In This Issue:
Family friendly fishingAlthough school is fast-approaching, there is still plenty of time to enjoy Michigan's outdoors with your kids or grandkids, through fishing for example.
Visit the Family Friendly Fishing Waters website at www.michigan.gov/fishing to find water bodies identified as family friendly based on ease of access, amenities (restrooms!) and high likelihood of success in catching fish. Each online profile includes geographic location, driving directions, species of fish available, hours and more.
A family fishing trip is the perfect way to enjoy Michigan's great outdoors before the end of summer!
Citizen initiative "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act" clears SenateLast week, the Michigan Senate passed citizen-initiated legislation known as the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to require that state wildlife management decisions be based on science and scientific methods. I was proud to lead support for the measure in the Senate and voted for passage.
One out of six Michigan residents regularly hunt or fish, spending nearly $5 billion and supporting 46,000 jobs in our state's economy each year. We must ensure that public policy decisions affecting their way of life and their traditions in the great outdoors are based on sound science, not partisan politics or emotions.
In addition to requiring science-based decision making, the measure strengthens state fishery management programs and efforts to combat the threat of aquatic invasive species such as Asian Carp. The act also establishes free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses for active duty members of the military as a demonstration of appreciation for their service to our nation.
The citizen-initiative was submitted to the Legislature with the verified signatures of over 297,000 Michigan voters, well beyond the 258,000 needed, giving the state Senate and House 40 days to either confirm or reject the proposal. An initiative is not presented to the governor for signature or veto.
Michigan National Guard members to receive tuition assistanceProviding free licenses to active duty military is just one step of many we are taking to better serve those who are serving or have served us.
I am pleased to have also supported a new law to provide tuition assistance to members of the Michigan National Guard in active service. Guard members will be able to receive financial assistance to pursue a first associate, baccalaureate or master's degree, as well as vocational or technical training. These higher education opportunities will assist service members with their future goals when they return to civilian life.
Until now, Michigan was one of only seven states in the nation without a tuition assistance program for Guard members. Such a program is important to retain experienced Guard soldiers and airman and to keep their skills at work helping to rebuild our economy.
Senate approves CPL renewal by mail for deployed militaryThe Michigan Senate also recently approved legislation I cosponsored allowing Michigan residents who are active duty military members deployed overseas or stationed outside the state to renew their concealed pistol licenses (CPL) by mail.
Currently, a license to carry a concealed pistol must be renewed in person, a difficult task for military personnel who still call Michigan home but are serving their country abroad. Sponsored by Sen. John Moolenaar, Senate Bill 977 would allow them to renew by mail while still meeting the state's longstanding CPL eligibility requirements.
The legislation passed the Senate 32-1 and now moves to the House for its consideration.
New laws to combat meth productionAlthough military personnel confront threats abroad, a growing threat in our local communities - especially in rural areas - is the widespread and increased production of methamphetamines. In fact, Michigan ranked sixth in meth lab busts nationwide last year.
I recently supported legislation signed into law to help prevent the production of this illegal and dangerous drug. The measures require the names of people who have been convicted of meth-related offenses to be entered into an electronic system used by pharmacies and law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine which are used to produce meth. Retailers will be required to check the system during purchases of those products.
Additionally, people who knowingly buy legal amounts of these products for the manufacture of meth will face penalties as well.
Pavlov and Green to host Port Sanilac town hall on protecting Lake Huron from nuclear wasteState Sen. Phil Pavlov and I invite you to a public town hall meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 26, to discuss our joint legislative efforts to protect Lake Huron from a proposed Canadian nuclear waste dump.
Canadian officials are proposing to bury 7 million cubic feet of radioactive waste in Ontario less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron and directly across from Michigan residents.
The town hall will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 26, from 6:30 to 8:00p.m. at the Port Sanilac Waterside Gazebo, 7299 Cedar St., Port Sanilac, MI 48469. Local officials, concerned citizens and the media are encouraged to attend!
Fall Adopt-A-Highway cleanup date setProtecting our natural resources legislatively is a high priority of mine, but there are opportunities for everyone to do their part to preserve Michigan's outdoors. The Adopt-A-Highway program is a perfect example.
This year's final Adopt-A-Highway cleanup is scheduled from Sept. 20 to 28. Volunteer crews perform a valuable community service by helping keep Michigan highway roadsides clear of trash and debris. In 2013, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collected about 70,000 bags of trash, a $5.5 million value for the state!
Please consider volunteering for one of the many civic groups, businesses and families that organize local cleanups of their sponsored sections of highway. Participants must be at least 12 years old and each group must include at least three people. Check the MDOT Adopt-A-Highway website at www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway for more information.
At your serviceAs always, please feel free to contact my office should you have any questions or concerns or need assistance with a state issue.
Back to School Update
Each fall, there's a buzz of excitement in our neighborhoods and communities as children and their families prepare for a new school year to start. There's old friends to meet, new friends to make and, of course, so much to learn!
All of us - parents, teachers and neighbors - want to see our children achieve and excel. Investing in education has been and will continue to be one of my top priorities. By working together, we can make sure our schools are able to prepare our students for the many opportunities and challenges of the 21st century global economy.
I am excited to share this Back to School report with you. From information on increased school funding to school safety and more, I hope you find it useful. In the meantime, best wishes to all those beginning a new school year!