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Dear Friends,

Serving you in the Senate is an honor, and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call at 1-517-373-1636 or email [email protected]. Also, please check out my my Facebook page. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

All the best,
Sen. Ruth Johnson
District 24

Back-to-school safety tips

As students head back to school, it is a great time to review bus safety tips. If your students ride the bus, make sure they are familiar with the proper safety procedures for getting on and off the bus. The Michigan State Police offer these safety tips for students:

• Always stay in sight of the bus driver.
• Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first.
• Never go back to the bus after exiting.

It is even more important that drivers know how to safely share the road with school buses. When encountering a school bus, drivers should always:

• Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing.
• Stop at least 20 feet away from buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway.
• Slow down in or near school and residential areas.
• Watch for children between parked cars and other objects.

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Legislature once again passes equalized funding for K-12 schools

After the passage of Proposal A in 1994, there was a gap in the per-student funding each school received. In 2021, that gap was finally closed, and now all Michigan public schools receive the same minimum amount of per-pupil funding — regardless if they live in a rural, urban or suburban district.

Under the leadership of legislative Republicans, per-student funding has gone up every year for more than a decade.

The fiscal year 2024 budget increased the minimum per-student funding by $458. This year, schools will receive $9,608 per student, which will provide more educational resources and opportunities for Michigan students.

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Invasive species watch list updated

Two new species have been added to Michigan’s invasive species watch list, the mountain pine beetle and the water-primrose.

The mountain pine beetle is a deadly threat to pine trees. It is an aggressive, persistent, and destructive bark beetle and is native to western North America, ranging from Northern Mexico to Canada and eastward to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The beetle can be transported on infested trees, logs, lumber, firewood or plant parts, and poses an immediate threat to Michigan’s natural resources and forest products industry.

If you find suspected signs of mountain pine beetle on pine trees, note the location and take photos. Report your findings to either the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development via email at [email protected] or the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network using its online reporting tool.

Invasive water-primrose is a non-native plant that is invasive in a wetland ecosystem. The species can survive and thrive in Michigan’s climate and can be very difficult to remove, making early detection critical. Water-primrose species are aquatic plants that can thrive and spread in shallow water areas, including wetlands and shorelines. Water-primrose will grow quickly, crowding out important native vegetation. Suspected water-primrose sightings can be reported through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network online reporting tool.

Game-specific hunting guides available for download

Each year, the DNR publishes regulation guides for hunting and fishing in Michigan. The Michigan hunting and fishing guides provide a condensed collection of the rules and regulations, including the boundaries of each of the management units for individual species. Guides are available for general hunting and fishing or game-specific guides for games like bear, elk, and turkey, and can be downloaded to your mobile device.

A hunting and fishing app is also available for download. The Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app provides access to licenses, permits, regulations, map drawing results, along with outdoor recreation updates.

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 24th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ruth Johnson
7300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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