Proos statement on death of Cass County Treasurer Linda Pruett

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement on the passing of Cass County Treasurer Linda Pruett:

“This is a sad day for Cass County and Southwest Michigan as we mourn the loss of Linda Pruett. Linda was a tireless public servant for many years and a frequent volunteer for many community organizations. She was a straight shooter, and she will be missed. My prayers are with Linda’s family.”

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Sen. Proos promotes Adam Mensinger to chief of staff

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Thursday announced that he has promoted Adam Mensinger from Baroda to chief of staff.

“Adam Mensinger has done an outstanding job for the last six years as my district director, and I am proud to promote him to chief of staff,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Adam helped me provide the best constituent service possible for the people of Southwest Michigan. The work ethic and lifelong dedication to our region that Adam brings into his new role will help us continue to do our best to improve our state and our economy.”

Mensinger has served as Proos’ district director since 2012. He was raised in Baroda and graduated from Lakeshore High School before earning dual degrees in international relations and history from Michigan State University in 2011.

Note: The above photograph of Proos is available by clicking on the image or by selecting Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Proos supports board’s sexual abuse and domestic violence prevention efforts

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — A state board will continue its mission to help prevent sexual abuse and domestic violence in Michigan under a new law backed by Sen. John Proos.

“The heinous crimes of domestic violence and sexual assault have long-lasting impacts on victims, their families and our entire society,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I strongly support continuing our state efforts to constantly review domestic and sexual violence in Michigan, keep lawmakers informed about the scale of the problem, and offer policy and funding solutions that will help combat these crimes and provide better outcomes for victims.”

In December 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder issued Executive Order No. 2012-17, which renamed an existing state board as the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board and added sexual abuse and prevention to its mission.

Public Act 281 of 2018 codifies the executive order and establishes the board in state law. It also requires the board to advise the Legislature and governor on the magnitude and nature of domestic and sexual violence and to recommend solutions to improve the conditions for victims.

The new law builds on Proos’ efforts to help prevent the sexual abuse of children in Michigan. Enacted in 2012, Erin’s Law allows school boards to adopt and implement age-appropriate policies and training addressing child sexual abuse and create a one-time task force to make recommendations on how to best protect children from sexual abuse.

The law was named 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.

“I sponsored Erin’s Law to help protect every Michigan child from sexual abuse,” Proos said. “The goal remains to stop all abuse by educating children about sexual abuse so they can recognize it and be empowered to report it.

“This board will continue the important task of constantly reviewing our laws and programs to ensure we are doing everything possible to end sexual abuse and domestic violence.”

Note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Proos supports new income tax donation options

LANSING, Mich. — Southwest Michigan residents will be able to make voluntary donations on their state tax returns to help support foster kids scholarships, two nonprofit foundations and a fund for a World War II memorial under bills recently signed by the governor.

“For generations, Michigan families have made generous contributions to organizations to help our children, pay tribute to our veterans and improve our communities,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Each of these new acts will soon give Michigan taxpayers a chance to support these endeavors by simply checking a box on their state income tax form.”

Public Acts 256 and 257 of 2018 create the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial Fund and a checkoff to enable taxpayers to choose to direct a portion of their state income tax return to the fund to help build a memorial honoring the 620,000 Michigan residents who served during World War II and the 15,458 service members who lost their lives.

“The state memorial would enshrine the legacy of Michigan’s World War II veterans who risked their lives — and too often died — to protect the world from hatred and oppression,” Proos said.

PAs 252 and 253 of 2018 create the Fostering Futures Scholarship income tax checkoff and direct its contributions to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund, which provides eligible foster youth with scholarships to assist with tuition, room and board, and other associated costs.

“Michigan foster kids often face many challenges in life,” Proos said. “The Fostering Futures Scholarship fund helps more of our foster children afford to go to college and achieve their dreams.”

PAs 254, 255, 258 and 259 of 2018 create checkoffs for the Lions of Michigan Foundation and the Kiwanis Club and funds to collect the donations and distribute them to the organizations. The Lions of Michigan Foundation works with Michigan Lions Clubs and other charities to provide assistance to children and adults with vision and hearing deficiencies, and the Kiwanis organizations help ensure children have what they need to be safe and successful.

