Senator Dave Hildenbrand E-Newsletter
 

AUGUST 2017

August ushers in new state laws

Several important new laws passed earlier this year that will take effect in August:

• Public Acts 29 and 30 of 2017 prohibit and provide tough penalties for pointing a laser or similar device at an airplane pilot or train engineer. While this issue is a federal crime, the new state law allows for more consistent prosecution and increased safety.

• Public Act 34 of 2017 expands protections for victims of human trafficking so all victims, including those with prior prostitution-related convictions, are eligible for the discharge and dismissal program if all conditions of probation are met.

Jobless rate drops again

Michigan's unemployment rate declined to 3.8 percent in June, the lowest rate since August 2000!

Statewide unemployment was once again below the national average and a full percentage point below Michigan's June 2016 rate. Job gains were seen in the professional and business services; trade, transportation and utilities; and financial sectors.

Effort to bring back the Arctic Grayling Fish

The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative aims to establish self-sustaining populations of Arctic Grayling throughout its historical range in Michigan. The initiative recently released its official action plan in its efforts to reintroduce the fish.

Large populations of the slate-blue fish with the distinctive dorsal fin were once found in many cold water streams throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and in one Upper Peninsula stream. In fact, the historic species was native only to Michigan and Montana in the lower 48 states, according to the DNR. The Grayling was valued as both a commercial food fish and a sought-after game fish. However, a variety of factors led to the disappearance of this rare native fish from Michigan by 1936.

To view the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative Action Plan, visit www.migrayling.org.

Department of Treasury advises to be alert for summer tax scams

The Michigan Department of Treasury encourages Michiganders to remain alert for aggressive and threatening phone calls made by criminals impersonating state tax officials.

Treasury typically observes scam phone calls throughout the summer where scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be tax officials and asking for cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card. Additionally, the criminals may leave “urgent” callback requests through robocalls or phishing emails.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service or another agency is calling. The callers may use employee titles, a person’s name, address and other personal information to sound official.

Treasury will never:

• Initiate a phone call to ask for personal information.
• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, Treasury will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
• Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they owe taxes should hang up immediately if they receive one of these calls. Individuals who do owe taxes or think they may can call 517-636-4486 to find out their account balance information.

Anyone who has received a call like this from a scammer should report the case to the IRS through this website or by calling 800-366-4484.

To learn more about Michigan’s individual income tax, go to www.michigan.gov/incometax.

MSP adds new canine teams

Some of this summer’s recent graduates go by the names of Rocko, Starsky and Boomer!

They are members of 12 new canine teams, as well as one replacement team, that graduated from the Michigan State Police (MSP) 2017 Basic Canine School. As part of the program, the canine teams covered more than 100 miles on foot and received training in areas including tracking, narcotics detection, building search, property search, obedience and aggression.

MSP now has 43 canine teams working throughout Michigan. The canine unit handles more than 6,000 requests for service each year, making it one of the largest and busiest in the country.

Unemployment insurance employer seminars

Michigan employers can learn more about the state's unemployment insurance system at free seminars in August and September.

The programs offer three one-hour sessions with a 30 minute period for individual questions after each presentation. Each session features general information, including how to navigate the Michigan Web Account Manager system, along with a brief overview of services available to employers to assist in meeting labor force needs. Find more information, dates and locations at www.michigan.gov/uia.

MDOT 2017 construction map

The 2017 Paving the Way state construction map is now available online at www.michigan.gov/mdotmaps. The map details the major road repairs scheduled this season on state highways and trunk lines, along with the construction dates.

Teacher of the Year

Order your free Pure Michigan Spring/Summer Travel Guide

The Travel Guide highlights fascinating sight to see, intriguing places to go and great activities to participate in throughout Michigan.

To order a printed version or view the digital edition of the 2017 Pure Michigan Spring/Summer Travel Guide please visit http://www.michigan.org/travel-guide.

 

School Tour Groups

School Groups
Almost every week, I have the privilege of welcoming students from the Grand Rapids area to the Michigan capitol building. During their visit, I always try to welcome them and take a quick photo. To see these pictures, please visit this page on my website.
 

Contact Senator Hildenbrand’s Office

Senator Dave Hildenbrand
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Toll-Free: (866) 305-2129 or (517) 373-1801

www.SenatorDaveHildenbrand.com

Email: SenDHildenbrand@senate.michigan.gov.  Please include name, address, and phone number.

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The purpose of this E-Newsletter is to provide a timely update of Senator Hildenbrand's activity at the State Capitol to the residents and organizations of the 29th Senate District. Electronic newsletters will only be sent out on a monthly basis. You will not be inundated with e-mails.