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Dear Neighbor,

What a truly beautiful season it has been to be out and about. Whether to walk the dog, chef up something on the grill, stay up late to catch a glimpse of the recent Northern Lights show, or watch your kid’s sports game, I hope you have been able to get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and spend time with those near and dear to you.

Both in Lansing and throughout District 5, our team has been keeping busy crafting a balanced budget and making progress on legislative priorities that gets things done for Michiganders. And — as a favorite part of our work — we have been engaging with constituents, hearing first-hand what is important to the folks who call this great state home. With this newsletter, I hope to provide an update on the many things we’ve been up to.

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.


Senator Polehanki signature

Dayna Polehanki
State Senator
District 5

Featured in This Newsletter

  • In Recent News
  • Legislative Update
  • Helpful Resources



In Recent News

Loving Homes Needed During Foster Care Month

This May is Foster Care Month, and the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) wants to spread the word that more loving foster families are needed to temporarily care for children while the state works to reunify them safely with their parents.

Michigan has approximately 10,000 children in foster care and temporary foster homes are needed for children of all ages, especially teens, sibling groups and youth who have special needs. These children have been victims of abuse and neglect, and need a nurturing environment until they can be safely reunified with their parents or — in a smaller number of cases — until they can find adoptive homes when it’s not safe for them to return home.

MDHHS has shared several stories about people who have made a difference in the lives of youth in Michigan in Faces of Foster Care. To learn more about foster care, visit

EPA Awards Michigan With Historic Investment in Solar Energy for Low-Income Residents
Local and state leaders from the Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Infrastructure Office (MIO), City of Detroit, community organizations and state legislators are celebrating a historic $156 million investment in solar energy by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State of Michigan to accelerate the deployment of community and rooftop solar for thousands of low-income households across the state.

The initiative, known as the Michigan Solar for All (MISFA) program, aims to reduce utility costs for families, foster job creation, and strengthen Michigan’s advanced clean energy sector — all while moving the state toward its MI Healthy Climate Plangoals. The program is expected to make a substantial impact by providing low-income households across Michigan with access to affordable renewable energy and by enabling home repairs, reducing their energy bills by up to 20%.

To stay informed with MISFA updates, please sign up via the MI Solar for All Interest Form.

Michigan Dept. of Education and Library of Michigan Seek Nominations for Next Michigan Poet Laureate
The Michigan Dept. of Education (MDE) and the Library of Michigan are seeking public nominations for the next Michigan Poet Laureate.

The poet laureate will meet with students, teachers, and residents across the state in schools and libraries to promote poetry, spoken word, and literary arts.

Nominations can be submitted through the online form found at To be considered, nominees must:

  • Be 18 years or older with current primary residency in Michigan.
  • Have a robust and sustained body of work.
  • Be an experienced and skilled poet within the literary and/or performance formats.
  • Have the ability to work independently and have good rapport with various audiences.
  • Be skilled at communicating in public and with the media.
  • Have strong social media and promotional skills.
  • Have experience working with audiences of all ages.

Nominees must submit a list or provide links to three work samples and a statement of why they should be considered for the position of Michigan Poet Laureate. Self-nominations are also accepted. The selected nominee will serve a two-year term starting in 2025. All nominations must be received by May 20, 2024. A selection committee of MDE staff, Michigan poets, and literacy experts will review all nominated poets. The committee will provide a list of finalists to Michigan’s state librarian and superintendent of public instruction, who will decide the final candidate.

Michigan’s first state poet laureate was Edgar A. Guest, who was bestowed the title of poet laureate by the Michigan Legislature in 1952. Guest held the position until his death in 1959.

After several decades with no appointed poet laureate, the Library of Michigan and Michigan Department of Education selected award-winning poet Nandi Comer as the Michigan poet laureate in 2023. Comer’s term concludes at the end of 2024.

