Hello Neighbors,  

It’s official! The Michigan Senate Democrats, leading the Legislature for the first time in 40 years, have passed a historic, bipartisan state budget that truly puts the hardworking people of Michigan first. House Bill 4437 includes funding for all state departments through 2024 and Senate Bill 173 covers educational funding for the upcoming school year; both bills passed with immediate effect.

Our new Democratic Majority for the People has seized the opportunity to pass one of the most equitable, inclusive, and transformational budgets in state history. From January to now, our caucus has continued putting Michiganders at the forefront of all our budget and policy priorities. I am extremely proud of our work to deliver this fiscally-sound, people-centered budget that makes key investments in public health and safety, education, infrastructure, culture and recreation, and much more. 

In this newsletter, you’ll receive the latest news and updates on my work in the legislature and our vibrant district. As always, it’s my honor to work for you, the people of District 29, to deliver honest, diligent representation in Lansing on the issues that matter most.” 


Winnie Brinks
Senate Majority Leader
29th District


In This Issue 

  • Legislative Update 
    • Banning Conversion Therapy 
    • Governor Whitmer Announces Historic LGBTQ+ Commission  
    • CROWN Act Signed into Law  
    • Election Reform Bills Pass the Senate  
  • District News & Updates 
    • Roundtable Discussion with Young Michigan Professionals  
    • Juneteenth in Grand Rapids 
    • Grand Rapids Pride Festival 
  • Helpful Information
  • Contact Us 


Legislative & Government Updates  

Bills Banning Conversion Therapy Pass Senate  

Bills to ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ minors passed the Senate this week and will now advance to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for signature.  

Senate Bills 348 and 349 ban any practice or treatments by licensed mental health professionals that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This will prevent incidents where families seeking mental health assistance for their children are unknowingly working with professionals using conversion therapy methods, methods which are demonstrated to raise the risk of suicide for LGBTQ youth. Michigan will be the 22nd state to ban the practice.    

Thank you to Senator Mallory McMorrow for supporting legislation that prioritizes the safety and protection of our LGBTQ+ youth!    

Governor Whitmer Announces Historic LGBTQ+ Commission  

On June 11, 2023, Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order at the Motor City Pride parade, marking the creation of the first-ever LGBTQ+ commission.  

The LGBTQ+ Commission will advise the governor and the director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity on policy matters impacting Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community and its members, including eradicating and preventing discrimination against the community and addressing other forms of inequality. The Commission will look at ways of improving and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community and promoting LGBTQ+ culture, history, and economic contributions to Michigan through coordinated efforts and advocacy across state government. Additionally, the Commission will look at ways to attract potential future residents from the LGBTQ+ community by ensuring that Michigan is a safe place where its members and their families can thrive. The governor will appoint individuals that represent the interests of a diverse range of communities and perspectives.  

This historic commission is yet another sign that Michigan is a place of welcome and inclusivity, where people’s voices are valued. 

CROWN Act Signed into Law  

On June 15, 2023, Governor Whitmer signed the CROWN Act into law. This legislation will expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and protect Michigan residents from facing discrimination based on wearing their natural hair or protective hairstyles, especially in workplaces and schools. 

Senator Sarah Anthony has been a longtime advocate of the CROWN Act — understanding the necessity of uplifting and acknowledging the cultural significance of hair, particularly in the Black community.   

This is a huge step forward for Michigan and for the fight against systemic racism and discrimination in all its forms. I applaud the efforts of the Michigan legislators and activists who championed this bill.  

Voting Improvement and Election Reform Bills Pass the Senate 

Last week, the Michigan Senate voted to pass the most comprehensive and expansive voting improvements in a generation, Senate Bills 367374 to implement the election reforms that voters overwhelmingly passed in Proposal 2 of 2022.    

Specifically, these bills would:  

  • Implement nine consecutive days of early voting for statewide elections starting at least on the second Saturday before the election and ending the Sunday before the election;   
  • Establish sentencing guidelines for disclosure of early voting election results;  
  • Create a single application for voters to automatically receive absent voter ballots for all future elections;   
  • Provide for prepaid return postage on certain election documents and signature matching/curing requirements for absent voter ballot documents;  
  • Expand permissible options for photo identity used in voting-related purposes;   
  • Require each municipality in Michigan to have at least one accessible absent voter ballot drop box and one for every 15,000 registered voters in the municipality; and  
  • Increase the number of active registered voters in a single election precinct from 2,999 to 5,000 active registered voters.  

