Hansen elected Assistant Senate Majority Leader

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen was unanimously elected by the Senate Republican caucus on Thursday to be the next Michigan Assistant Senate Majority Leader.

“I am happy to have the support of my caucus members and look forward to serving in this leadership role on behalf of the hard-working lakeshore residents I represent,” said Hansen, R-Hart.

Hansen was elected last week to a second term as state senator for the 34th Senate District. He currently serves as Assistant President Pro-Tempore of the Senate and will begin his tenure as Assistant Senate Majority Leader when the next Legislature takes office in January.

Prior to becoming a senator, Hansen served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives in the 100th District from 2005-2010.

Hansen has received numerous honors for his work in the Legislature, including the Legislator of the Year awards from the Michigan Community Action Agency Association, Michigan Food and Farming Systems and Michigan Library Association, along with the Agricultural Advocate Award from the Michigan Agribusiness Association and the 2014 Michigan Broadband Hero Award.

Hansen is a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau, NRA, Ruffed Grouse Society and Ducks Unlimited among many others. Goeff and his wife, Tamara, live in Hart and had two grown sons and four grandchildren.

PHOTO ADVISORY: Hansen promotes Michigan’s Breast Cancer Awareness license plate

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, stands in the Senate chamber holding a sample of the state’s Breast Cancer Awareness license plate, which became available Wednesday.

Money raised by the sale of the plates helps support the Michigan Breast & Cervical Cancer Control Program administered by the Michigan Department of Community Health. Since 1991, the program has provided low-income women access to life-saving cancer screening services and follow-up care, including cancer treatment if needed.

Visit Michigan.gov/sos for information about ordering the plate.

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Lawmakers collect brown paper bags and donations to help end childhood hunger

LANSING—State Sens. Goeff Hansen and Dave Hildenbrand have teamed up to help an organization aimed at ending childhood hunger.

The lawmakers from West Michigan are helping Kids’ Food Basket reach their goal of collecting 50,400 decorated brown paper bags by Sept. 17.

“Kids’ Food Basket is devoted to helping young people learn and live well through ending childhood hunger,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “It is difficult to think of a worthier goal than this one. I am delighted to help them in whatever way I can.”

Hansen and Hildenbrand have provided brown paper bags and crayons to each House and Senate office. The bags will later become “Sack Suppers” filled with meals for children, and the lawmakers are asking their colleagues to help give every Sack Supper a “touch of love” by decorating the paper bags.

“I have helped pack Sack Suppers in Muskegon and I know the positive impact they have on communities,” Hansen said. “When paired with other meals at school, Sack Suppers help round out the daily nutritional requirements for children.”

The pager bags the lawmakers distributed will be collected from House and Senate offices on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

“Kids’ Food Basket provides a vital service to our community’s children,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “Without this program, a large number of children would not have a stable, healthy source for meals outside of school. Groups like this are just another example of how the Grand Rapids community excels at coming together to help those in need.”

Residents interested in more information on Kids’ Food Basket, including how to help with Sack Suppers, may contact Melissa Yutzey at 517-371-1400.

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Hansen secures $2M in state budget to aid nursing mothers

LANSING—The legislative conference committee on the Michigan Department of Community Health budget on Tuesday approved a bill providing $2 million in state funds to ensure better access to quality equipment for nursing mothers.

In response to the concerns of a number of his constituents, Sen. Goeff Hansen worked to ensure the funds so that Medicaid-eligible women have access to breast pumps to support and encourage breastfeeding.

“I have been involved with the Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition for over a year working to resolve concerns about the lack of lactation services and breastfeeding trends,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “I learned that most families in our area do not follow the recommended guidelines for breastfeeding, but that many would do so if the necessary support, such as breast pumps, were available to them.”

Under Senate Bill 763, if a physician prescribes a breast pump for a breastfeeding mother, Medicaid will cover the cost.

According to lactation experts, breastfeeding has many benefits, including helping protect against disease and reducing rates of obesity. Numerous breastfeeding organizations recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months as part of a healthy diet and as an optimal beginning for overall nutrition and health.

In Muskegon County, where more than 60 percent of births are covered by Medicaid, hospitals reported only 63 percent of families are initiating breastfeeding. Of the families that do breastfeed, only 8.9 percent are breastfeeding exclusively for six months.

“Given these statistics, it is clear our area is lagging behind,” Hansen said. “By specifically making personal electric pumps available, mothers will have the equipment they need to maintain supply, nourish their baby and gain positive health benefits for themselves.”

