Senators Margaret O’Brien and Tonya Schuitmaker ‘Go Red for Women’ at state Capitol

LANSING, Mich.—State Senator Margaret O’Brien, state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker and the American Heart Association hosted an event on Thursday in the Capitol rotunda to promote the association’s “Go Red for Women” initiative.

Go Red for Women is a national movement, created by women, for women, that is dedicated to increasing awareness of heart disease—the number one killer of women in the U.S. The event is in conjunction with American Heart Month, which occurs every February.

“Too many families are affected by heart disease every year,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “One woman dies every minute in the U.S. of the disease. Improving research and encouraging preventative measures can help ensure we keep women and families safe.”

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, over all types of cancer combined,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Women are more likely to die from heart disease than men. We must increase awareness of the disease among women and advocate for more funding.”

It is estimated that eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease. Even though 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, only about one in six believe this is their greatest health threat.

In addition to the Go Red for Women event, Senator O’Brien, Senator Schuitmaker and other legislators introduced Senate Resolution 8 on Thursday. The resolution proclaims February as American Heart Month in Michigan, and February 6 as Go Red Day in the state. It also urges women to join the movement and encourages all Michiganders to be aware of the risks of heart disease.

“No family should suffer the loss of a loved one due to lack of knowledge about the risk factors of any disease, which is why I remain committed to promoting this important event each year,” O’Brien said.

Schuitmaker and O’Brien are also members of Circle of Red, a group of community members who are major donors to research for heart disease in women.

The American Heart Association and its volunteers work with state legislatures in fighting cardiovascular diseases. Their work is aimed at improving the lives of Americans suffering from heart disease and stroke, or those at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, in an effort to achieve the Heart Association’s mission of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

For more information, visit or call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278).


Legislators host Go Red for Women Capitol event

***Media Advisory***

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton;
Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage;
Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor;
Rep. Daniela Garcia, R-Holland; and
Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit

Event to promote heart health

Thursday, Jan. 29
11 a.m.

Rotunda, Capitol Building

The annual Go Red for Women Capitol event will be taking place on Thursday in the Capitol rotunda. For the last several years, legislators have partnered with the American Heart Association to help raise awareness about the risk of heart disease and to promote heart health among women.

Thursday’s event will feature remarks from legislators as well as from a heart disease survivor who will share her personal story.

There will be opportunities for photos and to speak with legislators, survivors and advocates for heart health.

**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Schuitmaker welcomes area residents to state Capitol for State of the State address

LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, welcomes Jim Wiseley (left) and Jonathan Waldron to the Michigan Capitol before Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2015 State of the State address. Wiseley and Waldron, both teachers, were Schuitmaker’s guests for the annual address Tuesday night.

A print-quality photograph of Schuitmaker and guests is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Schuitmaker comments on State of the State address

Senator Tonya Schuitmaker

Senator Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich.—On Tuesday night, Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, issued the statement below following Gov. Rick Snyder’s fifth State of the State address at the Capitol in Lansing.

“Governor Snyder presented an ambitious agenda tonight. We heard several ideas that will make Michigan a better place to live and work.

“I have always believed that state government could be more effective in serving its citizens, and I am pleased the governor is making that a priority. Too often I hear from constituents about a bureaucracy that is out of control. I am hopeful that these reforms will lead to a government that is more responsive and receptive.

“While Michigan has seen an impressive rebound, there is more work to be done. The focus for the 2015 legislative session remains largely the same. We will maintain our commitment to cut wasteful government spending and run Michigan as efficiently as possible. Michigan taxpayers have worked hard for their money, and we should be working hard to ensure they keep it.”

Schuitmaker sworn in for second term as state senator, Senate President Pro Tempore

For Immediate Release
Jan. 14, 2015

Contact: Derek Sova

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker was sworn in today as a member of 98th Michigan Legislature and was re-elected by her colleagues to the office of President Pro Tempore. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the state Capitol building.

“I am excited to get back to work for the citizens of West Michigan,” Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, said. “I’ll continue fighting to ensure our tax dollars are used wisely and that state government is responsive to its citizens.”

Schuitmaker will begin her first term representing Michigan’s newly-created 26th Senate District and her second term as the Senate’s President pro tempore. The 26th District includes all of Allegan and Van Buren Counties, as well as the city of Kentwood and Gaines Township. She previously served four years as the senator for Kalamazoo County and six years in the House of Representatives.

