Thanksgiving a Time to Gather with Family and Give Thanks

l_524b904484e740b4907c9355cc8f05d6[1]Centuries ago, strengthened by faith and bound by a common desire for liberty a small band of pilgrims sought out a place in the New World where they could worship according to their own beliefs. These brave men and women risked their lives in order to seek the freedoms that we all enjoy today.

After their first harvest in 1621, a celebration was held out of gratefulness for a bountiful harvest. The New World settlers and local Native Americans joined together for a three-day celebration featuring feasting, singing and dancing. This day came without parades, football games or anticipation of saving a few bucks on “Black Friday.” It was simply a time to give thanks for the many blessings that had been bestowed on them. While I doubt any of us will be spending Thanksgiving Day on a plantation in Plymouth and most of us will buy our turkey from the grocery store, Thanksgiving is still rooted in the same foundations that it was centuries ago. It is a time for us to gather together with friends and family and give thanks for our many blessings. In the modern, global, 24/7 digital world, the spirit of Thanksgiving might be more important than ever.

It is a moment to take the weight of the world off our shoulders, connect with our loved ones and celebrate the most cherished thing we have: one another.

In the bustle of the holiday, I hope we will all take time to warmly express our gratitude to our family and friends for their love and friendship throughout the year and to give thanks for the blessing of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

May God bless you and fill your hearts and homes with love.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Proos Sponsors Bill to Close Loophole in Michigan’s Child Safety Seat Law

WTVB – Radio

A bill to close a loophole in Michigan’s child safety seat law was recently approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.  Introduced by State Senator John Proos, the plan would eliminate a way for someone to get out of a ticket if they’re cited for violating the child safety seat rule. Proos says that the law does require parents to properly restrain their kids in the car, but they can get out of the ticket if they simply show the magistrate a receipt for the purchase of a car seat. Proos’ legislation would get rid of that exception. He says that parents ought to have a safety seat for their kids from the get-go, and not have a way to get around that if they’re caught. The plan now goes to the full Senate.

Sexual Abuse Survivor Testifies in Support of “Erin’s Law” to Protect Michigan Children from Abuse

Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, where a child can learn, play and enjoy life.

Unfortunately, many of our children have this innocence stolen. It is estimated that one in four girls and one of every seven boys are sexually abused by age 18. In more than 90-percent of cases, their abuser is someone they know.

To help prevent sexual abuse of children, I have introduced “Erin’s Law” in Michigan.

The bipartisan legislation is named after Erin Merryn, an abuse survivor from Illinois, whose advocacy led to the passage of a similar law in her home state in 2011 and three other states since.

After going public about her abuse by a family member, Merryn made it her mission to ensure that no other child has to endure what she did.

Merryn shared her experience this week with lawmakers and spoke of the need to help protect children from sexual abuse through education, encouraging them to speak up and ensuring parents and school personnel have the training needed to spot warning signs and report incidents.

The need for education and training became even clearer with last week’s report on the child abuse scandal at Penn State University. One thing to learn from the scathing report is that children, parents and even adults in positions of power often do not know what warning signs to look for or what to do if they are abused or suspect abuse.

As a father, I thank Erin for her bravery and her tireless leadership in support of abuse survivors.

I look forward to continuing to work with her to help Michigan children get the education and support they need to identify abuse and get help.

Proos Talks MI Kids Dental Plan

WSJM – Radio

State Senator John Proos is praising a program included in the newest Department of Community Health budget that provides dental care to children in rural areas. He says that the spending plan includes expanded funding for the Healthy Kids Dental program. It’s a private-public partnership between the DCH and Delta Dental that ensures Medicaid eligible residents under 21 get things like x rays, cleanings, fillings, and other standard oral work done. Proos says that he’s glad the latest DCH budget expands Healthy Dental a bit to counties like Berrien and Cass.

Doctor Fred Johansen, Berrien County Health Department medical director, also strongly urged the expansion of the program, saying that the “Healthy Kids Dental program has been shown to expand access to children who otherwise would not receive needed dental services.” The budget now goes on to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.

Proos Introduces Legislation to Help Protect Kids from Sexual Abuse

May 3, 2012

Herald Palladium

State Sen. John Proos on Wednesday introduced legislation known as “Erin’s Law” to help prevent the sexual abuse of children in Michigan.

Senate Bills 1112-1114 would require school boards to put in place policies addressing child sexual abuse. The bills would also create a one-time Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, made up of legislators, state officials and experts to make recommendations on changes to Michigan laws.

