Ludington students visit capitol

April 1, 2013
This picture was taken in the orginal Supreme Court room in the Capitol: Autumn Sorenson, Lysney Chlebana, Alexa McMellen, Brianna Hays

This picture was taken in the orginal Supreme Court room in the Capitol: Autumn Sorenson, Lysney Chlebana, Alexa McMellen, Brianna Hays

Submitted by Rosemarie DeLoof, Mason County Republican Executive Committee

Mason County Republican Executive Committee for the second year offered a free bus trip to Lansing for students to meet  their elected officials and tour the  historic buildings.  This year 33 high school students  from Ludington High  along with their teachers. Dan Mesyar and Kirk Walden made the trip to Lansing on March 20, 2013.

The bus arrived in Lansing on a cold snowy day at 9:30a.m. and the group split up half going to the Hall of Justice and the rest headed for the Capitol.

We were warmly greeted by our docent after going through security for our introduction to the beautiful new Hall of Justice.  In the classrooms  we held a mock jury trial learning the roles of everyone in a jury trial. We were informed that we have three levels of justice  a  jury trial, Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court as our last resort. The group  went up to the sixth floor to view the room where the Supreme Court sits.

We were so glad the bus was waiting to take us to the Capitol Building as the wind chill was bitter. The Capitol was busy with Ag Day vendors and a Second Amendment  Right’s rally in the front of the building.

Chris from Senator Geoff Hansen’s office was waiting to take us up to the third floor to sit in the Senate  galley.  Sen. Hansen was acting as speaker pro-tem for the day and they were voting on some bills that were coming out of committee for the first vote.  After we were introduced from the podium Sen. Hansen came up to us and answered questions from the students.  We learned that all bills have three different votes when they come out of committee, there is plenty of time for discussion and adding or deleting amendments before the final vote.  While we were all gathering around the rotunda Governor Snyder was spotted talking to the Ag Day participants.

Lunch provided by Sen. Geoff Hansen was at the Farnum Building where Hansen introduced us to Sen. Darwin  Booher  who will be Mason County’s new Senator (due to re-districting) in 2014.  Senator Hansen informed us he is working on harbor dredging  and education bills.  Hansen says Michigan will fund the dredging bill, the Feds have the money for it but they are not releasing it , so the State of Michigan will send them the bill.  Education funding is being discussed  as the Governor and legislatures try to find ways to increase money for roads without taking it away from the schools.

After lunch we  were escorted by Chris  back to the Capitol after walking through the rally in front of it.  We were met by a volunteer for our official tour of the Capital.  We went back to the Senate Chambers which was no longer in session and we able to   learn about the beautiful room.  Next we went to the original Supreme Court Chambers.  We were taken to the House galley which was in session.  Representative Ray Franz was informed of our presence   and we were again introduced by the speaker.  Ray came up to the galley and explained  what the different colors on the voting screen signified.  He is currently working on the Education Achievement Authority bill (EAA) HB 4369 which is a new statewide school system that will operate the lowest performing 5 percent of schools in Michigan not achieving satisfactory results.  Currently only schools in Detroit are In the system, the number of schools state wide would be capped at 50.  Our guide took us to the Governor’s office in the Capitol but he was using it so we could not see it.  The guide informed us that Snyder likes to use this office frequently rather than the official office across the street.

Our bus was waiting for us again to take the group over to the Historical Museum, where the students were on their own to look at the exhibits.  Did you know that in the 1880’s Detroit was known  as the “Tampa of the North”?  Apparently the tobacco that was grown there was in popular demand by cigar smokers.

Back in the bus by 3:30 for the trip back to Ludington with a tired but satisfied group who had enjoyed the outing from school.



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