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Dear Neighbor, 

As Mother’s Day is May 12, I want to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the incredible mothers and mother figures who bring love, strength, and joy into our lives! Mother’s Day is a time to reflect on the immeasurable impact that mothers have on our families, communities, and society. A mother’s love knows no bounds, their sacrifices are endless, and their wisdom is invaluable.

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.


Senator Geiss Signature

Erika Geiss
State Senator
District 1


In This Edition

  • In Recent News 
    • Teacher Appreciation Week 
    • Nurses Appreciation Week 
    • EPA Awards Michigan With Historic Investment in Solar Energy for Low-Income Residents 
    • Michigan Department of Education and Library of Michigan Seek Nominations for Next Michigan Poet Laureate 
  • Legislative Updates 
    • Working to Deliver a Fiscally Responsible State Budget 
    • Senate Democrats Introduce Bills to Codify Capitol Weapons Ban 
    • Senate Democrats Recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day  During Public Health Week 
    • Senate Democrats Fight to Expand Access to Mental Health Care 
  • Resources 
    • Essential Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month 
    • Guidance on Creating Tick-Safe Zones Around Residential Properties 
    • Help Prevent the Spread of Invasive Plant Pests This Spring 
  • Community Update 
    • Wayne County Air Quality Monitor Installation 

In Recent News

Teacher Appreciation Week

As we mark Teacher Appreciation Week from May 5-11, it is important to express gratitude to all the teachers and education professionals who dedicate themselves to shaping the minds of our future generations. We all have that one teacher or educator who made a lasting impact on our lives and whose influence goes far beyond the classroom. Let us remember to appreciate and thank educators not just during this special week, but every week. Their hard work and passion for teaching deserve our recognition and support.

Nurses Appreciation Week
Throughout National Nurses Week, from May 6 to May 12, this is the perfect time to celebrate our brilliant, amazing nurses nationwide. Nurses have a profound impact on our healthcare system and the lives of countless individuals. As a senator who prioritizes health equity, the nursing profession is essential to our state.

Let us take this week to honor and recognize the incredible nurses who work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of their patients and communities.

EPA Awards Michigan With Historic Investment in Solar Energy for Low-Income Residents
Local and state leaders from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Infrastructure Office (MIO), City of Detroit, community organizations and state legislators are celebrating a historic $156 million investment in solar energy by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State of Michigan to accelerate the deployment of community and rooftop solar for thousands of low-income households across the state.

The initiative, known as the Michigan Solar for All (MISFA) program, aims to reduce utility costs for families, foster job creation, and strengthen Michigan’s advanced clean energy sector – all while moving the state toward its MI Healthy Climate Plan goals. The program is expected to make a substantial impact by providing low-income households across Michigan with access to affordable renewable energy and by enabling home repairs, reducing their energy bills by up to 20%.

To stay informed with MISFA updates, please sign up via the MI Solar for All Interest Form.

Michigan Department of Education and Library of Michigan Seek Nominations for Next Michigan Poet Laureate
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Library of Michigan are seeking public nominations for the next Michigan Poet Laureate.

The poet laureate will meet with students, teachers, and residents across the state in schools and libraries to promote poetry, spoken word, and literary arts.

Nominations can be submitted through the online form found at To be considered, nominees must:

  • Be 18 years or older with current primary residency in Michigan.
  • Have a robust and sustained body of work.
  • Be an experienced and skilled poet within the literary and/or performance formats.
  • Have the ability to work independently and have good rapport with various audiences.
  • Be skilled at communicating in public and with the media.
  • Have strong social media and promotional skills.
  • Have experience working with audiences of all ages.

Nominees must submit a list or provide links to three work samples and a statement of why they should be considered for the position of Michigan Poet Laureate. Self-nominations are also accepted. The selected nominee will serve a two-year term starting in 2025. All nominations must be received by May 20, 2024. A selection committee of MDE staff, Michigan poets, and literacy experts will review all nominated poets. The committee will provide a list of finalists to Michigan’s state librarian and superintendent of public instruction, who will decide the final candidate.

Michigan’s first state poet laureate was Edgar A. Guest, who was bestowed the title of poet laureate by the Michigan Legislature in 1952. Guest held the position until his death in 1959.

After several decades with no appointed poet laureate, the Library of Michigan and Michigan Department of Education selected award-winning poet Nandi Comer as the Michigan poet laureate in 2023. Comer’s term concludes at the end of 2024.

Find a list of upcoming poet laureate events at

Send questions about the nomination and selection process to

Legislative Updates

Working to Deliver a Fiscally Responsible State Budget
Last year marked a significant milestone for Michigan Democrats as we capitalized on their first trifecta in 40 years to spearhead a transformative budget — directing vital resources into historically neglected sectors like infrastructure, education, and local communities. This comprehensive budget, encompassing various offices, departments, initiatives, projects and programs, follows an annual funding cycle, necessitating the State Legislature to craft a new budget each year.

Crafting this state budget is a collaborative effort involving negotiations between both legislative branches and the governor, resulting in a new state budget being signed into law each year to distribute funding to residents, schools, communities, businesses, local governments and more.

Currently, we’re in the thick of our annual budget process with subcommittees reporting out proposals for the full Appropriations Committee’s consideration. As we work to deliver a budget by the end of June, I encourage you to learn more about the process and the investments we’re looking to make to support communities across Michigan — read more here. We will have more updates to share on the budget process this week.

Senate Democrats Introduce Bills to Codify Capitol Weapons Ban
Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Keego Harbor) introduced SB 857 and SB 858, respectively, on Thursday, May 2, which would codify a weapons ban enacted by the Michigan State Capitol Commision in 2023 and expand it to include the state Senate and House office buildings. This legislation is vital to protecting all visitors to our State Capitol, especially children and school groups, and making sure people aren’t intimidated out of participating in democracy and attending committee hearings and visiting their lawmakers.