“My legislation is about protecting Michigan children and preserving the innocence of childhood,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph, in a press release.

However, he added, one of every four girls and one in seven boys suffer sexual abuse by the time they’re 18, and they know their abuser in more than 90 percent of the cases.

The bipartisan measures are named “Erin’s Law” after Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse survivor from Illinois, whose advocacy in her home state led to the passage of a similar law there in 2011.

After going public about abuse by a family member, Merryn made it her mission to try to ensure that children have the age-appropriate education to recognize and talk about sexual abuse.

“As a child I was educated in school on tornado drills, bus drills, fire drills, stranger danger and drugs, but when I was sexually abused I listened to the only message I was being given – and that came from my abusers to stay silent,” said Merryn. She said education is the best way to solve the problem.

“I believe it is critical we educate kids that they have the right to say ‘no’ and that this is never their fault,” said Jamie Rossow, director of Berrien County Council on Children.

If the bills are enacted, Michigan would join Illinois, Indiana and Missouri in enacting Erin’s Law. Similar legislation has also been introduced in New York, Minnesota, New Mexico, Maine, Iowa and Massachusetts, according to Proos’ office.

Under the bills, schools could adopt age-appropriate curriculum, train school personnel on child sexual abuse and adopt policies to tell parents about the warning signs of abuse.

Proos’ office said children are now taught to beware “stranger danger,” but not to identify abuse, especially on the part of someone they know.

Parents would be made aware of the curriculum and be able to “opt out” if they did not want their child involved.

The sponsors of the companion measures in the package are state Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, and state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.

Proos Touts Progress Made

Dowagiac Daily News

By John Eby

April 15, 2012

CASSOPOLIS — “While the numbers are few today, the believers are many,” state Sen. John Proos told a dozen people Sunday afternoon at Cass County Tea Party’s third annual Tax Day rally beside the 1899 courthouse. “They couldn’t practice religion or live in a free society,” Proos, who was accompanied by his daughter, Elena, said.

“Our nation became what it is today because it was founded on Christian principles of freedom and a government of, by and for the people. Founders left us with our Constitution, which has withstood the test of time. People you send to represent you need to remember that. The believers need to be reminded. That’s the key today.”

The St. Joseph Republican said Michigan ist on a better track that benefits the futures of children such as his own Elena, Jack and Nora.

“What we do today we leave for them tomorrow, and I don’t want to leave them something worse. When jobs were the question, it was clear we weren’t competitive to keep the ones we already had and weren’t doing enough to attract jobs.

“We were picking winners and losers as a government because we were desperate for jobs to come to Michigan. That’s what it was during eight years of the Granholm administration. We saw the loss of a million jobs.

“When I started as your senator, Cass County was at 11.2 percent unemployment. Today, it’s at 8 percent. We can be better, but it’s improving.” because we looked at the equation and value competitiveness and the employer-employee relationship that is going to make Michigan strong again.”

We’re getting out of the way and letting businesses compete. Those who work hard of their own interest and effort are given the best chance to succeed without impediments by the government. Things are in a much better position than before. Without question, your tax dollars need to be held accountable in Lansing,” such as $2 billion the Department of Corrections consumes, which “cannot stand” because it could otherwise be spent on infrastructure or education. We’re not Doubting Thomases — we’re hopeful for our future and remember our country was founded on freedom from tyranny.”

Mentored Youth Hunting Licenses are Now Available

Hunting and fishing are great Michigan pastimes that help families bond while also fostering a passion for the outdoors in our children and teaching them the importance of preserving and respecting our natural resources.

The Mentored Youth Hunting program is designed to introduce youth under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing, and licenses are now available for the 2012 season.

Under the program, a package license for hunters less than 10 years old cost $7.50 and allow the youth to hunt turkey (spring and fall), deer and small game; trap furbearers; and fish for all species.

I supported creating this program because introducing youths to outdoor activities under the guidance of a mentor offers a unique learning experience. It will help children learn proper safety and ethics and also develop teamwork skills and self-confidence.

Youths must be accompanied by a mentor who must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a current Michigan hunting license.

There is no limit on the number of children a mentor can have with him or her, but the mentor is responsible for the actions of the youth hunter in the field at all times.

For more information on the Mentored Youth Hunting program, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s website at: http://www.michigan.gov/mentoredhunting.

I encourage local hunters and families to take advantage of this youth mentorship opportunity and safely share Michigan’s great traditions with the next generation of Southwest Michigan outdoor enthusiasts.