Holland Reps Plan Bills To Ease Restrictions On People Businesses

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LANSING — The Holland area’s two state representatives contend the time is ripe to help more Michigan individuals and businesses help themselves.

Returning Reps. Patricia Birkholz, R-Saugatuck, and Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, say the measures they plan to sponsor in the new House sessions would lift some state restrictions on personal health-care decisions and make it easier for welfare recipients to find affordable vehicles.

Kuipers said he’s centering his second term on restoring common sense in the government.

“We identify problems and go after them with a common sense approach,” he said.

People should be able to make their own personal decisions, Kuipers said.

He said he proved that during his first term when a bill he sponsored to eliminate guardrails from all nursing home beds became law. Kuipers said the residents and/or guardians should decide on their own if the guardrails are needed, after consulting with a doctor or physician.

“In legislation, we tend to think too highly of ourselves. I don’t believe government has all the right answers,” Kuipers said.

He’s also become an advocate of small businesses. “I would like to see us reforming the insurance issue,” said Kuipers, who’s fighting against establishing too many mandates.

Kuipers said 85 percent of people in the United States either work for or own a small business, which provides as many employee benefits as affordable.

Yet more mandates lead to fewer benefits, he said, because they become too costly for the small business.

Ultimately, Kuipers said, a fair number of people would be without benefits because they couldn’t be provided.

“I have a real concern with this issue,” said Kuipers, who managed a small design, building and landscaping business for 15 years.

Birkholz said her focus in her third term is on building stronger families and communities.

One of her concerns includes the safety of public beaches. She plans to introduce a bill to require the testing of water at all public swimming beaches for the E. coli bacteria. She said most testing is done haphazardly now.

“It’s dangerous for adults and children, especially adults,” Birkholz said.

She said she also wants to eliminate the transfer tax for cars donated to nonprofit organizations.

When a car is sold there is a transfer tax. Birkholz said many welfare recipients aren’t able to afford to pay the difference in sales tax, because they’ve just gotten back on their feet.

She wants to make the tax exempt for those who qualify to “help people get on their wheels.”

She said they’re helped getting off welfare and getting a job, but getting a car to drive to work can be a huge obstacle.

Both lakeshore-area representatives are excited about the new term and working with new House members. So is Holland Mayor Al McGeehan.

“Our local representatives have been open with the city, they’ve been helpful on a number of issues that the city has brought to Lansing, and they’ve been creative,” McGeehan said. “Although we’ve had differences of opinions, I applaud them on what they've done on our (Holland’s) behalf.”           

Recent Articles by Christina Stolarz, Capital News Service

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