Senator Brandenburg District Update

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Senate approves brownfield redevelopment bills

Many communities across Michigan are burdened with what’s known as brownfield properties — sites that sit empty or vacant because they are too costly to clean up, restore or redevelop. The Senate recently approved legislation to help transform these hard-to-develop properties or abandoned buildings into large-scale projects that create jobs and promote growth.

Senate Bills 111-115 would allow such “transformational brownfield plans” to keep part of the new tax revenue they generate in order to make the projects fiscally feasible while the rest of the revenue would go to local governments and the state. To qualify for an economic incentive, a project would have to receive approval from the local government, the Michigan Strategic Fund and the state treasurer. In addition, the project would have to meet a minimum investment threshold and result in a net fiscal benefit to the state.

The legislation would limit the redevelopments to five projects each year. In addition, each city would be limited to one approved plan per year, ensuring the program’s benefits would be spread across the state.

The bill package has been sent to the House for consideration.

Sen. Brandenburg supports new law to expand training for Michigan firefighters

Today’s firefighters are often the primary responders to any number of local hazards, not only fires. Senate legislation signed into law earlier this year will help ensure firefighters have access to the education and training they need to perform their duties.

The new law expands training programs eligible to receive grants to include emergency medical service, hazardous material response, technical rescue, airport rescue and firefighting, fire inspection and investigation, and fire safety education. Funding for training opportunities comes from the fireworks safety fee assessed on the sale of all fireworks in Michigan.

Free financial counseling available to delinquent student loan borrowers

Michigan student loan borrowers who are delinquent on their federal student loans can receive free one-on-one counseling under a pilot program announced by the state Department of Treasury in partnership with a division of the National Student Loan Program.

As part of the program, participants work with counselors to develop a repayment plan that helps them return to good financial standing. Find more information, including eligibility requirements, at www.loanassistmichigan.org.

Hunters win the hunt of a lifetime!

Three lucky hunters from Kent, Lapeer and Montcalm counties were recently announced as the 2017 Pure Michigan Hunt winners by the Department of Natural Resources. Along with elk, bear, spring and fall turkey and antlerless deer licenses to be used in 2017, the winners will also get first pick opening morning of the waterfowl season at any of Michigan’s managed waterfowl hunt areas. In addition, each hunter receives a package of hunting gear donated by Michigan businesses and organizations valued at more than $4,000!

The 2017 drawing had a total of 51,090 applications, generating more than $259,000 to help fund wildlife habitat restoration and improvements in Michigan. Applications for the next Pure Michigan Hunt drawing will be available starting March 1. More information is available at www.mi.gov/pmh.