Now that we’ve come to the end of the legislative session, I’m excited to provide you with some updates on all of the work that we’ve accomplished in the latter half of the year.
As we move into the holiday season, I’m sharing some community updates and resources for all of you in District 8.
As always, my office is here to assist you! If you have questions or need assistance, you can email my office at SenMMcMorrow@senate.michigan.gov or call (517)373-2523.
Featured in this Newsletter
- Legislative Updates
- Community Updates
- Community Resources
Expanding Opportunities for Clean, Renewable Energy
As we continue to see climate change bring an increasing amount of severe weather events and extreme temperatures to Michigan, the State Senate took a significant step toward tackling the issue and creating a healthier, more sustainable environment with the passage of the Clean Energy Future plan (Senate Bills 271, 273, 277, 502 and 519). This legislation will set long-awaited clean energy and renewable energy standards, increase energy efficiency target, create a new Community and Worker Economic Transition Office and expand the role of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).
These bills make 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.
Reproductive Health Act Expands Healthcare Access
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 October 19, the Michigan Senate took the first steps in expanding healthcare access by passing the Reproductive Health Act, Senate Bills 474–477. The following week, the Senate took another step in protecting reproductive freedom in Michigan by passing Senate Bill 593.
The Reproductive Health Act is a series of nine bills repealing many arbitrary and harmful restrictions and hurdles that have been put in place to restrict access to these services. This bill package is now headed to Gov. Whitmer’s desk after being passed by the House and Senate. Last November, Michiganders voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prop 3 which enshrined abortion rights in the state’s constitution.
This legislation will ensure continued access to safe, legal abortion by preventing criminal punishment for miscarriages and stillbirths; removing medically unnecessary rules that shut down clinics; and allowing private insurance companies to include coverage for all pregnancy-related healthcare, including abortion.
I spoke out on the Senate floor against a Republican amendment that tried to stoke fear and derail this legislation.
This received bipartisan support and will protect and expand access to reproductive healthcare for Michiganders statewide. More importantly, the Reproductive Health Act better aligns Michigan’s laws with the new reproductive health protections in Michigan’s constitution and the repeal of the 1931 abortion ban passed by Senate Democrats earlier this year.
For a long time, Michigan was one of only two states where lawmakers did not have to file any type of public report about their personal finances. After extensive input from stakeholders and lawmakers, bipartisan financial disclosure Senate Bills 613–616, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), passed the Senate nearly unanimously and are now one step closer to helping improve government transparency and codify Proposal 1 of 2022 — which was supported by 2.8 million Michigan voters just last year.
Per Proposal 1 of 2022, and going beyond it, the legislation passed would ensure that starting next year on April 15th, each lawmaker must disclose:
- Every source of income;
- Assets held for investment or production of income;
- Significant liabilities;
- Positions held in organizations;
- Future employment agreements;
- Spouse’s occupation and more.
Expanded Voting Rights
Governor Whitmer signed legislation expanding voting rights in Michigan
House Bill 4567 removes rules to automatically challenge certain ballots which will expedite the voting for all and make it easier for clerks to process election results. House Bill 4568 eliminates a law that prohibits taking an Uber or Lyft to a polling place. Senate Bill 470 authorizes the Secretary of State to establish a system so Michigan’s active-duty service members can electronically return their absentee ballots.
What is it? Sine Die usually takes place on even years in December. This year, Senate Democrats pushed for a November adjournment in order to ensure that a law goes into effect on time setting Michigan’s presidential primary election for Feb. 27. That also means legislation that passed this year — but Michigan Republicans refused to give immediate effect to — will go into law in early 2024 instead of 2025.
November is Native American Heritage Month
U.S. President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November Native American Heritage Month on August 3, 1990. Since then, Native American Heritage Month has been observed across the country each November to celebrate and commemorate Indigenous people and their rich histories.
Native American cultures, traditions and ways of life truly enrich our communities. It is important the contributions of Native American people and their ancestors are acknowledged and honored, especially within the state of Michigan. Read more here.
November is National Diabetes Month
Over 10 percent of Americans have Type 1, Type 2, or gestational diabetes, and tens of millions more remain at risk of developing this chronic condition. But access to good medical care and affordable medicines help prevent diabetes health problems.
Despite it costing only $10 to manufacture a vial of insulin, drug companies can charge more than 30 times that, leaving families struggling financially to afford their medication.
The MI legislature is working on this very issue. SB 483, 484 and 485 would establish a PDAB to help make life-saving prescriptions like insulin more affordable for Michigan residents and make pharmaceutical companies more accountable to the people of Michigan. This legislation is currently in the House – we hope to see it pass in the new year. If this is legislation you support, reach out to your state representative!
Take Steps to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
As the fall season is in full swing, immunizations and testing continue to be critical tools in managing the spread of COVID-19. To help keep yourself and your community healthy, I encourage you to take advantage of the free vaccine and testing options available to you.
Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Against New Variants
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends all Michiganders 6 months and older receive the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine which is designed to provide protection against severe COVID-19 disease from currently circulating variants.
Most Michigan residents can still get a COVID-19 vaccine for free. For people with health insurance, most plans will cover COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Michigan residents who don’t have health insurance or have health plans that do not cover the cost can reach out to a health care provider or local pharmacy participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program, their health department or visit Vaccines.gov for additional information on ways to obtain a free vaccine.
For more information, click here.
Testing Options: At-Home and In-Person
As of September 25, 2023, all U.S. residents are able to go to COVIDTests.govand sign up to receive up to four free at-home tests per household delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) also continues to partner with libraries across the state to provide free at-home COVID-19 tests to Michiganders. Click here for a list of participating libraries.
For Michiganders who are thinking about plans for in-person testing, Michigan.gov/COVIDTest remains in place to assist in locating a testing site.
Resources for Michiganders Affected by the UAW Strike
In light of recent events, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has offered their assistance to all affected state business owners and workers — including the following resources:
- The Claimant Roadmap
- First-time filer coaching sessions
- UIA Community Connect
- Assistance with resetting account passwords
- Work Share
- Registration and Seeking Work Waiver
- Employer Filed Claims
To connect with your local Michigan Works! service center for career services, call (800) 285-WORKS (9675) or visit Michigan.gov/MichiganWorks. For additional assistance, workers can schedule appointments at Michigan.gov/UIAor call Customer Service at (866) 500-0017.