O’Brien Resolution Urges Selection of Fort Custer for Major Missile Defense Program

LANSING, Mich. – State Senator Margaret O’Brien is urging the Missile Defense Agency within the U.S. Department of Defense to select the Fort Custer Training Center for its forthcoming ground-based interceptor ballistic missile defense mission.

The 7,500 acre Michigan National Guard facility, located in Augusta, is one of four sites under consideration.

“Fort Custer is the ideal location for the defense department’s new ground-based interceptor ballistic missile defense mission,” said O’Brien, R-Portage, who introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 9. “The selected location will rely heavily on its ability to support the mission but also to protect the environment. Given its numerous awards and accolades for environmental stewardship, its world-class facilities, and its economic competitiveness in terms of cost to taxpayers, I believe Fort Custer is the best choice. I strongly urge the Missile Defense Agency to choose it for the mission.”

According to the agency, the ground-based interceptor ballistic missile defense system provides the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the United States. The system employs integrated communications networks, fire control systems, globally-deployed sensors and Ground-Based Interceptors that are capable of detecting, tracking and destroying ballistic missile threats.

While protecting the state and nation from ballistic missile attacks is the main purpose, there is also a major economic impact. The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research estimates the project would contribute $3.2 billion to the region’s economy and support more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“The placement of the ballistic missile defense system near Battle Creek would leverage Fort Custer’s strategic location and security, and Michigan is prepared to support its construction, operation and personnel,” O’Brien said.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 9 can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

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Senate reforms state laws to better support children with special health care needs

LANSING, Mich. – The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation to remove the phrase “crippled children” from state laws and replace it with “children and youth with special health care needs.”

“The word crippled is outdated, has negative connotations and distracts from the intent of laws meant to help children with special health care needs,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of Senate Bill 114. “Updating Michigan’s health laws with this language better reflects the children we are serving as well as the mission of the health care professionals who treat them.”

SB 114 amends a portion of Public Act 137 of 1921, which states, if a county board of commissioners enters into agreements with health care providers to treat a “crippled child or children” living within the county, a family court judge must refer the child to a contracted health care provider. SB 114 replaces “crippled child or children” with “child or youth with special health care needs.”

The bill is part of a six-bill bipartisan package. SB 113, sponsored by Senator Jim Marleau, similarly amends a different portion of the same law O’Brien’s bill amends, while SB 112, sponsored by Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr., amends Public Act 29 of 1957 to remove the phrase from certain files and records in the probate court.

SB 112 is tie-barred to House Bill 4205, sponsored by Representative Andy Schor, which amends the Michigan Public Health Code to refer to “children and youth with special health care needs” rather than “crippled children.” HB 4203, sponsored by Representative Mike Callton, removes references to the phrase from Public Act 327 of 1931. HB 4204, sponsored by Representative Joe Graves, removes the phrase from Public Act 280 of 1939.

The move is not without precedent and is part of a larger trend. Last year, the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, bills removing the words “mentally retarded” from state law, replacing those with “developmentally disabled” to better align with the law’s intent and social sensibilities.

Senate Bills 112-114 now go to the state House for consideration. HBs 4203-05 were previously referred to the House Committee on Health Policy.

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Editor’s note: Click here for audio from Senator O’Brien on Senate Bill 114.