Nofs, Jones announce $4.15 million infrastructure investment in Southwest Michigan

For Immediate Release
Dec. 19, 2013

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING, Mich.—State Sens. Mike Nofs and Rick Jones  announced with Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials Thursday $4.15 million in road repair projects for Southwest Michigan.

“It’s no secret that many Michigan roads are in serious need of repair,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Michigan citizens have made it clear that infrastructure maintenance is a top priority and the millions we announce today are an important first investment that comes without any increased taxes on hardworking Michigan families.”

The projects are funded by a grant from the Roads and Risk Reserve Fund which was created during the past budget year from general fund savings.

“Thanks to three years of sound budgeting decisions we have the ability to direct existing funds to roads,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “There is clearly much more work to be done to address our infrastructure needs, but this is an important part of the process.”

The grants will be used for three projects including $4,000,000 for the resurfacing of M-227 in Marshall; $150,000 for joint replacement, patching and approach replacement for the M-66 bridge over the Battle Creek River; and $400,000 for concrete pavement repairs on M-37/M-43 in Hastings.

Nofs offered praise for the work MDOT engineers put into identifying and selecting projects. Nofs also reaffirmed their commitment to working with Gov. Snyder’s office to identify long-term solutions to improving infrastructure.

 

Michigan leading the effort against cyber attacks

LANSING—Michigan cyber security experts told state lawmakers on Tuesday that Michigan is leading the effort to protect people and infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

The Senate Energy and Technology Committee heard testimony from Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard; the state’s chief security officer; and representatives of the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan State Police.

“Cyber-attacks pose a real and ongoing threat to businesses, people and our state as a whole,” said committee chair Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “I applaud Governor Snyder and the Legislature for recognizing the threat and working in a proactive, comprehensive and coordinated manner to ensure Michigan’s cybersecurity efforts are second to none.”

Testimony revealed that the majority of current cyber-attacks seek to uncover individuals’ personal and financial data which can then be sold to third parties. Attempted attacks on state systems have been varied and voluminous according to the state’s chief security officer Dan Lohrmann, who reported more than 2.5 million attempted attacks on state web browsers in 2013 alone. Attacks also routinely targeted energy and communications infrastructure.

“The level of attacks on utilities is extraordinary. While Michigan is being cyber-attacked on a daily basis, it is great that our state is leading the charge to protect our residents and our economy,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, committee vice-chair. “On an individual level, residents should know that if they use the Internet or a smart phone, they are at risk from cyber criminals looking to steal their identity and cash. Half the battle is knowing about the threat and how you can protect yourself.”

Two key parts of the fight against cyber-attacks is the new Michigan Cyber Command Center, created out of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Michigan Cyber Initiative and the expansion of a 24/7 Michigan Security Operations Center that is expected to be completed in 2014. 

An example of the risk to public infrastructure was illustrated by Trend Micro in 2012. The firm set up a fake water company as bait to check out the level of cyber-attacks. Within 18 hours they reported their first attack. After 28 days they had 30 attacks from 14 countries. 

The panel was also told about “spearfishing,” a common tactic where scammers try to have people click on a link and then enter in sensitive information, such as a bank account number.

Gov. Snyder has co-chaired the National Governors Association (NGA) Resource Center for State Cybersecurity since 2012, examining the state policy role in ensuring cybersecurity for state-owned and state-based infrastructure. Snyder briefed Congress in September on the NGA’s efforts to protect citizens and the economy against cyber-attacks and released Act and Adjust: A Call to Action for Governors for Cybersecurity, a paper outlining strategic recommendations.

For more information about Michigan’s cybersecurity efforts, visit Michigan.gov/cybersecurity.

Residents may learn more about how to protect themselves by visiting the Michigan attorney general’s website at Michigan.gov/ag. Click on Consumer Protection.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos and Nofs will be available on the Senate Republican caucus website at www.misenategop.com. Click on “Podcasts.”

Nofs legislation protects citizens’ access to home phone service

For Immediate Release:
Dec. 5, 2013

Contact: Greg Moore
517-373-2426

LANSING—Legislation that increases consumer protections and ensures that every Michigan resident will continue to have access to high quality home phone service was approved by the Michigan Senate on Thursday, said sponsor state Sen. Mike Nofs.

Senate Bill 636 would update the Michigan Telecommunications Act to make it easier for phone companies to invest in the new, more efficient communications services and technologies that customers are demanding. 

“Technology is a constantly changing field,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “New and innovative technology brought us the telephone in the 19th century and now high-speed broadband and 4G wireless in the 21st century. This legislation establishes the process for transitioning to new technology while ensuring citizens’ continued access to reliable home phone service. This legislation will not remove landlines, it will modernize them.”

SB 636 modifies the process telephone providers must go through in order to transition to new technologies while maintaining strong authority for the Michigan Public Service to ensure that consumers will continue to have access to reliable home phone service, 911, and emergency services.

“The internet has changed the way the world works, and it has already changed how millions of people talk on the phone,” Nofs said. “This bill ensures our constituents are protected while delivering new and improved technology. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Senate Bill 636 now advances to Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration