‘What to do if stopped by blue’ legislation introduced in Senate

LANSING, Mich. — A bipartisan effort aimed at facilitating positive interactions between law enforcement officers and civilians during a traffic stop was recently introduced in the state Senate.

Sen. Marty Knollenberg, who sponsored part of the three-bill package, says the ultimate goal is to standardize interaction between police officers, drivers and passengers during traffic stops and make an unpleasant situation safer and less stressful for all involved parties.

“Traffic stops are stressful for drivers of all levels, but even more so for inexperienced drivers,” said Knollenberg. “A consistent curriculum including instructions for expected behavior during a traffic stop can help reduce the anxiety level for both drivers and police as well as lessen the risk of minor misunderstandings become something more serious.”

Senate Bills 805-807 would direct the secretary of state and Michigan State Police to develop a program on how to interact with law enforcement during a traffic stop. The guidelines would be included in current driver’s education curriculums so students are familiar with what to do before getting behind the wheel.

“It is long overdue for lawmakers to sit down together with the people of the communities they serve and restore confidence between drivers and law enforcement,” said Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Lathrup Village, sponsor of SB 806.

The bills also instruct the secretary of state to provide a pamphlet that includes a summary of the developed material to drivers 25 and under who are renewing their license. Additionally, officers involved in a traffic stop must provide drivers with a business card that contains contact information where drivers can direct complaints.

The measure was inspired by a similar bipartisan effort that was adopted last year in Virginia.

“Neither drivers nor the police should be fearful during a traffic stop,” Knollenberg said. “I believe these training measures will make all drivers more comfortable and thus put officers at ease. This is a win for all involved parties.”

Sen. Margaret O’Brien agreed and says this measure will improve relations between members of the law enforcement community and their respective communities.

“As the mother of young drivers, I want my kids to be prepared for every situation,” O’Brien said. “I’m pleased to partner with law enforcement to ensure safe interactions in what can be a stressful situation.”

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation for further consideration.

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House Approves Bill To Name I-94 Corridor After Fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday approved final passage of Senate Bill 543, which would name a stretch of Interstate 94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski.

“Chief Switalski was the epitome of a public servant who provided true leadership in our community,” said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “Renaming this stretch of I-94 after him will help to remind people of road safety and honor his commitment to our community.”

Switalski was killed in the line of duty on June 14, 2017 when he was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident on I-94 in Kalamazoo County. He was named Michigan Fire Chief of the Year for 2017. The bill would name the span between exits 80 and 86 on I-94 after Switalski.

SB 543 now heads to the governor for his signature.

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Senator O’Brien Welcomes Guests To The State Of The State Address

LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, welcomed several constituents to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address Tuesday night.

Pictured from left are Congressman Fred Upton; Kalamazoo County Commissioner Scott McGraw; Robyn Peake; Kalamazoo County Commissioner John Gisler; Sen. O’Brien; Bonnie Wedel of Wedel’s Garden Center; Tony Dugal; Allison Ives, who is job shadowing Sen. O’Brien; Sen. O’Brien’s son Tyjon O’Brien; state Rep. Beth Griffin, state Rep. Dave Maturen; Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Stephanie Moore; KRESA Superintendent Dave Campbell; and state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this or other O’Brien photos, click the image or visit SenatorMargaretOBrien.com/photowire.

Senate Unanimously Passes Senator O’Brien’s Michigan Families Tax Relief Bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved Senate Bill 749, which would provide additional tax relief to Michigan families by creating a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care, such as care for children, elderly parents or disabled family members.

“Providing care for our loved ones can be costly and stressful,” said bill sponsor Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “This tax credit can help ease that financial burden and save a typical Michigan family of four nearly $500 annually.”

