Sen. Green: Bills blocking lottery winners from receiving government assistance sent to governor

LANSING, Mich.—Lottery winners are one final step from being prohibited from receiving public food assistance, said state Sen. Mike Green, a primary bill sponsor.

“Folks who have won the lottery should not be taking public food assistance from others who are in need,” said Green, R-Mayville, sponsor of Senate Bill 712. “As all residents are conscious in budgeting where their money goes, so too should state government. We cannot spend money where it is not needed, and lottery winners certainly are not in need.”

Senate Bill 711 requires the Michigan Lottery to notify the Department of Human Service (DHS) of the name and other information of a winner of a prize of $1,000 or more within seven days. SB 712 and House Bill 5033 would require DHS to apply an asset test when determining eligibility for food aid. Money received from lottery or other gambling winnings would go toward this asset total whether received in a lump-sum payment or on a monthly payout basis. 

The reforms were prompted by news reports in 2011 regarding a Bay County man who was still using food aid nearly a year after winning a $2 million jackpot on “Make Me Rich.” The man admitted to using a Bridge Card at area stores and claimed state officials allowed him to do so.

It was also discovered in March that a 24-year-old Lincoln Park woman, who won a $1 million lottery jackpot on the same lottery game show, was receiving $200 per week in food assistance. Both winners have since been dropped from the food assistance program.

The three bills are now on their way to the governor for consideration to be signed into law.

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Sen. Green heralds passage of autism legislation; bills on way to Gov. Snyder for signing

LANSING, Mich.—Autism spectrum disorders are a signature away from being covered by health insurance plans in Michigan, after measures were finalized by the state Legislature and sent to Gov. Snyder today, said Sen. Mike Green, who was a primary sponsor.

“Michigan will now join 29 other states in enacting legislation that extends health insurance coverage under state law to the treatment of autism spectrum disorders – diagnosed in nearly 15,000 children in the state,” said Green, R-Mayville. “I look forward to Governor Snyder signing this landmark legislation and to seeing the lives of those affected by autism improve because of the therapies and treatments they will now have access to.”

One in 88 children are diagnosed with a form of autism. It is more commonly diagnosed in children than diabetes, cancer, and AIDS combined, all of which currently are covered under Michigan law.

According to research, the early diagnosis and treatment of autistic disorders results in 50 percent of patients recovering typical functions, helping them to have full lives. Other states have demonstrated that early intervention also reduces the need for K-12 special education services, saving taxpayers an estimated $200,000 per child. It is estimated that without medical treatment, the average societal cost of caring for one person with autism is $3.7 million.

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Sen. Green offers testimony on autism bills before House committee

LANSING— Sen. Mike Green on Thursday offers testimony to the Michigan House of Representatives Children, Families and Seniors Committee on the health insurance plans providing coverage for autism disorders.

“Autism affects more and more children every day — nearly 15,000 in Michigan alone — yet most don’t get any treatment because of a lack of insurance coverage,” said Green, R-Mayville.  “It is more commonly diagnosed in children than diabetes, cancer, and AIDS combined, all of which currently are covered under state law.

“Extending insurance coverage for autism disorders is a common sense way to ensure those diagnosed have access to the therapies and treatments that will greatly improve their quality of life and help them reach their full potential.”

According to research, the early diagnosis and treatment of autistic disorders results in 50 percent of patients recovering typical functions, helping them to have full lives. Other states have demonstrated that early intervention also reduces the need for K-12 special education services, saving taxpayers an estimated $200,000 per child. It is estimated that without medical treatment, the average societal cost of caring for one person with autism is $3.7 million.

To see print-quality versions of this and other photos of Green, visit his website at www.statesenatormikegreen.com and click the Photowire link.

Celebrate ‘March is Reading Month’

It’s a digital world.  Electronic media such as video games, smartphones, YouTube videos, even social networking sites are playing an increasing role in the lives of children today. 

In fact, a recent study by Common Sense Media concludes that even very young children, age eight and under, are frequent digital media users. Yet one of the best ways to prepare children for academic success remains an old-fashioned and time-honored one – reading.

Reading is still the foundation for success in school and throughout life. Children who are good readers get off to a good start in other subjects as well. On the other hand, students who cannot read well are more likely to struggle in school.

Parents can help their children improve their reading skills by encouraging the reading habit at every age. Educators suggest these family-friendly reading tips:
• Read to your young child every day;
• Give your child a “book allowance” for chores;
• Help your child get a library card;
• Create a special reading nook at home, a quiet place free of electronic distractions;
• Give a book as a gift for birthdays and special occasions; and
• READ! Let your child see how much you value reading.

During March is Reading Month, young children and elementary students across Michigan and the country have been celebrating the importance of reading. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to read to classrooms throughout the 31st Senate District and look forward to visiting many more.

March is Reading Month bookmarks are available to schools and families by contacting me through my website at www.statesenatormikegreen.com or my Lansing office toll free at 1-866-305-2131.

The students of today represent our future.  Let’s provide them with one of the most important life skills, the ability to read well.  In doing so, we’ll introduce them to a simple, inexpensive source of fun, while equipping them to succeed in an increasingly-competitive global economy.

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Green photo advisory: Senator welcomes Youth in Government to the Capitol

LANSING, Mich.— State Sen. Mike Green (center) welcomed Vassar High School students participating in the Youth In Government (Y.I.G.) program to his Capitol office Friday. The group is led by VHS teacher Gary Lasceski (far left) and his wife Cheryl (2nd from left). The students interviewed Green on a broad range of topics, including the nature of a legislator’s job, his legislative priorities, and pressing issues in Lansing. The lawmaker commended the students for their involvement in Y.I.G. and encouraged them to use their experience in future public service.