The conference report for SB 763 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Sen. Hansen welcomes Muskegon pastor to the Senate

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, welcomes Pastor Christopher Murray (left) to the Michigan Capitol. Murray is pastor of Greater Harvest Baptist Church of Muskegon and gave the invocation before the start of the Senate session.

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Sen. Hansen and guest honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen stands in the Senate chamber Thursday with World War II U.S. Marine veteran Bob Lorenz of Hart.

Lorenz was Hansen’s guest for the Michigan Senate’s 20th Annual Memorial Day Service.

“I was honored to have Bob Lorenz as my special guest for today’s ceremony in Lansing,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Bob is my father’s cousin, so he is near and dear to me. I am proud to say that he bravely faced the horrors of Iwo Jima and Saipan as his unit stormed the beaches, and he was also active at the Guadalcanal Campaign. Bob is a true American hero.”

Michigan’s military heroes who defended freedom and sacrificed their lives in the past year were honored during the service.

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Hansen welcomes families with Williams Syndrome to Capitol

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, (center) stands on the Capitol steps Wednesday with several Michigan families who have a family member diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition characterized by problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities.

Gov. Rick Snyder recently issued a proclamation recognizing May as Williams Syndrome Awareness Month, and Hansen welcomed the families to the Capitol for the occasion.

Pictured from left are Mike McFall, communications director for the Williams Syndrome Association; Linda Schutter of Montague; the Torres family of Lansing; Kay Drinkwater of Montague; Hansen; Mary Bone of Whitehall; the Davidson family of Shelby Township; Kelly Jenkins of Montague; the Roodvoets family of Wayland; and the Hild family of Sterling Heights.

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Hansen presents tribute to state champion Muskegon High School boys basketball team

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, (center) and the state Senate honored the Muskegon High School boys basketball team and head coach Keith Guy (holding tribute) Wednesday with a Senate tribute in celebration of their Class A 2014 state championship and undefeated season.

Point guard Deshaun Thrower (second from left) was named 2014 Mr. Basketball by the Michigan Basketball Coaches Association. Guy was selected as MLive.com’s 2014 Dream Team Coach of the Year.

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Hansen hosts Asparagus Queen

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, welcomed 2013 Asparagus Queen Amanda Dodge and National Asparagus Festival Secretary Christine Rickard to the Capitol on Wednesday.

Dodge promoted the asparagus industry of Oceana County and provided each senator with a gift of locally grown and prepared pickled asparagus, asparagus salsa or asparagus guacamole.

The National Asparagus Festival hosts an annual pageant in Hart, where the only asparagus queen in the nation is crowned. The visit was one of Dodge’s final appearances of her reign as queen.

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Senate approves bills to protect gun owners’ privacy

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday passed legislation to protect gun owners’ privacy by making firearms records confidential.

Under Senate Bills 49, 834 and 881, firearms records would not be subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and would be available only to law enforcement officials, under certain conditions.

“I introduced Senate Bill 49 last year as there was a real need for protection for the privacy of gun owners,” said Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. “This bill ensures that no personal information can be released in Michigan. Disclosing such information is not only a threat to public safety and an invasion of privacy, but it serves no legitimate public service.”

The legislation is a response to the actions of a New York newspaper that last year published the names and personal addresses of gun permit holders in two counties north of New York City.

“Gun ownership information is private and must stay that way,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, sponsor of SB 834. “Newspapers elsewhere have published the names of private gun owners. These bills will prevent that from happening here in Michigan.”

Sen. Goeff Hansen, sponsor of SB 881, said the bills are about safeguarding the rights of Michigan residents.  

“The Second Amendment is integral to our freedom and must be protected,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “This legislation strengthens Michigan law to ensure that all gun owners’ personal information is not jeopardized by those looking to infringe on our basic rights.”

The legislation would ensure that firearms records could only be accessed or disclosed by a peace officer or other authorized individual for the following reasons:

  • The individual whose firearm records are the subject of disclosure has committed an offense with the pistol that violates a state law, a law of another state or a U.S. law;
  • The individual poses a threat to himself or herself or other individuals;
  • The individual’s firearm was used during the commission of an offense that violates a state law, a law of another state or a U.S. law; or
  • To ensure the safety of a peace officer.

A violation of the law would result in a civil infraction and possibly a $500 civil fine.

Dakota Moore, a state liaison with the National Rifle Association, thanked the sponsors of the bills.

“The NRA and its membership applaud the efforts of Senators Casperson, Hansen and Pavlov to ensure that law-abiding gun owners are protected from unwarranted scrutiny and discrimination merely for exercising their fundamental and constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” Moore said.

SBs 49, 834 and 881 have been sent to the Michigan House for further consideration.