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Senate approves McBroom’s commercial fishing reform

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The Senate recently approved my legislation that would update parts of the state’s commercial fishing law, which has not been reformed in 50 years and which has resulted in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) adopting problematic policies to regulate the industry.

Under the current law, the DNR director has managed commercial fishing in the state by rule and order for decades, bypassing the Legislature and issuing regulations that have resulted in conflicts and questions.

Senate Bill 251 would put into law several updates to reflect items currently addressed through fisheries orders including fishing depths, season dates, and use of certain equipment.

It is past time to address some of the issues that have arisen over the years with department bureaucrats using near total control over our state’s commercial fishing industry. Various department actions over the last half-century, and most recently in the Fall of 2020, have often left commercial fishing operations unsure of where they stand with questions on what is or isn’t permitted at any given time.

With the approval of this bill, we’re moving to change the law to maintain the status quo for commercial fishing operations with some policies that both sides seem to agree are wise reforms to the actual law.

McBroom welcomes Marquette veteran to Senate’s Memorial Day Service

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I had the pleasure of welcoming Marquette County Veterans Committee Chairman George LaBlonde III to the Michigan Senate’s 26th Annual Memorial Day Service, held in mid-June on the east lawn of the state Capitol.

George is an Army veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War and in Somalia.

The Senate has traditionally held the ceremony indoors around Memorial Day to honor and remember the men and women who have died in service to the country, until the 2020 ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic.

Senate approves McBroom bill requiring only U.P. representation on state wolf panel

Earlier this month, the Senate approved my bill that would require that each member of the state’s Wolf Management Advisory Council be a resident of the Upper Peninsula unless wolves become present in the Lower Peninsula.

Michigan’s entire known wolf population is in the U.P., yet nearly all the members of the state’s Wolf Management Advisory Council are from downstate. Unless or until the wolf population moves south of the bridge, for the council to be fair and to be a better representation of reality, its members need to be from the U.P. plain and simple. U.P. residents representing all five of the specific stakeholders this panel calls for are readily available and have the intelligence and desire to serve.

If it becomes law, Senate Bill 486, would require all council members to reside in the U.P. unless the DNR determined, through winter track surveys and genetic testing, that wolves became present in the Lower Peninsula. If that were to occur, then only a majority of council members would have to be residents of the U.P.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the council is an advisory body that makes recommendations on wolf management in the state — including a possible hunting and trapping season. It was recently reestablished after the federal government removed gray wolves from the threatened and endangered species list.

Senate passes Voter ID bills to ensure election security

Senate Republicans recently passed legislation to strengthen voter identification laws in Michigan.

Senate Bills 285, 303 and 304, as passed by the Senate, would require anyone applying for an absentee ballot with the secretary of state or local clerk to provide either an official Michigan driver’s license number or personal identification card number, the last four digits of their social security number, or a photocopy of their identification or present to a clerk in person proper identification in order to verify their identity and receive their AV ballot.

The bills would also allow a voter who shows up in person to vote without proper identification to cast a provisional ballot and return to their local clerk within six days after the election with ID so that their vote can be counted.

Approved bills would require in-person secretary of state services

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s decision to end walk-in services, as well as evening and weekend hours, has resulted in months-long waits for appointments at secretary of state branch offices.

The Michigan Senate recently passed SBs 507, 508 and 509 that would extend the expiration date for all driver’s licenses, state IDs and vehicle registrations until Sept. 30 so Michiganders won’t get ticketed. The secretary of state will also not be allowed to charge late fees for renewals after licenses or registrations expire until she opens her branch offices to all customers, including drop-ins.

The three-bill package has been sent to the House for consideration.

Senate announces Protect MI Water investment plan

Legislation introduced in the Michigan Senate last week would invest $2.5 billion in dam infrastructure, wastewater systems, groundwater protection and providing clean drinking water to Michigan residents.

