Sen. Goeff Hansen announces county road repairsState Sen. Goeff Hansen announced earlier today that his efforts to secure money for two road repair projects in Muskegon County have paid off and the projects will receive the necessary funding.
"Earlier this year, after discussions with the Muskegon County Road Commission, I requested road repair funding for two projects along Sternberg Road and Ryerson Road in Muskegon County," said Hansen, R-Hart. "I am extremely pleased that MDOT honored my request and now these roads will receive the necessary funding to improve this important infrastructure in Muskegon County."
Grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will fund the two projects.
"Our wise budget and spending choices of recent years have enabled us to use existing resources to repair our roads," Hansen said. "The $115 million state Roads and Risk Reserve Fund, part of the current General Government budget, will provide the money for these projects."
The first grant of $1,145,000 will be used to reconstruct four miles of Sternberg Road from Brooks Road to Maple Island Road in Muskegon County. Due to higher volumes of traffic near the Lakes Mall and associated commercial development, much-needed safety improvements will be realized through this reconstruction.
The second grant of $1,075,000 will be used to rehabilitate more than four miles of Ryerson Road from M-120 to Holton-Duck Lake Road. Ryerson Road connects central northern Muskegon County with Maple Island Road and Newaygo County to the east. Two curves require treatment for improved safety operations, and safety guardrails will be installed at the bridge over Cedar Creek.
"We certainly need to do more to solve our local infrastructure problems, but directly funding these Muskegon County projects is a major first step in that process," Hansen said.
"I look forward to seeing the projects completed. West Michigan's residents, tourists and job providers depend on the state's transportation system for leisure travel, workday commutes and the movement of goods. I will work with our local partners to devise long-term solutions that address our infrastructure needs, and I will continue to work hard to improve the infrastructure across Michigan."
Sen. Hansen holds contest for high school students
A local high school student with a mind for civic engagement will be joining me for a significant event in Lansing come January, the State of the State Address.
Members of the state Legislature normally bring local government officials as their guests for the annual speech. Since being elected, I have placed a major emphasis on engaging youth in the state government process through initiatives such as holding a summer reading contest each year for local students, speaking at graduation ceremonies and spending time meeting students. I look forward to reading the entries for this contest and will notify the winner by Friday, January 10th.
Students may choose one of three topics for their essay:
Michigan Lags Other States in Breastfeeding ProtectionsSenate Bill 674 recently passed the Senate which would offer legal protection to breastfeeding mothers in public places. Michigan is one of five states that lack laws to specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. The bill essentially allows women to breastfeed in any "place of public accommodation", including businesses, facilities and educational institutions. With this kind of protection, we can give women the strength to know that they can nurse in public and that the law is on their side. We should do everything we can to have healthy babies.
Hansen Classroom Technology TourClassrooms throughout the 34th state senate district are using technology in unique ways to customize instruction and prepare students to compete in a global economy. In the last few weeks, I have visited with students and teachers to see the many exciting tools our schools are employing for more practical instruction.
One elementary class was learning computer code last week as part of "Hour of Code," a nationwide campaign to educate students about computer science! Another classroom was partnering with a school in Spain to give our students a unique foreign language experience. Others, for example, were leveraging technology to expose students to learn more about music theory & composition and robotics!
High-tech equipment is replacing textbooks, chalkboards and overhead projectors as the most important instructional device for today's students. While school districts recognize the importance of utilizing high-tech equipment for preparing students for college and the 21st century global economy, the amount of technology available for use varies. For example, a few years ago some districts updated their computers by six generations by buying used computers from another school district. By leveraging technology, schools can customize instruction and ensure that children who need extra help get it.
I congratulate all of our educators, administrators and students on these exciting endeavors. I look forward to visiting more classrooms to see how technology is impacting our children's learning environment and promoting academic growth. We need to ensure our children are given the best opportunities possible to achieve academic and professional success.
