The Year in Review

As we look ahead to a bright new year, I would like to share a last look at some important 2016 legislative accomplishments. Please visit www.misenategop.com for information on these and other legislative efforts.

Michigan is the Comeback State!

Unemployment is 57 percent lower since most Senate Republicans began their service in January 2011. At 4.8 percent, Michigan’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average. More than 475,000 private sector jobs have been added to our economy in nearly six years.

Responsible budgeting has helped turn Michigan into a pro-jobs, pro-growth state. We have passed a balanced budget ahead of schedule for six years in a row and turned a $1.8 billion structural budget deficit into a $700 million surplus in the state’s rainy day fund!

Prioritizing education

In the last six years, Senate Republicans have put $1.7 billion more into public education. Forty-five cents of every state tax dollar goes to public education. We also took steps to better prepare our children for tomorrow by championing reforms to ensure that every third grade student is proficient at reading before advancing. Good readers make good leaders!

Honoring those who protect us

We owe so much to those who keep us safe. We secured more funding to assist homeless veterans and created a new Veterans Home Ombudsman to ensure our veterans receive the proper care they so richly deserve.

In addition, we prioritized budget funding to hire 65 new State Police Troopers and expand the Secure Cities program to fight crime and safeguard our communities.

Caring for our most vulnerable

We increased penalties for individuals who assault pregnant women as part of a sweeping domestic violence prevention package and ended the terrible practice of selling fetal remains for profit.

Moving Michigan into the future

Michigan put the world on wheels! We took the necessary steps to make Michigan the premiere site for the testing and development of autonomous vehicles to ensure we remain a leader in the mobility economy of the future.

Protecting our natural resources

Parents now have even more opportunities to share Pure Michigan with their children. We passed legislation to guarantee free access to state boat access sites and certain state parks during free fishing weekends. In addition, we expanded dark sky preserves for more late night star gazing in our great outdoors!

Senator Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg supports bills to modernize state energy plan

Access to clean, reliable and affordable energy is important for Michigan families and job providers.

I supported Senate legislation to update the state’s energy laws to meet our current and future energy needs. Practical reforms will help encourage competition and protect customers from energy shortages seen in the past as Michigan’s economy continues to grow.

Among other provisions, Senate Bills 437 and 438 require utility companies to competitively bid for new generation projects, require providers to provide enough energy to meet demand and encourage energy waste reduction programs.

The legislation has been sent to the governor for his approval.

 

Sen. Brandenburg backs bill to require quicker water safety alert

Our families count on safe drinking water for their health and well-being.

I recently supported legislation that requires cities to issue a public advisory to customers within three business days of learning that the lead level in the water supply has exceeded safe drinking water standards. The current advisory period is 30 days.

To reasonably reach everyone served by the public water supply, the alert must—at a minimum—be communicated by television or radio, hand delivery to customers or advisories posted in the community.

The legislation is one of a number of reforms recommended by a joint legislative committee to address the Flint water crisis and prevent similar emergencies in other Michigan communities.

 

Check the MSP Winter Travel Advisory for road conditions

Motorists, know before you go! Winter weather can disrupt travel plans so be prepared before heading out on the road.

The Michigan State Police Winter Travel Advisory website provides information on road conditions for the state’s freeways and trunk lines, which are the first to be cleared during winter weather. The site is updated twice a day or as information about travel conditions is received. Visit www.michigan.gov/roadconditions or call the hotline at 1-800-381-8477.

 

DNR public land auction underway

The DNR is offering surplus state-owned land for sale by sealed-bid auction until Jan. 10, 2017. The 57 parcels of land range in size from less than an acre to 77 acres. Several of the properties are forested and have riverside or lake frontage.

Find more information, including property descriptions and the minimum bid price at www.michigan.gov/landforsale.

Senator Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg backs bills to create incentives for high-wage jobs

Michigan’s improved business climate has resulted in more than 480,000 private sector jobs over the last six years. Despite the economic growth, our state is still well below peak employment.

I recently supported legislation (SBs 1153-1155) that would create an incentive program to attract companies that add new high-wage jobs. Under the bills, businesses creating at least 500 qualified new jobs paying the county average wage or higher would be eligible for up to a five-year, 50 percent abatement on the tax withholdings of the new employees. Companies creating a minimum of 250 new jobs paying wages at 125 percent or more of the county average wage would be eligible for up to a 10-year, 100 percent abatement. The program would be limited to 15 new projects a year with a maximum value for all outstanding projects capped at $250 million.

In the fight for new jobs, Michigan faces fierce competition from neighboring states and even other countries. This program would provide a competitive tool in our efforts to attract well-paying jobs.

New law limits fundraising plates

Fundraising license plates offer an opportunity for Michigan motorists to support their favorite organization or a worthy cause. At the same time, the growing number of plates can create difficulties for law enforcement in identifying the plates on the road.

I supported legislation — now law — to cap the number of fundraising plates available at any one time to 20, excluding Michigan university plates. Public Act 327 of 2016 also revises startup fees and sets sales requirements. The new law promotes safety on the road while improving the process for fundraising license plates.

Sen. Brandenburg supports new rules for ride-sharing services and taxis

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft provide a new transportation option for many riders in Michigan.

A Senate-approved package of bills (SB 392, HB 4637, HBs 4639-4641) would create a statewide standard for ride-sharing services, eliminating or phasing out regulations that vary city-by-city. The new rules would apply to both the ride-sharing companies and taxicab and limousine services. Regulations would include background checks for drivers, insurance requirements and inspections for vehicles 5 years old or older. The legislation would protect the safety of riders while ensuring the standards for drivers are applied equally and uniformly.

Pure Michigan Winter Travel Guide available

Winter means family fun in Michigan!

From snow sports and ski trips to famous Michigan food spots and kid-friendly museums, the Pure Michigan Winter Travel Guide covers it all. There’s also information on Michigan state parks and trails and a winter events calendar. Please contact my office for a print copy or access the digital edition at www.michigan.org.

Pure Michigan Hunt application deadline nears

The “hunt of a lifetime” offers three lucky winners the opportunity to obtain licenses for spring and fall turkey, antlerless deer, bear, elk and first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area, along with a prize package valued at more than $4,000. Applications for the 2017 drawing are $5 each and available at license agent locations and online at www.mdnr-elicense.com until Dec. 31.

Since the start of the program, the Pure Michigan Hunt has generated more than $700,000 toward wildlife habitat restoration and improvements in Michigan. Find more information at www.michigan.gov/pmh.

Reading grant deadline

The Legislature has made early literacy a priority to help Michigan children achieve and succeed. As part of this year’s School Aid budget, the Michigan Department of Education announced grants to help increase student achievement in early literacy. The Department is now conducting round four of the Additional Instructional Time grant for schools, public school academies and intermediate school districts that did not receive a grant award this fiscal year.

The deadline to apply is December 23, 2016. Find the application and background information at http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-28753_74161-367703–,00.html. If you have questions about the grant, email MDE-EarlyLiteracy@michigan.gov.