We have officially made it through the longest month of the year, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have a little more sunlight each day. I hope you and your family are enjoying the longer days and are keeping warm as we wait for spring to arrive.
With the 2024 legislative session in full swing, I wanted to reach out and provide an update on the many things happening in Lansing. From the Governor’s State of the State Address to budget negotiations beginning — my colleagues and I have been busy working to address the needs of Michigan residents.
As always, I’d love to hear from you about the topics you’re interested in. Please feel free to reach out to my office to share your perspective or seek assistance with any challenges you may be facing with state departments — we are here to serve you. You can reach my office by calling (517) 373-7315 or emailing SenKHertel@senate.michigan.gov. I also invite you to join me at an upcoming coffee hour or district event — more details can be found here.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this newsletter — I hope to hear from you soon.
Included in This Newsletter
- Teddy’s Law Signed by Governor Whitmer
- Supporting Travel, Tourism and Hospitality with New Caucus
- 2024 Legislative Session Preview
- MI Clean Water Grant Awarded to Macomb County
- Tax Tips: Relief for Seniors and Working Families Set to Take Effect
- Upcoming Events
- Contact Us
Teddy’s Law Signed by Governor Whitmer
In 2019, video footage of thirty-two dogs who were being subjected to lab experiments in West Michigan went viral. Following the video’s release, people from across the state put pressure on the lab to allow those animals to be adopted. A local St. Clair Shores couple signed up to adopt one of those beagles, and they were lucky enough to welcome Teddy into their family.
Unfortunately, the majority of lab tested animals in Michigan do not have the same opportunity at adoption that Teddy had. After meeting Teddy and seeing him settle into his new home, I introduced legislation that requires research facilities to offer cats and dogs to an animal shelter for adoption instead of being euthanized.
After several years of working to make Teddy’s Law a reality, the legislation successfully passed the Michigan House and Senate last year and was signed by Governor Whitmer. Taking effect on February 13, 2024, these bills will help more animals across our state find a loving forever home.
Supporting Travel, Tourism and Hospitality with New Caucus
Hospitality and tourism are not just important to our state’s financial well-being, but they are a driving economic force in our lakeshore community. From Grosse Pointe to Harsens Island, Lake St. Clair fuels a robust tourism industry, making the success of countless small businesses possible.
To ensure we’re doing everything we can up in Lansing to help this industry thrive, I joined a bipartisan group of Legislators from the Michigan House and Senate to form the new Hospitality and Tourism Caucus. Our members will work with industry leaders from across the state to better understand the challenges they’re facing and identify meaningful solutions to support their work.
Read more about this new initiative here.
2024 Legislative Session Preview
State of the State Address Recap
On January 24, Governor Whitmer delivered her 2024 State of the State Address where she celebrated key legislative accomplishments from 2023 and laid out her upcoming goals for the new year.
Key takeaways from the speech include our need to lower costs, expand opportunities and make bold investments in Michigan’s greatest asset — our people — to build upon our state’s economic momentum. Last year, we began this important work by repealing the retirement tax and providing targeted tax relief for working families; however, more work still lies ahead to create a Michigan where everyone can find a good-paying job, raise a family and save for a secure retirement. As we get into the thick of the 2024 legislative session, I’m looking forward to advancing policies that improve living standards and create economic opportunity for all Michiganders.
Kicking Off the 2025 State Budget Process
On Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer presented her executive budget recommendations to a joint meeting of the Senate and House Appropriation Committees, outlining her office’s priorities for the 2025 state budget.
This presentation officially kicks off the 2025 budget process. Between now and May, Senate Appropriation Subcommittees will meet with constituents, stakeholders and fiscal experts to identify investment opportunities that will have the biggest impact on Michiganders’ everyday lives, with the goal of delivering a fiscally responsible budget by the end of June.
In the Senate, I chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military, Veterans, and State Police. Here, we work to craft a budget that promotes public safety and supports those who have answered the call to serve their community. As our Subcommittee develops a budget proposal, I’m looking forward to advocating for increased support for Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School. Together, these investments will help us build a safer, more just Michigan.
