Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Senate community investment bills sent to governor

Many communities across Michigan – in urban, suburban and rural areas – are looking to revitalize blighted, abandoned sites that are too costly to clean up or redevelop. Senate legislation on its way to the governor will help transform these difficult-to-develop properties into large-scale developments that attract investment and jobs, and generate new economic activity.

Senate Bills 111-115 will allow “transformational brownfield plans” to keep part of the new tax revenue they create in order to make the projects fiscally feasible while the rest of the revenue goes to local governments and the state. The legislation requires significant minimum private investment and mandates that projects provide a net fiscal benefit to the state. In addition, the bills cap the amount of the incentives and the overall number of projects to control annual costs.

To ensure the program’s benefits are spread throughout the state and not solely in large, urban areas, the legislation sets a target that 35 percent of approved plans be located in communities with less than 100,000 people. By encouraging economic development where it wouldn’t otherwise happen, communities can create new opportunities for dynamic growth and new tax revenue. The bills sunset in five years.

 

April jobless rate drops
Michigan’s unemployment rate fell for the second consecutive month to 4.7 percent in April. Manufacturing led the April job gains with other increases in leisure and hospitality services, professional and business services and other services. Total employment in Michigan has risen every month in 2017 with an average gain of 17,000 per month. The numbers show continued positive momentum as the average monthly total employment increase in 2016 was just over 8,000 per month.

 

New tip line for reporting fraud
A new toll-free telephone tip line is now available to report scams or fraudulent activity involving Michigan Department of State programs or documents, including those related to Michigan vehicles, identification, or elections. Anyone with knowledge of potential fraud is encouraged to call 1-844-372-8356 to report suspected violations.

 

Michigan’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend is right around the corner
Michigan offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world! Why not enjoy this great pastime during the state’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 10-11?

Anglers, both residents and nonresidents alike, can fish without a license on these two days, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Entry into state public boating access sites, state parks and recreation areas is free of charge. Visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing for more information, including details on sponsored and state park events.

In addition, the June 10-11 date marks one of the summer’s Free ORV Weekends, a time off-road enthusiasts can ride DNR-designated routes and trails without buying an ORV license or trail permit. Find out more at www.michigan.gov/orvinfo.

Senator Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg supports aircraft safety bills

Earlier this year, a Michigan State Police (MSP) helicopter and three airliners were hit by lasers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The incidents are not without precedent as the FAA has reported more than 250 laser-related events in Michigan between 2010 and 2014.

This activity has the potential for tragedy as lasers can temporarily blind a pilot, endangering both pilot and passengers. I recently supported legislation making pointing a laser or similar device at an airplane pilot or train engineer a five-year, $10,000 felony.

While this serious issue is a federal crime, a state law on point would allow for greater enforcement and increased safety. The legislation has received wide support from law enforcement organizations across the state.

 

Senate approves legislation on specialty license plates

Many Michigan motorists purchase fundraising license plates to support their favorite organization or a worthy cause. A recent law caps the number of plates available at any one time to 20, excluding Michigan university plates. Currently there are 14 specialty plates.

I recently backed legislation to add other options.

  • Senate Bill 163 would require the secretary of state to develop and issue a “Choose Life” license plate. Revenue from sales of the plate would be provided to nonprofit organizations that promote alternatives to abortion, life-affirming services and media campaigns to promote adoption and suicide prevention. The “Choose Life” plate has raised more than $21 million nationwide for the cause of life in states where the plate is available.
  • Senate Bill 178 would authorize the secretary of state to design and issue a license plate recognizing four professional Michigan sports teams — the Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers — and the Michigan International Speedway. Funds from sales of the plates would be distributed to the organizations’ foundations or official charities that have been established to help strengthen the community, encourage leadership and athleticism among young people and promote health.

As with all specialty plates, the initial purchase requires a $25 donation and $10 service fee in addition to the regular cost of the license plate. Renewals require a $10 donation in addition to the standard cost.

 

Hunters: Apply for elk and bear licenses
The 2017 bear and elk hunting application period is open through June 1. A total of 200 elk and 7,140 bear licenses will be available for the 2017 hunting seasons.

Hunters can apply online at www.mdnr-elicense.com, at any authorized license agent or at a DNR Customer Service Center. See the 2017 Elk Digest and the 2017 Black Bear Digest for more details about the application processes. Find the publications at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

Drawing results will be posted online at www.mi.gov/bear or www.mi.gov/elk starting June 26.