Dear Neighbor,

I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones in good health and high spirits as we kick off the month of April. I also hope you had a wonderful spring break with your family, creating lasting memories and enjoying some well-deserved relaxation.

As we transition into the warmer months, I encourage you to take advantage of the longer days and pleasant weather by spending time outdoors, whether it’s exploring our beautiful state parks, going for a hike, or simply sitting in your backyard. Nature has a way of rejuvenating our spirits and bringing us closer together, so let’s make the most of this spring season.

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.


Featured in This Newsletter

  • In Recent News
  • Legislative Update
  • Helpful Resources

In Recent News


AG Nessel Warns Renters, Homebuyers of Fraudulent Real Estate Ads, Zillow Scams in New Alert
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has issued a new consumer alert, Real Estate Scams – How to Avoid Being Taken in by Fake Listings, to educate renters and homebuyers on how to avoid property scams, spurred by recent reports. Fraudulent real estate listings often advertise properties that don’t exist, are not for sale or rent, or are not what they appear to be.

Nessel’s alert cites Zillow’s advice on the red flags homebuyers should look out for:

  • Requests to wire funds;
  • Long-distance solicitations;
  • Requests for verification codes;
  • Requests for personal or financial information; and
  • Grammar/spelling errors and sob stories.

The red flags for rental listing scams are similar to those that exist in homebuying fraud schemes. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), using the following strategies can help you avoid being a victim of a rental scam:

  • Conduct an online search;
  • Examine the price of similar units;
  • Look carefully at the property before you sign or pay;
  • Never provide personal or financial information; and
  • Don’t pay with cash.

If you believe you have been the victim of a rental scam or real estate scam, report it to:

  • Your local law enforcement agency;
  • The FTC; and,
  • The website where the ad was posted.

You can also file a complaint with the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team:


Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll-free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form

Clean Energy Future Legislation Creates Community & Worker Economic Transition Office
As part of our Clean Energy Future legislative package, signed into law last year, a new state office was created: the Community and Worker Economic Transition Office. The new office will develop proactive strategies and deploy resources to help companies and Michiganders take advantage of economic opportunities as the state shifts to high-tech advancements.

Housed in the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), this office will lead the development of a statewide plan for advancement into high-tech EV manufacturing and clean energy opportunities. It will strengthen the state’s workforce by connecting workers to quality jobs and assisting employers in accessing resources for equipment upgrades and training to meet the demand in these sectors.

Michigan’s Economic Transition Office is the first in the nation to address shifts to renewable energy in both the utility and auto sectors.

The Economic Transition Office will continue working closely with community leaders and stakeholders to shape a dynamic, diverse economy. It will craft and implement strategies to tackle the key challenges across our state’s regions. Additionally, it will serve as a central resource hub for regional and federal information, offering technical assistance, capacity-building support and sharing best practices to help communities access resources effectively.

The Economic Transition Office will help workers on their path to these high-tech, high-pay jobs by increasing awareness of and decreasing barriers to accessing resources, as well as partnering with community leaders to influence design of new programs that fill gaps. The office will collaborate with workforce partners, ensuring priority populations receive proactive outreach.

The office aims to boost Michigan’s economy and equity by prioritizing small and medium-sized businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, and those affected by manufacturing job losses. It supports businesses that offer good wages, decent benefits and fair treatment for workers.

To learn more about the Community & Worker Economic Transition Office and to sign up for updates, visit

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, 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, the Michigan Dept. of Tranportation (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 two miles to just one mile, making the journey smoother for everyone. See how the zipper merge works 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.

Community Center Grant Funding in Local Communities
On March 1, 2024, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced $64 million in Community Center Grant funds for 100 Michigan municipalities and organizations. These grants will expand programming or work on capital projects to serve 1.6 million Michiganders and build on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ‘Make it in Michigan’ strategy to win projects, invest in people and revitalize places. Community centers serve as a local resource hub for education, recreation and fellowship.

The grantees provide the following services: after-school programming, workforce development, recreational activities, supporting older adults and more. Grants will be awarded to 69 nonprofit agencies, 22 local government agencies and nine schools and universities across the state.

To learn more about grant recipients, please click here.


Legislative Updates

Senate Democrats Pass the Fertility Health Care Act
Just weeks after the shocking Alabama court ruling that declared that frozen embryos have equal legal rights as children, jeopardizing fertility treatments such as IVF, Michigan Senate Democrats voted on the final passage of House Bills 5207-5215, which eliminate barriers to parentage in fertility health care and allows Michiganders more ways to grow their families. Gov. Whitmer signed those bills into law on April 1.
Currently in Michigan, children born through assisted reproduction, such as IVF and surrogacy, have no clear legal link to their parents. Additionally, Michigan is the only state that criminalizes paid surrogacy which leaves many children in Michigan born through assisted reproduction or surrogacy without clear legal protection and vulnerable uncertainty regarding their legal status. This legislation will address these concerns to help keep families together, including same sex couples and those who choose IVF or surrogacy.

