Hunting Season is Underway

Dowagiac HuntersHunting is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Our great outdoors offers something to interest every type of hunter — helping Michigan attract more hunters than any other state.

Our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in Michigan’s economy and way of life, and I will continue to protect your hunting rights.

Deer firearm season has begun, and I want to pass along some useful information and urge all hunters to hunt with safety in mind.

The regular firearm season from Nov. 15-30 is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. Archery season continues Dec. 1 to Jan.1; muzzle-loading season in southern Michigan is Dec. 6-22; and late antlerless firearm season runs from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Hunters can use Mi-HUNT on the website to create and print customized maps on 7 million acres of public lands. Residents can also buy hunting licenses online 24 hours a day at: http://www.mdnr-elicense.com.

With firearm deer season underway, I offer two reminders. First, please hunt safely. Most hunting injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking.

Second, remember the impact of poachers on the sport and on the herd.

I supported recent bills to preserve the hunting experience by toughening penalties for trespassing on private property and for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck.

By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Happy hunting! I hope everyone has a safe and successful season.

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Supporting America’s Veterans

Veterans Day 2013America is the example of liberty in the world because we remain the home of the brave. Let’s never forget that the willingness of young people to serve is largely reflective of how we treat those who already served.

Saluting our veterans is about showing our appreciation for their service and ensuring America always has patriots committed to her defense.

The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation supporting our honorably discharged veterans by allowing them to use certain military training and experience toward professional licensure as an EMT, firefighter, boiler operator and stationary engineer, mechanical contractor, and residential builder.

The bills build on previously enacted laws for licensing as a security guard, commercial driver and journeyman electrician or plumber.

The reforms recognize that military training is rigorous and worthy of counting toward comparable jobs in the civilian workforce.

We owe our freedoms to the men and women in uniform who put their nation before themselves. This is a common-sense way we can help them find work when they return home.

I am hopeful that the bills will be signed before Veterans Day, a time reserved for us to honor the enormous sacrifice and selfless dedication of our veterans. While the sacrifice made by them and their families is a debt we can never fully repay, these reforms are a real, meaningful way to express our gratitude.

I look forward to taking part in tributes throughout Southwest Michigan to thank our veterans for their commitment to liberty.

I also encourage area residents to take a moment this Veterans Day weekend to tell a veteran how much you appreciate their service.

State Senate Approves Bill to Help Veterans Get Job Certification

VeteransWKZO – Radio

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to allow returning veterans to get credit for the skills and experience they acquired through military service for purposes of professional licenses in certain fields.

State Senator John Proos says that many veterans come home from military service with valuable experience, only to learn that their experience doesn’t count for anything when it comes to getting certified in order to work in certain jobs. He says this plan will help address that.

The package of bills approved would allow certain military training and experience of honorably discharged veterans to be counted for purposes of professional licensure as an emergency medical technician, firefighter, boiler operator and stationary engineer, mechanical contractor, and residential builder. Proos hopes to see Governor Rick Sndyer sign them before Veterans Day.

Prescription Drug Abuse Summit Held in Lansing

Gribler_Proos_Meth SigningWSJM – Radio

Michael Arney Reporting

A two-day summit on combating prescription drug abuse wraps up Wednesday in Lansing. State Senator John Proos calls it an epidemic that’s a growing problem.

State, local and national leaders are joining with Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to try to come up with ways to fight the drug issues.

Legislation sponsored by Proos would require the state police to maintain a database of everyone convicted of a meth-related offense in the state. Those who are on the list would have to have a doctor’s prescription for ten years to buy medicine containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, used to fight colds and to cook meth.

Allow Residents to Protect Their Families From Identity Theft

Generic FamilyIdentity theft and credit fraud wreak havoc on millions of lives every year, impacting victims with legal fees and time spent trying to clear their name.

More than 11 million Americans in 2010 became victims of identity fraud, costing them $54 billion and countless hours of frustration.

New account origination is a popular form of identity fraud in which thieves open a line of credit in a victim’s name and make high-value purchases as quickly as possible. Responsibility for this fraud falls on the bank or the store, but it affects us all in the form of higher store prices or higher credit card interest rates.

The most effective way someone can prevent this fraud is to place a freeze on their credit report, which blocks the issuing of new credit.

Michigan is one of only two states without a credit freeze law in place.

The state Senate recently approved my bill to change that and require the three major credit reporting agencies to allow Michigan residents to place a security freeze on their credit information. Since a Carnegie Mellon University study showed that children are 51 times more likely to become victims of identity theft than their parents, residents would also be able to protect their children’s credit.

So legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed, Senate Bill 174 would allow a consumer to temporarily lift the freeze when applying for credit by contacting the reporting bureau and providing a secure PIN number.

My goal is to ensure that every Southwest Michigan consumer has the ability to protect themselves and their families from fraud. With Senate passage of this bill, we are one step closer to making that a reality.

Helping Increase High-Speed Internet Access

South Haven CTE Capitol DayFrom posting on Facebook to reading email, dependable Internet access has become vital to our everyday lives.

This access is also about jobs. Studies show that 90 percent of Americans use the Internet to locate products and services.

Southwest Michigan’s geographic diversity is part of what makes our region an excellent place to live, work and raise a family, but it also means many rural areas struggle with consistent, fast Internet service.

We cannot allow locally owned companies to fall behind because they are not able to meet the high-speed needs of online customers.

That is why Connect Michigan is working with state and local officials to expand high-speed Internet service to all residents, an effort that will increase access to information and opportunities in Southwest Michigan.

For more information about Connect Michigan, I encourage residents to visit http://www.connectmi.org. Visitors to the site can check the availability of broadband Internet access in their area and locate a service provider.

On Thursday, Oct. 24, Connect Michigan will co-host the 2013 Michigan Broadband Conference at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone is invited to contribute to the conversation about digital job creation, technology used by small businesses, and rural infrastructure.

To register for the conference or find out more information about it, visit http://www.connectmi.org/broadband-summit.

Honored to be Named Legislator of the Year by Michigan Police Chiefs

Proos_Leg. of the YearThroughout my time in public service, I have worked to improve Michigan’s economy, create jobs and ensure our government fulfills its core function of keeping our families safe.

As a father, I take my responsibility to heart. That is why I was especially honored to be named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP).

Berrien Springs chief of police Milt Agay presented me with the honor in recognition of my cooperative work with law enforcement agencies and my leadership on key public safety issues, including enactment of the Swift and Sure program and increased supervision of parolees.

I sponsored Senate Bill 1315 to give police officers the authority, already given to parole officers, to search any of the more than 18,000 parolees in Michigan at any time and without first needing to get a warrant. The new law enables our police to help provide more supervision of parolees and enhanced protection of our communities while also reducing the costs of the state prison system.

I also brought to Michigan a successful program that helped significantly reduce crime and drug use by probationers in Hawaii, saving the state millions of dollars.

Michigan’s Swift and Sure program supervises high-risk probationers and requires frequent, random drug and alcohol testing. The results are better outcomes for both the offender and the taxpayer. After seeing the positive results of the program in places like Berrien County, I worked to make the pilot program permanent.

While it is an honor to be recognized by the men and women leading our local police departments, the real reward is a safe neighborhood to raise my children.