Hansen's Hotspots 2013Earlier this summer, I lead a bike tour of Oceana County to highlight Pure Michigan agri-tourism and agri-businesses in west Michigan. Joining me were Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, Michigan Department Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams and many others. Check out the video of our day in Oceana County! http://www.senatorgoeffhansen.com/video/
Hansen: Let's help our children succeedThe last hurdles of the legislative process have been completed on legislation I sponsored, Senate Bill 312. The bill is currently before the Governor for consideration. SB 312 clarifies the requirements of Michigan Promise Zone scholarship programs throughout the state. Specifically, my bill will strengthen these scholarship programs, such as the Muskegon Promise Zone, and help them generate the money necessary to fund the scholarships.
The Promise Zone scholarships, made possible by the creation of 10 promise zones across the state under the Michigan Promise Zone Authority Act of 2009, are intended as additional financial resources for eligible students to use toward a post-secondary education.
Physician Shortage Bills Still EvolvingAspiring family physicians would be given more flexibility in paying back school loans received through the Michigan Essential Health Provider program under legislation recently introduced; SB 648 and 649. The bills would increase the maximum amount a physician could put toward a loan at $40,000, removing the four-year limit on loan repayments and including dentists in the loan repayment program.
Increasing access to primary care physicians for west Michigan residents is critically important to ensuring the availability of health care services. We need these graduating students in our state.
This program currently helps employers recruit and retain primary medical, dental and mental healthcare providers by providing loan repayment to those entering into a Health Professional Shortage Area at non-for-profit health clinics.
Hansen pharmacy bill sent to GovernorLegislation I've sponsored (SB 373) is another step closer to allowing for new approaches to the way medical prescriptions are delivered. Senate Bill 373 would enable pharmacies to conduct pilot projects that could utilize new or expanded technology or processes to provide patients with better pharmacy products in a more efficient manner and that also protects patient safety & the valuable pharmacist-patient relationship.
Authorizing pilot projects gives pharmacies the ability to explore innovative ideas on a small scale under controlled conditions and while being monitored by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. If these ideas are successful, they could then be offered across Michigan. Like other industries in Michigan that are evolving and adapting in a 21st century global economy, so too is the pharmaceutical industry.
Audio comments by Hansen are available on the senator's webpage: http://www.senatorgoeffhansen.com/audio/
Moratorium measure for struggling schools passes SenateRecently, House Bill 4369 passed the Senate which places a moratorium on new schools operating under the Education Achievement Authority / state reform district until the 2015-2016 school year.
House Bill 4369, which I supported, builds on laws enacted in 2009 under Governor Granholm that established the State School Reform/Redesign District. The bill will give Michigan's highest education official, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, better flexibility and discretion to address the severe academic problems in the state's lowest-performing five percent of schools.
Specifically, the bill allows the option for schools placed under the purview of the State Reform/Redesign Officer to be operated directly by the reform district, rather than having to use an intermediary management organization.
The bill includes a moratorium to specify that State Superintendent Flanagan may not put any new schools into the reform district until the 2015-16 school year. This legislation puts limits in place and gives us the time needed to evaluate this tool and determine how best to address the lowest performing schools in our state.
We all have concerns about how an EAA designation may impact our local schools which is why House Bill 4369 prohibits the transfer of any schools to the Reform/Redesign District before the 2015/16 school year.
The status quo for the children in these schools is unacceptable. We must ensure that they and their families are given hope for the future. Few things are more important than our children's education. Every student in our public schools deserves a quality education to establish a foundation for lifelong success.
Highlights from Senator Hansen's Recent ScheduleI continue to be honored to represent the constituents of the 34th district. I've had the opportunity to recently visit with many different groups and participate in various district events taking place in our communities.
Dropped off coats for children at Edgewood Elementary in Muskegon Heights.
Participated in the White Cloud Child & Adolescent Center open house
Congratulated North Muskegon Middle School foreign language teacher Bernadette Billock as Michigan's World Language Educator of the Year for secondary schools. Ms. Billock was recognized at the Michigan World Language Association Conference in early November.
Spending time this week with residents at Roosevelt Park Nursing & Rehabilitation;
handing out Christmas bags to students at MLK Elementary School during their holiday party; ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at Plumb's in Whitehall;
volunteering at True North's toy give away event in Fremont;
and volunteering at the Catholic Charities Food Pantry in Muskegon.