Find a list of upcoming poet laureate events at

Send questions about the nomination and selection process to

Legislative Updates

Working to Deliver Innovative “Building up Michigan” State Budget
Last year marked a significant milestone for Michigan Democrats as we capitalized on their first trifecta in 40 years to spearhead a transformative budget — directing vital resources into historically neglected sectors like infrastructure, education, and local communities. This comprehensive budget, encompassing various offices, departments, initiatives, projects and programs, follows an annual funding cycle, necessitating the State Legislature to craft a new budget each year.

Crafting this state budget is a collaborative effort involving negotiations between both legislative branches and the governor, resulting in a new state budget being signed into law each year to distribute funding to residents, schools, communities, businesses, local governments and more.

Currently, we’re in an exciting moment with our budget process with the Senate completing the passage of our budget proposal this week, continuing the transformative investments of the previous year and taking an innovative approach to addressing the needs of all Michiganders. Highlights of our “Building Up Michigan” budget proposal include record school funding, increased access to community college for students, significant funding for local communities and efforts to lower costs for state residents.

As we work to deliver a final budget by the end of June, I encourage you to learn more about the process and the investments we’re looking to make to support communities across Michigan — read more here. We will have more updates to share on the budget process this week.

Senate Democrats Introduce Bills to Codify Capitol Weapons Ban
Earlier this month, Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Keego Harbor) introduced SB 857 and SB 858, respectively, which would codify a weapons ban enacted by the Michigan State Capitol Commision in 2023 and expand it to include the state Senate and House office buildings. This legislation is vital to protecting all visitors to our State Capitol, especially children and school groups, and making sure people aren’t intimidated out of participating in democracy and attending committee hearings and visiting their lawmakers.

The legislation also would maintain an exemption allowing sitting members of the Legislature to carry concealed firearms. The bills were referred to the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

70th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education Decision 

70th anniversary Brown vs Board graphic

May 17 marks the 70th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education milestone Supreme Court decision which ruled that separating children in public schools based on race was unconstitutional. While we honor this important victory in our country’s history and the civil rights progress that has been made thus far, let us also recommit to the necessary work ahead to make our systems and communities more equitable and inclusive for all.

Senate Democrats Fight to Expand Access to Mental Health Care
Throughout our state, communities are grappling with the issue of having too little access to mental health support — a crisis particularly affecting young Michiganders and our veterans. That’s why Senate Democrats took action and made critical investments in the 2024 State Budget to address this gap in coverage and ensure all Michigan residents who need assistance can access it. A few highlights of the investments we have made thus far in mental health care include:

  • $280 million for certified community behavioral health clinics to expand access to care.
  • $328 million in the education budget to address the mental health and safety concerns of students and teachers.
  • $1.2 million for suicide prevention programs to help military veterans and their families.

As we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month and as we continue to craft our budget for 2025, my colleagues and I remain committed to ensuring every person in our state can access essential services and programs to improve their mental health and overall well-being. Together, we can break down barriers to care and create a healthier, more resilient Michigan.

Senate Introduces Bipartisan “Safer Michigan Act” to Reduce Future Crime
Last week, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a package of bills known as the “Safer Michigan Act (SB 861864) to establish Productivity Credits, which provide incentives for eligible inmates to participate in and complete programs proven to reduce the likelihood of future crime. Productivity Credits are a proven safety strategy to reduce recidivism and prepare people who are incarcerated to return to their communities.

The Safer Michigan Act is sponsored by Sen. Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) (SB 861), Sen. Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville) (SB 862), Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) (SB 863), and Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp.) (SB 864) and has the support of thousands of crime victims, as well as law enforcement, business leaders, and faith groups in Michigan.


Essential Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

With one in five Americans and nearly 1.5 million Michiganders experiencing mental health issues each year, it’s important to remind ourselves to care for our mental and emotional health. If you find yourself emotionally struggling or experiencing a mental health crisis, please be sure to utilize the following resources and remember — you matter!

