Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg supports legislation promoting safer use of drones 

Drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), have been used for many positive commercial and recreational purposes, including property damage assessments, crop monitoring, aerial photography and more. Yet they’ve also been utilized to smuggle contraband such as drugs and cell phones into prison yards. 

The Senate recently passed a package of bills to provide rules for the safer use of this developing technology. Among other provisions, the legislation: 

  • Strengthens drone restrictions on interfering with emergency services and law enforcement, including corrections officers; 
  • Prohibits drones from being used to interfere with correctional facilities and “key facilities” such as refineries, power plants, water treatment plants, transportation facilities and cell phone tower sites; 
  • Holds a drone operator responsible for any illegal action done by a drone; and 
  • Establishes an office within the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to provide information and education on drone regulations and restrictions.  

Senate Bills 917, 918, 919, 921 and 922 have been sent to the House for consideration. 

Stay alert for deer! 

According to the Michigan State Police (MSP), there are nearly 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in the state each year. October, November, and December are particularly hazardous months as deer are more active. Most serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle, or when their vehicle rolls over. 

The MSP advises drivers to stay alert, especially at dawn and dusk; slow down at the sight of one deer as deer often travel in groups; and watch for deer crossing signs. If a crash is unavoidable, don’t swerve and be sure to brake firmly. Motorists are also reminded to buckle up — seat belts are the best defense in the event of a crash.  

 

New unit designed to fight insurance fraud 

Fraud and deception drive up the cost of insurance. A new anti-fraud unit within the state’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) was recently formed to fight fraudulent activity and help lower costs and better protect consumers. The unit will work with other law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate fraud in the auto insurance, health insurance and banking sectors.  

In related news, DIFS set up a new website earlier this year — www.mi.gov/InsuranceFraud — to offer consumers and the insurance industry a convenient site to report fraud. Since the launch, the agency has received 167 complaints of fraud from consumers and 68 complaints from the industry. 

Special education resource site 

Families of children with disabilities can find up-to-date information about special education and other resources at www.michigan.gov/specialeducation-familymatters 

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) site provides fact sheets explaining special education laws and practices, along with links to organizations and state agencies that help parents and students who are receiving, or may be eligible for, special education services.