The Protect MI Water plan would provide $680 million for the creation of grant and loan programs to repair the most critical of Michigan’s dams and makes major investments in the state’s public water systems and efforts to clean up and protect the environment.

Included in the funding is a $600 million matching grant program for the replacement of lead pipes across the state and $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities. The plan would also repurpose $290 million in bonds to assist communities with upgrading and replacing water treatment infrastructure, along with establishing a loan program for homeowners to replace failing septic systems.

The Protect MI Water plan also addresses the harmful impacts of PFAS chemicals and would dedicate $100 million in grants to remove the chemicals from “orphaned” sites. It also includes an additional $15 million to conduct surface water monitoring, $10 million for wetland mitigation, and $20 million to implement recommendations included in the Groundwater Use Advisory Council Report.

The bill also dedicates $85 million to install filtered water stations inside schools to ensure students have access to clean, safe drinking water while at school.

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MI Safe Drive: Funding to Repair Michigan Bridges

Legislation aimed at funding repairs for every severe bridge in the state was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate. Senate Bill 529 would utilize $1.5 billion in one-time federal recovery funds to repair more than 400 bridges across the state.

Of the nearly 12,000 bridges in Michigan, 7,038 are managed by local municipalities. Of that number, over 400 are in critical need of repairs. SB 529 would fund repairs for all of the bridges in severe condition.

The bill also includes an additional $126 million in federal money to improve safety at several intersections between railways and roadways. SB 529 was referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Senate votes to end $300 supplemental federal unemployment benefit

The Michigan Senate voted to pass House Bill 4434, which would end the $300 additional federal unemployment benefit. The once-necessary additional unemployment assistance is now creating an unfair competition that must be eliminated in order to fully reopen Michigan’s economy and get everyone back to work.

More than 230,000 Michigan residents are still receiving state unemployment benefits while Michigan business owners report nearly 380,000 job openings. Even businesses offering signing bonuses and other incentives cannot compete with the inflated federal benefit.

Most states have already ended the additional benefit to allow their economies to fully recover.

Senate approves plan to fix Michigan’s broken unemployment system

The Senate recently approved legislation aimed at reforming the state’s broken Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Gov. Whitmer’s mismanagement of the UIA was exposed when her COVID-19 shutdown orders left thousands of Michigan residents out of work through no fault of their own. But just when their services were needed most, the UIA continues to be plagued by backlogs, identity fraud, and even theft, while honest citizens struggled to receive their benefits.

Senate Bills 531-536 would require local branches to open and begin serving residents; limit the length of emergency rules and require legislative approval for emergency rule extensions beyond six months; prohibit the agency from removing work search requirements; require background checks for third-party contractors; and establish a unit of employees dedicated exclusively to monitoring and investigating fraudulent activity.

The bills now go to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Constitutional Carry legislation introduced

Recently, Republicans in the state Senate introduced legislation that would allow law-abiding adults to conceal carry firearms without a license.

Senate Bills 489-492 would repeal the current requirement to obtain a concealed pistol license for individuals who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a pistol and allow concealed carry without a license where either open-carry or concealed-pistol license holders are currently allowed to do so.

SBs 489-492 were referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee for consideration.

Michigan Learning Channel summer learning program

The Michigan Learning Channel (MLC) is offering an 8-week program, taught by Michigan teachers, that will keep kids engaged in learning over the summer.

This summer program offers content for students in pre-school to sixth grade, and it’s designed to engage their minds with key concepts to help them succeed in school.

Visit MLC online to view all shows, learn about events, and download the free activity guide.

Mackinac Bridge dedicated in 1958

On June 25, 1958, the Mackinac Bridge was formally dedicated.

The bridge took over 48 months to be constructed employing 3,500 skilled, on-site workers. At five miles long, the Mackinac Bridge remains one of the longest bridges of its kind.

The bridge has become a tourist destination for bridge enthusiasts and photographers from all over the world and will always be a part of Michigan's great history.

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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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