Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg supports legislation to fight prescription drug abuse

According to an interim report recently released by the president’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, 142 Americans die every day from a drug overdose. More than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involve an opioid.

The Michigan Senate passed a package of bills to fight opioid abuse in our state earlier this summer. One provision limits prescriptions for acute pain to seven days to help reduce the chance of unused pills.

Other provisions crack down on “doctor shopping” and “pill mills” by requiring physicians to have a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship and consult the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) before prescribing certain controlled substances. The legislation also requires someone treating a patient for an opioid overdose to provide them with information on substance use disorder services to address the addiction as well as treatment options. The bills have been sent to the House for consideration.

 

Fighting the threat of Asian carp

Efforts to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes are moving ahead on two fronts.

The state recently launched a global search for ways to stop these invasive fish from reaching the Great Lakes. Called the Invasive Carp Challenge, the program is accepting proposals through Oct. 31, 2017 to develop new solutions to this looming threat. One or more solutions will share up to $700,000 in cash awards. Visit www.michigan.gov/carpchallenge for more information.

In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers has now recommended a tentative plan for Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the Chicago Area Waterway system to prevent the inter-basin transfer of aquatic nuisance species. The plan includes nonstructural measures, complex noise, water jets, engineered channel, electric barrier, flushing lock, boat launches and mooring area. Find more information and submit comments online at http://glmris.anl.gov.

 

Mackinac Bridge closed to vehicle traffic Labor Day morning

Thousands of people enjoy great exercise and camaraderie at the annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge walk. This year — aside from official walk shuttle buses and emergency vehicles — walkers will have the bridge to themselves as safety concerns will close the bridge to car and truck traffic from 6:30 a.m. to noon. More information about this popular event is available at www.mackinacbridge.org.

 

Report fish and wildlife observations on new DNR app 

A new computer application developed by the DNR consolidates 15 separate fish and wildlife observation forms onto one site. The Eyes in the Field app includes forms for reporting diseased wildlife, tagged fish, mammals such as cougars and wolves, fish such as invasive carp and sturgeon, and more. The site does not replace the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline (800-292-7800) although it provides a link to the web-based RAP complaint form. Check it out at www.michigan.gov/eyesinthefield.

Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg backs new law to protect students

School should be a safe place for students to learn.

I recently supported Senate legislation—now law—to continue a school safety program that helps prevent tragedies before they happen. Public Act 100 of 2017 (Senate Bill 267) extends the OK2SAY program until Oct. 1, 2021. The program encourages students to anonymously report threats to trained authorities without fear of retaliation.  Students can access the 24-hour confidential OK2SAY hotline via mobile text, phone, email and by its website and mobile app.

The prevention-based program has been effective in helping protect students. Since September 2014, more than 7,800 tips have been reported, including tips on bullying, suicide threats, violence and self-harm. Find more information at www.michigan.gov/ok2say.
“In Memory Of” program recognizes Michigan families of Vietnam era

The families of those who serve our country make great sacrifices, especially during times of war.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration offers a new program to recognize the families who have given so much. The “In Memory Of” program honors immediate family members (parents, spouse, children and siblings) of a veteran listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. with a certificate of honor and lapel pin. It’s an important way to honor their support and sacrifice.

Family members may contact my office for more information.

 

Free ORV weekend

Michigan residents and visitors have a unique opportunity to explore Pure Michigan during the Free ORV Weekend on Aug. 19-20. ORV enthusiasts can ride DNR-designated routes and trails, including the state’s five scramble areas, without an ORV license or trail permit. All ORV rules and laws still apply.

For more information, including ORV trail maps, a list of ORV-friendly state parks and campgrounds, and a link to the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws visit www.michigan.gov/orvinfo.

 

New invasive found in Michigan

The DNR recently reported the discovery of live, non-native red swamp crayfish in two separate areas in Michigan. This invasive presents a serious concern as it competes aggressively with native crayfish species for food and habitat, and can cause damage to infrastructure such as dams, levees and personal property.

Investigators aren’t sure how the crayfish ended up here but as a prohibited species in Michigan, it is unlawful to possess, import or sell them as a live organism. Aquarium hobbyists are also reminded that the release of fish or other aquatic animals into public waterbodies is illegal. For more information about red swamp crayfish and other invasive species, visit www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies.