Featured in this newsletter:
- Community Updates
- Upcoming Events
- Legislative Updates
- Helpful Resources
Celebrating Budget Wins for our Youth
Governor Whitmer has officially signed the FY ’24 budget into law, which includes a remarkable budget allocation of $16.5 million to the Rx Kids initiative. With these vital resources, Rx Kids gains the power to provide essential care and support to our precious babies — setting the stage for a transformative generational impact. As these young lives flourish, the entire community blossoms, illustrating the profound ripple effect of our investment in a brighter, more promising future for all of Flint. Read more about Rx Kids here.
I also recently had the honor of meeting with Asa Zuccaro, executive director of the Latinx Technology and Community Center, to announce that $2.6M in state funding had been secured to expand youth education services offered by the community center. The funding will help create an early childhood education center aimed at significantly increasing classroom capacity and enrollment opportunities for young bilingual learners and families. To learn more about Latinx Flint, please visit their website.
Initiatives and programs like Rx Kids and the Latinx Technology and Community Center now have the much-needed funding to have a tangible impact on the lives of many of our community members. The 2024 state budget is investing in our youngest members of the state and in our community, creating a brighter future for Genesee County and all of Michigan.
Coffee and Conversation
I hope you will join me at one of my upcoming Coffee & Conversation events in August. These events are a terrific way to share your questions and ideas with me while also receiving a firsthand update on what my colleagues and I have been working on in the Michigan Legislature.
WHEN: Friday, August 25 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Krapohl Senior Center, 5473 Bicentennial Drive, Mt. Morris Township, MI 48458
Learn more here.
WHEN: Wednesday, August 30 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Brennan Senior Center, 1301 Pingree Avenue, Flint, MI 48503
Learn more here.
Back to the Bricks
WHEN: Through Saturday, August 19
WHERE: Downtown Flint
Back to the Bricks returns this week, attracting car show enthusiasts annually to Downtown Flint’s Saginaw Street and its historic bricks. The annual event aims to celebrate Genesee County’s historic role in the automotive industry and our love of motor vehicles.
Crim Festival of Races
WHEN: Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26
WHERE: Downtown Flint
The Crim Festival of Races, a yearly road running extravaganza featuring a variety of races and walking events, is set to make its return to downtown Flint on August 25 and 26. Learn more on their website or Facebook page.
Voting Rights Expansion Bills Signed into Law
Ensuring that all individuals have an equal opportunity to vote — regardless of their socioeconomic status or background— is part of upholding our fundamental rights and liberties. That is why the Michigan Senate Democrats listened to voters last November who overwhelmingly voted in favor of expanding voting rights with Proposal 2. Now, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed Proposal 2 into law. In this moment, it is important to highlight the work of our Michigan Senate Democrats in moving this legislation forward:
It was my honor to co-sponsor three pivotal bills — Senate Bills 367, 370 and 373 — in the pursuit of safeguarding voter rights, reaffirming my dedication to upholding the principles of fairness and inclusivity in our state. You can read more about the voting rights expansion bills, including the ones I co-sponsored, below.
- Senate Bill 339, sponsored by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), will establish a website for Michiganders to track their ballots. It will ensure voters are notified when their vote is received and counted and inform them if there are any errors and offer a solution to remedy them.
- Senate Bill 367, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), requires at least nine days of early voting before each statewide and federal election so people can find a convenient time to vote that works for them without facing lines on Election Day. It also authorizes pre-processing and early tabulation of absentee ballots, ensuring a timely result after polls close on Election Day.
- Senate Bill 370, sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), implements requirements to allow voters to fix clerical errors with their ballots. It also requires prepaid postage for all absentee ballot applications and envelopes, saving voters time and trips to the Post Office.
- Senate Bill 373, sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), allows Michiganders to use their US passport, tribal photo ID card, military ID card, or student ID to identify themselves when they show up to vote. As has always been the case, they will need to be registered to vote in their precinct to cast a ballot. This law simply expands the valid forms of ID accepted to certify that you are who you say you are.
These are major legislative wins — not only for the Majority Democratic Caucus, but for the entire state of Michigan. It was not too long ago that marginalized communities were fighting for their right to vote, and we are proud to further the hard work of our civil rights leaders and suffragists by passing Proposal 2.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
With summer in full swing and flu season just around the corner, we recognize National Immunization Awareness Month to highlight the importance of routine vaccination for Michiganders of all ages. Vaccines are the best way for you to protect yourself from preventable diseases and avoid spreading those diseases to others in your community.
In the recently passed state budget for Fiscal Year 2024, the Michigan Legislature — after 30 years of inadequate funding — reinvested in local health departments to ensure they had the resources necessary to provide residents with essential health services such as immunizations. Every Michigander committed to protecting the health of themsevles, their family and community can recieve free or low-cost vaccinations at their local health department.
> To locate a health department nearest you and get up to date on your vaccines, click here.
> Learn more about the vaccines you and your family members may need to stay healthy, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website here.
Michigan Ranks High in Auto Manufacturing, EV Investments
A new report in Business Facilities Magazine ranks Michigan as a top state for automotive industry and electric vehicle investments, holding its number one spot from 2022. Additionally, this ranking follows multiple reports showing Michigan as a leader in business, clean energy, battery investments and high-tech mobility development.
The new Senate Democratic Majority — along with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — has been pushing to grow Michigan’s electric vehicle economy with investments in our state’s budget and the establishment of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the EV Jobs Academy and MI EV Scholars Program.
Only one year out from the bipartisan CHIPS and Science ACT, there have been many opportunities for Michigan to win investments to support the growth of domestic semiconductor technology as well as better-paying, high-quality jobs for Michiganders.
Helping Medicaid Members Keep Their Coverage
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE), allowing Medicaid members to keep their health care coverage. Per recent federal legislation, eligibility renewals were planned to start again in June. However, now Medicaid beneficiaries with upcoming deadlines for returning renewal forms will have an additional month to submit paperwork to avoid loss of health care coverage due to not responding. This timeline will continue monthly going forward through May 2024 and does include individuals with a Monday, July 31 deadline. Learn more at Michigan.gov/mdhhs/2023benefitchanges.
Following these steps will help determine if you still qualify:
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Check mail or text messages for a letter.
- Complete your renewal form (if you get one).