Senator Polehanki District 5

Dear Neighbor, 

The Michigan presidential primary happened earlier this week on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024! Many of you took advantage of the increased access to absentee or early voting made possible through the legislative action taken by Senate Democrats to secure and expand voting rights

Additionally, we are still celebrating Black History Month! This is a great time to engage in learning about the significance of Black culture and history, especially right here in Michigan. For this month and for the rest of the year, it is important that we commemorate the accomplishments of African Americans as well as their pivotal contributions to the history of the United States. 

As always, I hope this newsletter informs you of all the exciting things happening in the Legislature and District 05. 

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 517-373-735. 


Dayna Polehanki
State Senator
District 5

Featured in This Newsletter 

  • In Recent News 
  • Legislative Update 
  • Helpful Resources 

In Recent News 


MDOT Urges Drivers to Utilize Zipper Merging to Reduce Construction Delays 

Every Michigander’s favorite season — construction season — is almost upon us, which means it’s time to gear up for the usual lane closures, traffic shuffles and detours ahead. Amidst these changes, it’s important to stay focused on the road and stay tuned in to updates, changes, or any potential delays.  

To help ease the flow of traffic and minimize headaches, MDOT is urging Michigan drivers to embrace the “zipper merge” technique when navigating through construction zones. Like the zipper on your coat, this method encourages utilizing both lanes until the merger point, allowing vehicles to take turns merging politely and orderly. MDOT says that by employing this approach, we can cut down on delays from 2 miles to just 1 mile, making the journey smoother for everyone. See how the zipper merge works here


Gov. Whitmer Launches the Battery and Advanced Manufacturing Challenge 

On February 23, Gov. Whitmer announced the Battery and Advanced Manufacturing Challenge, a $125 million strategic investment from the Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund. This investment offers matching grant dollars for battery and advanced manufacturing projects to help bring federal infrastructure in transformative projects to our state.  

I look forward to seeing how these efforts help Michigan remain a national leader in clean energy investments and jobs. For more information regarding the Make It In Michigan Competitiveness Fund and how to apply, click here.  


Gov. Whitmer Announces $72.5 Million in Blight Elimination Funds  

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced recipients of $72.5 million in grants from the State Land Bank Authority (SLBA) to support projects that convert underutilized land into affordable housing opportunities and build safer, more prosperous communities through the final rounds of the Blight Elimination Program.  

Nearly $6.5 million is aimed at stabilizing structures for future reuse, which includes housing, and $7.6 million is being directed toward the rehabilitation of mostly residential structures.  

To view a list of awardees, please click here


EGLE Announces MI Recycling Grant Applications to Help Michigan Communities 

As of February 12, 2024, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Recycling Unit is offering grants enabled by the Renew Michigan Fund for recycling infrastructure projects. The grant period is set to end on May 17, 2024.  

The following types of entities are eligible to apply:  

  • Nonprofit organizations; 
  • Tribal governments; 
  • School districts, universities/colleges;  
  • Local health departments; 
  • Regional planning agencies; 
  • Cities, villages, townships, charter townships, counties;  
  • Municipal solid waste authorities; and 
  • Resource recovery authorities. 

Michigan Senate Democrats prioritize supporting equitable, inclusive climate change priorities and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. In fiscal year 2024, EGLE will provide matching grants to increase access to recycling services and grow the statewide recycling rate.  


Michigan Green Schools Application Open Through March 3 

The Michigan Green Schools program is a fun, educational initiative that encourages students and faculty to participate in activities that are good for the environment and promote energy efficiency and savings. Any K-12 public or private school in the state may apply. Visit the Michigan Green Schools Hub to submit your application by midnight on March 3

If you need assistance with your application, check out their tutorial video or reach out to the statewide coordinator, Eileen Boekestein, at EGLE Classroom will also be hosting a MI Green Schools Helpdesk at the Michigan Science Teachers Association annual conference from March 1-2, 2024. 

For more information, visit the Michigan Green Schools’ website here


Celebrate Black History Month

Throughout the month of February, we honor the rich contributions and achievements of those within the African diaspora in our nation’s history. Join me and my Senate colleagues as we recognize the Black leaders, activists, artists and innovators who have shaped our society and continue to inspire us today. From the civil rights movement to the arts, sciences and beyond — their impact is immeasurable. During this month, let us engage in learning about Black history and promote equality and justice for all. To learn more about how the Michigan Senate Democrats have continued to embrace Black history and legacy, click here


Legislative Updates 


Earned Income Tax Credit Checks to Be Sent to Michigan Families in February 2024 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced nearly 300,000 checks worth more than $219 million have been sent to taxpayers. Once completed, the checks will put an average of $550 into Michiganders’ pockets for more than 700,000 Michigan households.  

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.

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, while protecting 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. In November 2023, we took another bold step forward to ensure Michigan laws reflect Michigan values when Gov. Whitmer signed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) into law. Now, we’ve taken another step forward as the RHA went into full effect last week.

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


New Gun Violence Prevention Laws to Protect Families Took 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 took effect on Tuesday, February 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 December 24, 2024. Free gun safety kits can also be obtained through Project ChildSafe 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


Helpful Resources 


Tax Help and Resources 

It’s tax season! Remember that the deadline to file state and federal taxes is April 15. If you have questions about filing your taxes or want to check your refund status, view account information and more, click here

Michigan families began receiving Working Families Tax Credit supplemental checks earlier this month. If you are a qualified recipient and believe there was an issue with getting your check, the Michigan Tax Help Center may be able to provide additional help.  


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