District Update for November

Brandenburg backs bills to aid hunters and anglers

Hunting and fishing are time-honored pastimes enjoyed by generations of Michigan sportsmen and sportswomen. Legislation recently passed by the Senate could enhance those traditions with a new use of technology.

Senate Bills 1073-1075 would require the DNR to develop and offer smartphone applications that show an electronic copy of base hunting, waterfowl and all-species fishing licenses for customers by March 1, 2018. Another provision would require that the app include other services such as information on points of public access, descriptions of game species, boundary maps and more.

With the app in hand, hunters and anglers wouldn’t have to worry about lost licenses and would enjoy increased convenience and quick access to helpful outdoor information. The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Tourism and Outdoor Recreation.

Senate approves bills to improve safety for bicyclists

With more bicyclists sharing Michigan roadways, it’s important to focus on safety and help protect bicyclists and others legally using the roads.

I recently supported a package of bills to update traffic laws and require:

  • Drivers to keep a minimum five-foot distance when passing bicyclists;
  • Bicyclists to stay as far right as practicable when being passed; and
  • A minimum of one hour of driver education on the laws pertaining to bicycles and motorcycles to help motorists safely share the road.

By keeping our streets safer, we can help avoid terrible tragedies. Senate Bills 1076-1078 have been sent to the House for consideration.

Plan for the winter heating season

Autumn in Michigan has been spectacular this year! But with winter around the corner, it’s a good time to plan ahead for cooler temperatures.

The state Be WinterWise website offers links to help reduce energy waste and information on energy assistance programs, including military assistance and the State Emergency Relief and the Michigan Energy Assistance programs for income eligible customers. Access the site at www.michigan.gov/bewinterwise.

Hunters: Find your fall hunting spot

A DNR online mapping tool makes it easier than ever to plan your next hunting trip! The interactive application (not a downloadable app) is easily accessible through the web browser on smartphones, tablets or computers.

The program allows hunters to locate public lands open to hunting and features information on topography and vegetation as well as nearby recreational facilities.  To check it out, go to www.mi.gov/mihunt.

Brandenburg supports legislation to protect pilots and passengers

According to the laser safety website LaserPointerSafety.com, there were more than 7,700 laser incidents reported by pilots to the Federal Aviation Administration last year. This activity can temporarily blind a pilot, endangering both pilot and passengers.

Airport authority officers can be constrained in investigating this crime because they don’t have jurisdiction beyond their geographic boundaries. I recently backed a bill to allow public airport authority officers to exercise their authority outside of the boundary area under certain circumstances, such as the public endangerment of an airplane during take-off or landing routines. The officer must immediately pursue the individual breaking the law.

Aiming a laser at an aircraft is just plain dangerous. It’s a federal crime and one that should be actively pursued.
House Bill 5181 will head to the governor for consideration.

MiABLE disability savings program now available

A new tool will help disabled individuals in Michigan better lead independent lives.
The Michigan Achieving a Better Life Experience (MiABLE) account offers investment and tax incentives for families who want to save and provide financial stability for individuals with disabilities.
The savings account can be used for qualified disability expenses, including care, education, housing, and employment training and support without jeopardizing the individual’s ability to qualify for necessary assistance programs. Find more information or register an account at www.miable.org or call 844-656-7225.
Michigan now joins four other states in providing a disability savings program.

Michigan Adoption Day

There’s something special about a “forever family!” With the theme of “Giving Thanks for Families,” Michigan Adoption Day will be celebrated on Nov. 22. The event is held each year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to finalize adoptions and educate the public about the adoption process.

Last year, more than 1,700 Michigan children were adopted from foster care into loving families.

2016 fuelwood permits available

Looking for an economical way to heat your home or cabin? State forest fuelwood permits are still available from the DNR for the 2016 season, which runs through Dec. 31.

Permits cost $20 and are for use on designated state forest land in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula. A permit allows the collection of up to five standard cords of wood per household. For information on how and where to buy the personal-use fuelwood permit, visit www.michigan.gov/fuelwood.