Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg backs bills to prepare students for careers

Michigan will have more than 800,000 career openings to fill through 2024 in fields that are facing a talent shortage, such as manufacturing, information technology, health care and the professional trades.

I recently supported legislation to help ensure our students can develop the skills they need to find a high-paying, in-demand technology job in one of these career fields. Senate Bills 941 and 942 will invest $100 million in scholarships, education programs, workforce development and teacher support through partnerships with schools and businesses.

Called the “Marshall Plan for Talent,” the initiative will expand current efforts to close the talent gap and better prepare our high school students for career opportunities, college or both.

Brandenburg supports road safety bills

Now that summer weather is here, many bicyclists are sharing the road with other drivers.  I recently supported legislation to help increase safety for all motorists and cyclists on Michigan’s roads.

The legislation requires drivers to maintain a safe distance of at least three feet or, if that distance is not practical, a safe distance at a safe speed when passing bicyclists. Another provision requires driver education classroom instruction to include at least one hour of training on the laws regarding bicycles, motorcycles and other vulnerable roadway users.

Michigan bicycle fatalities doubled from 2012 to 2016, with about a quarter of the accidents occurring when the driver was passing the bicycle. If signed into law, Michigan would join nearly 40 other states with similar safe passing laws.

Fishing in Michigan

If your summer plans include taking the kids or grandkids fishing, be sure to check out the Family Friendly Fishing Waters website.

The water bodies are identified as family friendly based on ease of access, amenities (such as restrooms!) and high likelihood of success in catching fish. Other information includes driving directions, hours of operation, species of fish available, typical bait used and more. Access the site at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Anglers under age 17 may fish without a license but they are required to observe all fishing rules and regulations. A fishing license isn’t necessary to help someone under the age of 17 fish as long as the young angler is an active participant. Adults can help bait the hook, set up the fishing rod, fix tangles or snags, cast the line, land the fish and unhook the fish.

Pet-friendly parks

Many families enjoy time in the great outdoors together, including those with furry family members!

Pets are welcome on a 6-foot leash in Michigan state parks, park campgrounds, state forests and the majority of trails. In addition, pet-friendly lodging is available at several state parks. A number of parks offer sections of pet-friendly shorelines as well, although pets must be kept on a 6-foot leash even if they are in the water.

Find more information, including rules that apply at all locations, at www.michigan.gov/dnr; click Places to Go and then Parks and Recreation Areas.

Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg backs auto no-fault reform

The cost of auto insurance is a burden for many Michigan drivers. In fact, our state has the highest average annual premium in the nation. I recently supported legislation to help lower costs and better protect Michigan insurance customers.

Senate Bill 787 would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older to have the option to choose a capped auto insurance plan that would preserve their benefits. Seniors who choose this plan would have their catastrophic claims assessment significantly reduced. Medicare would cover remaining expenses after the $50,000 limit is reached.

Fraud also drives up costs. Senate Bill 1014 would create the Michigan Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority to investigate and reduce fraud, estimated at $400 million annually. Other reforms ensure 24/7 care remains available for individuals injured in auto accidents and does not limit care provided by skilled professionals. The bills have been sent to the House for consideration.

Brandenburg: Budget reflects priorities of Michigan families

The Legislature recently finished up work on the state budget, and for the eighth consecutive year, produced a balanced budget months ahead of schedule.

The plan features key investments to education, roads, jobs and public safety, including:

  • Providing $14.8 billion for K-12 education — the most in our state’s history;
  • Investing $58 million in school safety initiatives to keep our children safe;
  • Boosting road funding by $330 million, bringing our total added investment in roads and infrastructure to $2.4 billion since 2017;
  • Adding funds to train 155 state police troopers to keep our communities safe; and
  • Providing nearly $141 million in skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

The budget also funds initiatives to safeguard our most vulnerable, support our veterans and protect our Great Lakes and natural resources. At the same time, we have continued our commitment to fiscal responsibility and increased the state’s rainy day fund to $1 billion.

Fishing the Great Lakes

Many Michigan anglers have favorite fishing spots on one of the state’s beautiful inland lakes or rivers, but would also love to fish the Great Lakes.

The Department of Natural Resources has developed four “roadmaps” that serve as starting points to provide new or experienced anglers with information on many Great Lakes fishing sites and times of the year when great opportunities exist. These roadmaps focus on fishing Southeast Michigan’s Great Lakes, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.  Each was developed with the expertise of the Fisheries Division staff. Visit www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on the link to Roadmaps to Fishing Michigan’s Great Lakes to discover new fishing opportunities this summer!

Overview of Michigan forest health

Michigan’s forest land covers nearly 20 million acres, including about 4 million acres of state forest managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The 2017 Forest Health Highlights report outlines current successes and challenges facing Michigan’s forest system, including efforts to stop invasive species such as the hemlock woolly adelgid and the battle against beech bark disease. Check out the work being done to preserve and protect the state’s forests at www.michigan.gov/foresthealth.