We have had some hot days, but fall is certainly here: school is well under way, football is on, and the leaves are making their way to the ground.
For me, fall means another round of session days and plenty to do in Lansing. I am currently focused on protecting our citizens through cybersecurity measures and supporting our first responders. I am also working with my colleagues on auto no fault reform and reducing burdensome regulations in our state and municipalities.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to visit many of you on your doorsteps, in your yards, and out and about in our community. Thank you for sharing your views, experiences, and opinions with me, better preparing me to represent you and your interests. If I missed you and you have an opinion to share about your state government, please feel free to contact my office at any time at (517) 373-1774 or at BrandtIden@house.mi.gov. My staff and I would love to listen to you and assist you however possible.
It is such an honor to represent my community and it is a privilege to serve you.
In-District Coffee Hours
These events are a great way to connect with my neighbors on what matters most to them. I hope local residents will join me to share any questions or concerns they have and I look forward to seeing everyone.
Visit me at one of the upcoming coffee hours*:
Friday, October 20th Monday, October 23rd
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. 10:00 – 11:30am
Rykse’s Restaurant Biggby Coffee
5924 Stadium Dr. 531 N. Grand St. A
Kalamazoo, MI 49009 Schoolcraft, MI 49087
Friday, November 3rd Monday, November 6th
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. 10:00 – 11:30 am
Rise N Dine Vicksburg Library
121 S. Main St. 215 S. Michigan Ave.
Vicksburg, MI 49097 Vicksburg, MI 49097
* PLEASE NOTE: These coffee hours are subject to change. Please call our office or check our website at http://gophouse.org/representatives/southwest/iden/ for changes and updates.
Establishing a volunteer group to help defend against cyber-attacks
In the recent months, we have heard countless stories about cyber-attacks, targeting our personal information and our identities. The rate and magnitude of some of these attacks is truly alarming. In response, I have been working with Governor Snyder to establish the Michigan Cyber Security Corp [MiC3].
The MiC3 is a team of volunteers, dedicated to and knowledgeable about cybersecurity issues. Team members are recruited from various sectors and can be called upon in the event of a cybersecurity breach in Michigan. Non-profits, small businesses, schools, libraries, and local governments can all reach out to the MiC3 for assistance when defending against a cyber-attack. Our state faces millions of attacks per year and we need this legislation to help protect our most valuable information.
Protecting those who protect us
Last week, I had the honor of testifying on a bill package that supports and protects our law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders. These people are on the front lines for our safety; they run to a danger, not away from it. Far too often, they are targeted specifically for being a public servant. This is intolerable. My bill, HB 4591, along with HBs 4585 and 4590, strengthens sentencing guidelines for those who attack someone for their role as an officer, a firefighter, or a first responder. These individuals need to know that we stand by them, that we support them, and that we have endless gratitude for their service. The bills passed out of committee with bi-partisan support and are awaiting a vote by the full House.
Eliminating burdensome driver responsibility fees
Many of you have heard about driver responsibility fees and I’m sure some of you have even paid them in the past. These fees are an additional punishment imposed by the courts for violating traffic laws. They were established under Governor Granholm as a way for the state to bring in more revenue but have caused a lot of damage to many individuals and families.
These fines are a vicious cycle. They are typically applied to people who are unable to pay them, leading to loss of driving privileges, which in turn leads to loss of a job. The judicial system is in place to punish bad drivers, not to take away their jobs, income, and livelihoods. That is why I support House Bills 5040-5046, which eliminate these outlandish driver responsibility fees, allowing people to keep their licenses, their jobs, and continue to support themselves and contribute to our state’s economy.
Thanking our police and firefighters
I want to take a moment and thank everyone who came out in support of our local police and firefighters at Erbellis in Portage, Michigan. I enjoyed seeing so many of you out with your families and friends, enjoying a meal to benefit our courageous public servants. A huge thank you to these police and firefighters for working every day to protect our community and families.
Continuing the fight against opioid abuse
I continue to fight for funding for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health [KCMH] so they can help fight opioid abuse right here in our neighborhoods. The House Committee on Appropriations recently approved $700,000 for an opioid abuse prevention program that would help develop a test to identify people with high risk of adverse effects from opioids, such as inadequate pain management and addiction. As a result, doctors would know to prescribe certain medications that may not lead to abuse and overdose. I am thankful that my colleagues on the committee saw the importance of this effort and I will continue to advocate for opioid abuse prevention in our state and our community. The supplemental budget containing the $700,000 grant has passed the Senate and is now awaiting a vote by the full House.
Again congratulating our local world championship team
Again, I’d like to recognize our first place winners of the FIRST Robotics World Championship! The team, Stryke Force 2767, is made up of students from Portage, Kalamazoo, Comstock, Gull Lake, Loy Norrix, Mattawan, Schoolcraft, and Vicksburg Schools. They recently competed in a competition of over 3,000 teams from all around the world in an effort to be crowned world champion. Teams were required to build a robot capable of various tasks, including placing gears on an airship.
The FIRST Robotics World Championship is the oldest and largest student robotics program in the world. It brings kids and teams together from across the globe to challenge them in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM]. How awesome that a competition like this can generate so much interest and passion for these STEM skills, which will certainly aid in the future careers of these bright students.
Congratulations again, Stryke Force 2767, our champions from Kalamazoo County!
Get Out and Enjoy the Fall!
There are so many fun community events happening this fall. If you would like a brochure of events, please contact our office at (517) 373-1774 or at BrandtIden@house.mi.gov. We would love to send you a brochure about the great things happening in Kalamazoo County!
We are Here for You!
Visit my online office:
N-995 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
Located on the corner of Ottawa and Capitol, across the street from the State Capitol.