Hansen testifies in support of better access to quality equipment for nursing mothersI recently had the opportunity to invite representatives from the Muskegon Breastfeeding Coalition to Lansing to advocate for improved access to quality breast pumps for Medicaid-eligible mothers.
We testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Community Health. It is imperative that those who choose to breastfeed have access to the equipment they need to maintain supply, nourish their baby and gain positive health benefits for themselves.
Hansen goes before Senate panel to encourage support for more local road fundingThe managing director of the Muskegon County Road Commission recently joined me to provide testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of allocating additional road funding for local road agencies adversely affected by the winter storms.
Communities along the Lake Michigan shoreline received the brunt of lake effect snow. As a consequence of the unusually high snow totals, our local road agencies have, in most cases, exceeded their winter maintenance budgets. Under the circumstances, they've done their best to keep our streets safe and open to traffic.
Consequently, the Senate has approved $100 million in emergency road funding to help local communities with critical pothole repairs and maintenance expenses. Along with this immediate relief, the Legislature also added another $115 million to help speed up shovel-ready road projects.
The $215 million in road funding is in addition to $115 million committed in December for road and bridge improvement projects. In the last three years, we have worked to direct nearly $585 million extra dollars toward helping fix Michigan's roads.
Sen. Hansen applauds Senate passage of bills to increase access to health careThe state Senate recently approved measures that would boost a statewide program that recruits medical providers to serve in underserved areas. I was proud to co-sponsor Senate Bills 648 and 649 that will improve access to health care in certain areas of the 34th Senate District.
This is a tool to help employers recruit and retain primary medical, dental, and mental health care providers by providing loan repayment to those entering into the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program service obligations. These bills serve a critical need.
The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program service obligations require participants to provide full-time, primary health care services at an eligible nonprofit practice site located in a Health Professional Shortage Area for two years.
The obligations are part of the Michigan Essential Health Provider program, which covers loan repayments for those who have taken out a loan to attend medical school, to train to be a nurse midwife or a nurse practitioner or to train to be a physician's assistant.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH), which administers the program, is currently limited under the program to recruiting physicians who are training in general practice, family practice, obstetrics, pediatrics, emergency medicine, internal medicine, preventive medicine, and psychiatry.
Senate Bills 648 and 649 will make the following changes to the Michigan Essential Health Provider program:
Bills improve personal property tax reformIn 2012, the Legislature passed a package of bills to phase out the industrial personal property tax – a tax many businesses pay year after year on machinery and equipment. The tax penalized employers for expanding and investing in their businesses and creating jobs.
New legislation updates the reform by fully replacing revenue to local governments beyond the 100 percent revenue protection for fire and police services approved in 2012. The bipartisan plan replaces revenue through a greater portion of the state's 6 percent Use Tax on out-of-state purchases and a statewide assessment on newly exempt businesses.
The reform will help improve Michigan's competitiveness for new jobs and support our local communities with a stable and improved revenue source. The plan must be approved by the House and the governor, and then by the Michigan voters on the August ballot.
Hansen completes technology tour of area schoolsEarlier this week, I wrapped up my education technology tour at Grant High School. At each of the schools I visited, teachers and students shared with me the new tools they are using to improve learning. As opportunities to customize education with technology increase, we can anticipate even more applied learning in our schools.
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.
As a former grocer, it was great to visit local grocery stores and serve as a guest bagger. I enjoyed talking with customers and staff about issues of importance to the 34th District.
Earlier this week, I toured the Lake Pointe Senior House Development construction site. It was great to see the progress being made on this much needed affordable housing option for our seniors in the community. I'm looking forward to its completion and the day these seniors have a place to call home on Hart Lake!
As a proud supporter of Michigan's tradition of premier traveling and tourism opportunities, I was honored to recently be named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association!
It's been exciting to spend March celebrating "March is Reading Month" by visiting with students at Pentwater Public Schools, Spitler Elementary, the Great Start Readiness Program in Hart and others across the district!
Congratulations to Caleb Dibble of North Muskegon who was named McDonald's 2013 Crew Person of the Year! Caleb works at the McDonald's on Whitehall Road in North Muskegon and is one of only a few in Michigan to receive this prestigious national award.