Brandenburg backs Fostering Futures tax checkoff bills
Many teens in Michigan’s foster care system want to attend college but don’t have the resources to do so when they age out of the system. In fact, less than 10 percent who graduate from high school actually enroll in college.
I supported Senate legislation, now signed into law, to help our state’s foster youth attend college. Public Acts 252 and 253 of 2018 add a state income tax checkoff for taxpayers to contribute to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund. This fund provides some help with college expenses such as tuition, room and board, and books based on need and any other financial aid the student is receiving.
More than $1.1 million has been raised through individual and group donations and other fundraising events since 2012.
New taxpayer donations will provide more funds and allow the program to assist more students.
Skilled trades get permanent funding with new law
A new law permanently puts Michigan’s popular skilled trades training program in state statute to ensure its continuation. Senate Bill 946, now Public Act 260 of 2018, also renames the program the Going Pro Talent Program.
The program provides training opportunities to in-state employers. Workforce development efforts benefit all involved — workers obtain new skills to advance their careers and employers gain qualified and highly trained employees. Since 2014, the program has provided nearly $73 million in competitive awards to more than 2,200 Michigan companies. More information is available at www.going-pro.com
Confidential sexual assault hotline now open
Survivors of sexual assault have an important new resource to help in the healing process. A confidential, 24-hour sexual assault hotline — 1-855-VOICES4— is now up and running to provide support and referrals.
The hotline is staffed by professional crisis counselors with specialized training in crisis intervention, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, victim’s rights, health options and Michigan law. Counselors can connect victims with sexual assault programs that offer additional counseling, advocacy and support as well as other services such as Crime Victims Compensation and the Michigan Victim Information and Notification Everyday (MI-VINE), an electronic victim notification service.
Pure Michigan Trail and Trail Town designation
As the Trails State, Michigan offers thousands of miles of scenic outdoor adventure for hikers, bicyclists, ORV riders, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. A new Pure Michigan designation will help showcase some of the best trails across the state and their neighboring towns. More information on the new program, including the application process, criteria, frequently asked questions, a handbook and more — can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.
OK2SAY school safety program
As students return to the classroom for a new school year, it’s a good time to share contact information for Michigan’s 24-hour confidential OK2SAY hotline. The student safety program encourages students to anonymously report potential threats or harm to trained technicians.
Tips can be submitted by e-mail at OK2SAY@mi.gov, by text at 652729 (OK2SAY), by phone at 1-855-565-2729 (1-8-555-OK2SAY), or online at OK2Say.com. More than 14,500 tips have been received since the program launched in 2014, including tips on bullying, self-harm, suicide threats and drugs.