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Senator Tonya Schuitmaker

The Michigan Legislature Begins a New Session


We have completed the first month of the new legislative session. I was sworn in for my second term in the Michigan Senate on January 14th, and the governor presented his State of the State address on January 20th. We have already begun addressing major priorities to make this state a better place to live. The governor presents his budget recommendation on February 11th and the legislature will then begin work on the state budget.

Because of the recent redistricting, this term I will be serving a new constituency. I now represent the 26th district, which is made up of Van Buren and Allegan Counties, as well as Kentwood and Gaines Township in Kent County.

For those of you who live in Kalamazoo County and are now represented by Margaret O'Brien, you can sign up for her e-newsletters by visiting this page. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, you may do so at the bottom. I will always be grateful for your support and look forward to maintaining the relationships we have built.

For those who are members of the 26th District who are new to this email list, I send out e-newsletters each month updating you on the major events taking place in Lansing, as well as featuring items of general interest. If you know anyone who would like to receive my monthly e-newsletter, please have them visit my website,

Supreme Court Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. administers the oath of office. Pictured (from left to right): husband, Steve Mucci; mother, Zoe Schuitmaker; father, Harold Schuitmaker.

Schuitmaker Reports on State of the State Message

Gov. Snyder recently delivered his 2015 State of the State address, in which he highlighted Michigan's economic gains, including the creation of more than 300,000 private sector jobs since 2011. I am proud that our reform efforts over the past several years have helped create a positive environment for job growth.

Along with continuing efforts to improve the economy, I was pleased to see an emphasis on education and training opportunities so our students are prepared for success. I also applaud the governor's focus on making government more accountable by maximizing state resources on results, not bureaucracy.

Michigan has made great strides, yet there is still much more to do. I am excited for the challenges ahead as we work together on behalf of Michigan's hardworking families.

Schuitmaker Goes Red for Women

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. That is why I, along with my female colleagues in the Senate and the American Heart Association, hosted an event on January 29 in the Capitol rotunda to promote the association's "Go Red for Women" initiative.

In addition, I introduced Senate Resolution 8 to name February as American Heart Month in Michigan, and February 6 as Go Red Day. Increasing awareness, research and funding for this issue will help us to improve preventative measures and fight cardiovascular disease. With your help, we can improve the lives of citizens at risk and suffering from heart disease.

Pictured (from left to right): Senators O'Brien, Schuitmaker, Warren, Emmons

Pictured (from left to right): Rep. Chang, Rep. Garcia, featured speaker and heart attack survivor Janine Krolikowski, Sen. Warren, Sen. Schuitmaker

Jobless Rate Falls to Lowest Point in 12 Years!

Michigan's unemployment rate declined to 6.3 percent in December, the lowest monthly rate since November 2002. The decline represents a full two-point drop from December 2013.

State officials also noted that Michigan's labor market was particularly strong in the second half of 2014. I look forward to building on this good news and working to keep the momentum going. Bringing more jobs to our area remains one of my top priorities.

New Law has Immediate Impact in Keeping Students Safe

Senate legislation signed into law last year created the OK-2-SAY program, a confidential early warning system for students to report threats to their safety or the safety of others.

The program became operational in Michigan schools on Sept. 2, 2014. By mid-December, state officials had verified more than 400 tips, including tips on bullying and cyberbullying, threats of suicide and child abuse. I am pleased the new law is working as intended to help keep our kids safe.

Students and others can anonymously submit tips by phone at 855-565-2729, by text message at 652729 (OK2SAY), by email at, or through the website at

Alcohol Limit Lowered to .08 on the Water and Trails

With a new law in place, if you're too drunk to legally drive, you're too drunk to operate certain recreational vehicles.

I supported legislation that lowers the blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold from .10 to .08 for operating a snowmobile, boat or off-road vehicle-the same level used for driving a vehicle. Other provisions increase the penalties for violations and prohibit a person under the age of 21 from operating a snowmobile or boat with any level of alcohol.

Each season, alcohol is a contributing factor in many snowmobile and boating accidents. The new law lets everyone know that safety on the trail and on the water is as important as safety on the road.

For Your Information


Winter Weather Reminder

The recent hazardous weather conditions are a good reminder that motorists should take extra precaution before heading out.

Travelers can go to and to check road conditions before traveling. Road conditions are also available by calling the MSP Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477.

DNR Section


Free Fishing Weekend Promises Winter Fun

Why not make it a special Valentine's Day weekend and head for the great outdoors? Michigan's annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend falls on February 14-15 this year.

All fishing license fees are waived for the two days. Residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply. Visit for more information, including details on special events.

DNR cautions anglers about ice dams, sudden changes in river flow during wintertime fishing

The Department of Natural Resources urges anglers to use caution when planning trips on Michigan's rivers and streams this winter. Winter fishing for trout and steelhead can be challenging and rewarding, but cold air temperatures can cause sudden and significant changes in flows in rivers and streams.

Temperature effects are most pronounced at times of very cold air temperatures, particularly below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if areas with extreme nighttime cold temperatures alternate with warmer days.

DNR fisheries staff strongly recommends that when planning for a winter fishing trip to one of the state's streams, anglers should check on river conditions and weather forecasts locally. Air temperatures below 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit are likely to create conditions for more difficult fishing, particularly from a boat.

Flow and water temperature data for many of Michigan's larger steelhead streams have real-time gauges which can be checked online through the U.S. Geological Survey. There also are many weather-related websites that can provide forecasts for anticipated air temperatures that can help you better plan for expected conditions.

Take advantage of Michigan's world-class fishing opportunities - even in winter! Start planning a trip at

Tributes and Congratulatory Notes

Are you looking for a unique way to commemorate a special occasion for a co-worker, friend or family member? My office is pleased to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions.

The Zion Church Builders are presented the award for the Business of the Year by the Mattawan Business Association.

Coming to Lansing?

As a state senator, I frequently receive invitations to legislative conferences and events. Please know my priority is you. If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.

Stay in Contact

Mail: P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909
Toll-Free: (866) 305-2120
Phone: (517) 373-0793
Fax: (517) 373-5607

Senator Tonya Schuitmaker

405 Farnum Bldg. P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone: (517) 373-0793

Visit my website at: