It continues to be a busy time in the state legislature, where we are making some gains but also battling against other attacks, especially when it comes to education. I have long been a fierce advocate for our students, teachers and administrators in our public schools. We’ve made some strides in the funding realm, but unfortunately, my Republican colleagues are taking us many steps back when it comes to the health and safety of our students and teachers — you can read more about this in my legislative update section below.
But there have also been some gains, both in terms of legislation on behalf of working families, and the safe and effective vaccines hopefully expanding soon to children 5 years old and up.
As always, if I can be of any assistance to you or your family, please call my office at (517) 373-2417, or email me at SenRBayer@senate.michigan.gov.
Tampon Tax Repeal
I am thrilled the Michigan Senate voted this week to stop taxing periods by passing legislation exempting feminine hygiene products from the sales and use tax! These products are essential and medical necessities — not luxury items, as the law currently treats them — and therefore should not to be subject to these taxes.
This has been a bipartisan, bicameral effort that I’m grateful to see, and I was proud to cast an emphatic “YES” vote in support!
>> Read more about the significance of this legislation.
Threats of violence against our school board members and school employees working under extremely difficult circumstances to protect our children and keep schools open are unacceptable.
That’s why my Senate Democratic colleagues and I have introduced legislation, Senate Bill 689, to make it a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to a year, or a fine up to $1,000, or both, for people who assault, batter, wound, or endanger a school employee, school contractor, or member of a school board.
Enough is enough. We can have disagreements and discussions about various school policies, but as adults and role models for our children, they must remain civil. If you, a relative, or friend have been harassed or threatened while performing your duties as a school official and are willing to share your story to demonstrate the need for this legislation, please visit the Senate Dems website to tell us about it.
We see you. We hear you. We are working to protect you.
This week, Republicans sought to curry a favor to their wealthy donors by passing legislation that would provide a tax credit to wealthy individuals or corporations who effectively “sponsor” a child’s non-public school education. More simply put, these bills are about expanding school vouchers, and they are unconstitutional, as they interweave public resources for private purposes.
Worse, they would take hundreds of millions of public dollars from public schools and gift them to private schools. I have no issues with private schools and those who choose them — but that is a choice. Our constitution protects public education, and subsequently, our public taxpayer dollars that are intended to be used for them.
A well-educated population is a must-have for all businesses and communities, but the effort passed by my Republican colleagues this week is merely another DeVos-backed attempt to privatize education. These bills would provide high-quality education for the wealthy while stripping the state of the vital funds needed to provide a high-quality education for ALL of our children. I voted no on this legislation.
CELEBRATING ECONOMIC GROWTH, MORE JOBS FOR OUR COMMUNITY
It’s time for a COVID booster for many of us. If you are eligible for a booster, you can find one at most local pharmacies. You can also find one through the Oakland County Health Department. This week, they have been offering drive-through and walk-in booster clinics around the county. There are a couple more of these events today and tomorrow (information below), and I am hoping they will continue these efforts where there is a demand for them.
Remember, COVID booster vaccinations are FREE!
Thursday, October 28
Indoor clinic from 2 to 6 p.m.
Friday, October 29
Additional clinics will be available at OaklandCountyVaccine.com.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE TO EXPEDITE VACCINE DISTRIBUTION FOR KIDS
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week issued an executive directive to state departments and agencies to expedite the ordering and distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccinations to protect younger Michiganders between the ages of 5 to 11 years old and ensure students could continue in-person learning in a safe environment this year.
On Oct. 26, the federal Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met to discuss emergency use authorization of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for children. After this meeting, the VRBPAC will issue their recommendation to the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is scheduled to meet Nov. 2-3 to review data and recommendations. ACIP is anticipated to issue a recommendation, which will go to CDC for final approval of the emergency use authorization.
The executive directive expedites the administration of pediatric vaccinations by:
The directive also requires the State of Michigan to regularly report the proportion of children ages 5 to 11 who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, nearly 69% of Michiganders 16 years or older and 66.9% of Michiganders 12 years or older have received at least their first dose of one of the three safe, effective vaccines.
ELECTION DAY IS NEXT WEEK – DROP YOUR BALLOTS OFF
The Michigan Secretary of State is encouraging voters to return their absentee ballots to their clerks or local drop box to avoid possible postal delays and ensure your vote is counted. Absentee ballots must be received by the voter’s city or township clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2, to be counted.
Voters can find the locations of their clerk offices and ballot drop boxes at Michigan.gov/Vote. They can also track their ballot on the website to ensure it is received by their clerk
Registered voters who do not yet have an absentee ballot can visit their local clerk’s office to request, complete and submit one all in one trip prior to 4 p.m. on Nov. 1. Eligible citizens who have not yet registered can also do so at their clerk’s office and then request and vote an absentee ballot in one trip through 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Clerk’s offices are required to be open for eight hours the weekend before every election. Voters should contact their local clerk for their hours of operation this weekend.
VIRTUAL COMMUNITY CONVERSATION — TOMORROW!
Join me and state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac) on Facebooktomorrow, Friday, Oct. 29 from noon to 1 p.m. for a candid conversation about current events and happenings around our area and the state. You will be able to ask questions and engage in conversation via the comments.
You do not need Facebook to participate, and no registration is required! Looking forward to talking with you!
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