I hope you are staying safe and warm this winter! Be sure to take extra care when going outside or traveling during the winter season. Bundle up and stay warm, watch out for ice and watch for changing weather conditions.
Between an incredible postseason by the Lions, a national championship for the University of Michigan, and the Governor’s State of the State address, there has been a lot of excitement in Michigan this January. I hope this newsletter informs you of other exciting things happening in the Legislature and throughout District 6.
As always, if you would like to provide any feedback about what’s happening in Lansing or need assistance of any sort, please feel free to reach out to my office. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 517-373-7748.
Community & Conversation
Please join me at my upcoming Community & Conversation on February 23 from 2-3pm at the Livonia Fire Department (14910 Farmington Rd, Livonia, MI 48154)! We’ll be joined by special guest Robert Jennison, Fire Chief for the City of Livonia.
We hope to see you there!
2024 Laws Going into Effect
After a historic year with Democrats in the majority in the Legislature, we passed major pieces of legislation for the people of Michigan. These are some of the laws taking effect on February 13, 2024:
Restoring Workers’ Rights: Legislation repealing Michigan’s anti-worker law (House Bills 4004 and 4007 and Senate Bill 34) — which allowed union workers to opt out of paying union dues and fees — is set to go into effect, restoring critical protections for Michigan workers.
Gun Safety: This year, historic gun safety-related legislation (Senate Bills 79, 80, 81 and 82 and House Bills 4138 and 4142) will take effect, including: expansion of background checks; safe gun storage requirements; and laws permitting courts to temporarily remove guns from those a judge deems pose an imminent threat to themselves or others, as well as temporarily banning those with domestic violence convictions from possessing and purchasing firearms and ammunition in Michigan.
Please remember: Starting February 13, if you own firearms and have young children, be sure to safely secure your firearms — unloaded, locked, and if possible, separate from ammunition when not in use. For more information on secure storage, please visit BeSMARTforKids.org.
Reproductive Health Act: The Reproductive Health Act (Senate Bills 474, 476 and 477 and House Bills 4949, 4951, 4953–4956) will improve access to reproductive health care in Michigan. Changes include: removing restrictive regulations for health clinics, repealing a state law requiring the purchase of a special insurance rider for private health plans to cover abortion; removing a law banning higher education institutions’ pregnant and parenting services offices from providing referrals for abortion services; and more.
Gov. Whitmer to Present Executive Budget Recommendations
Gov. Whitmer is set to unveil her executive budget recommendations on Feb. 7 to jumpstart the highly anticipated budget season. Each year, her recommendations outline her priorities for the state and help shape the fiscal year budget.
My Senate colleagues and I are excited to work with Gov. Whitmer alongside the Michigan State Budget Office, lawmakers in the House, residents and various other stakeholders and experts to achieve a comprehensive, fiscally responsible budget that speaks to the interests and needs of Michiganders everywhere.
Building a state budget is always a team effort, and I look forward to bringing forth more investment and support for District 6 residents.
To learn more about executive budget recommendations and the state budget process, click here.
Human Trafficking Bills Pass Through Senate
Human trafficking affects many Michiganders and jeopardizes the safety of our communities — especially our vulnerable youth population. Understanding the urgency of this issue, I am proud to share that Senate Democrats passed key legislation (Senate Bills 515–517) to address human trafficking in our state.
This legislation will protect human trafficking survivors by expanding the statute of limitations to include prostitution and human trafficking, instead of only domestic violence or sexual assault cases. It will also add to the hearsay exception to allow for statements from victims of human trafficking.
The bills now head to the House for consideration.
Recognizing Roe v. Wade’s 51st Anniversary
January 22, 2024, marked the 51st anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturned Roe v. Wade. This ended guaranteed access to safe and legal abortions across all states, including the state of Michigan.
To learn more about Senate Democrats’ efforts to protect reproductive rights in the state of Michigan, click here.
