Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg: August ushers in new state laws
Several important new laws passed earlier in the year take effect in August:

  • Public Acts 24 and 25 of 2017 allow parents and guardians to voluntarily have photographs and fingerprints of their special needs child or adult entered into a statewide system to aid in identifying them and contacting their families more quickly should these vulnerable individuals go missing.

 

  • Public Acts 29 and 30 of 2017 prohibit and provide tough penalties for pointing a laser or similar device at an airplane pilot or train engineer. While this issue is a federal crime, the new state law allows for more consistent prosecution and increased safety.

 

  • Public Act 34 of 2017 expands protections for victims of human trafficking so all victims, including those with prior prostitution-related convictions, are eligible for the discharge and dismissal program if all conditions of probation are met.

 

Jobless rate drops again
Michigan’s unemployment rate declined to 3.8 percent in June, the lowest rate since August 2000!

Statewide unemployment was once again below the national average and a full percentage point below Michigan’s June 2016 rate. Job gains were posted in the professional and business services; trade, transportation and utilities; and financial sectors.

 

Unemployment insurance employer seminars
Michigan employers can learn more about the state’s unemployment insurance system at free seminars in August and September.

The programs offer three one-hour sessions with a 30 minute period for individual questions after each presentation. Each session features general information, including how to navigate the Michigan Web Account Manager system, along with a brief overview of services available to employers to assist in meeting labor force needs. Find more information, dates and locations at www.michigan.gov/uia.

 

Effort to bring back the Arctic Grayling
The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative aims to establish self-sustaining populations of Arctic Grayling throughout its historical range in Michigan. The initiative recently released its official action plan in its efforts to reintroduce the fish.

Large populations of the slate-blue fish with the distinctive dorsal fin were once found in many cold water streams throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and in one Upper Peninsula stream. In fact, the historic species was native only to Michigan and Montana in the lower 48 states according to the DNR. The Grayling was valued as both a commercial food fish and a sought-after game fish. However, a variety of factors led to the extirpation of this rare native fish from Michigan by 1936.

To view the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative Action Plan, visit www.migrayling.org.

Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Michigan’s state budget — it’s a wrap!

For the seventh year in a row, the Legislature delivered a responsible and balanced budget, several months ahead of the fiscal year deadline.

Our plan focuses on issues important to Michigan families, such as jobs, schools and public safety. Top priorities include:

  • An increase in the School Aid budget by more than $415 million over last year;
  • An investment of more than $12 million to hire 150 new State Police Troopers;
  • Added funds for more staff and training to ensure veterans receive proper care;
  • Increased support for skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs; and
  • An increase in transportation funding by more than $231 million.

The budget also strengthens the state’s finances by paying $1.3 billion toward schools’ retirement debt and adding to the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

 

Sen. Brandenburg supports bill to fight credit card fraud

Criminals find any number of ways to steal personal information from consumers.

One method is electronic skimming devices installed on gas pumps. Scammers are able to install skimmers, which copy credit and debit card information and can be sold or used to make counterfeit cards. In fact, nearly 70 credit card skimmers have been found and removed from gas pumps across Michigan since 2015.

The Senate recently passed Senate Bill 415, which would require greater security measures at the pump to restrict unauthorized access of customer payment card information and prevent the use of skimmers.

While many gas stations already have security measures in place, the legislation would ensure all stations provide this consumer protection.

 

MSP adds new canine teams

Some of this summer’s recent graduates go by the names of Rocko, Starsky and Boomer!

They are members of 12 new canine teams, as well as one replacement team, that graduated from the Michigan State Police (MSP) 2017 Basic Canine School. As part of the program, the canine teams covered more than 100 miles on foot and received training in areas including tracking, narcotics detection, building search, property search, obedience and aggression.

The MSP now has 43 canine teams working throughout Michigan. The canine unit handles more than 6,000 requests for service each year, making it one of the largest and busiest in the country.

 

Fall turkey hunting

While the spring season is the traditional time to hunt wild turkey, limited fall hunts are offered in specific areas. Hunting applications are available through Aug. 1. The application fee is $5. Licenses and applications may be purchased at any authorized license agent or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com. Find more information in the Michigan Fall Turkey Digest at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.