It’s hard to believe the end of August is nearly here. Before we know it, our children will be back in school.

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It’s hard to believe the end of August is nearly here. Before we know it, our children will be back in school.

As you prepare them for the school year by buying new clothes and stocking up on school supplies, I want to update you on legislation we’re working on in Lansing to help ensure our children receive a quality education and get to and from school safely.

The Legislature approved new laws to sharpen the focus on safety by increasing penalties and treating moving violations in school bus zones like violations in road construction zones. A school bus zone covers the area lying within 20 feet of a stopped school bus that is flashing its lights.

Signed into law this summer, Public Acts 59 and 60 of 2011 make it a one-year misdemeanor for injuring and a 15-year felony for killing a child getting on or off a school bus.

I hope that these new laws help Michigan motorists take bus stop lights more seriously.

With limited funding, we have to make every dollar work harder. Along with my Senate colleagues, we are proposing common sense reforms to keep more money in the classroom. Here are some of the measures we are proposing.

  • Senate Bill 7 limits school districts to paying no more than 80 percent of employee health care costs;
  • SB 400 requires school districts to provide the insurance claims data necessary to “shop around” for the best deal in health care; and
  • SBs 426 and 427 require school elections to be held in November of even-numbered years, saving schools and taxpayers millions of dollars, and encouraging a greater turnout of concerned parents and taxpayers.

You can count on me to continue fighting to ensure our children are protected and prepared for their futures.

Sen. Joe Hune represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.

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