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Michigan Municipal League

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073;


Sen. Jim Stamas and State Rep. Jim Lilly Named Legislators of the Year

Lawmakers Honored by Michigan Municipal League

LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League has honored Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) and Rep. Jim Lilly (R-Macatawa) as the League’s 2019 Legislators of the Year. The awards were formally presented to Sen. Stamas and Rep. Lilly during the League’s annual Capital Conference Awards Gala March 19 in Lansing.

Sen. Stamas represents Michigan’s 36th Senate District, which includes Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego, and Presque Isle counties. Rep. Lilly represents the state’s 89th House District which covers the townships of Grand Haven, Olive Park, Port Sheldon, Robinson, Blendon, Crockery, and Spring Lake, and the cities of Ferrysburg, and Grand Haven.

“These two legislators understand the important role Michigan’s cities play in driving the state’s economy,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “They do an outstanding job fighting for their local communities, as well as communities throughout Michigan.”

During 2018, Sen. Stamas championed numerous issues that benefitted League member communities. His work on behalf of the City of Rogers City provided the critical momentum needed to secure passage of the extension and expansion of the pension bonding tool for local units of government. Sen. Stamas partnered with the League in negotiating with Treasury and the governor’s office throughout the late summer and fall to gain support for that legislation, and he was responsible for ensuring its passage during the last days of the Lame Duck session.

Sen. Stamas also partnered with the League and responded to our request for legislation that protected local debt limits from inadvertent negative consequences resulting from the new personal property tax law. Through Sen. Stamas’ involvement, the new property tax assessing reforms that had been proposed by the State Treasurer were significantly overhauled, with the final product receiving near unanimous support from local government organizations, including the League. Throughout the summer, Sen. Stamas met with local government officials through multiple public forums and workgroup sessions to hear and try to address their concerns. His efforts helped produce a successful compromise where he was also able to insert language promoted by the League that will benefit dozens of League member villages throughout the state.

Sen. Stamas worked closely with the League on changes to the state’s fireworks law and with the City of Alpena as they sought to resolve a Renaissance Zone issue in that community.

His district is large geographically, but Sen. Stamas takes an interest and is active in each of his communities,” said Rogers City Mayor Scott McLennan, who, along with Joe Hefele, city manager for Rogers City, presented Sen. Stamas the award Tuesday. “For example, throughout 2018 Sen. Stamas championed numerous issues that benefitted member communities, including Rogers City. He is a legislator that the League frequently turns to for advice and assistance on issues important to municipalities in Michigan.”

Sen. Stamas said he was honored to be selected as a legislator of the year by the League.

“As someone who started in local government, I understand and appreciate the important work being done every day in our communities,” said Sen. Stamas. “Our local governments regularly provide residents with vital services that enable them to grow and thrive. I am honored to be recognized for supporting our local communities and look forward to continuing to work with the Michigan Municipal League to make our state the best place in the country for families, workers and job creators.”

Rep. Lilly, serving in his first term in the Michigan House, distinguished himself as a legislator not afraid to tackle important issues. From his early days in office, Rep Lilly has been a consistent partner with League staff. Of particular note this past year was Rep. Lilly’s role in introducing and passing a package of bills that provide some relief to local units of government relative to the state’s fireworks law. Rep. Lilly listened to the League and his communities, brought the industry to the table with local government groups, and fashioned a proposal that achieved a delicate balance between the two interests.

Additionally, following the concerns raised by local governments in the late summer over the statewide “Emily” ballot FOIA, Rep. Lilly worked closely with the League to develop language that would address a number of the issues that FOIA requests brought to the surface. He successfully navigated a late introduction of the proposal during Lame Duck and pushed this needed fix through during the last hours of the session in December.

He sponsored and helped shepherd legislation formalizing the fiscal note process for all legislation, highlighting the importance of analyzing the impact that each piece of legislation could have on local government revenues. He worked with the League and his local communities to caution his colleagues to use restraint on the short-term rental proposal, recognizing the problems with the introduced version, and attempting to forge compromise through alternative approaches. Rep. Lilly continues to be a respected voice within his caucus and a great partner to the League.

“Jim [Lilly] is a tremendously hard worker and has a great personality and a lot of drive,” said Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb, who presented Lilly with the award. “He has been a great help for us in a variety of ways. Being a Lake Shore community, we are ground zero for fireworks, especially around the holidays. He helped craft new legislation that will help us better regulate fireworks. He is very accessible, he’s always there and willing to work for us. He’s a busy man and we thank him very much.”

Lilly said he appreciated the award very much.

“I am truly honored to receive this recognition,” said Rep. Lilly. “I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished in partnership with the League to improve our communities in Ottawa County and across Michigan.”

About the Legislator of the Year Award: The honor is presented each year to lawmakers for their instrumental actions in the Michigan State Legislature on behalf of local communities. These individuals are recognized for their efforts in the passage of legislation that will benefit local governments or who have fought consistently to support local government.

For photos of Stamas and Lilly receiving the awards go to this Michigan Municipal League “Awards and Honors Photos” album on flickr: Photos can be downloaded from the League’s flickr page for free. We just ask that the following photo credit be given: Flickr Photo Michigan Municipal League/

For additional information contact the League’s Matt Bach, director of communications, at (734) 669-6317 (office) and

About the League: Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at





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