Zorn sponsors Michigan Trails Week resolution

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn to declare Sept. 22-29 as Michigan Trails Week.

“With more than 12,500 miles of designated land trails and 4,280 miles of locally designated water trails, Michigan is truly the nation’s leading trail state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I was proud to sponsor this resolution to celebrate Michigan trails and commemorate all the work being done by local and state governments and nonprofit organizations throughout the state to increase the opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy our state’s spectacular natural resources.”

Senate Resolution 182 states that Michigan hosts more than 5,000 miles of hiking trails designed for walkers, hikers, trail runners and other outdoor enthusiasts to explore the state’s natural areas.

SR 182 also notes that the state is known as one of the top states for mountain biking, with an unmatched diversity of trail systems and over 1,600 miles of natural surface trails.

“Michigan’s trail system can play a significant role in strengthening our economy, supporting thousands of jobs and providing families with a low-cost and accessible way to improve their health while enjoying the outdoors,” said Zorn, vice-chairman of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee. “I encourages Michigan residents to get out and discover the amazing trails throughout Michigan and right in our own communities.”


House approves Zorn bill enhancing ‘move over’ law

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation that would require drivers to slow down and move over when approaching a vehicle with amber flashing lights.

“Stopping on the side of a road or highway and getting out of a vehicle is dangerous and even deadly,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “That is why Michigan already requires drivers to take safety precautions in construction areas and when passing a stopped police car or ambulance with their lights on.

“This reform would increase safety and save lives by forcing drivers to take the same care around vehicles with amber flashing lights, such as a utility vehicle or tow truck.”

Drivers in Michigan are currently required to move over a lane to the left if there is a stationary authorized emergency vehicle with flashing red, blue or white lights on the side of the road. If the road does not have a passing lane, or if moving over is impossible, then a driver shall pass with due care and caution at a reduced and safe speed.

Senate Bill 477 would add vehicles with flashing amber lights to the current law and require drivers to slow down by a least 10 miles per hour when approaching and passing a stopped emergency vehicle.

Zorn said that in 2017 a tow truck driver on I-94 near Ypsilanti was hit by a van while assisting a disabled vehicle. The tow truck was parked on the shoulder with its amber emergency lights on.

“Tow truck drivers should not have to risk serious injury or death when they are helping a stranded motorist on a highway,” Zorn said. “The message is clear: if you see a vehicle ahead with flashing lights — whether it’s a police car, fire truck or tow truck — slow down and, if possible, move over.”


Zorn applauds addition to Petersburg State Game Area

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn announced that the Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) request to acquire 72 acres of land adjacent to the Petersburg State Game Area in Monroe County.

“The Petersburg State Game Area is a prime example of how we can successfully restore critical habitat for wildlife conservation and public enjoyment,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This land would be managed by the DNR for the benefit of waterfowl and funded by the sale of waterfowl hunting licenses.

“This is exactly the type of wildlife conservation efforts that Michigan hunters and anglers support by buying fishing and hunting licenses and outdoor sporting equipment and gear.”

Funds for the acquisition would come from previous capital outlay appropriations from the Waterfowl Hunt Stamp Sub-Fund within the Game and Fish Protection Fund. The sub-fund is restricted to acquiring, restoring or enhancing wetlands and other lands for the benefit of waterfowl.

The 484-acre Petersburg State Game Area is home to a unique ecosystem of widely spaced mature oak trees and shrubs that once flourished in southern Michigan.

“In addition to providing a great public place for our sportsmen and sportswomen to hunt, Petersburg is the only place in Southeast Michigan where families can see the rare Karner blue butterflies,” Zorn said. “With this addition, the game area will offer even more opportunities for residents and tourists to enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors.”


Zorn introduces duck hunting clarification bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday introduced legislation to clarify that duck hunters in Michigan can hunt from a motorboat as long as the motor isn’t running and the boat has stopped moving forward.

“Duck hunting is a popular sport in southeast Michigan and across the state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Unfortunately, some of the policies and laws concerning duck hunting are confusing. Currently, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allows duck hunting from a motorboat if the motor is off and the boat has stopped, yet Michigan law actually bans hunters from having a loaded weapon in a motorized boat.

“My bill would clear up this contradiction by changing the law to mirror current DNR policy.”

Senate Bill 1120 would revise the state law to reflect an existing Wildlife Conservation Order. Under the bill, the law would be changed to allow waterfowl hunters to hunt “from a motorized boat if the boat’s motor has been completely shut off” and its “forward progress has ceased.”

SB 1120 would also allow for easier transportation of hunting weapons on private property.

Zorn’s bill is part of a legislative package requested by Attorney General Bill Schuette to protect the rights of Michigan hunters and private property owners and make Michigan a more attractive hunting destination.

In addition to Zorn’s bill, the package would also:
• Preserve the right to hunt and fish in Michigan;
• Encourage the Natural Resources Commission to review the state’s turkey licensure process and lottery program; and
• Have Michigan join Indiana and Ohio in requiring written permission to hunt or fish on private land.

“Hunting plays a key role in the way of life for many Michigan families and contributes more than $2 billion to Michigan’s economy each year,” Zorn said. “This proactive legislation is about clarifying and improving our hunting laws, maintaining our wildlife conservation system and protecting our outdoor traditions for generations to come.”


Zorn offers Back-to-School information online

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn announced on Wednesday that he is offering parents an online Back-to-School report that includes information on school funding, school safety and more.

“As Michigan children begin another school year, it is important that they are able to learn the tools necessary to seize new opportunities and meet any challenges and that they feel safe — and are safe — at school,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Education remains a top priority, and we once again have increased school funding to record levels to help prepare students for success and keep them safe.

“In addition to information on those steps, the back-to-school report features materials on Michigan’s OK2SAY confidential tip line — including a card-sized cut-out that details how students, parents and educators can help prevent school tragedies.”

Zorn’s 2018 Back-to-School report can be downloaded as a PDF at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Publications.

OK2SAY is a confidential reporting system designed to allow Michigan students, parents, school employees, health officials and law enforcement officers to share and respond to safety threats.

Students can report tips by calling 1-8-555-OK-2-SAY (65-2-729), texting a message to 652729, emailing [email protected] or filling out a form at www.mi.gov/ok2say. An app is also available in the app stores for iPhone and Android devices.