Autumn is here in Michigan and with that comes the return to school and many Fall activities that our communities and state has to offer. A great day could be a trip to one of our area cider mills for some apple picking, followed by treating yourself to some cider and donuts.Featured in this newsletter:
If you have any questions, want to comment on pending legislation, or resolve any issues in state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov.
STATE PARTNERING WITH VA TO PROVIDE VOTER ASSISTANCE TO VETERANS
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a partnership with the State of Michigan to provide voter registration information and assistance to veterans and eligible dependents at select VA facilities across Michigan. Through this partnership, VA aims to make it easier for Michigan veterans to exercise the rights and freedoms that they fought to protect.
As part of this partnership, VA facilities in Michigan will implement and expand programs to help veterans and eligible dependents register to vote and participate in elections. The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) will provide up-to-date information on how to register and cast a ballot, as well as upcoming election details.
The partnership with Michigan and three other states is executed as part of Executive Order 14019, “Promoting Access to Voting,” to make voting more accessible to all Americans.
SENATE PASSES ‘FILTER FIRST’ WATER SAFETY BILLS
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bills 184 and 185, sponsored by Sen. Curtis VanderWall (R-Ludington) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), respectively. If signed into law by the governor, the legislation would require public and non-public schools, as well as childcare centers, to develop water safety plans by the end of the 2024-2025 academic year.
It would also require the filtered water faucets and bottle-filling stations to be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) would oversee the program and distribute a template for drinking water safety plans.
According to a national survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) many school districts had elevated lead levels in their water. When a child ingests lead, attention spans can be shortened, immune systems can be weakened, kidneys can be damaged, and developmental delays can occur.
The legislation would also establish a School and Child Care Center Clean Drinking Water Fund within the Michigan Department of Treasury to assist with the one-time acquisition and installation of filtered water faucets and bottle-filling stations, as well as maintenance, sampling, and testing expenses.
According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, the installation costs have been estimated to be about $58 million for schools and between $20 million and $30 million for all childcare centers.
The bills have been sent over to the Michigan House for consideration and a vote.
SEPTEMBER 18-25, 2022: TRAILS WEEK IN MICHIGAN
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently designated Sunday, Sept. 18 as the first day of Trails Week in Michigan. Michigan’s rich network of more than 13,400 miles of trails throughout the Upper and Lower Peninsula are havens for Michiganders, providing space for nature and wildlife appreciation, biking, hiking, horseback riding, and so much more.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages Michiganders to explore the state’s vast trail network. You can also follow MiStateParks on both Facebook and Instagram for ideas on making the most of Michigan Trails Week.
SEPTEMBER 15 THROUGH OCTOBER 15 IS HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Office of Global Michigan are encouraging Michiganders to join them in recognizing the contributions of Hispanics and Latinos in Michigan and the United States, proclaiming Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.
Michigan’s Hispanic and Latino residents are an essential part of our state’s unique social and cultural influences. Michigan is fortunate to count among its population many residents of Spanish and Latin American descent, who grow businesses, offer innovative ideas, strengthen our economy, create jobs, and contribute to our daily lives.
RAIL SAFETY WEEK IS SEPTEMBER 19-25
The Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Operation Lifesaver are partnering together to raise rail safety awareness during Rail Safety Week this week. Although most Americans today know the dangers associated with drunk driving, distracted driving or texting while crossing the street, many are unaware of the risks they are taking around railroad tracks.
Every three hours in the U.S., a vehicle or person is struck by a train. In Michigan in 2021, there were eight trespasser deaths and three injuries, along with six grade crossing fatalities and 20 grade crossing injuries. The use of headphones has likely been a factor in some of these incidents.
Michigan Operation Lifesaver, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, works every day to make communities safer by offering free rail safety education programs in states across the nation. It conducts free training classes for first responders, school bus drivers, and professional truck drivers, along with other public awareness activities to help reduce these incidents and save lives. In addition, Operation Lifesaver offers a suite of safety materials, including lesson plans for teachers, safety brochures and videos for families, and a free Railroad Investigation and Safety Course (RISC) for first responders.
Everyone can save a life in their community by sharing the rail safety message and remembering this simple phrase: “See Tracks? Think Train!” Visit the national Operation Lifesaver website to learn more, take the Rail Safety Pledge, and find safety tips to share with your friends and family. Together, we can stop track tragedies during Rail Safety Week and all year round.
LOCAL CIDER MILLS
There’s no better way to spend a fall afternoon than taking a trip to a local cider mill. Our area is lucky to have a variety of cider mills open for you to visit and enjoy!
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