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Governor Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Help Veterans, Make Other Improvements to Law


June 24, 2021                                                         



Governor Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Help Veterans, Make Other Improvements to Law 


LANSING, Mich. --?Today, Governor Whitmer signed Senate Bill 10, Senate Bill 440, House Bill 4040, House Bill 4050, House Bill 4122.  


"All the bills I signed today make a difference in the lives of Michiganders," said?Governor Whitmer. "Senate Bill 10 and House Bill 4122 make it easier for veterans to obtain county veteran services, benefits, and cash assistance, giving back to those who have sacrificed for our nation." 


Senate Bill 10 will would amend the Open Meetings Act to allow a county veteran services committee to meet in a closed session to interview a veteran or his or her spouse or dependent regarding an application for benefits or financial assistance and to discuss the application. 


Senate Bill 10 was sponsored by Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, and a copy can be found here 


"People have a reasonable expectation of privacy, especially when it concerns personal and sensitive financial, medical, and other health information," said Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, who sponsored Senate Bill 10. "This expectation is not exclusive to civilians, yet until now our military veterans have often been forced to publicly reveal such information when applying for benefits they have earned through their service. I thank my colleagues for their strong bipartisan support and Gov. Whitmer for signing this bill to help those who have served us in uniform."  


House Bill 4122 will amend 1953 PA 192 to modify the distribution and expenditure of grants from the County Veteran Service Fund. Among other things, the bill would revise grant eligibility requirements to allow more counties to participate in the grant program and would allow counties to use grants for allowable expenditures as determined by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) and for an emergent need relief program to provide direct financial assistance through county veteran service operations. 


House Bill 4122 was sponsored by Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, and a copy can be found here 


"This was a change that became necessary because of challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new law will also improve services for our military heroes moving forward," said Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, after her bill was signed by Gov. Whitmer. "The improved flexibility allowed by this change will help ensure veterans get the type of assistance they need when and where they need it." 


"Since the creation of the County Veteran Service Fund, it has helped Michigan counties support the more than 600,000 veterans and their families across our state," said Meghann Keit-Corrion, Government Affairs Associate of the Michigan Association of Counties. "The latest changes signed into law by the governor will expand on the successes of the program. MAC and its members look forward to the continuing partnership with the state, via MVAA, to help those who have served their communities and our nation." 


Senate Bill 440 allows MDHHS to approve a pilot program to provide positron emission tomography (PET) scanner services if the pilot meets certain requirements.  


Senate Bill 440 was sponsored by Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, and a copy can be found here 


"I'm proud we were able to come together to eliminate pandemic-caused delays and allow BAMF Health to bring their first-in-the-nation, cutting edge precision medicine to Grand Rapids," said Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids. "It's an honor to play a role in opening the doors of this company that will bring hope to so many who are diagnosed with cancer and other serious diseases." 


House Bill 4040 allows federally-approved apprenticeship programs to operate in Michigan without registering as a proprietary school. 


House Bill 4040 was sponsored by Rep. Ben Frederick, R-Owosso, and a copy can be found here 


"The passage of this legislation will bring apprenticeship exposure to students throughout Michigan," said Rep. Ben Frederick, R-Owosso. "I am delighted that some of the innovations we have seen in Mid-Michigan will now be readily available throughout our state as our young people consider careers in the trades."  


"Correctly classifying US Department of Labor recognized Registered Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship programs is essential to make sure that these programs receive the proper opportunities and recognition under state law," said Lee Graham, Executive Director, Operating Engineers 324 Labor-Management Education Committee (LMEC). "By amending the Proprietary Schools Act, the Michigan Governor and legislature are allowing these programs to better expand and connect with students, educate the next generation of Michigan's skilled workforce, and ready them for rewarding, sustainable careers." 


House Bill 4050 protects Michigan's natural resources by amending the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to allow the exemption from disclosure of certain data relating to the location of game. 


House Bill 4050 was sponsored by Rep. John Cherry, D-Flint, and a copy can be found here 


"In recent years, the Michigan DNR was forced to end grouse drumming surveys due to unsportsmanlike use of FOIA laws to determine the bird's location, letting folks target those populations for hunting purposes," said Rep. John Cherry, D-Flint. "Participating in the traditions of hunting, birdwatching, fishing, and other activities show our love and respect for Michigan's great outdoor spaces. Along with this enjoyment comes a duty of stewardship. We must ensure our policies protect practical, scientifically-sound wildlife management options."