Update on U.P. energy solution
Improving access to affordable and reliable sources of energy is not only a priority of mine, but it is also essential to the Upper Peninsula's energy future. Last winter's natural gas and fuel oil shortage was a prime example of the vulnerability of our energy system, and reinforced the need for a long-term solution. In addition to improving access, we must also address the problem of rising costs.
Recently, Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette announced agreements with several utility providers that begin the process of helping U.P. residents. The plan eliminates the costly System Support Resource payments that go to Marquette's Presque Isle Power Plant, and establishes replacement electric generation to improve the U.P.'s energy independence and avoid a possible, costly federal mandate. There were four agreements announced, and I encourage readers to visit the governor's website
for more detail.
Ultimately, the goal is to protect U.P. families and businesses and the governor's announcement is a step in the right direction. I will continue to monitor this situation as we work to improve our energy future. Jobless rate falls to lowest point in 12 years!
Michigan's unemployment rate declined to 6.3 percent in December, the lowest monthly rate since November 2002. The decline represents a full two-point drop from December 2013.
State officials also noted that Michigan's labor market was particularly strong in the second half of 2014. I look forward to building on this good news and working to keep the momentum going. Bringing more jobs to our area remains one of my top priorities. New laws promote patient health
Few things are as important as the health and well-being of our loved ones. Senate legislation recently signed into law will:
Free fishing weekend promises winter fun
- Better protect patrons from severe life-threatening allergic reactions by expanding restaurant food safety training to include allergen awareness (PA 516 of 2014).
- Provide women with important information by requiring a patient to be notified when her mammogram shows dense breast tissue, a common occurrence but one that could make it more difficult to detect cancer (PA 517 of 2014).
- Support the direct primary care model, providing Michigan residents the option to contract directly with health care providers for routine health care services (PA 522 of 2014).
Why not make it a special Valentine's Day weekend and head for the great outdoors? Michigan's annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend falls on February 14-15 this year.
All fishing license fees are waived for the two days. Residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply. Visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing
for more information, including details on special events. Winter weather reminder
The massive accidents due to hazardous winter driving conditions earlier this month are a good reminder that motorists should take extra precaution before heading out.
Travelers can go to www.michigan.gov/roadconditions
to check road conditions before traveling. Road conditions are also available by calling the MSP Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477. Schmidt supports veterans plate
Michigan motorists will soon have a great opportunity to honor those who have served our country.
Under a new law, the secretary of state will be allowed to issue a specialty fundraising license plate recognizing Michigan's veterans. Proceeds from sales of the plate will help provide tuition assistance for Michigan National Guard members and funds for veteran service providers and organizations. The implementation date is Sept. 1, 2015.