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Dear Friends,

This week is the first week of school for many children in West Michigan. I hope everyone had a fun summer and has a successful school year. While the pandemic is behind us, I want to remind parents of resources for testing in case your child is exposed to COVID-19. Click here to learn more or to schedule testing.

To better serve you, I am offering this e-newsletter on what’s happening in our community and across our state.

I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call toll-free at 1-855-347-8028 or email [email protected]. Also, please check out 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.

Working for you,

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Mark Huizenga
State Senator

New law makes it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom

Public Act 184 of 2022 alleviates much of the red tape that makes it difficult for retired teachers and other school employees to return to work at a Michigan public school. The new law provides more flexibility and reduces the cost for Michigan school districts facing a teacher shortage, particularly in critical shortage areas.

These changes, which were recently signed into law by the governor, would not affect the retiree’s pension or health care benefits as long the retiree waits at least 9 months after retiring to return to work.

New deer hunting reporting guidelines to take effect during 2022 season

Deer hunting is a generations-long Michigan tradition. Each year during the month of November, thousands of residents anxiously await the morning of Nov. 15, when they take to the woods in hopes of bagging a big Michigan buck!

This year, things will be slightly different for those who have a successful hunt. The upcoming deer seasons will include updated reporting guidelines aimed at helping improve the state’s ability to conserve our unique natural resources and provide the Department of Natural Resources with more precise and complete data. The post-season survey responses have steadily decreased over the years. In the early 2000s, response rates were around 75%. In recent years, that rate has consistently dropped under 40%. This decline in response rates decreases the ability to make informed harvest estimates, which can lead to inaccurate population management.

Starting with the upcoming seasons, ALL hunters who take a deer must report their harvest online. While the new rules will take effect this season, the DNR says the focus will weigh more on education for hunters rather than enforcement of the new guidelines.

The new changes give hunters up to 72 hours to report their harvest. Completing the report, on average, takes hunters around three to five minutes to complete. A new website and mobile application have been launched to help provide guidance, collect the data, and answer questions. The report can be found at or in the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Hunters who do not have access to the internet or a smart device can seek help from a friend or family member, but may also contact or visit a variety of locations around the state or call 517-284-9453 during normal business hours for technical assistance.

People can also find answers to frequently asked questions on the DNR’s website.

This is something many neighboring states are already doing, and with successful results. The changes will give our state additional tools for managing and maintaining a healthy deer population.

District office hour on Aug. 25

I am holding in-person office hours throughout the district on a regular basis because hearing directly from the people about the issues they are facing is an important part of representing everyone in West Michigan. These meetings give local residents a chance to express their viewpoints about what needs to be done and offer help to people dealing with a variety of state issues.

I have already held office hours this month in Grand Rapids and Rockford, and I will be holding another one on Thursday, Aug. 25 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Mr. Burger, located at 5181 Northland Drive NE in Plainfield.

Office hours are open to all residents, and no appointment is necessary. Anyone who is unable to attend the office hour may contact my office.

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Back-to-school safety tips

Supporting our schools is critical to our future, and it remains one of my top priorities. I continue to work to increase our investment in our schools so they can prepare our students for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

West Michigan students have either already started school or are preparing to return to begin a new school year. One of the most essential parts of a successful school year is safety. If your students ride the bus, take the time to make sure they know the proper safety procedures for getting on and off the bus. If you drive your children to school, be sure to give bus drivers plenty of room, be prepared to stop, and watch out for children in parking lots and crosswalks.

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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the country for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. The campaign runs through Sept. 5 to increase awareness of the dangers of impaired driving. In 2021, more than 9,000 traffic crashes in Michigan involved alcohol resulting in 505 deaths and over 6,500 injuries.

Michigan drivers are reminded that if alcohol and/or drugs are part of a late-summer celebration, plan for a safe ride home.

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DNR 50th anniversary deer patch

This year marks 50 years of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Deer Management Cooperator Patch. Each spring, the DNR holds a design competition for its annual commemorative deer patch. The first deer patch was produced in 1972. The winning 2022 deer patch was designed by Brian Shaw from Spring Arbor, Michigan.

The 2022 commemorative patch will become available for purchase on Sept. 15, for $8. Patches can be purchased online or from the DNR mobile app.

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Family Fun Month

August is Family Fun Month, and there is still a week left to enjoy fun in Michigan as part of the celebration of family fun. Whether you take a road trip, watch a movie or share a meal together, make time to be with your family this month and every month.

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Serving the people of West Michigan is very important to me and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may contact me by calling toll-free 1-855-347-8028 or emailing [email protected] .

I look forward to serving you, and I encourage you to contact me if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

Senator Mark Huizenga
201 Townsend St., Suite #7200
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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