Dear Neighbor,

February is Black History Month — an annual month-long celebration commemorating the accomplishments of African Americans that serves to acknowledge their pivotal contributions to the history of the United States. There are plenty of amazing ways to celebrate Black History Month in Michigan.  

In other news, several important pieces of legislation passed and signed last year will take effect this week, including new gun safety laws, reproductive health protection and clean energy legislation. In addition to these laws taking effect, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presented her executive budget last week. Michigan Senate Democrats are looking forward to working with Gov. Whitmer to develop another state budget that continues to invest in our state’s most precious resource — our people.  

With the legislative year getting underway and Senate floor and committee activity ramping up, there is so much to look forward to for 2024. I hope this newsletter informs you of all the exciting things happening in the Legislature and throughout District 1. 

As always, if you or someone you know would like to provide any feedback about what’s happening in Lansing, or needs assistance of any sort, please feel free to reach out to my office. You can email us at or call 517-373-7800. 


Erika Geiss 
State Senator  
District 1  

In This Edition 

  • In Recent News 
    • Honoring the Memory of Those Lost in the MSU Tragedy 
    • Grant Roundup 
    • Michigan’s Presidential Primary Scheduled for February 27
  • Legislative Update
    • Gov. Whitmer Presented Executive Budget Recommendations  
    • Legislation Ensuring Michigan’s Clean Energy Future Goes into Effect 
    • Legislation Ensuring Access to Reproductive Healthcare Goes into Effect  
    • New Gun Safety Laws to Protect Families Goes into Effect
    • Earned Income Tax Credit Checks to Be Sent to Michigan Families in February 2024
  • Resources
    • Call Michigan 2-1-1
    • Take Care of Yourself, Combat Winter Blues  
  • Community Update 
    • Statewide Warming Centers 
    • Gordie Howe Bridge Survey 

In Recent News
Honoring the Memory of Those Lost in the MSU Tragedy
This week marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic shooting incident on Michigan State University’s campus, which occurred on February 13, 2023. In the aftermath of this devastating event, the MSU community — along with communities throughout Michigan — united to extend their support to the victims, their families and the survivors coping with the trauma of the event. 

The swift and brave response of our first responders, who worked to secure buildings around campus and safeguard the well-being of students, undoubtedly prevented more lives from being lost — I remain extremely thankful to them.  

However, it’s the resilience demonstrated by the student body that has been instrumental in guiding MSU’s community through this senseless tragedy. As we observe this solemn anniversary, let us collectively pause and reflect on the impact of this event while honoring the lives tragically lost. 

More information on remembrance events and support resources on and around MSU can be found on the university’s Spartans Together website.  

Grant Roundup 

Recent grants through the DWSRF:  

  • Detroit Water and Sewerage Department — $17.5 million 
    • Replacement and rehabilitation of 31,912 linear feet of vintage water mains. 
    • Includes replacement of approximately 475 lead service lines. 

Earmarks through Federal American Rescue Plan Act:  

  • City of Lincoln Park — $2,500,000 
    • Replacement of approximately 300 lead water service lines with copper. 

Michigan’s Presidential Primary Scheduled for February 27
After voters overwhelmingly supported Proposal 2 in 2022, Senate Democrats took action to codify the proposal into law — increasing access to cast a ballot and implementing safeguards to ensure Michigan elections remain fair, safe and secure. As a result, Michiganders will be able to more easily participate in the electoral process. 

With Michigan’s Presidential Primary on February 27 fast approaching, here are a few key dates to be aware of: 

  • From February 17 to February 25, Michiganders looking to skip the long lines on Election Day can cast their ballot early. Find your nearest early vote location here.  
  • Through February 26 on 4:00 p.m., voters can obtain an absentee ballot at their local clerk’s office. The Secretary of State recommends hand-delivering an absentee ballot to your clerk’s office or a drop box if it is within 14 days of an election. Click here to find a drop box location near you. 
  • Through February 27 at 8:00 p.m., voters can register to vote in-person at their local clerk’s office. Verify your voter registration status and find your clerk’s office here.  
  • From 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on February 27, voters can cast their ballot at their assigned polling location. Make sure to bring a photo identification card to the polls if you have one. Find your polling location here. 

Earned Income Tax Credit Checks to Be Sent to Michigan Families in February 2024
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that eligible Michigan families will begin receiving Working Families Tax Credit supplemental checks this week. The new checks are part of a $1 billion tax relief package signed into law last year that will help put an average of $550 back into the pockets of working families. 

