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An update on COVID-19 in the U.P.

As of Aug. 28, the U.P. continues to see COVID-19 remain in a manageable condition with only 116 active cases.  About 80% of U.P. counties have fewer than 10 active cases. For more information, check out:,9753,7-406-98163_98173---,00.html

Whitmer Tax Tribunal appointee has a troubling ‘dark store’ past

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently reappointed Victoria Enyart to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. This action is seen by many, including myself, as bad for the U.P. and as a member of the Senate’s Advice and Consent Committee, I have requested a hearing be held on her appointment.

Ms. Enyart has served on the state’s tax tribunal for several years and she has a record that must be taken into account. During her time on the tribunal, Enyart has established a troubling pattern of devaluing the property of big box stores. The tax tribunal has accepted faulty reasoning for the property tax of big businesses across Michigan, and not only does it result in an unfair advantage of not paying their share, the revenue reduction puts undue stress on governments trying to supply services like fire protection to their residents

Local governments are already facing serious budget concerns, and these types of property tax decisions that favor big box stores have bigger consequences — they starve the U.P. of vital funding needed to keep our communities safe and educate our children. I share in the concern of so many U.P. residents and small business owners who have already reached out to me, and I look forward to a hearing on the appointment.

Auditor General must investigate UIA for customer service struggles, fraud

In an effort to improve service for unemployed Michiganders, keep residents’ personal information safe and stop costly fraud, I joined with Sen. Aric Nesbitt and Rep. Matt Hall to call on the Auditor General’s Office to look into how the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) processes claims and handles security and staffing procedures.

Almost 2.5 million people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic and resulting executive orders began, and there have been many instances of UIA claiming citizens had been helped when they were not. Additionally, there is a criminal investigation involving a multi-million dollar fraud case and serious concerns about UIA’s potentially inadequate security protocols.

Oversight is a critical role of the Legislature – especially in times of crisis. I commend my colleagues in both the Senate and House for their work on the joint select committee to hold Gov. Whitmer’s administration and departments accountable to the people who lost their jobs. I am hopeful the Auditor General can look into these matters to ensure Michigan is better prepared for future unemployment emergencies.

You can read our letter to the Auditor General here.

State’s new redistricting commission “forgets” U.P. a part of Michigan

I joined my fellow Republican U.P. lawmakers in expressing our deep disappointment and frustration that not a single U.P. resident was selected to serve on the state’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, which will redraw the boundaries of Michigan’s state and Congressional election districts.

In the past the Michigan Legislature has overseen the redistricting process, ensuring at least four U.P. residents – and up to six – were involved in the process.

This new process is supposed to be fair and independent, supposedly improving on the past – but we fail to see how taking away representation and accountability from residents in the U.P. is fair. The closest representative we have is in Interlochen – more than 100 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge, and 6 hours from Ironwood.

This is just the latest example of the Upper Peninsula getting the short end of the stick. The U.P. may only have a small portion of the state’s population, but it makes up about 30 percent of the state’s land – and no one is going to know this land better than a citizen of these communities. We deserve to have a voice in the drawing of our election districts. It’s quite demeaning that the rest of the state seems to think we’re good enough to serve as a tourist destination, but not to have representation on the redistricting commission.

Mental problems and substance abuse on the rise – help is available

Thankfully, many of the numbers related to coronavirus – cases, hospitalizations and deaths – have been trending downward since the virus’ peak in our state. However, other numbers associated with the crisis are going in the wrong direction.

According to experts, the increased isolation, unemployment and anxiety associated with the outbreak and economic downturn contribute directly to a spike in mental health problems and substance abuse.

Last fall, Michigan experienced its first decline in opioid-related deaths in six years. But from April to June of 2020, EMS calls for opioid overdoses jumped by 26%. As people seek to cope, alcohol and marijuana sales have drastically increased as well.

Those who typically receive mental health or substance abuse assistance may have found in-person services limited or unavailable during the shutdown. However, help is available. If you, a loved one or a friend need assistance during this difficult time, please visit for a full list of services.

Free online courses available for CLEP and AP test prep

More than 75% of all Michigan jobs will soon require at least some education beyond high school. To better serve Michigan’s adult population, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is partnering with Modern States Education Alliance and the College Board to offer Michigan residents free online courses to prepare for any of the College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or Advanced Placement (AP) tests. This opportunity gives Michiganders the chance to earn college credits at Michigan universities and community colleges without taking or paying for coursework.

The only responsibility that falls on program participants is to complete the Modern States coursework and then take the CLEP exam in their area of study. Click here to find out how you can accelerate your career and education by signing up for one of 10,000 offerings from Modern States to take the CLEP tests for free!

New website offers help identifying and managing woody invasive plants

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Woody invasive plants, like autumn olive and oriental bittersweet, can quickly take over your property if they are not controlled. But they are not always easy to identify.

To help identify invasive species, the Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative developed a new website. The site contains a wealth of information about how to distinguish woody invasive species from similar beneficial plants, an interactive map showing how these species are regulated by Great Lakes jurisdictions, detailed management approaches and noninvasive woody plant ideas for gardeners and landscape designers.

Visit the website at to help identify woody invasive plants around your property and to learn how to control them properly, or visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website to learn more.

Health care worker immunity bill vetoed by governor

I am disappointed the governor recently vetoed legislation I supported to legally protect health care workers during a state of emergency or disaster.

By vetoing this measure, the governor is making it harder for medical professionals to do their job. As this global pandemic continues, our doctors and nurses should be able to focus on providing the best care possible for their patients without worrying about possible lawsuits.

Senate Bill 899 would have clarified that health care professionals and facilities who render services during a disaster or emergency declaration are not considered liable for the death or injury sustained by a person by reason of those services.

The immunity granted would not have applied in the event of willful misconduct, gross negligence, willful or intentional criminal misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.

Prior to final passage, a subsection was added to specifically address medical liability pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill’s immunity protections would have extended until Jan. 1, 2021 for a death or injury that resulted from an act or omission by a health care provider or health care facility under certain circumstances during the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan's 38th Senate District

The 38th State Senate District includes the counties of Alger, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 38th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ed McBroom
7200 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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