“While these donations would have no impact on the state budget, they could help make possible a tremendous amount of good work,” Proos said.

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 Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

How to proudly display the U.S. flag this Independence Day

LANSING, Mich. — As America prepares to celebrate its birthday, Sen. John Proos is sharing useful information with area families on how to display their U.S. flags this Fourth of July.

“Old Glory is more than just a flag waving in the air; it’s a living symbol of liberty and the American spirit,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “As Southwest Michigan families celebrate our independence by flying the American flag this week, I urge everyone to honor those who declared us free 242 years ago and everyone who has fought to protect that freedom by treating the flag with dignity and respect.”

Proos is sharing details of the U.S. Flag Code with residents for their use while displaying the flag. The information on “How to fly the American Flag” is available on Proos’ website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Publications.

“Considering everything the flag represents — one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all — I encourage residents to proudly display the flag and also properly care for it, including retiring the flag if it is worn or tattered,” Proos said. “People with flags that are too worn to continue service can contact the Boy Scouts or their local Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion post. They often provide flag retirement services.

“Flags that have been flown over the Michigan Capitol are available through my office for residents who want to buy a flag or need to replace a retired one.”

Residents who want to buy a flag or need to replace a retired one can order a 3-by-5-foot U.S. or Michigan flag by contacting Proos’ office at 517-373-6960 or SenJProos@senate.michigan.gov.

“The Fourth of July is a joyous time to celebrate our freedoms, show pride in our country and remember the declaration proclaimed more than two centuries ago that started it all,” Proos said. “I hope all Southwest Michigan families have a fun and safe Independence Day.”

Michigan to offer nation’s first STEM certification on diplomas

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed Sen. John Proos’ legislation to provide students with important career outlook information and reward students for taking extra science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.

“As Michigan’s economy continues to grow and create jobs, many well-paying positions remain unfilled,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “We owe it to every high school student to provide them with valuable career information — including materials on fields where jobs currently exist and are expected to be created — so they can make the best decision for their future.”

Senate Bill 343, now Public Act 242 of 2018, requires school districts and public school academies to provide students with the most recent available analysis of in-demand occupations for the economic forecast region in which the school or public school academy is located. The new act allows the in-demand careers information to be emailed to students.

Residents can see the current “Hot Jobs” outlook for Southwest Michigan by clicking here. This information is compiled on an annual basis by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Outlooks for all of Michigan’s 10 prosperity regions are available at www.milmi.org/research/regional-hot-jobs-for-2024.

SB 344, now PA 241 of 2018, allows Michigan students to receive a STEM certification on their diploma or transcript as an incentive for taking additional courses in STEM subjects.

“Michigan is now the first state in the nation to allow this STEM certification opportunity,” Proos said. “It is a great way to reward students who have taken the initiative to complete additional STEM classes to prepare themselves for success in growing careers and to highlight their accomplishments.

“Both of these measures will help Michigan students succeed by ensuring they can make informed decisions by receiving information on in-demand jobs and giving them a competitive advantage in landing a great job.”

To earn the STEM certification, students need to complete at least six credits in mathematics, at least six credits in science, at least a half credit featuring significant coursework involving technology, and at least a half credit featuring significant coursework involving engineering.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Proos reminds families of half-staff flag alerts

LANSING, Mich. — In honor of fallen Michigan service personnel and public servants, the governor can order the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff throughout the state.

Sen. John Proos is encouraging area families to sign up for a free email service that will notify them when the governor has made a half-staff order.

“As I travel throughout Southwest Michigan, it is a source of great pride to see our country’s flag flown in front of so many homes and businesses,”said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Flying the U.S. flag at half-staff is one of the greatest tributes we can offer to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation and who contributed so much to our way of life.

“I encourage all area families to sign up for this simple service so they can participate in honoring our heroes.”

Residents can sign up for “Half-staff Flag Alerts” at www.michigan.gov under the Featured section.

“For residents who want to buy a flag or need to replace a retired one, flags that have been flown over the Michigan Capitol are available through my office,” Proos said.

