Van Buren County Students Go to Lansing For Student Technology Day

ImageWKZO Radio

It was Student Technology Day at the State Capitol Wednesday, and some Van Buren County youths were there to show off some of the work they’ve been doing. State Senator John Proos says that he invited the kids up from South Haven’s Baseline Middle School and North Shore Elementary to show what technology related projects they’ve been working on in class.

Proos thinks it was good for lawmakers to get a first hand look at how technology can be incorporated in schools, noting that he work these Van Buren County youths have been doing demonstrates how technology can bring together elements like math and science, and teach cooperation.

Proos is pushing for more technology based vocational education in the state. He’s sponsored a bill that would help more schools bring technology to classrooms and promote collaboration between schools and job providers for career-based teaching into the curriculum.

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Michigan Cannot Afford Unnecessary Ergonomics Regulations

Michigan cannot afford to add up to $500 million in costs to current and future job providers.  We need to be eliminating job-killing regulations, not adding new ones. That is why I supported legislation passed by the state Senate to prevent bureaucrats from imposing unnecessary burdens on jobs providers.

Senate Bill 20 would prohibit state officials from enacting mandatory ergonomics regulations. Voluntary guidelines would be allowed but could be no more stringent than federal standards.

The measure will save jobs and send a positive message to companies looking to come here. Gov. Snyder supports this positive step, and I am confident the House will join us in getting government out of the way of economic growth.

California, which just passed Michigan in unemployment rates, is currently the only state with separate mandatory workplace ergonomics rules. Ergonomics standards are included in federal workplace rules that companies operate under.

New ergonomics mandates are unwarranted and would hurt small and medium-sized businesses in southwest Michigan the most. Studies show that these separate rules could cost Michigan employers an extra $400 to $500 million. We should pursue policies that encourage job growth and retention.

Choosing Jobs Over Bureaucracy

As chair of the Jobs Task Force, one of the main concerns I heard from businesses across the state was state government over regulation.

As a representative of Southwest Michigan, I see businesses leave our state all the time — not to go to China or India, but to go to Indiana and Illinois.

I recently introduced legislation that addresses this growing concern. The legislation was a direct recommendation from the findings of the Job Task Force.

House Bill 6278 forces the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment to act on any business request within six months of the application.

To promote job creation in our state, we must create an environment conducive to job creation. This legislation requires the Michigan DNRE to do their job more efficiently and effectively, and prevents a state department from dragging its feet at the expense of new jobs.

A six-month time frame isn’t too short for this department to do their due diligence in protecting the environment. A business shouldn’t have to wait more than six months to create jobs for Michigan families, especially when they can go to a neighboring state and do businesses much quicker.

Michigan families cannot wait for jobs that could be available now.

Tools Available to Improve Internet Service

March 18, 2010

Soon local residents can go online to check the speed of their broadband or to report service unavailability at their home.

At the beginning of April, in an effort to better connect Michigan, residents will be able to check which broadband providers service their home. By identifying gaps in broadband service across the state, providers will be able to identify new markets in which to offer coverage.

You can go to http://connectmi.org/ to check if your broadband service is running at the speed you pay for or to report if you aren’t receiving service.

Technology infrastructure is necessary to grow jobs and attract job providers. Michigan is leading the nation in establishing a complete broadband map, allowing families to identify options at their home and encouraging companies to provide better coverage statewide.

The project was set up by the Michigan Public Service Commission with federal funding to complete broadband mapping across our state. The goal is to establish a complete map of providers, helping to increase coverage in underserved areas and increase service competition. I urge all southwest Michigan residents to participate as we can all benefit from faster internet access and increased provider competition.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on these important issues.