Marleau bill would name Monarch butterfly the state insect

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Marleau has introduced legislation that would make the Monarch butterfly Michigan’s official state insect.

Marleau said he authored Senate Bill 812 in part at the encouragement of Keego Harbor Elementary School children, who brought the issue before the Keego Harbor City Council, and Karen Meabrod of Keego Harbor, who along with her husband Dudley have been raising Monarchs since 1992.

“Karen Meabrod and the students of Keego Harbor Elementary School are passionate about making the Monarch butterfly our state insect,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “I share in that passion. This beautiful butterfly is widely recognized throughout the state, and butterfly enthusiasts come to Michigan every year to follow their migration.

“Michigan is one of only three states without an official state insect. It is time to remedy that and designate the Monarch butterfly with that honor.”

Marleau said the Monarch butterfly relies on milkweed for its life cycle. Michigan used to have an abundance of milkweed, and recent efforts have been underway to reestablish milkweed habitat, spanning from Mackinac Island, to the Lake Michigan lakeshore, to communities in Oakland County.

“With the regrowth of milkweed and the Monarch butterflies that are drawn to it, Michigan can again be a sanctuary for these butterflies,” Marleau said. “By establishing the Monarch butterfly as the official state insect we can raise awareness for their diminishing habitat so residents and tourists alike can watch these stunning creatures as they migrate through Michigan.”

SB 812 has been referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Health and Human Services Subcommittee hears testimony on Healthy Michigan Plan

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services held a hearing Tuesday on how the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) plans to implement its second Healthy Michigan Plan waiver, said HHS Committee Chairman Jim Marleau.

Chris Priest, Medicaid director for the state of Michigan, testified on how the Healthy Michigan Plan is unique in how it incentivizes healthy behaviors. Participants in the plan can reduce their co-pays by addressing risky behaviors, such as obesity, smoking and substance use.

The committee also heard testimony from Dr. Mark Fendrick from the University of Michigan’s Center for Value Based Insurance Design about how these incentives are reducing the use of unnecessary health care services.

“This is about more than just providing health care. It’s about getting people engaged in their health care choices,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “We are taking a proven concept from the private sector of encouraging healthy behaviors that are designed to not only save tax dollars but also to create healthier residents in this state.”

Rick Murdock, executive director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans, testified to the effort the Legislature and DHHS have put forth for more efficient health care spending.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the Healthy Michigan Plan continues to deliver value to the residents of Michigan,” Marleau said.

Note: For a print-quality version of this or other Marleau photos, click the image or click Photowire, above.