MI Clean Water Grant Awarded to Macomb County
Lake St. Clair is essential to the physical and economic health of our region. Just 430 square miles, the lake generates $1.6 billion for our state’s economy and is a source of drinking water for four million people. That’s why we need to do everything we can to protect this unmatched natural resource — including by making necessary investments in water infrastructure to protect our environment and public health.
In some exciting news, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently announced a slate of grants to help communities upgrade their water infrastructure, and Macomb County was awarded $5 million for a sewer interceptor project at the Chapaton Retention Basin. This project will provide for additional system storage during wet weather events, helping us reduce combined sewer overflows into Lake St. Clair.
Tax Tips: Relief for Seniors and Working Families Set to Take Effect
Tax season is here, so it’s time to get out your tax documents and file with the state and federal government before the deadline on Monday, April 15, 2024. This year, however, differs a great deal from previous ones, as it is the first year Michiganders can take advantage of historic tax relief the State Legislature secured in 2023 to lower costs for seniors and working families.
Rolling Back the Retirement Tax
Michigan’s retirement tax robbed seniors of their promised retirement benefits for more than a decade. Last year, I led the effort to repeal this unfair tax, which will help nearly 500,000 seniors save $1,000 annually — enabling them to enjoy a safe, secure and happy retirement.
Public police officers and firefighters, county correction officers, state troopers and sergeants will receive the full exemption beginning February 13, 2024. Michiganders from other professions will have the option to choose the best taxing situation for their retirement benefits, by opting into either the tier structure subtraction or phase-in subtraction until the full repeal takes effect in 2026. You may wish to consult a qualified tax preparer to ensure you can deduct the maximum amount of retirement benefits. For more information, click here.
Expanding Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit to 30%
Every hardworking family deserves to afford the basics — housing, food and childcare. To help alleviate financial hardship for families, the Michigan Legislature quintupled Michigan’s match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 6% to 30%. This expansion will help nearly 16,000 families in District 12 save an additional average of $689 every year. Currently, one out of every five eligible workers do not claim this credit — click here to see if you’re eligible.
The expanded Michigan EITC is also retroactive to the 2022 tax year. Individuals who claimed the Michigan EITC on their 2022 taxes can expect to receive tax rebate checks averaging approximately $550. The Michigan Department of Treasury will begin mailing these checks on February 13, 2024, and it is estimated to take between five and six weeks to print and distribute all payments.
On a similar note, if you are a low-income family or individual in Macomb County — free tax preparation assistance is available until April 15. This program is being administered by Macomb County Veterans Services in conjunction with Macomb Community Action and the Accounting Aid Society. For more information on how to take advantage of this service, click here.
It is one of my top goals as your State Senator to have myself and my office be as accessible to you as possible. To share your thoughts on legislation or seek assistance with an issue, please join me at one of our upcoming district events:
Clean Energy Future Town Hall with State Rep. Denise Mentzer and the League of Conservation Voters
WHEN: Monday, February 12 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:45 p.m.)
WHERE: Mount Clemens Public Library, 150 Cass Ave, Mount Clemens, MI 48043
Please join State Senator Kevin Hertel, State Representative Denise Mentzer, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and other local and environmental experts for a panel discussion on Michigan’s Clean Energy Future package.
Coffee and Conversation
WHEN: Friday, February 16 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: District Office, 28800 Harper, Saint Clair Shores, MI 48081
District Office Hours with Staff
WHEN: Every Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and by appointment
WHERE: District Office, 28800 Harper, Saint Clair Shores, MI 48081
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) 373-7315 or email me at SenKHertel@senate.michigan.gov.
Keep Up to Date: Our bi-weekly newsletters are full of updates on what Team Hertel has been working on both in Lansing and District 12 to deliver results for Michiganders. To keep up to date with what we’ve been up to — sign up here to receive my bi-weekly newsletter, or access previous editions online here.