January marks the start of new laws
Several new laws passed in 2015 take effect this month. Laws of interest to veterans, motorists and parents include:
Mark your calendar for winter fun!
- Public Acts 144-147 of 2015 help people with disabilities-including military veterans-and their service dogs access public places like businesses and schools. Service animals are trained to provide assistance to people with disabilities, including those with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. People can voluntarily register their animals and receive a Registered Service Animal ID card for themselves and a patch for the dog's vest or harness. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/serviceanimals.
- Public Act 135 of 2015 allows drivers to show law enforcement an electronic copy of their proof of insurance on their cell phone or other mobile device. Michigan now joins 37 other states that permit motorists to use this technology.
- Public Act 165 of 2015 bans the sale, distribution and possession of powdered alcohol. With packaging and flavors that can appeal to kids, this pocket-sized product poses too great a potential for abuse, especially among teens and those too young to drink.
The eyes of the snowmobile world will be on Sault Ste. Marie during the first week of February, as thousands make the trek for the 48th annual I-500 snowmobile race. America's top drivers on the fastest snowmobiles provide for one of the best sporting spectacles in the country as they race around the North American continent's only one mile oval ice track. The sights, sounds and sheer excitement of the race make you forget the cold as one of Michigan's premiere events unfolds. For more information, please visit i-500.com
. See you there!
Michigan's free fishing weekend is right around the corner! On Feb. 13 and 14, anglers can fish without a license. All state fishing regulations, except the license requirement, still apply. Visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing
for more information, including special activities around the state. Bills would provide law enforcement with easier access to emergency contact info
In an emergency, time is of the essence. I recently supported legislation to help make emergency contact information accessible to law enforcement in a timely manner. Using existing resources voluntarily provided to the Secretary of State, law enforcement personnel would be able to determine whether emergency contact information is available for an individual in an emergency situation.
The legislation could make it easier for emergency personnel to identify family members at the scene of an accident. In turn, that could allow family members to make important medical decisions in a more timely fashion. It could also offer peace of mind to families with loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's. If the legislation is signed into law, this information would be available to law enforcement by Jan. 1, 2017. Hunters: apply for spring turkey hunt now
Michigan is home to approximately 200,000 wild turkeys and ranks among the top 10 states for harvest.
The spring season is the traditional time to hunt turkey. The 2016 season runs April 18 through May 31, with several different hunt periods to choose from. The application period is open through Feb. 1
. Drawing results are posted online on March 1 at www.mi.gov/huntdrawings
. Find more information, including regulations, season dates and hunt units in the 2016 Michigan Spring Turkey Digest
. Stay up-to-date on legislation
Be sure to stay up-to-date on news from my office at my website, SenatorWayneSchmidt.com
, and for detailed information about legislation, the official Legislature website is a valuable source at legislature.michigan.gov
As always, you are encouraged to contact my office with any comment, question or concern you may have about legislation and other state issues. My staff and I care about you and are here to serve in any way we can. You can reach my office by phone, toll free at 855-347-8037, by email at SenWSchmidt@senate.michigan.gov
, or if you plan to be in Lansing and would like to stop by my office, it is located in room 820 of the Farnum Building on the corner of Allegan Street and Capitol Avenue.
Also, the Citizens Guide to the Michigan Legislature is now available as a phone and tablet app for iOS and Android devices. Once installed, you'll find helpful contact information, links to senators' websites and committee listings, and other information.
Check it out!