SB 749 would amend the Income Tax Act to allow, beginning in tax year 2018, a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care that mirrors the one offered at the federal level. A qualifying dependent is defined as a dependent child 12 years old or younger, or a grown child, spouse, or elderly parent who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

“Many face the challenge of providing adequate care for those who depend on them,” Sen. O’Brien said. “My legislation will help hardworking Michigan families provide this critical care by helping to ease the financial stress that is often involved.”

Sen. O’Brien’s legislation is part of a bill package, SBs 748-750, that helps to create tax relief for Michigan families. The legislation brings Michigan’s tax system in line with the federal government and ensures that Michigan families do not see a tax increase.

SB 749 now heads to the House for consideration.

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Photo caption: Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, casts her vote in support of Senate Bill 749, her legislation that would provide additional tax relief to Michigan families by creating a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care.

***Media Advisory*** Sen. O’Brien Available For Comments Following State Of The State Address

Who: State Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage.

 

What: Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

 

When: The address is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

 

Where: House Appropriations Room

Third floor

State Capitol

Lansing

 

Briefing: Sen. O’Brien will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please call Sen. O’Brien’s office at 517-373-5100 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

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Senate Panel Approves Sen. O’Brien’s Michigan Families Tax Relief Bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday heard testimony and unanimously approved Senate Bill 749, which would provide additional tax relief to Michigan families by creating a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care, such as care for children, elderly parents, or disabled family members.

“Caring for our loved ones can be a significant financial burden for many hardworking families,” said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “This tax credit would save a typical Michigan family of four nearly $500 annually.”

SB 749 would amend the Income Tax Act to allow, beginning in tax year 2018, a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care that mirrors the one offered at the federal level. A qualifying dependent is defined as a dependent child 12 years old or younger, or a grown child, spouse, or elderly parent who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

“Many have faced the challenge of providing adequate care for those who depend on them,” Sen. O’Brien said. “We would not spare any expense to make sure our loved ones receive the care they need. My legislation will help to ease the financial burden associated with providing this critical care.”

Sen. O’Brien’s legislation is part of a bill package, SBs 748-750, that helps to create tax relief for Michigan families. The legislation brings Michigan’s tax system in line with the federal government and ensures that Michigan families do not see a tax increase.

SB 749 now heads before the full Senate for approval.

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Photo caption (left): Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Jan. 16 in support of her legislation that would provide additional tax relief to Michigan families by creating a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care.

Photo caption (right): Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Jan. 16 in support of her legislation that would provide additional tax relief to Michigan families by creating a Michigan income tax credit for dependent care.

House Panel Approves Bill To Name I-94 Corridor After Fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski

LANSING, Mich. — The House Transportation Committee on Tuesday heard testimony regarding Senate Bill 543, which would name a stretch of Interstate 94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski.

“Chief Switalski was a true public servant and should not be forgotten,” Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, said. “Renaming this stretch of I-94 after him will help to remind people of road safety and honor his commitment to our community.”

Chief Switalski was killed in the line of duty on June 14, 2017 when he was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident on I-94 in Kalamazoo County. He was named Michigan Fire Chief of the Year for 2017. The bill would name the span between exits 80 and 86 on I-94 after Switalski.

“My hope is that if just one person sees the sign honoring Chief Switalski and realizes it’s there as a memorial they will slow down and pay attention to the road,” said Rep. Dave Maturen, R-Vicksburg, who has introduced companion legislation, House Bill 4943. “Maybe it will save a life — maybe even their own.”

SB 543 now heads to the full House for final approval.

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Photo caption: Holly Switalski (left), Portage Senior Deputy Fire Chief John Podgorski (middle left), state Rep. Dave Maturen (middle right) and Sen. O’Brien’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Bogema testified before the House Transportation Committee on Jan. 16 in support of Senate Bill 543 to rename a stretch of Interstate 94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski.

 

Senator O’Brien And Colleagues Meet With Rachael Denhollander, Sterling Riethman To Discuss Sexual Assault Prevention

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, led a roundtable discussion with several of her legislative colleagues Tuesday afternoon to hear the stories of Rachael Denhollander and Sterling Riethman.