“In 2024, it is my goal and our Majority’s goal to keep delivering for Michiganders. The following are some of the items that I will continue to fight for in 2024: “
Senator Mary Cavanagh
SBs 579- 581 create the High-Income Regional Employment in Michigan (HIRE MI) Program that would allow a tax capture for businesses that create new jobs in this state within a defined timeline. I introduced this legislation alongside my colleague Sen. Singh with the aim of reshaping an economic development tool that would support current and future businesses in creating high-wage, permanent jobs in Michigan. I was honored to lead these efforts in reimagining Michigan’s economic future and success.
Auto Insurance Premiums
Michiganders still pay some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the country. I am working on a package of auto auto insurance legislation that would target insurance premiums and refocus rate setting on driving factors rather than non-driving factors such as your credit score or where you live.
Regulating Payday Lending
There are two bills that have been referred to the Finance, Insurance, & Consumer Protection Committee, which I chair, that address payday lending. Senate Bill 632, introduced by Senator Anthony, would limit payday lending interest rates to no more than 36% APR, while House Bill 4343 introduced by Representative Conlin, would require an annual payday lending report by DIFS. I plan to take up these bills in my committee to help regulate this form of lending that often leads to a cycle of financial instability.
Targeting Election Misinformation
Every Michigander deserves truth in their elections. In recent years, we have witnessed an alarming increase in misinformation targeting marginalized communities with the intent to impede their vote.This week, I introduced the Truth in Elections Act (Senate Bill 707), which would create civil fines for individuals who intentionally promote election misinformation.
Affordable Housing legislation
State funded projects should not only create new developments, but should serve our communities’ needs. I’m currently working on legislation that would ensure that state funded or incentivized housing projects include more affordable housing units our communities need as the country continues to face a housing crisis.
We participated in numerous community events in January, including attending the Redford Township Chamber Breakfast; Speaking at Nardin Park United Methodist Church MLK Day Event; Attended Livonia’s 2nd Annual MLK Day Breakfast; Volunteered at Detroit Blight Busters MLK Day of Service; Attended Livonia’s PTSA Chili Cook-Off; Provided legislative updates at community clubs and neighborhood organizations, and more!
I was honored to attend Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State alongside my legislative colleagues, where I served as an escort to Michigan’s Court of Appeals judges. The Governor’s speech highlighted the incredible work we’ve achieved here in Michigan in the past year, and looked ahead to the work before us in 2024.
I was happy to attend the Rosedale Park Improvement Association’s Annual Gala. The Rosedale Park Improvement Association (RPIA) held a beautiful event to present awards to their board members, celebrate Larry Castleberry, Emeritus President of RPIA and to welcome Frank Raben as President of RPIA.
Other Important Updates
Working Families Tax Credit Checks to Be Sent to Michigan Families in February 2024
In December 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that more than 700,000 Michigan households were set to receive working families tax credit checks ahead of schedule, beginning February 13, 2024. The new checks are part of $1 billion in tax cuts signed into law earlier this year, putting an average of $550 back into Michiganders’ pockets.
Please note the Department of Treasury will automatically process checks for Michiganders who submitted their 2022 tax return and confirmed eligibility for the additional state credit. Checks will be mailed on a rolling basis as soon as they are printed. It is estimated to take between five to six weeks to print and distribute all payments.
Eligible Michiganders do not need to submit any additional paperwork to receive the tax credit. However, if an individual has moved frequently or recently and has concerns about their address accuracy, Michiganders can manually update it here.
Michigan’s Individual Income Tax Filing Season Officially Begins on January 29
The Michigan Department of Treasury has announced that Monday, Jan. 29, was the official start date of the 2024 tax season when the agency will begin processing individual income tax returns.
Individuals can file their state income tax return online, with a tax professional or by mailing in paper forms and documentation. All state of Michigan income tax returns and payment of any taxes owed must be received by April 15, 2024.
For the convenience of taxpayers, the state’s individual income tax deadline is the same date set by the Internal Revenue Service. To learn more, click here.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs Now Available
As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on LEO/MEDC, I secured funding in the Fiscal Year 23 budget to support volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) programs across Michigan. These programs, led by volunteer tax professionals, are available to income-eligible residents free of charge.
To find a VITA site near you, click here.