Crisis Lines

  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988 is a 24/7 toll-free nationwide hotline that provides confidential and compassionate care for anyone struggling with behavioral health issues, emotional distress or substance use crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or visit their Lifeline Chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: The Veterans Crisis line provides veterans and their family members with 24/7, confidential support. To connect, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838-255. You do not have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.
  • Trevor Lifeline: The Trevor Project has trained counselors who understand the challenges young people in the LGBTQ community face and are available for support 24/7. Call 1-866-488-7386, text 678-678, or click here to speak with a crisis counselor.
Locating Treatment Services
  • Michigan 211: If you need assistance locating long-term mental health resources, talking through a problem, or exploring mental health treatment options, call 211 or visit to speak with a live person who can help. 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.
Guidance on Creating Tick-Safe Zones Around Residential Properties
The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is advising Michigan residents of the dangers of ticks and providing tips for preventing encounters. As warmer weather approaches, so does the increased risk of tick encounters, posing potential health threats to people and pets enjoying outdoor activities.

There are more than 20 known tick species in Michigan. Most often, they survive by feeding on wildlife. Several species of ticks are known to bite people and pets; and the insects may harbor dangerous bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Not all ticks carry diseases, but tick-related diseases (including Lyme disease) do occur in Michigan and can be serious or fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated.

Here are some simple techniques to help reduce tick populations around your home:

  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-foot-wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns, wooded areas, patios, and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Maintain short grass in lawns and keep leaves raked.
  • Stack wood neatly in a dry area to discourage rodents that ticks feed on.
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees. If possible, place these items in a sunny location.

If you do choose to use pesticides, follow these safety tips:

  • Always follow label directions and wear the personal protective equipment specified on the label.
  • Store pesticides in their original containers with proper labels.
  • Keep pesticides locked up and out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Use the amount specified on the label. Using additional product will not be more effective and may harm you, your pets, and/or the environment.
  • Wash clothes that have been in contact with pesticides separately.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after using a pesticide, including insect repellents.
  • Use the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to find a repellent product that is right for you.

If you are interested in hiring a pesticide applicator to manage pests for you, choose a firm licensed by MDARD. Licensed firms meet the necessary education and experience requirements and employ pesticide applicators who have passed MDARD’s proficiency examinations. Their training and experience will help prevent accidental pesticide misuse that could harm people, pets, livestock, and the environment.

For additional information about ticks, including how to identify and remove a tick, visit the MDHHS website. Learn more about pesticide safety at

Help Prevent the Spread of Invasive Plant Pests This Spring
It’s finally spring in Michigan and that means Michiganders are thinking about what they want to plant in their garden this year. As gardening season gets underway, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is asking people to learn about the risks posed by invasive plant pests, diseases, and harmful weeds and what you can do to help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.

Here are a few simple ways you can help limit the spread of invasive species:

  • Learn to spot invasive pests posing a threat to agriculture and the environment in your area. Report signs of invasive plant pests and diseases at
  • Purchase heat-treated firewood or buy wood where you burn it to avoid unintentionally spreading species that hide in untreated firewood.
  • When traveling, be aware of pests residing in your destination to avoid returning with them in tow. For international travel, declare food, plants and other agricultural items to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure these items are pest-free.

You can also check out MDARD’s Buggin’ Out video series for information about invasive species, beneficial insects, pest management and more.

Storm Resources from EGLE
With the tragic devastation caused by the tornadoes that recently ripped through southwest Michigan, the realities of storm season are fresh on our minds. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) encourages Michiganders to prepare as much as possible for severe storm events prior to them occurring. Here are some resources they recommend starting with:

Explore High-Wage, In-Demand Careers during Professional Trades Month
With more than 520,000 Michigan jobs and approximately 45,500 annual openings in the professional trades projected by the year 2030, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to proclaim May as Professional Trades Month. The annual observance honors hard-working Michiganders in professional trades while encouraging students and adults to explore education and career opportunities leading to high-wage, in-demand careers.

Businesses across Michigan need highly skilled workers in sectors such as agriculture, construction, education, energy, healthcare, hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, mobility and outdoor recreation. Many of these high-demand, high-wage careers do not require a four-year degree and have pathways that focus on credentials, certificates, on-the-job training and Registered Apprenticeships.

To learn more about high-wage, in-demand career opportunities in the professional trades, Michiganders can explore the following resources: