We had another very successful year at the annual Senior and Veteran Expo in Mattawan. More than 1000 seniors showed up and we had over 100 vendors! Sen. Margaret O’Brien, Rep. Aric Nesbitt, and I enjoyed talking with constituents, and we look forward to next year’s expo.
A package of bills introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker that aims to reduce drunk driving offenses will go into effect on June 6th. Senate Bills 176 and 357, now Public Acts 32 and 33 of 2016, will enhance public safety and bring integrity to the oversight and administration of the ignition interlock program.
Those convicted of “super drunk” or repeat driving offenses may be required to have a BAIID installed on their vehicle as part of their sentencing in order to maintain driving privileges. A BAIID is a type of breathalyzer installed on a vehicle’s ignition panel. Before the vehicle can be started, the driver must exhale into the device. The blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured and will kill the ignition signal if the level is above the minimum threshold. The driver is also required to intermittently be tested throughout their drive.
More than 8,000 of these devices have been installed in the past three years alone.
Unfortunately, the installation of BAIIDs has raised concerns. Too often, we hear of stories where a driver is required to meet an installer in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and told that for an additional fee, they can learn how to cheat the system. Without proper licensure of these installers, there is no way to sanction any individuals guilty of this practice. This legislation requires annual certification from the Michigan Department of State for manufacturers, increases requirements for service centers in the state, and establishes certification requirements for those who install BAIIDs.
This package also requires BAIIDS to have photo capabilities. These images will help verify that the restricted driver is actually providing the breath sample during a test. Additionally, this serves as a form of consumer protection for the driver with the restricted license. Should a vehicle be in the shop for repair and a breath sample not provided when prompted, the driver would not be issued a violation.
This really comes down to an issue of public safety. By increasing oversight of the ignition interlock program, we can ensure more drivers are complying with the law and our families are safe on the roads.
Legislation I introduced to ensure all students receive instruction in CPR before graduating high school passed the Michigan Senate on Tuesday.
Each year, around 350,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest. When this occurs outside of a hospital, the chances of survival are low. However, if a bystander trained in CPR intervenes, the chances of survival nearly triple.
Senate Bill 647 would require schools to provide instruction in CPR and the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED). Schools will have the flexibility to determine how these skills are taught. CPR training can take as little as 30 minutes and can be easily incorporated into the existing health curriculum.
Many school districts across the state have already teach CPR using various instructional models, including the use of volunteer instructors or video-based programs, and drawing support from local police, fire and ambulance services.
If all Michigan high school students learn basic CPR prior to graduation, Michigan will gain 100,000 more CPR-trained lifesavers each year.
Legislation that would improve efficiency and reduce complications often associated with the funeral planning process was recently signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Senate Bill 551, now Public Act 57 of 2016, would update the Estates and Protected Individuals Code to allow someone to designate a funeral representative who would be responsible for carrying out his final disposition.
This legislation is meant to create some consistency within the process of funeral planning. People are very emotional during these times and too often we hear of heartbreaking disputes between family members that halt the process and sometimes permanently damage relationships with loved ones.
This legislation is necessary because it allows a single point of contact to be responsible for making all of the final decisions regarding one’s final disposition — as opposed to several family members or loved ones who disagree with one another’s decisions, or having several individuals handling multiple, separate matters.
Under current law, when an individual dies in Michigan, decisions regarding the funeral and final disposition are made by the next of kin — a group that can often include multiple people. In the event there are several people who fall into this category — for example, when the deceased has multiple children — a majority decision among the group will be the deciding factor.
State law currently does not take into consideration the modern dynamics of families. Many are separated by geographical distance or multiple marriages, thus making it difficult to find next of kin or determine who is responsible for decision making. Additionally, the law remains silent on situations in which the next of kin do not agree, or did not follow the known directions of the decedent, which is typically the origin of most conflicts.
Michigan law also allows an individual to designate another person as a patient advocate or give someone power of attorney to make medical, legal or financial decisions on his behalf, but that authority ends when the person dies — leaving any further decision making up to the next of kin.
This new law provides Michigan residents the opportunity to designate a funeral representative who they trust to carry out their final wishes. With this designation, funeral directors will no longer have to determine who is the next of kin or next of kin class, and families can avoid disputes about the decedent’s wishes.
There are 35 states that currently allow individuals to designate someone as their funeral representative.
One of the smartest things you can do for your family is to make burial and funeral arrangements in advance. However, many people do not leave behind a plan expressing their wishes. This legislation will bring Michigan in line with an overwhelming majority of other states and provide a backup plan, should a funeral representative fail to take action.
PA 57 was signed by the governor on March 29 and will take effect on June 27.
LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would require students to receive CPR training before graduating high school was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday.
“Each year, around 350,000 Americans suffer from cardiac arrest,” said state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “When this occurs outside of a hospital setting, the chances of survival are very low. However, if a bystander trained in CPR intervenes, the chances of survival are significantly higher.”
Senate Bill 647 would require that prior to graduation, students receive instruction in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED).
“CPR training can take as little as 30 minutes and can be easily incorporated into the existing health curriculum. Many school districts across the state have already implemented CPR training into their lesson plans,” Schuitmaker said. “These schools have developed various models for providing the training and equipment, including the use of volunteer instructors or video-based programs, and drawing support from local police, fire and ambulance services.”
Sarah Poole, government relations director for the American Heart Association, expressed support from the organization.
“We applaud the Senate for its overwhelming support of this bill to ensure every student in Michigan learns the life-saving skill of CPR before graduation,” Poole said. “We await action in the House to make Michigan the next state to pass CPR in schools legislation so that we can prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s lifesavers.”
If signed into law, Michigan would join 32 other states that currently require CPR training prior to high school graduation. Schuitmaker suggests that training more students can only have a positive effect.
“If you increase the amount of people who are trained and capable of performing CPR, you increase the likelihood that a bystander will be able to intervene until emergency responders arrive,” Schuitmaker said. “These bills would bring Michigan in line with more than half of the country by ensuring all Michigan students learn the life-saving skill of CPR before graduation.”
SB 647 passed 37-0 in a unanimous vote by the Senate and will now move to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.
The House counterpart of SB 647, HB 5160, was approved by the House Committee on Education earlier this month and awaits similar action by the full House.