To see print quality versions of this and other photos of Green, visit Photowire link above.

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Senate moves to include autism disorders in health care coverage

LANSING, Mich.—Autism spectrum disorders would be covered by health insurance plans in Michigan under two bills approved by the state Senate today, said Sen. Mike Green, who was a primary sponsor.

“Autism affects more and more children every day — nearly 15,000 in Michigan alone — yet most don’t get any treatment because of a lack of insurance coverage,” said Green, R-Mayville.  “It is more commonly diagnosed in children than diabetes, cancer, and AIDS combined, all of which currently are covered under state law.

“Making sure health insurance plans provide coverage for autism disorders is a common sense way to ensure those diagnosed have access to the therapies and treatments that will greatly improve their quality of life and help them reach their full potential.”

According to research, the early diagnosis and treatment of autistic disorders results in 50 percent of patients recovering typical functions, helping them to have full lives. Other states have demonstrated that early intervention also reduces the need for K-12 special education services, saving taxpayers an estimated $200,000 per child. It is estimated that without medical treatment, the average societal cost of caring for one person with autism is $3.7 million.

“With the passage of this legislation, Michigan will join 29 other states that have enacted autism coverage,” Green said. “It is time that Michigan children have access to these life-changing programs.”

Senate Bills 414 and 415 received overwhelming bipartisan support, and now go to the state House for consideration.

For more information or to contact Green, please visit www.statesentatormikegreen.com.

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Sen. Green to receive Legislator of the Year award from sportsmen’s group

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mike Green, co-chair of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, will receive the Safari Club International Flint Regional Chapter’s Legislator of the Year award at an event Saturday.

The award will be presented between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. at Perani Arena, 3501 Lapeer Rd. in Flint. Green will provide brief remarks.

Members of the media interested in attending should contact Green’s office or SCI representative Bob Eastman at 810-523-4523. A ticket is required.

Background: The SCI Flint Chapter started in January of 1981 and is a 100 percent voluntary non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting conservation, education and humanitarian programs as well as protecting our hunting heritage. SCI supports major private and public conservation programs, sponsors local school outdoor programs and youth sporting clay target teams, grants scholarships to teachers to study wildlife management and conservation topics, grants hunting opportunities to life-limited children and disabled veterans, and helps feed the needy through Sportsmen Against Hunger.

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Sen. Green recognized by Michigan FFA for support of organization, agriculture

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan FFA Association today recognized state Sen. Mike Green for his strong support of the agricultural industry and the state’s future leaders.

“As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development and as someone who supports the industry and its community, I am deeply honored to have been recognized by such an esteemed organization as the FFA,” said Green, R-Mayville. “I am proud to serve such a quality group of students that participate in FFA and am amazed at the leadership skills they develop.”

The FFA recognized Green at a legislative reception in the state Capitol rotunda, where more than 200 FFA delegates gathered. The association is holding its 84th State FFA Convention this week. 

A diverse organization operating in rural, urban, and suburban schools, the Michigan FFA consists of more than 5,300 members from 103 active chapters. Like the agricultural industry in Michigan, membership in the state FFA continues to grow.

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Licenses on sale for mentored youth hunting

LANSING, Mich.—Licenses for a new program aimed at introducing children under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing in Michigan are now available for purchase. The Mentored Youth Hunting license costs $7.50, and is a “package” license that includes small game, spring and fall turkey (private or public land), two deer tags (any deer), a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing license.

“The Department of Natural Resources is excited to be offering this new opportunity to youths and their families,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Ensuring that Michigan’s natural resources are protected and managed for future generations means we need to be nurturing tomorrow’s conservationists today. This new program will introduce children to Michigan’s hunting and fishing heritage, building lifetime good memories and a respect of the out-of-doors.”

An adult mentor must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license. Another provision of the law allows 10-year-olds to hunt big game on private land with a firearm, which was implemented starting with the 2011 deer season.

The regulations for Mentored Youth Hunting program include:

•No limit on the number of youth a mentor can have with him or her in the field, leaving it at the discretion of the mentor.
•A limit of two hunting devices – bow, crossbow or firearm – per mentor.
•The youth in possession of a hunting device and engaged in the act of hunting must be within arm’s length of the mentor.
•The mentor shall ensure that the hunting device is sized appropriately to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safe and responsible handling.
•The mentor will be held responsible for the youth’s actions.
•The issued deer tags under the Mentored Youth Hunting license can be used for either sex (antlered or antlerless), are not subject to antler point restriction regulations in certain parts of the state. When using a firearm, the tags can be used only on private land, consistent with current state law. Youth hunting with a bow or crossbow may hunt on public or private land.

Voluntary mentor guidelines have been developed by the DNR, and are available at www.michigan.gov/mentoredhunting, along with other information about the program.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Green introduces bill to prohibit Internet lottery sales

LANSING, Mich.— State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, introduced legislation today to prohibit the sale of lottery tickets via the Internet. Senate Bill 1003 comes in response to recent statements by state lottery officials about the possibility of allowing online sales.

“Selling lottery tickets over the Internet benefits the government’s wallet and little else,” said Green, R-Mayville. “It threatens local businesses and may potentially bring financial harm to Michigan residents. Online lottery sales runs counter to our goals of attracting new business, creating jobs and turning our state around.”

A December 2011 memorandum by the U.S. Justice Department lifted the previous prohibition of online lottery sales. 

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