Senate approves bills to reduce school reporting requirements

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Schools would see reduced reporting requirements under legislation approved by the state Senate on Thursday.

Michigan school districts are currently required to prepare and submit hundreds of reports to state and federal entities each year. It is a tedious and time-consuming process, and reports are often redundant and sometimes obsolete by the submission date.

Senate Bills 754-767 would eliminate the unnecessary and redundant paperwork and help streamline reporting requirements.

“It is hard to believe that, in 2016, with all of the technology we have at our disposal, a simple process like completing and filing reports has become such a burdensome chore,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, who sponsored Senate Bill 763. “Our education professionals should be focusing their time and talents on student instruction, not filling out needless reports. This is good legislation that cuts out the unnecessary while ensuring the important information still gets reported, so our educators can do their jobs.”

The legislation has been widely praised by the state’s education leaders as helping schools redirect their attention to the important task of educating students.

Education reporting requirements are sprinkled throughout Michigan law — not just in the state’s education code. Unfortunately, there is no published comprehensive index to easily locate all mandated reports, and these reports are costly, often taking a great deal of staff time and resources.

SBs 754-767 now head to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Donate Life

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator Wayne Schmidt

April is National Donate Life Month. It is a time each year to celebrate the lives of those who were saved by a transplant, recognize those who are still in need, honor those who have donated, and thank the ones who are registered organ donors.

Many families throughout our country have benefited from organ donation. Indeed, in 2015, nearly 30,000 people got a new shot at living because someone else donated a life-saving organ or tissue.

But there are still about 122,000 men, women, and children in the U.S. who find themselves in dire need of a transplant. More than 3,500 of them are in Michigan. Even though there are roughly 30,000 people who donate tissue each year, and despite there being more than one million tissue transplants, an average of 8,000 people — or 22 a day — lose their battle while waiting for a transplant. The need for donors continues to rise.

The good news is, more than 121 million Americans are registered organ donors. You may be one of them. While that is a great statistic, about half of U.S. adults aren’t registered donors.

Here in Michigan, we are working to make it easier to register to donate. In March, I voted for, and the Senate approved, a bill to help increase the number of registered organ donors in our state.

Lauren’s Law, as it is referred to, would have the secretary of state’s office ask whether a person wishes to be added to the Michigan anatomical gift donor registry when he or she applies for a driver’s license. I hope that this bill becomes law.

Registering to be an organ donor is simple, and it could have a lasting impact: one donor can help more than 50 people.

For information about organ donation or to sign up to become a donor, visit the Gift of Life Michigan website at GiftofLifeMichigan.org.

If you need to contact me, please call 855-347-7536 or send an email to SenWSchmidt@senate.michigan.gov and my staff will be happy to assist you. My website, www.SenatorWayneSchmidt.com, is also a good resource for information.

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Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, represents the 37th state Senate District, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac counties.