Schuitmaker will continue serving as the vice-chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a member of the Health Policy, Energy & Technology, and Appropriations Committees. She will remain the chairperson for the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and retain positions on the Capital Outlay, Community Colleges, and Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittees.

“We have accomplished a lot over the last four years. We repealed the onerous Michigan Business Tax and Personal Property Tax, passed Right to Work, balanced the budget on time for four consecutive years and drastically reduced unemployment,” Schuitmaker added. “But there is still more work to be done.”

A contact form and toll-free number have been established in order to communicate with district residents. The contact page can be found at The toll-free number for Senator Schuitmaker’s Lansing office is 866-305-2120. Mail can be sent to P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI, 48909.

Thirty-eight state senators and 110 state representatives took the oath of office on Wednesday—the first day of the legislative session.


Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Schuitmaker photos, click the image or visit and click the Photowire link.

Governor signs Schuitmaker, Jones DNA bills

For Immediate Release
Jan. 12, 2015

Contact: Derek Sova

LANSING, Mich.—Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Monday requiring law enforcement to collect DNA samples from individuals arrested for committing a felony.

“This will provide our law enforcement officers with a critical tool allowing for more accurate investigations that will not only identify suspects, but eliminate them as well,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, one of the bill sponsors. “Legislation passed last session expanding DNA collection has already been extremely successful at solving numerous cold cases and keeping dangerous people off the streets.”

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, also sponsored the legislation.

“While it is important that we are solving cold case crimes such as rape and murder with these DNA samples, we also want to ensure that we are destroying the DNA record of individuals found to be innocent,” said Jones.

The bills explicitly clarify that upon acquittal or a lack of conviction, the court will be responsible for ordering any record of the DNA sample destroyed.

A 2011 law, Public Act 127, also sponsored by Schuitmaker, required collection of DNA samples from all incarcerated individuals who had yet to provide a sample, and from all new convicts within 90 days of entering the prison population.

This law will require the collection of a DNA sample from anyone arrested for committing or attempting to commit a felony. A 2013 United States Supreme Court decision paved the way for this change.

In Maryland v. King the court determined that collecting a sample of DNA is a legitimate police booking procedure, like fingerprinting or photographing, and is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The federal government and 28 states currently obtain the samples upon arrest.

“This legislation is about making sure justice is done,” said Schuitmaker. “Far too many have suffered for far too long as their cases languished, unsolved, in the justice system. This legislation provides law enforcement with another tool that will help bring criminals to justice.”

Senate Bills 105, 106, and 107 were signed into law as Public Acts 457, 458, and 459 of 2014.

Governor signs Schuitmaker bill allowing law enforcement officers to carry life-saving medication

For Immediate Release
Jan. 12, 2015

Contact: Derek Sova

LANSING, Mich.—Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday signed into law legislation sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker that will allow law enforcement officers to carry Naloxone, a medication that can counteract the effects of a heroin overdose.

“Law enforcement agencies are eager for the opportunity to carry this life-saving medication,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Too many of our families have lost loved ones to heroin abuse. This is an opportunity to be on the front lines of the fight against heroin abuse.”

Public Act 462 of 2014 will allow law enforcement officers to carry Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that can counteract the effects of a heroin overdose if administered in time. The bill requires officers carrying this medication to be trained in its use and provides them immunity from civil liability if they administer the medication in good faith.

“I have worked extensively on improving our response to heroin overdoses and was pleased to sponsor this important legislation,” Schuitmaker said. “Law enforcement officers are oftentimes some of the first people to respond to an overdose situation and have the best chance at intervening.”

Legislation championed by Schuitmaker in early 2014 allows the friends and family of heroin users to obtain the medication. Nationwide, states are making Naloxone more available as deaths from heroin overdoses continue to rise.

Fatal heroin overdoses increased 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, with 3,038 such deaths reported that year, and the numbers are believed to still be on the rise, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. According to recent news reports, emergency use of opioid antagonists resulted in more than 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended laws to allow increased access to blocking agents that can decrease the effects of an overdose. Naloxone is a harmless medication that has no purpose or effects other than counteracting an opioid overdose.