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. 

To qualify, individuals must meet certain requirements and file a federal income tax return, even if no tax is owed or there is no requirement to file a return. 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.  

Legislative Update

Gov. Whitmer Presented Executive Budget Recommendations
Gov. Whitmer unveiled her executive budget recommendations last week 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 securing investments and support for District 1 residents. 

To learn more about executive budget recommendations and the state budget process, click here.  

Legislation Ensuring Michigan’s Clean Energy Future Takes Effect February 13
In 2023, Michigan Senate Democrats passed the Clean Energy Future plan in response to the escalating impact of climate change, and the rising frequency of severe weather events and extreme temperatures in Michigan. The Clean Energy Future plan takes effect this week — establishing clean energy and renewable energy standards, elevates energy efficiency targets, establishes a new Community and Worker Economic Transition Office and broadens the responsibilities of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).  

These laws mark significant and historic progress toward a sustainable future for Michigan and lay a solid foundation for continued work to improve Michigan’s energy industry and protect our air, land and water. Read more here. 

Legislation Ensuring Access to Reproductive Healthcare Goes into Effect  
Nearly 2.5 million Michigan voters showed overwhelming support for Proposal 3 in November 2022 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. On November 22, 2023, Michigan took another bold step forward to ensure Michigan laws reflect Michigan values when Gov. Whitmer signed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) into law. Now, Michigan is taking another step forward this week as the RHA goes into full effect.  

This legislation was crafted with constituents and advocates in mind — taking into account their diverse lived experiences and perspectives. 

New Gun Safety Laws to Protect Families Take Effect February 13 
To help protect Michigan families — particularly children — from the tragedies of gun violence and unintentional firearms injuries, a law requiring secure storage of firearms goes into effect starting Tuesday, Feb. 13.  

Under Public Act 17 of 2023, firearms must be locked and unloaded when unattended, particularly if minors are likely to be present. Failure to comply, as outlined in Public Act 16 of 2023, results in penalties, including misdemeanors and felonies, if minors gain access to improperly stored firearms.  

These measures aim to address alarming statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, revealing that many unintentional firearm injuries among minors occur due to unlocked and loaded firearms, often stored in accessible areas like nightstands. Additionally, firearms are involved in over half of Michigan’s suicide deaths. 

To ensure federally licensed firearms dealers communicate the new requirements to their customers, the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working with the state Attorney General’s Office to provide dealers with safety information on the use and storage of firearms, requirements and penalties of the new laws and lethal means counseling literature. 

To help defray the cost of purchasing firearm safety devices, additional legislation made these devices exempt from sales and use taxes through Dec. 24, 2024. Free gun safety kits can also be obtained through Project Child Safe law enforcement partners across the state. MDHHS is also working with the Michigan State Police to make gun locks available; additional details of this partnership will be announced soon. 

Find more information on the new gun safety laws here.


Call Michigan 2-1-1
Michigan 2-1-1 is a toll-free service that provides residents with information. Specialists trained to assist community members will connect you with the proper resources. From utility payment assistance to household needs, 2-1-1 is a great tool for you and your loved ones to use.  

Though based in Lansing, MI, Michigan 2-1-1 supports about seven regions in the state of Michigan. You can text, email or call for help. For more information, click here.  

Take Care of Yourself, Combat Winter Blues
The winter season can bring joy and happiness but can also have an adverse impact on mental health. It is important to consistently check in with your mental health and ensure you are getting the support you need. If you find yourself emotionally struggling or experiencing a mental health crisis, please be sure to utilize the following resources:  

  • Call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. It is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health. To learn more, click here.  
  • If you need mental health care, go to the MDHHS website for more information. 

Community Update 

Statewide Warming Centers
As the temperatures drop and power outages are apt to occur, Michiganders must know which warming centers are available and accessible in their area. If you or someone you know needs to get warm, here are some warming centers in District 1: 

Be sure to travel only if the conditions permit. If possible, call ahead to ensure the warming center has space and capacity.

Gordie Howe Bridge Survey
The Gordie Howe Bridge includes a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. The toll-free multi-use path includes one lane that will accommodate two-way pedestrian and cyclist traffic. 

Have your voice heard! The project team is seeking public input on the future operation of the multi-use path. Feedback is being accepted through an online survey and in-person at upcoming Public Information Meetings on March 19, 2024, in Detroit.