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Friends and Neighbors,  

As another school year closes out, I’m thinking of the lives we’re setting up for success with transformational investments in Michigan’s education budget. I’m also thinking of how we’re making post-graduate training and education more affordable through Michigan Achievement Scholarships and MI Reconnect.  

While everyone must decide their own best paths after high school, no one should have to make that decision based on whether they can afford it. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the best way to find money for post-graduation plans including trade school, community college, or a four-year university. Take advantage of what the FAFSA can unlock, and help spread the word that there’s more financial aid available now than ever before. 

I appreciate you keeping a pulse on our work and community happenings, and I encourage you to reach out to my office with feedback or questions regarding legislation or any assistance requests dealing with state government. 

Senator McDonald Rivet Signature

Kristen McDonald Rivet 
State Senator
District 35  

(517) 373-1725   
PO Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909   


In This Edition 

  • Legislative Updates 
  • Community Connections 
  • Community Investments 
  • Helpful Reminders, Resources, and Links 
  • Connecting with Us 

Legislative Updates 

Prioritizing Child Care Along With Pre-K For All  

It’s no secret that child care is already too expensive and scarce. While I am glad to see Michigan continue to move toward Pre-K for All, we must do it in a way that doesn’t financially crush child care providers. In his recent Midland Daily News op-Ed, Midland County Educational Service Agency Superintendent John Searles flags this major concern. John’s leadership on early child care and education is a tremendous asset for our region and why Governor Whitmer and I held our Early Childhood Roundtable at one of his centers.  

Senator McDonald Rivet in Cte.

The cost of not including childcare centers in this [Pre-K for All] effort would have a ripple effect on the availability of infant and toddler care, ultimately making it unaffordable… These centers often operate on economies of scale, with funding from older children helping to offset the costs of caring for infants and toddlers.”  –John Searles, Superintendent, 

 Midland County ESA, pictured above with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer & Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet 

The Child Care For All plan I introduced with legislative partners earlier this spring addresses pressing needs in this space. The plan calls for an investment of $1.5 billion now because only an immediate, sustained public investment will change the trajectory of this crisis. The cost of our plan is far less than the $2.8 billion Michigan loses annually according to the recent study by the Michigan and U.S. Chambers of Commerce. I’m fighting to make sure our FY25 State Budget decisions alleviate Michiganders’ child care challenges and avoid compounding related economic losses.  

Improving Officer Recruitment by Upgrading Retirement Benefits  

As of last spring, about 17% of corrections officer positions statewide were vacant, resulting in frequent 16-hour workdays due to mandatory overtime. This has contributed to corrections officers facing mental health, substance abuse, and family issues. With the aim of attracting and retaining more talent to improve workforce numbers in this field, along with the safety and well-being of all Michiganders, I joined Senators John Cherry and Sue Shink in introducing Senate Bills 165167 

Together, these bills would amend the State Police Retirement Act (SB 165 and 167) and the State Employees’ Retirement Act (my SB 166) to allow certain employees to switch into the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) including corrections officers, conservation officers, and State Police motor carrier troopers. Our legislation also provides for employees hired after September 30, 2024 to automatically be placed in the SPRS hybrid pension plan.  

In our budget work this spring, the Senate included the costs of implementing our proposed changes to the state retirement system in FY25 department budgets: $16.4M in the Corrections Budget, $500,000 in the MSP budget, and $50,000 in EGLE. As we work to finalize the state budget, this is one of several priorities I’m championing.  

Cost & Environmentally Friendly Changes for Medical Sharps Disposal Requirements  

Reports of Statewide projections through 2050

Michigan’s current requirement to dispose of medical sharps containers every 90 days, regardless of whether or how much they have been filled, is an outlier compared to the national standard. Knowing we could reduce waste, save time, and lower costs for all the entities using medical sharps containers, I introduced legislation to revise Michigan’s disposal requirements. Senate Bill 482 would allow sharps containers to remain in use until they are three-quarters filled, or 18 months after the date of the first sharps disposal into the container, whichever is first.  

