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Senate Oversight Committee to investigate UIA

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Following the recent release of a report from the Office of the Auditor General, I recently announced the Senate Oversight Committee, which I serve as chairman, will hold hearings to investigate Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. The first hearing on the matter will be held Tues., Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. For more information about the committee, click this link.

According to the auditor’s report, the UIA distributed $3.9 billion in unauthorized benefits to nearly 350,000 people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also revealed the agency was aware that unauthorized benefits were being distributed, knowingly falsified the unemployment rate, and ignored guidance and warnings from the federal Department of Labor that could have prevented these errors.

This report confirms what anyone out of work through no fault of their own during the pandemic experienced firsthand — Gov. Whitmer's unemployment agency has been a failure. The committee hearings seek to address the longstanding structural problems that exist within the agency going forward.

Update on Line 5

Enbridge continues to move forward with the Great Lakes Tunnel project, which would continue to safely and securely meet the energy needs of the Upper Peninsula and the state. Currently, the timing of the project is driven by the permit approval process that is partially complete, but ongoing.

Pending permits include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the tunnel and a Michigan Public Service Commission certificate for the replacement project of the currently operated Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Completion of the Great Lakes Tunnel, which would reside hundreds of feet below the lake bed at points, remains the safest option to allow Line 5 to continue to generate over half the propane used by Michiganders to heat their homes, boil their water, and live their lives.

I spoke recently on the status of the project from the Senate floor. Check the video out here:

Hunting: A time-honored tradition in Michigan

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Hunting in Michigan is an important part of our culture and our economy. Each year, more than 700,000 hunters head out to one of Michigan’s 10 million acres of public lands to hunt.

In 2019, an estimated $11.2 billion was generated through hunting and fishing and 171,000 jobs were created across our state.

Whether you are a skilled sportsman, or you are new to the sport, there are resources available to help you plan your trip. Visit DNR or Pure Michigan and start planning today.

I encourage you to check out my hunting newsletter, tailored for U.P. residents. You may download your free copy from my website at this link.

Help the DNR fight bovine tuberculosis

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters who harvest a deer this year to bring their full deer carcass or deer head to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources check station or drop box for free bovine tuberculosis testing.

Deer testing samples are needed from Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Otsego, Oscoda, Presque Isle and Roscommon counties. The DNR needs samples from these counties to meet surveillance goals, which will help biologists understand the scale of infection in the local deer herd.

When submitting a deer head for TB testing at a DNR check station, hunters should come prepared with the county, township, range and section where the deer was harvested. The deer head should be removed, with 2-3 inches of the neck remaining. If the hunter plans to keep the antlers, they should be removed from the head, but brought along to the check station so that antler measurements can be taken.

Please use the DNR’s interactive map to find the closest Deer Check Station.

Legislation to alleviate substitute teacher shortage introduced

Schools throughout Michigan are facing a critical shortage of substitute teachers, which has caused some schools to close or switch to remote learning because they simply don’t have enough teachers and substitutes.

Senate Bill 726 would reduce the wait time from 12 months to two months for retired school employees to return to work without impacting their retirement benefits.

Under current law, school retirees may come back and work in a critical shortage area without it affecting their retirement benefits until July 2025 — but only if they have been retired for at least 12 months. Although the current situation has been exasperated by the pandemic, the shortage of substitute teachers has been an issue for years. The difference now is that is it affecting the ability of schools to stay open and teach our kids.

SB 726 has been referred to the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee for consideration.

MDE announces STEM grant program

The Michigan Department of Education has announced its 2021-22 competitive robotics competition grant program. These grants are supported through a $5,323,200 appropriation by the Michigan Legislature in the 2022 School Aid Budget.

Eligible school districts provide pupils in grades K-12 with expanded opportunities to improve mathematics, science, and technology skills by participating in events like FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

For more information about the grant program, including additional STEM event opportunities, districts may visit, or email Ashley Arras at [email protected].

Senate panel opens hearings on historic water infrastructure bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently began hearings to consider a budget supplemental bill that would invest over $2.5 billion of Michigan’s remaining federal recovery funds to preserve and protect the state’s water quality, treatment infrastructure, environment and more.

Senate Bill 565 would designate $600 million for the replacement of lead pipes across the state, $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities and $85 million to ensure students have access to safe water by installing filtered water stations inside schools.

The bill would repurpose $290 million in bonds to assist communities with upgrading and replacing water treatment infrastructure, establish a loan program for homeowners seeking to replace failing septic systems and includes $680 million to repair Michigan’s critical dams. An additional $15 million would be available 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 plan also addresses the harmful impacts of PFAS chemicals and would dedicate $100 million in grants to remove the chemicals from “orphaned” sites.

The bill will remain before the committee for further consideration. If passed from the committee it will move to the full Senate for a vote.

Clean Boats, Clean Waters grants now available

The Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is offering grants to support aquatic invasive species outreach efforts. This funding opportunity is available to organizations dedicated to boater education and protecting Michigan’s waterways.

Funding requests can range from $1,000 to $3,000 and can be used for a variety of activities including signage, invasive species removal supplies such as plant removal tools, sponges and towels, and staff time to perform watercraft inspections and demonstrations of boat cleaning techniques. Applicants are encouraged to partner with other conservation organizations and to conduct boater outreach on a regional scale.

Please visit the Clean Boats, Clean Waters website for more information and to apply. The deadline is Dec. 17.

Training grants available for Pre-K–3rd grade teachers

As part of the fiscal year 2022 School Aid budget, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, the Michigan Department of Education has announced training grants for Pre-K to third grade teachers. The training will develop an expertise in language and literacy and will provide instruction in the science of reading – at no cost to educators.

Any Michigan Pre-K to third grade teacher currently teaching in any Michigan public school or public charter school is encouraged to apply. Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade teachers will be prioritized. The deadline to apply to participate in the first cohort is Dec. 10, and the course begins in January 2022.

Additional information, including LETRS resources, cohorts and training dates, and registration information, can be found by visiting or the MDE website.

Michigan’s Bear Management program to receive an update

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking for input on Michigan’s bear management plan. The current bear management plan, which was finalized in 2009, is being updated.

The goal for black bear management in Michigan is to ensure the long-term survival of this species and to provide people with a diversity of bear-related recreational opportunities. Michigan is home to more than 10,000 bears, mostly in the Upper Peninsula.

Please visit the DNR’s Bear Management page to see a summary of the proposed changes and to provide input. Input can be submitted through Dec. 1.

Thanksgiving Fun Fact

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and a relaxing time spent with your loved ones, and of course, good food.

There’s nothing quite like having a nice turkey dinner with family on Thanksgiving. Considering the turkey tradition, it brings up the question, “How much do we love turkey?” Well, a lot.

The U.S. is the world’s largest turkey producer and largest exporter of turkey products. In 2020, U.S. producers raised 224 million turkeys, equaling 7.3 billion pounds. The graphic below illustrates some of the turkey numbers in Michigan and the country.

I recently spoke about Thanksgiving during a speech in the Senate. You may watch the video here.

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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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