Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg backs Senate bills to protect victims of domestic violence

Many victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking are fearful of future threats and possible harm.

I recently supported a seven-bill package that would allow victims to hide their physical addresses from their offenders. The Senate legislation would create an address confidentiality program in Michigan. This program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to obtain a confidential address to protect themselves from their past offenders. The legal substitute address (usually a post office box) would be used in place of their physical address.

Another part of the legislation would prohibit schools from disclosing the address of a student whose parent is an address confidentiality program participant.

If this legislation is enacted, Michigan would join 37 other states in offering assistance and peace of mind to victims of abuse or assault.

Brandenburg supports legislation to improve outdoor recreational funding

Michigan’s land and water resources provide great opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure. The demand for recreational access close to home is growing in local communities across the state.

I recently supported legislation to improve funding for local outdoor recreation and increase the flexibility of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) and the Michigan State Park Endowment Fund (MSPEF). Senate Joint Resolution O (SJR O) — a proposed constitutional amendment — would allow for more money to be spent on parks, trails and other resources at the state and local levels. The proposal would modify the distribution formula of the funds to create a new local public recreation grant program and increase funding for state parks.

SJR O and other Senate bills in the package have been sent to the House for consideration. If approved, the proposal would be put on a ballot for approval by the voters.

Michigan’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend

In Michigan, you’re never more than seven miles away from “fishable” water, so you won’t have to travel far to enjoy the state’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend! The annual event will be held
June 9-10 this year.

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 9-10 dates mark 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.

2018 fuelwood permits available

Michigan households can get a start on collecting wood to heat their home or cabin during cold weather. Fuelwood permits are now available from the Department of Natural Resources for the 2018 season for use on designated state forest land.

Permits can be purchased for $20 and are valid for up to 90 days after the purchase date. A permit allows the collection of up to five standard cords of wood. Fuelwood cannot be resold or traded. For more information, including a link to FAQs and a map of fuelwood collection areas, visit www.michigan.gov/fuelwood.

Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg: Senate passes 2019 state budget plan

The Senate recently approved a balanced budget plan that invests in Michigan’s future. Our budget recommendations prioritize education funding and public safety and continue our commitment to fix Michigan roads, while making government more efficient with taxpayer dollars. Some of the highlights include:

  • $14.7 billion for K-12 education, the most in state history;
  • Nearly $14 million to train 180 state police troopers;
  • $10 million for a new grant program to provide mental health services to K-12 students; and
  • Almost $41 million in Going Pro skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

In addition, the transportation funding in this budget, along with the recent road funding package, invests $2.1 billion more in our roads since 2017.

The Michigan Senate, House and governor’s office will iron out differences in their budget plans and produce a final state budget in the coming weeks. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Brandenburg supports bill to help prevent drunk driving

As we know, drinking and driving can have devastating results. Almost 29 people in the United States die every day in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The lives of countless other people are impacted as well.

Some parents would like to utilize technology to help prevent their young drivers from making the poor choice to drive while under the influence of alcohol. I recently supported legislation to allow for the voluntary installation of startup operated breath engine restrictor (SOBER) devices without the device sending reports to the secretary of state when used.

Currently, even when interlock devices are installed voluntarily, the installation company is required to generate a report. Senate Bill 892 would allow SOBER devices to be installed without any involvement with the government.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

Memorial Day: a time to honor our fallen

Each year a special Senate Memorial Day service pays tribute to our fallen servicemen and women. This solemn tradition ensures the legacy of their sacrifice and service is never taken for granted or forgotten. The occasion also recognizes the families of the fallen.

The Senate’s May 24, 2018 ceremony marks the 24th anniversary of this event.

Staying safe during severe weather

Spring weather can bring thunderstorms, lightning and high winds, leading to possible power shortages. The Michigan State Police offers suggestions to stay safe during a power outage, including:

  • Use only flashlights or emergency lighting; never use candles;
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep food as fresh as possible;
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics;
  • Use extreme caution when driving; and
  • Avoid carbon monoxide by not using grills, unvented gas heaters, generators or ovens in the house.

To learn more about being prepared before, during and after severe weather, visit www.michigan.gov/miready.