I testified in support of my legislation last fall and was happy to see the Senate pass it unanimously in November. Last month, the House Health Policy Committee recommended my bill for a full House vote. I’m eager to see this practical measure clear the House and get to the Governor’s desk. 

Equal Insurance Coverage for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatments  

In late May, Gov. Whitmer signed Senate Bill 27 into law. This bipartisan legislation incorporates the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 into state law, requiring insurers to cover treatments for mental health and substance use disorders at the same level as physical health services.  

I am always supportive of stabilizing and uplifting Michiganders so they can achieve more for themselves and their families. Closing existing loopholes so our kids, adults, and seniors can access behavioral healthcare with the same deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket maximums as physical healthcare is a smart step.  

Working to Deliver a Budget that Builds Better Lives 

The Senate and House continue negotiating our respective budgets so that we may deliver a final Fiscal Year 2025 State Budget draft to the governor by the July 1 deadline. At every step, my team and I are fighting for responsive and fiscally responsible measures that will strengthen foundations for children, put more opportunities within reach of hardworking residents, and make Michiganders’ lives safer and more affordable 

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read our last enewsletter’s budget segment to learn more about our Michigan Senate budget priorities.  

C. Chavez  Scholarship Luncheon

Community Connections 

Michigan Senate Commemorates Memorial Day  

At the 29th annual Michigan Senate Memorial Day Service, we paid tribute to Michigan’s men and women who died in service to our country, and we recognized the ongoing sacrifices of parents, siblings, spouses, and children who survive these heroes. As my friend and colleague Senator Veronica Klinefelt shared, while her husband returned from war, our Senate gallery had many Gold Star Families whose loved ones did not.  

Case Tribute Tour

We also extended our appreciation for Michigan veterans, active military servicemembers, and their families. This year, it was my honor to host Sergeant Major Chedrick Greene. Recently retired from the United States Marine Corps Reserve, Chedrick received numerous personal decorations for his service in Iraq, has been a firefighter with the City of Saginaw Fire Department for decades, was named Firefighter of the Year in 2017, and is Board President for the Saginaw County Veterans Memorial Plaza 

Memorial Day Ceremonies and Parades in Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw   

VanOoteghem Tribute

How we spend every day, including Memorial Day, is our choice because of generations of Americans, past and present, who answered our nation’s call to defend our freedoms. I am forever grateful for our American heroes, and I was privileged to participate in several events across our 35th Senate District honoring them and their families. My thanks go to organizers and everyone who turned out to support events including ceremonies at Bay City’s USS Edson, the Midland County Veterans Memorial, and parades in Saginaw and Midland 

Saginaw Spirit, Region Soar Hosting 2024 Memorial Cup 

Senator McDonal Rivet Coffee Hour graphic

The Saginaw Spirit notched a huge win on the ice in the 2024 Memorial Cup final! Since this hockey championship began in 1919, it’s only the fifth time a U.S. based team has won the Cup, and we’re just the third U.S. based team to claim the trophy. Congratulations Spirit!  

Our region scored even bigger wins with the exposure, economic activity, and enormous pride generated by hosting this prestigious tournament. For the past year, the Spirit organization, presenting sponsor Dow, countless community partners and government officials were all-in on making sure this once in a lifetime opportunity could be enjoyed by local residents as well as fans from all over. They inspired a world class effort for our community to be ready for this world stage moment, and Saginaw delivered wonderful experiences for teams and fans. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to support this venture, to be recognized with a very cool team jersey, and for the thousands of hearts and hands whose work made this event a resounding success.  

McDonald Rivet Recognized for Improving Michigan Families’ Bottom Lines  

I was in good company at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan‘s awards event last month and honored to be recognized as “Advocate of the Year” for my work to improve families’ bottom lines, affordable housing, and economic growth. Beyond the award, I am thankful for everything CEDAM and their members do, year in and year out, to help communities across Michigan thrive. 

