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Lawmakers honor fallen colleague

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MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Michigan lawmakers are back in Lansing for what is expected to be a busy lame duck session.

On Tuesday, before they got to work, they honored one of their own.

Representative Peter Pettalia died in September in a motorcycle crash. He sponsored 19 public acts during his six years in office and on Tuesday lawmakers honored his legacy by finishing legislation he started.

Rep. Pettalia wore many hats; father, grandfather, lawmaker, House Transportation Chair, and motorcycle enthusiast.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in Lansing held a tribute to honor Pettalia’s life and his family.

“We have several members of the family here today,” said Speaker of the Michigan House Rep. Kevin Cotter. “We have to thank them for allowing us to borrow him as often as we did.”

Rep. Pettalia is survived by his two kids, two grandkids, and his wife Karen.

“We have so much love and praise that are coming into our household,” said Karen Pettalia, “and so we just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us through this very difficult time.”

“I guess I never realized what an impact he made,” said Anna Skowornek, Pettalia’s daughter, “so all of this that has come had really shown me a lot of what he has done and the respect that he gained, it has made me very proud of what he has done.”

Lawmakers also honored Pettalia’s life by passing his last bill. That bill will cap the number of specialty license plates you are able to buy at ten.

The plates are designed to help raise money for non-profit organizations.

While some organizations are opposed to capping the number of specialty license plates, Rep. Peter Lucido says Pettalia’s bill will help save the state money.

“I said Pete, why do you want to limit the amount of plates,” said Rep. Lucido, “he says, because it doesn’t make any money. It’s an economic decline and drain on the state. He says, truth be told, you have to sell so many to make or break even and we never make those quotas.”

As the bill makes its way to the governor’s desk, Rep. Brandt Iden says he and his colleagues will remember Pettalia every day because of his heart and his love for service.

“He was very much, pick something you are passionate about, pick something you enjoy and make sure you target those things,” said Rep. Iden. “Just great advice from a great guy.”

“He really was a concerned citizen,” said Rep. Lucido, “but also a great legislator.”

Karen Pettalia told Newschannel 3 that one of her proudest moments was the hugs she received from Democratic lawmakers who said her husband was easy to work with.

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