The legislation also would maintain an exemption allowing sitting members of the Legislature to carry concealed firearms. The bills were referred to the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Senate Democrats Recognize Holocaust Remembrance Day  

Senator Geiss Black Maternal Health Graphic

Michigan Senate Democrats passed Senate Resolution 116 on Thursday, May 2, to commemorate May 6, 2024, as Holocaust Remembrance Day in Michigan. The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield).

Senate Democrats Fight to Expand Access to Mental Health Care
Throughout our state, communities are grappling with the issue of having too little access to mental health support — a crisis particularly affecting young Michiganders and our veterans. That’s why Senate Democrats took action and made critical investments in the 2024 State Budget to address this gap in coverage and ensure all Michigan residents who need assistance can access it. A few highlights of the investments we have made thus far in mental health care include:

  • $280 million for certified community behavioral health clinics to expand access to care.
  • $328 million in the education budget to address the mental health and safety concerns of students and teachers.
  • $1.2 million for suicide prevention programs to help military veterans and their families.

As we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month and as we continue to craft our budget for 2025, my colleagues and I remain committed to ensuring every person in our state can access essential services and programs to improve their mental health and overall well-being. Together, we can break down barriers to care and create a healthier, more resilient Michigan.


Essential Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month 

Maternal Health Package Graphic

With one in five Americans and nearly 1.5 million Michiganders experiencing mental health issues each year, it’s important to remind ourselves to care for our mental and emotional health. If you find yourself emotionally struggling or experiencing a mental health crisis, please be sure to utilize the following resources and remember — you matter!

Crisis Lines

  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988 is a 24/7 toll-free nationwide hotline that provides confidential and compassionate care for anyone struggling with behavioral health issues, emotional distress or substance use crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or visit their Lifeline Chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: The Veterans Crisis line provides veterans and their family members with 24/7, confidential support. To connect, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838-255. You do not have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.
  • Trevor Lifeline: The Trevor Project has trained counselors who understand the challenges young people in the LGBTQ community face and are available for support 24/7. Call 1-866-488-7386, text 678-678, or click here to speak with a crisis counselor.

Locating Treatment Services

  • Michigan 211: If you need assistance locating long-term mental health resources, talking through a problem, or exploring mental health treatment options, call 211 or visit to speak with a live person who can help. All conversations are confidential, can be made anonymously, and are available in 180 languages upon request.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Visit, a confidential and anonymous resource, to locate treatment facilities for mental and substance use disorders near you.
  • Michigan Community Mental Health Services Programs: CMHSPs provide a comprehensive range of services and supports to children, adolescents and adults with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders in all 83 Michigan counties. Find your local program here.

Guidance on Creating Tick-Safe Zones Around Residential Properties
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is advising Michigan residents of the dangers of ticks and providing tips for preventing encounters. As warmer weather approaches, so does the increased risk of tick encounters, posing potential health threats to people and pets enjoying outdoor activities.

There are more than 20 known tick species in Michigan. Most often, they survive by feeding on wildlife. Several species of ticks are known to bite people and pets; and the insects may harbor dangerous bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Not all ticks carry diseases, but tick-related diseases (including Lyme disease) do occur in Michigan and can be serious or fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated. Here are some simple techniques to help reduce tick populations around your home:


  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-foot-wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns, wooded areas, patios, and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Maintain short grass in lawns and keep leaves raked.
  • Stack wood neatly in a dry area to discourage rodents that ticks feed on.
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees. If possible, place these items in a sunny location.

If you do choose to use pesticides, follow these safety tips:

  • Always follow label directions and wear the personal protective equipment specified on the label.
  • Store pesticides in their original containers with proper labels.
  • Keep pesticides locked up and out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Use the amount specified on the label. Using additional product will not be more effective and may harm you, your pets, and/or the environment.
  • Wash clothes that have been in contact with pesticides separately.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after using a pesticide, including insect repellents.
  • Use the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to find a repellent product that is right for you.

If you are interested in hiring a pesticide applicator to manage pests for you, choose a firm licensed by MDARD. Licensed firms meet the necessary education and experience requirements and employ pesticide applicators who have passed MDARD’s proficiency examinations. Their training and experience will help prevent accidental pesticide misuse that could harm people, pets, livestock, and the environment.

For additional information about ticks, including how to identify and remove a tick, visit the MDHHS website. Learn more about pesticide safety at

Help Prevent the Spread of Invasive Plant Pests This Spring
It’s finally spring in Michigan and that means Michiganders are thinking about what they want to plant in their garden this year. As gardening season gets underway, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking people to learn about the risks posed by invasive plant pests, diseases, and harmful weeds and what you can do to help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.

Here are a few simple ways you can help limit the spread of invasive species:

  • Learn to spot invasive pests posing a threat to agriculture and the environment in your area. Report signs of invasive plant pests and diseases at
  • Purchase heat-treated firewood or buy wood where you burn it to avoid unintentionally spreading species that hide in untreated firewood.
  • When traveling, be aware of pests residing in your destination to avoid returning with them in tow. For international travel, declare food, plants and other agricultural items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure these items are pest-free.

You can also check out MDARD’s Buggin’ Out video series for information about invasive species, beneficial insects, pest management and more.

Community Update

Wayne County Air Quality Monitor Installation
On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, Wayne County officials announced the installation of 100 air quality monitors in every Wayne County community to address pollution concerns. The air quality monitors will measure various pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and ozone.

This installation will allow residents to follow the air quality in their communities in real-time! To keep up with what air you’re breathing, you can register to receive alerts from monitors in your community at JustAir app or visit Wayne County’s Air Quality Website.