State Senator Winnie Brinks

Hello Neighbors,

An important package of bills that begin to address the shortage of attainable housing in Michigan has passed both chambers, and we anticipate it will be signed into law this week.

The four bills aim to create more attainable housing across the state, especially for those who are working but whose incomes aren’t high enough to pay the rent. They center around two core principles: flexibility in local control and workforce housing. These bills do not mandate decisions, but rather allow local governments to opt-in and create partnerships that make sense for their community’s unique needs by offering tools for communities where there are a high number of workers who can’t find housing because their incomes don’t meet the price of rent in their community or because there isn’t enough housing supply. You can learn more about the four bills and their details here.

I’m proud to have been the primary sponsor for one of these bills. I’m also grateful to my colleagues who took leadership over the others and impressed with the partners who helped shape these ideas from their inception to this exciting conclusion.

Housing is a critical issue, and our work to address it has only begun. I look forward to more partnerships and creativity so that we can work toward a day when it is possible for every family to have safe housing they can afford.


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Winnie Brinks
State Senator
29th District

In This Issue


Early Presidential Primary Passes the Senate

The state Senate voted this week to approve moving up the date of Michigan’s presidential primary election from the second Tuesday of March to the second Tuesday of February. This would allow Michigan to have a much bigger impact on the candidate who gets their party’s nomination for the general election.

To learn more about this bill and its impact, read this article from Michigan Radio.

Medicaid to Cover Doula Services

I’m so pleased that starting next year, Michigan Medicaid will begin reimbursing doula services. It will also create a new division within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that supports doula workers.

Doulas are trained to provide emotional, physical and informational support to pregnant women and their families. Their services help people before, during, and after a birth takes place. Studies have shown that doulas make a big impact, and their support has shown to improve birth outcomes in a very cost-effective way.

But as Michigan’s Deputy Director for Health Farah Hanley notes in this Detroit News article, Black infants are 2.6 times more likely to die in Michigan in their first year of life than White infants, and maternal mortality rates are 4.5 times higher in Black women than White.

We hope this change in Medicaid policy will positively impact our communities, and especially so to lower the disparities in health outcomes for Black and brown women during childbirth.

One-Year Anniversary of Oxford School Shooting

Wednesday, Nov. 30 marked the one-year anniversary of the horrific school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. The school named November 30 as Wildcat Remembrance Day to honor the students who died one year ago: Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, Justin Shilling and Tate Myre.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered flags at the state Capitol and all public buildings across Michigan to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday to honor the students. My colleague, Rosemary Bayer (D-Keego Harbor), whose district includes Oxford, gave an incredible speech on the Senate floor this week in memorandum. She said, “Saying goodbye to your son or daughter when they go to school shouldn’t make you wonder if it’s the last time you do that. This isn’t normal. We can’t let this be normal.” I agree.

Common sense, popular measures to protect our children from gun violence is a priority we should all agree on. I look forward to making substantive changes on this issue.


Early Childhood Center Breaks Ground in Kentwood

Early Childhood Center

Kentwood Public Schools invited my staff to join them in breaking ground on their new Early Childhood Center at Townline Elementary School. Superintendent Kevin Polston expressed gratitude for the Legislature and the governor’s investment in early childhood programs and expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program at the event, as it is widely known that such programs have long-term effects on students’ academic success.

I’ve been a proud champion for early childhood education and for our local public schools since the beginning of my career in the legislature. I’m so pleased the new District 29 includes Kentwood Public Schools and look forward to continued partnership with this growing, diverse, and vibrant school district.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

On Sunday, Nov. 20, we commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance — a day to grieve and honor those who have lost their lives due to violence, exclusion, and hate. It was especially poignant this year because of the tragic shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs the night before.

LGBTQ+ people, like all people, deserve spaces of celebration and community. We all must resolve to make every space we enter a safer one for those who have been marginalized. This is my goal every day as your representative in the state Senate, and it’s what I hope you’ll fight for in your home, business, school, and neighborhood.

My heart grieves for all the pain in Colorado. I see the fear it causes right here in West Michigan. I want violence like this to become unthinkable. I will continue to use my power in Lansing to make our communities safer for all.


Tips to Avoid Fraud During the Holidays

Attorney General Dana Nessel is launching her annual holiday consumer protection campaign. Her website will focus on educating consumers on the numerous scams and tactics used to cheat them out of their funds during the holidays.

The first alert educates you on how to keep your credit card accounts safe from those who would like to get their hands on your information and your money.

Visit her website to learn more.

New Website to Find Utility Bill Financial Assistance

Need help with your phone, internet, or utility bill? There is a new website that helps you navigate the many resources that are available to help you stay on top of those bills.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders received help with their telephone, broadband, or home energy bills or received shut off protection for their utility service. Be sure you’re getting all the help you can.

New Guidelines on Lead Exposure for Children

Health officials have recently lowered the bar for what’s deemed a high blood level for lead, increasing access for available public health services and lead reduction programs.

Under the change, families with children who have confirmed blood lead levels of 3.5 or greater will be eligible for things like nursing case management, home environmental lead investigations, and lead abatement.

Parents of children 6 and younger should talk to their health care providers about blood lead testing if they suspect exposure.

For more information about lead hazards, blood level testing and other lead services, visit


Here are a few reasons to contact my office:

Comment on Legislation: If you want to express your opinion about legislation or learn more, my office can answer your questions and keep me informed of your comments. Your opinion matters!

If You Need Help: If you have a problem dealing with any department of state government, such as accessing unemployment benefits, my office can help you resolve it. While we usually cannot assist with local or federal issues, we will always do our best to help direct you to the appropriate person.

There’s No “Wrong” Reason: Any comment, question or concern is welcome. If your issue would be more appropriately addressed by a different unit of government, I will help direct you. Remember, I am here to serve YOU and your family.

I have other questions. Are you and your office still available?

To keep you and my staff healthy and safe, we are working remotely until further notice. Please call our office at (517) 373-1801 or send me an email at, as you normally would, and we will do our best to avoid any interruption of service.

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