Inaugural "Hansen Hotspots" Tour continues throughout 34th senate districtAs chairman of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee, I'm continuing my way through the district in a series of day-long stops at a variety of locations to promote local tourism and agri-tourism-related small businesses that offer a Pure Michigan experience.
The goal is to primarily use non-motorized transportation, i.e. bikes, boats, kayaks, walk, to spotlight the great amenities in west Michigan.
In June, we spent the day cycling around Oceana County and made nine different stops with Lt. Governor Brian Calley and MI Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams who joined me. Last month, we biked and kayaked through Newaygo County making five different stops and emphasizing the importance of the blue economy. Planning for September is underway for making various stops in Muskegon County.
Muskegon County Breastfeeding CoalitionEarlier this year, I was invited to meet with members of the Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition. During our meeting members of the coalition shared their concerns about lactation services and breastfeeding trends in Muskegon County. They noted that while numerous health organizations recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months as part of a healthy diet and as an optimal beginning for overall nutrition and health, a majority of families in Muskegon County are not following this recommendation.
In fact, hospitals in Muskegon County reported only 63% of families are initiating breastfeeding. Only 8.9% of these families are breastfeeding exclusively for six months.
These statistics are alarming given the short-term and long-term health benefits for both mothers and babies including protection against disease and reduced rates of obesity. I recognize that choosing to breastfeed is a personal decision. However, it is important that parents are informed of these and other health benefits. It is also important that those who choose to breastfeed have access to the services they need to do so.
At our meeting, members of the coalition identified an underlying problem and offered some ideas for increasing the number of families who choose to breastfeed for at least six months. According to members, the issue stems from insufficient coverage for lactation services and equipment for moms enrolled in Michigan's Medicaid program. To put this in perspective, more than 60% of births in Muskegon County are covered by Medicaid, while 52% of births statewide are covered by Medicaid.
The Coalition members are concerned that families in Muskegon County covered by Michigan's Medicaid program are missing out on key services that would encourage more to choose breastfeeding.
Since our meeting I have spent several months exploring a number of possible solutions. I have also met with Jim Havemen, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), to bring awareness to the issue in Muskegon County and discuss possible solutions.
Director Haveman has been a great partner for Muskegon County and the district. I look forward to continuing to work with Director Haveman and the Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition to address this need in our community.
Fresenius - Dialysis Clinic Mobile Generator UnitEarlier this month, I hosted a special event at the Fresenius Medical Care Dialysis Clinic in Muskegon where we unveiled the installation of equipment that will now accept a back-up generator for this facility.
I was joined by the Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health Jim Haveman, State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, community stakeholders and officials from Fresenius to celebrate a solution that helps the community by maintaining the deliverability of dialysis services to area residents.
When Director Haveman attended my Healthcare Town Hall last fall we had a great discussion with health care professionals and community leaders about initiatives underway to improve the overall health and quality of life for local residents. We also discussed some of the current challenges facing the county, which includes a high incidence of kidney disease and renal failure.
While there are many motivated individuals in Muskegon working to prevent greater incidences of these ailments, we needed to be sure the system in place to provide necessary treatments was a reliable one. Fortunately, Fresenius Medical Care, a global dialysis provider, delivers critical services to those who require treatment right here at this clinic.
Over the course of the past two years, I have had conversations with community leaders, specifically the Muskegon NAACP Health Committee, who approached me about exploring ways of protecting against power outages at this facility in Muskegon. I appreciate that the Health Committee brought the issue to my attention in hopes of finding a long-term solution that would maintain these vital services.
Following our discussions, I met with company officials and informed them their dialysis patients could be at risk during emergency situations if these utilities fail. Upon conveying this need for continuous and accessible health care treatment in Muskegon County, Fresenius made the decision to invest in and equip their facility against the loss of electrical power. Now all patients needing dialysis will have access to treatments during an emergency.
Thank you to all of the passionate advocates of this issue and for doing very important work!
Muskegon Community College building projectOne of my legislative priorities this year was to secure legislative approval for Muskegon Community College to begin planning to build a new Science Building on campus. Earlier this summer that approval was granted via a supplemental appropriations bill that moves Muskegon Community College (MCC) one step closer to construction of this building project.
House Bill 4112 provides MCC with authorization to develop planning documents for a 25,000-square-foot Science Laboratory Center.
MCC is providing a renewed and revitalized focus on science and technology instruction in higher education. They cannot be expected to lead in this area with outdated and worn-out facilities. Their new Science Laboratory Center will fix that. It will enrich the lives of students, faculty and the greater community.
The total cost for the project is $9,293,670; MCC will be responsible for 50 percent of the total cost. State funding for the project is expected in a future appropriations bill, once the Legislature authorizes construction.
Senate panel to take up Promise Zone measure next month in MuskegonEarlier this year, I introduced Senate Bill 312 that would provide more flexibility to Promise Zones in Michigan by increasing the opportunity of financial assistance for college-bound students who reside within designated promise zones.
The Senate Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on my bill early next month in Muskegon though details are still being finalized.
The legislation will make a number of changes to the Promise Zone Authority Act to - allow local promise zone authorities to offset the cost of college related expenses, such as books, in addition to tuition and fees; and more easily implement the state's only regional Promise Zone located in Muskegon. My goal is to provide greater benefits for students within the Muskegon Promise Zone and I look forward to working to completing this work in the coming months.
Highlights from Senator Hansen's Recent ScheduleI continue to be honored to represent the constituents of the 34th district. This summer I've had the opportunity to visit with many different groups and participate in various district events taking place in our communities.
Senator Goeff Hansen