While reproductive rights face threats across the country, Michigan Senate Democrats are committed to dismantling barriers to ensure that those who want to start a family can.

These bills now head to the governor’s desk for signature.

Michigan Senate Democrats Pass Legislation to Tackle Predatory Payday Loan Practices
Last month, the Senate Democrats passed a bipartisan bill to cap interest rates on predatory payday loans in Michigan. Currently, there are no restrictions on these interest rates and lenders have been charging residents up to 370% on payday loans. Under the legislation spearheaded by Sen. Sarah Anthony, the cap would be set at 36%.

In Michigan, 7 out of 10 payday borrowers fall into a cycle of debt, immediately taking out new loans after repaying their previous ones. Moreover, a substantial three-quarters of payday lenders’ profits stem from borrowers caught in a cycle of at least 10 loans per year.

The predatory practices of payday lenders lead borrowers to face a higher risk of bankruptcy than those in similar financial situations who do not borrow from such institutions. Studies also show that payday lending stores are more likely to operate in Black and Latino communities, which can contribute to long-term economic disparities. Senate Bill 632 addresses these issues by proposing a cap on interest rates for payday loans in Michigan.

During discussion of the legislation in the Senate Committee on Finance, Insurance, and Consumer Protection, testimony showed how financially and emotionally devastating predatory payday loan practices are to Michiganders. These lenders tend to target and adversely impact those in rural areas and marginalized communities. More than 100 organizations from around the state also indicated their support for the bill.

The bill now moves to the House for further consideration. If the bill passes in the House and the governor signs the legislation into law, Michigan will join 20 other states and the District of Columbia in implementing similar measures.

Senate Passes Bipartisan Government Transparency Bills Out of Committee
This year, the Michigan Senate is taking significant steps to shine light on state government by advancing two bipartisan bills from the Senate Oversight Committee.

These bills, Senate Bills 669 and 670, would bring both the Michigan Legislature and the governor’s office under the Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In other words, these measures would require compliance with the state’s existing FOIA regulations.

Senate Bills 669 and 670 represent a departure from past efforts by integrating the Legislature into Michigan’s FOIA, a response to years of Senate inaction, and aim to address the state’s poor government integrity ranking due to the exclusion of state lawmakers and the governor’s office from records requests.

This FOIA legislation would set a new precedent in Michigan government, changing the political landscape.

Senate Passes Legislation to Protect Voters, Prevent Use of Firearms for Intimidation During Election Process
Michigan Senate Democrats passed House Bills 4127 and 4128, legislation that will ban open carry of firearms within 100 feet of polling places and ballot drop boxes during elections.

These bills aim to prevent forms of voter intimidation against those participating in the democratic process or election officials. This aligns Michigan with several other states such as Florida, Texas and Mississippi. These bills will be returned to the House for consideration.



Virtual Resource Fair for Families of Children with Special Health Care Needs
The Family Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Michigan Family to Family, and Michigan Family Voices are teaming up for a Virtual Resource Fair on May 7, 2024, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.

This event is meant to inform individuals with disabilities and their families, caregivers, youth, providers, and community support about the variety of services and resources available in Michigan for children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs, and their families.

Register here.

New Website Available to Help Track Your Status of Benefits
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched a brand new website MI Bridges to help Michiganders applying for assistance monitor their benefits status. The tool tracks five benefits programs: health care coverage, the food assistance program, cash assistance, child development and care, and state emergency relief.

Applicants can receive assistance through the MI Bridges virtual assistant chat or by calling the MI Bridges help desk at 844-799-9876. Visit for more information.

Small Businesses Impacted by Lack of Snow to Apply for Federal Funding
As Michigan continues to face record-high winter temperatures, small businesses impacted by the lack of snow this winter are urged to apply for federal funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Amid the warmest winter on record, with days in February and March topping 60 degrees, federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available because of ongoing federal drought declarations affecting 42 Michigan counties.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans are designed to help businesses through disaster situations that have impacted their economic well-being. Loans are up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Businesses pay no interest on the loan for the first year and a maximum rate of 4% for the rest of the loan period. Businesses must apply by the application deadline for their county.

Submit applications and find additional disaster assistance information at Call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech-related disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. Applicants may also contact the Michigan Small Business Development Center at 1-833-522-0025 or email

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.

Many Michiganders who are working hard but earning the least will now be able to keep more in their wallets thanks to the expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit, championed by legislative Democrats last year. Those who qualify began receiving 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, Michigan 2-1-1 supports several regions in our state. You can text, email or call for help. For more information, click here