Allow Hunters to Help Farmers Protect Crops from Excess Deer

Agriculture is Michigan’s second largest industry, yet hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crops are lost each year due to nuisance deer. The problem has been exacerbated over the years as the number of deer has increased.

Farmers and other landowners may soon be able to enlist the help of hunters to protect their crops.

Legislation I sponsored may soon be signed into law to create a “Hunters Helping Landowners” program in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program will help connect farmers experiencing crop losses with potential hunters interested in helping reduce the number of excess deer.

Individuals willing to hunt nuisance deer would submit an application to the DNR and indicate up to two Michigan counties in which they are interested in hunting. Landowners who need additional antlerless deer harvested on their property would contact the DNR and request a list of those who have expressed interest in hunting in their county.

I modeled the program after an Indiana initiative and designed it to complement an earlier reform that gives landowners with significant crop damage more flexibility in managing deer on their property.

My previous reform became law in March, allowing someone with a DNR deer damage shooting permit to include up to 15 authorized shooters to implement the permit.

Southwest Michigan families know about the importance of agriculture to our region and way of life. I worked to enact both of these common-sense measures because they will allow our family farmers to protect their livelihoods and the crops that fuel a multi-billion-dollar industry and support thousands of Michigan jobs.


Physical Therapy Lobbies Proos for Direct Access

Life in Balance Physical Therapy President Alex Markovich coached State Sen. John Proos in Pilates. Life in Balance, 20 North Second Street, has been in Niles for 12 years and added locations in Mishawaka and South Bend.

By John Eby

Niles Daily Star

Life in Balance President Alex Markovich would like to see Michigan enact direct access to physical therapy, which 47 states already have, he told state Sen. John Proos Monday.

Life in Balance Physical Therapy President Alex Markovich Monday morning coached state Sen. John Proos in Pilates. Life in Balance, 20 North Second Street, has been in Niles for 12 years and added locations in Mishawaka and South Bend.

“There would be so many opportunities to save money through prevention and serve our community where our hands are tied,” Markovich said. “Even a massage therapist with a six-month certificate can see people off the street and I can’t with a master’s degree. I wanted to make you aware of the financial burden lack of direct access puts. We have to have a doctor referral.”

Patients are seen for 80 minutes at an initial evaluation, then 40 minutes at every session after that.

“Physical therapy winds up saving money,” Markovich said.

Without direct access, someone with lower back pain sees a doctor, which might take a week to arrange for an eight-minute exam, resulting in a prescription for medication.

There might be another appointment or two for tests.

“Weeks go by without any relief,” Markovich said, “and now it’s a chronic issue when they start physical therapy. Why don’t we do physical therapy first? Because there’s a perceived threat of this up-and-coming, evolving field getting into an arena of new territory. You’ve got to look at what’s best for the customer and who’s paying the bills. There are no studies showing direct access increases health industry costs or malpractice in states that have it. We are trained to assess the musculoskeletal system but need to be empowered.”

Proos, R-St. Joseph, asked how the Supreme Court imminent decision on the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, would impact Life in Balance.

“Something needs to be done, obviously,” Markovich said. “It’s a tragedy when people live in fear for their health care benefits. But the way this bill was pushed through with the economy the way it is scares me. The government can’t even pay its light bill. I don’t buy the savings. It seems short-sighted and very politically driven by the president. I don’t think it’s constitutional to require someone to buy (health insurance). However, Medicare and the commercial insurance industry are making positive changes in prevention and incentivizing quality of care.”

“Reimbursement based on results and quality is the way to go,” he said. “I’d like to create a system which reduces cost first before we add to the system and make it harder to manage. The public is fed up and paying attention.”

“The best way to save money is to never spend it in the first place,” Proos said.

Legislation to Help Keep Beaches, Lakes Cleaner

Niles Daily Star

Lakeshore property owners will have more freedom to properly maintain their beaches under legislation expected to be signed soon by the governor, said Sen. John Proos.

“Southwest Michigan is blessed with miles of beautiful sandy beaches that attract millions of visitors and are key to a tourist industry that supports thousands of families and local small businesses,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Removing costly government interference – that only inhibits the maintenance of our beaches – is a victory for everyone. It will enhance private property rights and result in beaches that are cleaner and safer for families and tourists to enjoy.”