Talking Policy
& Public Service with U of M Center for Health & Research Transformation Fellows  

I recently had the opportunity to talk about child care, public service, and the need for politics and policy focused more on delivering than division with the Health Policy Fellows from U of M’s Center for Health & Research Transformation (CHRT). Thanks to CHRT Executive Director, Marianne Udow-Phillips, for the impactful work she leads and for inviting me and my colleague, Senator Kevin Hertel, to be part of the Fellows’ time in Lansing. 

Community Investments 

$20 Million Available for Communities Disproportionately Impacted by Pollution  

Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is launching a $20 million Environmental Justice Impact Grant program. This funding aims to reduce environmental health burdens in communities across our state disproportionately impacted by pollution. The grants can be used for various purposes from removing old, contaminated buildings to protecting air quality in schools to supporting local public health initiatives.  

Community-based nonprofits, local governments, schools, child care centers, and federally recognized tribes can apply for up to $500,000. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2024, with funds awarded by early September 2024. See this guide for application details and more.  

EGLE and ‘Michigan Saves’ Launch Septic Replacement Loan Program 

Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has partnered with Michigan Saves, the nation’s first nonprofit green bank, to launch the Septic Replacement Loan Program. This program — made possible through $35 million we allocated to EGLE’s Onsite Wastewater Management Unit — provides low-interest financing options for loans up to $50,000 to Michigan homeowners needing to replace failing or near-failing septic systems. Rates, terms, and loan amounts will vary. For additional information including eligibility, visit  


Free Gun Locks Now Available at MDHHS Offices  

Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Michigan children and teens, and unintentional shootings by children have risen in recent years. One of the new gun safety measures overwhelmingly supported by Michiganders for years, in effect since February 13, 2024, is the safe storage law I introduced which requires unattended firearms to be locked and unloaded if minors are present or likely to be present.  

To help minimize the cost of purchasing firearm safety devices, the Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are offering free gun locks while supplies last. To request a free gun lock, visit your local MDHHS office or check with your local health department, some of which will have gun locks available. Free firearm safety devices may also be obtained through Project ChildSafe police partners across the state. 


Helpful Reminders, Resources, and Links 

Eastbound M-25 lane closures for patching work started June 3 in Bay City 

The Michigan Department of Transportation implemented lane closures on M-25 (McKinley Avenue/7th Street) from Madison Avenue to Veterans Memorial Bridge in Bay City for concrete patching work. Crews finished previous work on westbound M-25 (7th Street) and moved over to eastbound M-25 (McKinley Street) on June 3. One lane will remain open as crews work on each section of the roadway. Expected to finish later this month, this project will improve the safety, operations, and longevity of M-25. 


Severe Storm, Power Outage and Utilities Assistance Resources 

College and Career Training Resources and Scholarships

Mental Health Crisis Lines

  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988, or visit this Lifeline Chat, to connect with a trained crisis counselor at this free 24/7 nationwide confidential hotline. 
  • Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838-255.  
  • The Trevor Project has counselors trained in the challenges young people in the LGBTQ community face. Call 1-866-488-7386, text 678-678, or click here for their 24/7 support. 


Locating Mental Health Treatment Services 

  • Michigan 211: Call 211 or visit to speak with a live person who can help you locate long-term mental health resources or talk through a problem. 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. 

Connecting With Us 

If You Need Help 
If you have issues dealing with any state government department, including accessing unemployment benefits or tax information, 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 connect you with the most appropriate person or organization for help. 

Most Current Updates 
Social media sites are neither official government websites nor are they well suited for constituent correspondence. However, since we post frequently, our social media accounts can be a very timely way to learn about legislative action, community news and impacts. Visit my Facebook page or my Threads page. 


Our newsletters, website and constituent hours are also great ways to learn about our work.