A package of gun control/safety legislation bills introduced by Senate Democrats would invest $100 million in schools, with half going for grants for more counselors, social workers and school resource officers, and half in grants for safety measures in schools; SB 897, which passed the Senate without any Democrat support, would require able-bodied Medicaid recipients between the ages of 19 and 64 to work, receive job training or education, or a combination of the three, for an average of 29 hours per week; the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has granted Nestle permission to increase its water withdrawals to 400 gallons per minute for its bottled water plant near Evart despite most public comments opposing increased usage; the Michigan Supreme Court ordered oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by unemployment insurance claimants who were falsely accused of fraud through the state’s controversial Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MIDAS); As the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol pushes to get the legalization of marijuana on the Nov. 6 ballot, some Republican lawmakers are considering legalizing it through the Legislature rather than let the initiative make the ballot; and 5 p.m. April 26 is the deadline to challenge a sample of signatures submitted by the redistricting reform ballot committee, Voters Not Politicians (VNP). VNP said they submitted 425,000 signatures and have no doubt the proposal will be on the ballot Nov. 6. For more information on these and other legislative initiates, click here for the April 2018 Karoub Report.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and a bipartisan group of senators recently introduced legislation to help protect children’s identities from “synthetic ID fraud,” a form of identity theft in which stolen Social Security Numbers (SSN) are paired with fake names and birth dates. A recent study found that one in every 10 children had their SSN used by identity thieves to fraudulently open bank or credit card accounts, negatively impacting a child’s credit before they even become adults. Click here for more information on this bill to prevent chiild identity theft.

President Trump signed into law the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Reauthorization Act that included a provision authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The provision enables fire departments nationwide to use SAFER grants to transition part-time or paid-on-call personnel, who are already trained and equipped to respond to emergencies, to full-time status. Previously, SAFER grants could only be used to hire and train new personnel.

Click here for more information on the new law.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Photos by Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor                                                    MAFF Executive Director Fred Timpner (left) welcomed Senator Debbie Stabenow as a guest speaker to the Annual Open House Dec. 8. Pictured right of Stabenow are MAPO President Michael Sauger and Karoub Associates Partner Jim Curran.

Senator Debbie Stabenow joined MAFF, MAP and MAPE labor representatives and members Friday, Dec. 8 at the Annual Open House to show her support for public safety unions and their efforts to stop legislation which could significantly impact their ability to bargain over pensions and retiree health care and threaten benefits already promised to existing retirees.

Senator Stabenow, whose grandfather was a Detroit Police Officer until he became disabled following a high speed chase, expressed her opposition to the measures. Stabenow wanted to let MAFF, MAP and MAPE members know she opposes the attack on public safety retirement benefits.

“I cannot believe you have to worry about your pensions being paid,” Stabenow said. “It just enrages me as well as energizes me. Your senators fought really hard to stop it from happening.”

MAFF, MAP and MAPE representatives and public employees across the state called their legislators and descended on the Capitol in recent weeks, rallying forces to express their opposition to House Bills 5298-5313 and Senate Bills 686-701.

U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME)  introduced bipartisan legislation to help local fire departments across the country save money hiring and promoting trained first responders.

The Firefighters Retention Act of 2017 would give fire departments flexibility to use Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants to transition part-time or paid-on-call personnel to full-time status. Under current law, SAFER Grants can be used to hire and train new personnel, but cannot be used to promote part-time or paid-on-call fire fighters, who are already trained and equipped to respond to emergencies.

For more on the The Firefighters Retention Act of 2017, please click here for the release from Senator Peters office.