Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Senate bills secure schools and protect rights of residents

Currently in Michigan, concealed pistol license holders can open carry a gun into areas such as schools and churches.

I recently supported legislation that would eliminate the open carry option and allow people who have an enhanced license that includes additional training requirements to carry a concealed weapon instead. This reform closes the open carry loophole to ensure our schools are secure and activities are not disrupted by the sight of a firearm while honoring the rights of people to defend themselves. In addition, the legislation creates one unified, statewide policy, although school districts may create their own rules for teachers and students.

Senate Bills 584-586 have been sent to the House for consideration.

 

#OptOutside

The Department of Natural Resources is offering free entry to Michigan state parks on Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. Free access to state parks, trails and boating sites is just one more reason to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Michigan’s outdoor playground is spectacular and close to home. In fact, you’re never more than a half-hour away from a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or state trail!

 

MI Student Aid offers scholarship search

Many high school students and their parents are looking for ways to help pay for a college education. The Department of Treasury’s MI Student Aid program provides a scholarship search tool that connects students with thousands of possible scholarship opportunities throughout the state. Students or their families can complete and submit a brief online survey at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid. Service representatives will search for Michigan scholarships and email a detailed report within a week. Along with Michigan place-based scholarships, the program connects students to Michigan college and national scholarship opportunities.

 

Invasive Carp Challenge receives hundreds of possible solutions

Invasive carp pose a looming threat to the environmental health of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s fishing, boating and recreation industries.

A worldwide competition launched by the state for ideas to help stop these invasive fish from reaching the lakes recently ended.  The Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge received 353 entries from 27 countries. The entries will be reviewed by expert judges. Winners of up to eight Stage 1 awards will be announced in February 2018. From there, an event featuring Stage 2 finalists is planned to take place in late March 2018.

Earlier this year, a 28-inch silver carp was caught only nine miles from Lake Michigan, well past an electric barrier system. Hopefully, one or more of the Challenge ideas will provide a new and innovative way to protect our cherished Great Lakes. Visit www.michigan.gov/carpchallenge for more information.

Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg supports cancer drug coverage legislation

Michigan patients should have access to the most effective chemotherapy treatments to successfully treat their cancer.

Yet high costs in the way some medications are administered can be a deciding factor in a patient’s treatment decision. If a patient in Michigan needs anticancer medication in pill form, it is often covered as a health insurance plan prescription benefit, requiring a patient to pay for part of the treatment. This out-of-pocket cost can run thousands of dollars a month. Intravenously administered or injected chemotherapy medications are commonly covered as a health insurance plan medical benefit and don’t require the patient to pay an additional fee for the medication.

I recently supported legislation that would require health insurance policies to cover oral cancer treatments in the same way that intravenously or injected anticancer treatments are covered. A patient should not have to worry about the cost of medicine when fighting cancer.

Senate Bill 492 has been sent to the House for consideration. If the legislation is adopted and signed into law, Michigan would join 43 other states with oral chemotherapy parity.

 

Sen. Brandenburg supports update to concussion law

Concussions are a very serious injury and can occur in any sport or recreational activity.

In 2012, Michigan enacted a law to help protect our children’s health by increasing awareness among coaches, parents, young athletes and others about the dangers associated with concussions.

I recently supported an update to the law. Public Act 137 of 2017 (Senate Bill 352) requires the Department of Health and Human Services to regularly review the state’s concussion awareness training program to ensure it is up-to-date on the standards and protocols for treating and preventing concussions. The new law also requires coaches and others involved in youth sports organizations to complete the training program once every three years.

 

Elk license plate available Dec. 1
Beginning Dec. 1, the specialty Michigan license plate featuring the common loon will be replaced with an elk plate to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the reintroduction of elk in Michigan.

Michigan’s native elk disappeared from the state around 1875. In 1918, seven elk were brought in from the western United States and the population grew steadily. A 2014 survey estimated the herd to number 668.

Funds from the sale of the elk license plate will continue to help wildlife management. For more information on specialty license plates, visit www.michigan.gov/sos. To learn more about Michigan’s elk population, go to www.michigan.gov/elk.