Residents can order 3-by-5 foot U.S. or Michigan flags at manufacturer prices by calling Proos’ Senate office at 517-373-6960 or by emailing SenJProos@senate.michigan.gov.

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Proos urges residents to consider giving the gift of a college education

LANSING—A great way for Southwest Michigan residents to help make a child’s dream to go to college come true is to give them the gift of higher education through a college savings plan, said Sen. John Proos.

“Continuing education and higher education are important for a career in today’s economy. They open doors to opportunities for getting a good job, making a good living and enjoying a quality life,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This holiday season, I encourage Michigan families to consider giving the gift of education. It is easy to do and it’s a gift that can help lead to a world of opportunities for a loved one.”

There are two different college savings plans to choose from in Michigan: The Michigan Education Trust (MET) is a prepaid plan that guarantees tuition and mandatory fees at Michigan public universities, and the Michigan Education Savings Plan (MESP) is a college savings plan allowing families to save for tuition, room and board, and more.

Both options provide tax-free growth and a state income tax deduction for Michigan taxpayers.

Residents wishing to give and those wanting to set up an account for their child should visit the MESP’s website at www.misaves.com for details about the plan and how to donate. Click on “Give a Gift” to donate to a child’s existing MESP college savings plan or to set up a plan as a gift this holiday season. Friends and family can open up a new plan for as little as $25.

For information about the MET prepaid plan, residents should visit www.SetWithMET.com.

“For gift-givers, the site also has a feature that allows them to print a gift certificate that they can give to the child,” Proos said. “I remain committed to building upon our accomplishments to help create good, long-term jobs in Michigan. By helping invest in a college degree for a loved one, residents can give someone a greater chance at landing one of those jobs and having a long and successful career.”

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab. 

Proos donates to Toys for Tots

LANSING—Sen. John Proos on Tuesday donated to the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

“I am proud to support a wonderful organization that is dedicated to helping make the season brighter for less fortunate children throughout our community,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I encourage everyone who is able to consider spreading holiday cheer this year by donating a new, unwrapped toy at one of several locations throughout Southwest Michigan.”

Residents can visit www.toysfortots.org to find the nearest drop-off location.

People may also make a financial donation on the website using a secure, one-step process. Toys for Tots is a highly rated charity with 97 percent of donations going to the group’s mission of providing toys, books and other gifts to children.

“There are many ways to make an impact during the holiday season,” Proos said. “In fact, when I made my Toys for Tots donation, I met four local volunteers who were ringing bells, singing carols and collecting money for the Salvation Army.”

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Editor’s Note: A photograph of Proos donating to Toys for Tots is available by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on Photowire under the Media Center tab.

Proos: Consider Amtrak for holiday travels

LANSING—Sen. John Proos is encouraging residents to consider taking Amtrak for their holiday travels, especially with the train service’s recent announcement that it is adding 12 more trains in Michigan during the holiday period.

“Amtrak is a great way for families and tourists to travel without worrying about traffic or gas prices,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I hope everyone has the opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. For those who are traveling, I encourage you to consider the train when planning your holiday trip. It offers a unique opportunity for riders to sit back and relax as they travel, while also helping ease the pressure on gas prices and reduce road congestion.”

Amtrak is adding 12 additional trains on the Wolverine route between Michigan and Chicago to provide expanded December and January holiday travel options.

The Wolverine route runs three times per day between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac with stops in Kalamazoo, New Buffalo, Niles and Dowagiac.

The extra Wolverine runs (trains 356 and 359) will operate on Dec. 26-28, 31 and Jan. 3-4 and travel from Chicago to Ann Arbor.

Check out Amtrak.com for further information. Residents may book trips, change reservations and print eTickets through Amtrak’s eTicketing site at: www.amtrak.com/deals.

The other east-west passenger route is the Blue Water, which runs once per day, connecting Chicago to Port Huron. It also stops in Kalamazoo, New Buffalo, Niles and Dowagiac.

“Amtrak ridership is up throughout the Midwest and on the Michigan routes,” Proos said. “The growth in ridership and revenue is good news for both our region and state, and it will help ensure that these routes will continue to give residents and tourists options to enjoy Michigan.”

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos will be available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.