Low water levels in 1999 exposed many Great Lakes beaches, which were quickly overrun with invasive plants and other weeds. State policy at the time was to prevent landowners from grooming their beaches to remove plants or prevent them from growing without a permit.

Senate Bill 1052 would eliminate certain Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) restrictions about how beach maintenance can be done. Property owners with sandy beaches would no longer need to get a permit from the DEQ for beach grooming activities, although some activities may still be subject to federal regulation.

“Allowing landowners to maintain their beaches will help increase outdoor activities and protect a vibrant tourism industry,” Proos said. “I supported this common-sense reform because it also achieves a balance between recreation and conservation. Eliminating unnecessary restrictions on property owners will enable them to keep their beaches sandy and open for use while enlisting their aid in stopping invasive species from taking hold in Michigan.”

Under SB 1052, owners of sandy beaches would not need a DEQ permit to remove vegetation and debris on the section of their beaches between the normal high-water mark and the water’s edge. Construction projects and digging of channels or dredging below the ordinary high-water mark would still be subject to a state permit.

“This will not affect a beachgoer’s ability to walk along the beach between the high-water line and the water’s edge,” Proos said. “In fact, it will improve that freedom by allowing landowners to maintain and clean that area of the beach.”

Proos Praises Change to Vehicle Sales Tax

WSJM – Radio

State Senator John Proos says that a change to the way that Michigan collects sales taxes on vehicle sales could help the economy. Recently, the Senate approved the plan to stop applying the six percent sales tax to the full value of a new or used vehicle purchase. Instead, the sales or use tax would be applied only to the difference between the price of the car or boat being bought, and the value of a trade in. Proos says that implementing this change would be relief for those making such a transaction.

The measures, known as the “sales tax on the difference” bills, have been praised by dealers who sell cars, trucks and watercraft. The legislation has been sent to the State House for consideration.

Keeping Dangerous Drugs Out of Southwest Michigan Stores

Synthetic marijuana products are sold as harmless bath salts or incense, but are actually dangerous drugs that are harming Southwest Michigan residents, especially young people.

Many parents and citizens have told me that these substances are still being sold at local stores.

I am proud to say that these products, commonly sold as K2 or Spice, will soon be permanently banned in Michigan after legislation to keep these drugs out of stores was sent to the governor to be signed.

Manufacturers try to get around the current law by continuously changing their compounds ever so slightly.

Once signed, the new laws will allow the state to keep up with producers and punish those who continue to sell the drugs. To achieve this, the Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Community Health will be able to file emergency rules to ban dangerous designer drugs by listing them as controlled substances.

A person who violates the new law would be guilty of a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.

Chief Randel Pompey of the Coloma Township Police Department said: “These reforms will be a great tool that law enforcement can use to protect our communities from this incredibly dangerous trend.”

These addictive drugs have been linked to several deaths and hospitalizations, yet many teenagers do not understand the real risks of consuming them.

I strongly supported these measures because it is time to once and for all keep our children safe by cracking down on deadly synthetic drugs.

Proos Opening District Office in St. Joe

WSJM – Radio

John Proos opening a new office in Saint Joseph. The Republican lawmaker says that when he was in the State House, there weren’t resources for such a local office, but now that he’s representing some 300 thousand plus people, it’s time to have a more permanent presence in the district.

Proos says that the office — at 216 Court Street — will not be staffed full time, but will be opened when needed. An open house there is set for Friday between nine-30 and eleven-30 AM.

Proos Nuisance Deer Legislation Goes to the Governor

WSJM- Radio

State Senator John Proos says that he has a plan to help Michigan farmers better protect their crops from nuisance deer. Legislation that he introduced to hook those farmers up with eager hunters is now on its way to Governor Rick Snyder. Under Proos’ bill, farmers looking to rid themselves of those troublesome deer can simply contact the Department of Natural Resources and find out who in their county has signed up to be a special volunteer hunter.

A previous plan from Proos allowed a few extra deer to be shot offseason if they’re found to be a nuisance to farmers. This new legislation organizes the process a bit by letting the DNR match up the farmers with the shooters. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign it.