Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg notes new state laws

Several new laws affecting children, young drivers and veterans that passed earlier in the year take effect in September, including:

Public Act 282 of 2018 allows for the use of courtroom support dogs to comfort witnesses, including a child under age 16 or a vulnerable adult. Therapy dogs can calm witnesses, particularly children, helping them overcome their fears to deliver their testimony.

Public Act 276 of 2018 requires driver’s education to include information on what to do and how to interact with law enforcement during a traffic stop. The training will help make this situation safer and less stressful for young drivers.

Public Act 211 of 2018 prohibits what is often called “pension poaching” to better protect veterans from fraud and predatory financial abuse.The new law will prevent individuals or agencies from profiting off veterans benefit services that are offered at no cost through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

 

Service helps recover lost life insurance money

A free service offered by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) has helped consumers recover more than $6.3 million in death benefits since 2016.

The Life Insurance and Annuity Search Service (LIAS) was created to help beneficiaries locate a deceased family member’s life insurance policy or annuity contract that was purchased in Michigan. Each month, the agency forwards consumer requests to Michigan licensed life insurance and annuity companies to try to locate lost policies. During the last two years, over 2,000 requests have been submitted to participating insurance companies. Insurance companies contact the beneficiary directly if a policy match is found. They will not contact anyone who is not a beneficiary or legally authorized to receive the policy information. Find more information, including a search request form, at www.michigan.gov/lias.

 

Pure Michigan hunt offers exciting hunting opportunity

The start of fall hunting season is a good time to remind outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen about the annual Pure Michigan Hunt opportunity. This “hunt of a lifetime” offers three winners the chance to obtain licenses for antlerless deer, bear, elk and spring and fall turkey, and first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area, along with a prize package valued at over $4,000!

Applications for the 2019 drawing are $5 each and available at license agent locations and online at www.mdnr-elicense.comuntil Dec. 31. Revenue helps fund Michigan’s wildlife habitat restoration and management. More information is available at www.michigan.gov/pmh.

 

Organ donor registry surpasses 5 million

The secretary of state’s office recently reported that more than 5 million residents have now joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry! Senate legislation signed into law has helped increase the number of registered organ donors. Public Act 451 of 2016 — Lauren’s Law — requires the secretary of state’s office to ask whether someone would like to sign up on the organ donor registry when they apply for a driver’s license.

Anyone can join the registry, regardless of age or medical history. Visit www.michigan.gov/sos, call 866-500-5801 or stop by any secretary of state office to sign up.

Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg supports new laws to aid students on career track

Senate legislation recently signed into law will help high school students make informed decisions as they plan for their future.

Public Act 242 of 2018 (Senate Bill 343) requires schools to provide students with the most recent available analysis of in-demand jobs in their local region. The new law allows schools to provide the career outlook information electronically.

Public Act 241 of 2018 (Senate Bill 344) allows a student to receive a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) endorsement on their diploma as an incentive to take more STEM classes. Many of the high-skilled and high-paying jobs are in the STEM field.  Michigan is the first state in the country to offer the STEM certification opportunity. The endorsement will help give students a competitive advantage in the job market.

 

Work requirements reinstated for food assistance

Michigan’s improved unemployment rate has prompted the reinstatement of federal work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food assistance beginning Oct. 1.  Work requirements were previously reinstated in 14 counties; the requirements are now reinstated in all other counties in Michigan.

Able-bodied adults are recipients ages 18 to 49 with no dependents. There are exemptions for people who are physically or mentally unable to work for 20 hours, are pregnant or care for a child under age 6 or those who are incapacitated. Recipients can contact their Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) case specialist with questions or go to www.michigan.gov/foodassistancefor more information.

 

Final highway cleanup date set

Michigan’s highway roadsides will be spruced up Sept. 22-30 as volunteer groups remove litter and trash as part of the final 2018 Adopt-A-Highway pickup.

Three times a year, volunteer crews collect debris to help keep the state’s highway roadsides clean, attractive and safe. About 2,800 groups clean 6,300 miles of highway each year, including two-lane roads and business routes. Since 1990, these volunteers have collected more than one million bags of trash! Sections of highway are still available to adopt. Find more information at www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

 

Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide now available

With more than 100 varieties of trees, four Great Lakes and thousands of sparkling inland lakes and waterways, autumn in Michigan is spectacular!

The 2018 Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guidefeatures articles on scenic drives, fall foliage hikes and family getaways along with postcard-worthy photographs. The publication also includes a directory of state parks and campgrounds and a fall calendar of events. Access the digital version and sign up for weekly fall color updates at www.michigan.org/travel-guideor contact my office to receive a print copy.

 

Check out fall family activities at state parks

Michigan state parks offer plenty of family fun and adventure beyond the summer season. More than 30 state parks host fall harvest festivals in September and October. Selected parks feature hay rides, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, even haunted trails!  Activities in state park campgrounds are typically open to registered campers only. Find out about upcoming events at www.michigan.gov/harvestsandhaunts.