The senators joined Denhollander and Riethman to discuss the importance of preventing sexual assault and additional actions that can be taken here in Michigan.

“I admire the courage of the women who stepped forward to share their horrific experiences,” Senator O’Brien said. “It is important that our laws protect those who are most vulnerable, including our children.”

Senator Tonya Schuitmaker agreed.

“These young women were victimized by someone they trusted,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “This meeting was yet another eye-opening experience for many of us sitting at the table. While we’ve gone to great lengths to provide protections for victims of sexual assault in recent years, there is still more that needs to be done, especially on college campuses.”

Denhollander, a native of Kalamazoo, was the first victim of Dr. Larry Nassar, former physician for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, to speak publicly about her experiences. Nassar pleaded guilty in November to sexually assaulting her and six other women. There are currently 125 women pursuing legal action against Nassar for sexual abuse.

Rachael Denhollander was encouraged by the discussion, stating, “I am grateful to see the leadership of Senator O’Brien and key Republican senators as they seek to stand against sexual abusers and those who enable them. I look forward to working with them on key legislative reform.”

Sterling Riethman also commented on the productive nature of the meeting. “We are incredibly grateful for the support shown today,” Riethman said. “The dialogue held this afternoon is a promising beginning to creating a safe environment for victims seeking justice and healing. As a resident of Senator O’Brien’s district, I’m encouraged to see that our senators are committed to creating the positive change needed. Changing the way our justice system handles sexual assault is essential, not just for those of us victimized by Larry Nassar, but for generations to come.”

“We stand with the women who were victimized,” said Senator O’Brien. “Predators like Larry Nassar must be stopped. I applaud Rachael and Sterling for helping us improve our laws to prevent this from happening again.”

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Photo caption (left): State Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, led a roundtable discussion with several of her legislative colleagues Tuesday afternoon to hear the stories of Rachael Denhollander and Sterling Riethman. The senators joined Denhollander and Riethman to discuss the importance of preventing sexual assault and additional actions that can be taken here in Michigan.

Photo caption (right): Michigan state senators attend a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon led by Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, to hear the stories of Rachael Denhollander and Sterling Riethman. The senators joined Denhollander and Riethman to discuss the importance of preventing sexual assault and additional actions that can be taken here in Michigan.

**MEDIA ADVISORY** O’Brien, Iden to host bicycle safety town hall meeting

LANSING, Mich. — Senator Margaret O’Brien and Rep. Brandt Iden will host a bicycling safety town hall meeting with local and state officials on Monday in Portage.

Who:
Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, and
Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo,

What:
A bicycle safety town-hall-style meeting for state and local officials to answer questions about how bicyclists and motorists can safely share the road. Representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan State Police and city of Portage will be available to discuss this important topic.

When:
Monday, Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m.

Where:
Portage City Hall
7900 S. Westnedge Ave.
Portage

Brief:
In June 2016, a collision between a pickup truck and cyclists in Kalamazoo left five cyclists dead. In response, Sens. O’Brien; Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; and David Knezek, D-Detroit; introduced bipartisan legislation to help increase safety for all motorists and cyclists on Michigan’s roads.

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Michigan Senate Approves Bill To Name I-94 Corridor After Fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate voted on Thursday to pass Senate Bill 543, which would name a stretch of Interstate 94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski.

“Renaming I-94 after Chief Switalski reminds people of road safety while honoring Chief Switalski for his dedicated service to our community,” said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “Chief Switalski was a devoted husband and father and a dedicated public servant. He will not be forgotten.”

Switalski was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, June 14 when he was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident on I-94 in Kalamazoo County. He was named Michigan Fire Chief of the Year for 2017. The bill would name the span between exits 80 and 86 on I-94 after Switalski.

SB 543 has been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Editor’s note: The above photos from Oct. 12 are available by clicking on the images or visiting www.SenatorMargaretObrien.com/photowire.