Daily Briefs

Legal Aid and Defender to host small claims workshop Feb.19

 Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. will conduct a free workshop for residents of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties on how to represent themselves in small claims court and collect money judgments Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale.
Registration is not required, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, call LAD at (313) 967-5630.

Initiatives to assist veterans announced

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and state veterans advocates on Wednesday announced several initiatives to assist the more than 650,000 military veterans who live in Michigan, including a proposal to put a veteran designation on their driver’s license or ID card to better link veterans with the services they’ve earned.

The designation allows the Secretary of State’s Office to partner with the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and veteran service organizations across the state to provide referral information to veterans so they better know what resources and services are available to them. Additional information also will be made available to veterans in the 131 Secretary of State offices throughout the state.

Johnson and DMVA leaders will work with lawmakers to have this change written into law. Under the proposal, veterans who want the designation would provide the Secretary of State’s Office with proof of an honorable discharge.

Johnson and Allen announced the proposal at a press conference at the state Capitol in Lansing. They were joined by representatives of the American Legion Department of Michigan; Sen. John Moolenaar, chairman of the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee; Rep. Jim Stamas, chairman of the House Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs; Garth Wootten, a Navy veteran and division manager for Oakland County Veterans’ Services; and other lawmakers and veterans advocates.

Another initiative announced Wednesday calls for the creation of a new fundraising license plate to benefit Michigan veterans, Johnson said. The department will work with the DMVA and service organizations to develop a design and determine which programs would receive revenue from sales of the plate.

Johnson also provided details of a new law that will allow recently returned military veterans with large truck driving experience to skip the skills test portion of Michigan’s commercial driver license application process. Johnson said the waiver cuts red tape and will help move veterans into jobs more quickly when they return from service.

Gov. Rick Snyder in his recent State of the State address noted that Michigan veterans rank last per capita in receiving federal dollars for veterans’ benefits. Snyder signed an executive order, effective March 20, creating the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency within the DMVA to serve as a centralized, coordinating unit in state government that will connect veterans to services and benefits.


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