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New plan would boost tourism, improve parks throughout Northern Michigan, state

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Legislation I introduced this week would invest $250 million to address a backlog of infrastructure improvement projects at state and local parks and recreation areas. An increased interest in Michigan’s state and local parks, while wonderful and welcomed, has also highlighted the desperate need to fund improvement projects necessary for their operation and upkeep.

Senate Bill 703 would also dedicate $30 million each for the Northern Michigan Tourism and Sports Fund, which would be used to develop and promote sports-related tourism and recreation in Northern Michigan, and for the Mackinac Island State Park Fund.

The legislative package would also invest $508 million for the State Park Endowment Fund, which would enable it to immediately reach a funding cap that would otherwise not be reached for another 30 years.

Many of the facilities in our state’s parks have not had significant infrastructure improvements since the ‘60s and ‘70s. Bathrooms and access for people with disabilities are prime examples of the need and of how we are not always making the best impression on visitors.

Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry contributes billions to the state’s economy and sustains 126,000 jobs with over $4.7 billion in wages and salaries.

Senate Bills 702-704 were referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for review.

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10-digit dialing began Oct. 24

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Michigan telephone customers in the 616, 810, 906 and 989 area codes now have to include an area code with every local call — known as 10-digit dialing.

The change is to prepare for the July 16, 2022 roll out of a new three-digit dialing code — 988 — to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission designated 988 as the abbreviated dialing code to reach the suicide prevention hotline.

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress; prevention and crisis resources; and best practices for professionals. Currently the Lifeline can be reached by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) from any mobile or landline phone.

Residents are urged to check any pre-programmed safety or security equipment, such as medical alert devices and alarm and security systems that may need to be reprogramed to the 10-digit dialing. Contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed. Other services that may need to be reprogrammed include pre-programed phones, internet dial-up numbers, call forwarding settings, and voicemail services.

For more information on the new 10-digit dialing requirement, including a list of possible updates that you may need to make, please visit the MPSC or FCC websites.

DNR confirms recent cougar photo from Dickinson County

Wildlife biologists with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have confirmed a trail camera image, taken in September, showing a cougar walking through a semi-open area in Dickinson County.

This latest confirmation brings the total number of confirmed cougar reports to 74 in Michigan since 2008. This figure does not necessarily translate to the same number of cougars, because a single animal may have been included in more than one confirmed report.

So far this year, 10 cougar reports have been confirmed in the U.P., including three from Dickinson County, two from Marquette County and one each from Baraga, Delta, Houghton, Luce and Schoolcraft counties.

For more information on cougars in Michigan, including a list of the confirmed reports and forms for reporting additional cougar evidence, visit

Senate moves to give schools flexibility in learning

Current law requires that schools have at least 75% of students attending school in person on an average daily basis in order to receive full state aid payments. This has created challenges for schools that are working hard to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and have students temporarily out of the classroom due to close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

Senate Bill 664 would allow schools to count quarantined students toward the average daily attendance requirement. It also allows those students to be counted for the purposes of count day under certain conditions. Furthermore, quarantined students may learn online without specific requirements applying as long as there are daily two-way interactions.

SB 664 was passed unanimously by the Senate and will now go to the House for consideration.

Let Kids Learn plan approved

The Michigan Senate recently passed the Let Kids Learn plan, designed to work side-by-side with our schools to rethink what it means to deliver effective learning tools, give parents control over their child’s education and refocus on students and outcomes.

The Let Kids Learn plan, created in Senate Bills 687 and 688, would establish scholarships for eligible K-12 students in Michigan to use for some educational expenses. Scholarships are prioritized for children receiving free and reduced lunch, children in foster care, and students with disabilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges for educators, parents and students — with students from across the state experiencing the pandemic differently. Students are still recovering from a wide range of issues, from learning loss to mental health issues, caused by the global pandemic, and parents need to be able to decide on the right school or education program for their child.

Funds available through these scholarships could be used by families for education or learning expenses — both inside and outside the classroom, including tuition and fees for public, nonpublic or online K-12 schools; career and technical education programs; Wi-Fi and laptops; textbooks and materials; transportation; occupational, behavioral and speech therapies; tutoring services; mental health services; and more.

The funds would be strictly for school-related expenses, and any refunds, returns or rebates would be credited back to a student’s scholarship account for future educational use. Annual reports would be required by the Department of Treasury to ensure proper use of scholarship funds by the scholarship granting organizations.

If enacted, Michigan would join several other states that offer, with great success, similar education savings accounts and tax-credit scholarships.

The bill has been approved by both the House and the Senate and have been sent to the governor for her signature.

DNR asks hunters to report dead deer

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to look around while in the field this fall and contact them if they find dead deer, especially near water. The animal may be infected with epizootic hemorrhagic disease. EHD is a viral disease, is sometimes fatal, and is found in wild ruminants such as white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk.

The Michigan DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory and the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed this week that six free-ranging, white-tailed deer from four counties across Michigan have died from EHD.

EHD is transmitted by a type of biting fly called a midge. Signs of illness in an infected animal can vary greatly, ranging from none to extensive internal bleeding and fluid accumulation. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus.

Animals infected with EHD can become sick suddenly, or the disease may linger in them for weeks or months in a low-grade state. Very sick deer will lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow weak, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever and dehydration, infected deer often seek water to lower their body temperature and to rehydrate and are found sick or dead near or in bodies of water.

Anyone who discovers dead deer should report it through the DNR’s Eyes in the Field reporting form or call the closest DNR Customer Service Center.

Updates to online career tool announced

Pathfinder, Michigan’s online career exploration tool, has received a major update to make it easier for residents to use.

Pathfinder is a free tool that provides information to students, their parents and guidance counselors, to help them make informed choices about educational and career options. This free tool uses current labor market information, wage data, and other data and metrics, to allow users to match skills and interests with career paths and jobs. The recent update allows users to choose and compare multiple paths and even print or email completed paths to use later. For more information or to try the Pathfinder tool, please visit

Gov. Whitmer: Michigan’s most partisan governor

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With nearly 100 vetoes of bipartisan bills, Gov. Whitmer has become the most partisan governor in our state’s recent history.

In 2021 alone, 28 out of 29 of the governor’s vetoes have been on bipartisan bills that would have helped Michiganders with autism, fixed our crumbling roads, and protected seniors in nursing homes, just to name a few.

Gov. Whitmer is averaging more vetoes (35 per year) than even Gov. Granholm (25 per year) did in her time in office. Gov. Snyder only averaged 16 vetoes annually in his first three years.

To see just how many bipartisan bills Gov. Whitmer has struck down, visit

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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