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Michigan senator says Democrats copied and pasted his veterans legislation

​​​Four versions of the same bill sit in committee

Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-North Muskegon, took two Democratic colleagues to task last month for introducing what he calls copies of legislation he introduced in March, which he said was years in the making.

“Over the last three years, I have worked closely with Michigan veteran organizations, local governments, and the Department of Treasury, hosting numerous work group meetings to get this legislation right,” Bumstead said in a July statement.

Bumstead said Democratic colleagues spurned his offer to co-sponsor the legislation.

Instead, Sens. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, and Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, introduced Senate bills 454 and 455, exact copies of Bumstead’s Senate bills 95 and 96. All four bills sit in the Senate Committee on Finance, Insurance and Customer Protection.

“I am disappointed that instead of them working across the aisle with me that they have hijacked this legislation as their own in an attempt to take credit on an issue that should be solely focused on assisting our state’s veterans,” Bumstead wrote.

Hertel downplayed Bumstead’s claim.

"This legislation is a priority for veterans in our state and local communities, and as a member of both policy and appropriations committees working on veterans' affairs, I felt it was important to follow their lead on legislation,” Hertel told Michigan Capitol Confidential. “Michigan's veterans don't care who gets credit for the bill and neither do I. Whoever's version makes it to the governor's desk, I will be celebrating the win for our state, and I look forward to working with Sen. Bumstead and my Senate colleagues toward the passage of this policy."

Singh did not respond to requests for comment.

Bumstead said in an email to CapCon that he has worked with veterans groups on the legislation for years.

“In the conversations that I have had with the veteran groups across Michigan, they had not heard from either Senator regarding this legislation,” Bumstead said. “I am ready and willing to work with Sen. Hertel and Sen. Singh on this important legislation to help our veterans and local governments.”

Bumstead’s legislation would amend the property tax exemption process for veterans with a 100% disability. Veterans file a request for an exemption with local municipalities, and the bill ensures local governments’ finances are held harmless.

Hertel’s and Singh’s legislation does the same thing.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.