These bills have been thoughtfully crafted and thoroughly reviewed with local and county clerks, state election experts, and state and local officials from precincts of all sizes, both rural and urban. This legislation will make voting easier and our elections more accessible for everyone, and by doing so, we are ensuring our outcomes are more representative of our entire state. 

District News & Updates 

Roundtable Discussion with Young Michigan Professionals 

On May 23, 2023, I joined Governor Whitmer and some inspiring young professionals for a roundtable discussion in Grand Rapids. They shared their thoughts on how to best retain and attract talent to our great state. 

With the recent unveiling of the “Make it in Michigan” plan, our goal is to make Michigan a state where residents choose to stay and to thrive. We are working to grow job opportunities, invest in our workforce and support residents of all backgrounds in pursuing their passions. With education and vocational investments like Futures for Frontliners, Michigan Reconnect and Michigan Achievement Scholarship, we’re already making great headway in connecting hardworking Michiganders to opportunities that can transform their futures. And we’re just getting started. 

Juneteenth in Grand Rapids

This year, the Michigan Legislature officially established Juneteenth as a state holiday. The passing of this legislation, sponsored by Senator Sylvia Santana, demonstrates a commitment to honoring the true history of when slavery was abolished in our country.  

As you may know, Monday, June 19th commemorates Juneteenth, the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to ensure that all enslaved people were freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and marks the day slavery was ended in all parts of the United States.   

Celebrations for Juneteenth took place all over the Grand Rapids area this year, like the Justice 4 All Juneteenth Jam that I attended at Rosa Parks Circle. There is much more work to be done to advance racial justice and equity within our state, and I am committed to being a part of that change.  

Grand Rapids Pride Festival 

It was a delight to share the great progress we have made in the past year with everyone at this year’s Grand Rapids Pride Festival. This year’s legislature passed a resolution declaring June Pride Month in the State of Michigan — an important and symbolic action. But even more important, we were able to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ folks and to address barriers to public accommodations and employment. And that’s a substantive, hard-fought win that was forty years in the making. And we’re not done yet; we’ll keep working hard to ensure that Michigan is a place where people can be unapologetically themselves. 

I’m grateful to the Grand Rapids Pride Center for their hard work and for making this community celebration possible!


EGLE Air Quality Index   

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a color-coded way for residents to see what the levels of some types of air pollution are in their area. The higher the AQI, the worse the air quality is and the more cause for concern. Due to the recent fires in northern Michigan and Canada the past couple weeks, the AQI for particulate matter (PM) is high in many parts of Michigan and the eastern US. EPA’s Smoke and Fire map can be helpful in locating fires near you and seeing how smoke is moving.  

Air Quality Alerts are issued through the EnviroFlash system, sign up here to receive them. EnviroFlash is a free subscription service.   

Fire Danger is High across Michigan, Practice Fire Safety Outside  

Read some tips for keeping fires under control this summer.   

Safety tips to keep fires under control:   

  • When you’re working with fire or equipment outdoors, keep in mind that fires can take off very fast and that the remains of a fire smolder for some time. Here are some tips to keep it safe out there:   
  • Contain your campfire or bonfire in a pit or ring and make sure you put it out thoroughly before leaving for the night. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again.   
  • Never leave any fire — including hot coals — unattended.   
  • Keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.   
  • Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging when you’re on the road; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.   
  • Never shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass or shrubs.   
  • Get more fire safety tips at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.   
  • It’s illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household trash. This can release dangerous chemicals into the air.   
  • You can use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.   

Additional fire tips and information about the DNR’s fire programs here.



The Office of Senate Majority Leader Brinks values input from all Michiganders but prioritizes District 29 constituent concerns. If you have questions or concerns, but are not a resident of District 29, I encourage you to reach out to your local State Senator. Click here to find who represents you in the Senate.  

Comment on Legislation: You can stay updated on legislative advancements through my biweekly e-newsletters or by clicking here. Given the high volume of messages my office receives daily, please note that it may take time for your inquiry to receive a response.

If You Need Help: If you have a problem dealing with any department of state government, such as accessing unemployment benefits, my office is available to help 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 or organization for help.

You may always feel free to call my office at (517) 373-1801 or email me at SenWBrinks@senate.michigan.gov.

Helpful Links