drugs banned under the Schedule 1 classifications.
The bills passed by the House this week include: House Bill 5714, Senate Bill 1082, House Bill 5338 and Senate Bill 789. All four bills now head to the Senate for consideration.
State of Michigan Press Release