Dear Neighbors, 

As our fall legislative session continues, I wanted to share with you some updates on the progress Senate Democrats have made. We’ve been working hard — focusing on essential legislative issues that matter most to Michiganders.  

I also look forward to sharing with you some updates about our community as well as information you may find helpful. 

As always, thank you for reading my newsletter and staying informed.  

Featured in this newsletter: 

  • Legislative Updates 
  • Community Updates 
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month 
  • Michigan Reconnect Applications Open for Expanded Age Group 
  • Public Comment Needed: Federal Funding Available for High-Speed Internet Access Expansion 
  • MI Healthy Climate Corps to Launch in January 2024 
  • Take Steps to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 
  • Resources for Michiganders Potentially Affected by the UAW Strike 

Please do not hesitate to call my office at (517) 373-0990 or reply to this email if you have any questions, concerns or need assistance. 

Working for you, 

Sylvia Santana
State Senator
District 2


Legislative Updates

Ensuring Safe Drinking Water for Michigan Children

I’m grateful that Gov. Whitmer signed Senate Bill 88 into law this past Thursday. Michigan’s children deserve clean drinking water and it’s our job to ensure this happens. I appreciate my Democratic colleagues in both the House and Senate for their support in getting this crucial legislation to the Governor’s desk. With the new law in place, schools and childcare centers will now have clear guidelines to develop drinking water management plans, conduct regular lead testing and provide safe water outlets for our students. Together, we’re making a positive impact on the well-being of our communities. 

Protecting Michigan Veterans and Their Families 

I’m also pleased to share that Senate Bill 176 was signed into law this past Thursday as well. This bill, along with SB 330, protects the property tax exemption for disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. 

This is a significant victory for our disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. Our veterans have given so much to our state and country, and it’s our duty to provide them with the support they need when they return home. I again thank my Democratic colleagues and Gov. Whitmer for their support in making this legislation law. This is an important step towards honoring our veterans’ sacrifices and ensuring they receive the benefits they deserve. 

Protecting Survivors of Domestic Violence from Further Abuse 

Domestic violence is a crisis facing women and families across Michigan and the United States. The issue of domestic violence is also deeply interconnected with gun violence, as more abusers are choosing firearms as their weapon of choice.  

Currently, under state law, individuals convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor are not barred from possessing or carrying a firearm for any amount of time. To close this dangerous loophole, Sen. Stephanie Chang and Sen. Sue Shink introduced Senate Bills 471, 472 and 528.  

On October 11, the Senate voted in a bipartisan manner to keep weapons out of the hands of convicted abusers, bringing Michigan one step closer to joining the majority of states who have enhanced protections for survivors of domestic violence. Click here to read more about this legislation.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, visit the Michigan State Police webpage on domestic violence here for more information, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 

Expanding Opportunities for Clean, Renewable Energy 

The use of solar energy as a power source, particularly on farmlands, is becoming increasingly popular across the United States. Through legislative efforts, Michigan is shaping up to be a leader in promoting cost-effective clean energy practices. 

Recently, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 277, which allows farmers to rent land for solar operations while maintaining the preservation of farmland enrolled in the PA 116 program. Garnering widespread, bipartisan support from various agricultural, economic and environmental organizations — this pro-farmer, pro-property rights and pro-environment legislation will help farmers to diversify revenue sources, while moving our state towards a clean energy future. The bill awaits further action in the Michigan House. Read more here.  

Transformational State Budget Takes Effect as New Fiscal Year Begins

October 1 marked the beginning of a new fiscal year for the state of Michigan — the day when the historic state budget the Michigan Senate passed on June 28 took effect. 

Totaling $81.7 billion, the budget is full of transformative, innovative and equitable investments that will improve the lives of Michiganders. Read more about the state budget and its impact here. 


Community Updates 

Senior Luncheons in Detroit and Dearborn Heights

I had a wonderful time at our senior luncheon at Berwyn Senior Center in Dearborn Heights and Presbyterian Village at St. Martha’s in Detroit! We had great conversation and enjoyed hearing from the Secretary of State, The Senior Alliance, CCA Health and Walgreens. 


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed to honor those impacted by breast cancer and spread awareness surrounding it. In our state, breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among Michigan women. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimated that Michigan would have had 8,900 new cases of breast cancer and 1,390 deaths from breast cancer in 2022. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) urges Michiganders to put their health needs first through the following free health screening programs:  

  • The Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program (BC3NP), available statewide, provides free breast and cervical cancer screening services to low-income women.  
  • The WISEWOMAN Program, available in select areas of the state, helps participants understand their chronic disease risk factors and make healthy lifestyle choices. Every participant receives a free health screening.  

To learn more about Michigan’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program and the WISEWOMAN Program, call 844-446-8727 or visit For Spanish resources, call 800-379-1057. 

Michigan Reconnect Applications Open for Expanded Age Group 

Previously limited to individuals aged 25 and older, Michigan Reconnect has expanded its eligibility to include adults between the ages of 21 and 24 who have not yet obtained a college degree. The Reconnect program allows eligible students to pursue an associate degree or Pell-eligible skills certificate at in-district community colleges without the burden of tuition fees. 

Applicants ages 21 to 24 must enroll no later than the fall semester of 2024. Students in the 21-24 age bracket must also apply for Reconnect before the application closes on November 15, 2024. 

To be eligible, you just need to: 

  • Be at least 21 years of age; 
  • Apply and enroll in a community or tribal college no later than fall semester 2024; 
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid); 
  • Have lived in Michigan for at least a year; 
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent or certificate of completion; and 
  • Have not yet completed a college degree. 

Don’t wait, apply today


Public Comment Needed: Federal Funding Available for High-Speed Internet Access Expansion 

The Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI) is now accepting public comment on Volume 1 of Michigan’s Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Initial Proposal. Michigan has received $1.559 billion in funding from the BEAD Act to expand access to high-speed internet service to more communities.  

As of 2023, close to 500,000 Michigan households are unserved or underserved by high-speed internet infrastructure and another 730,000 households face barriers related to a combination of affordability, adoption, device access and digital literacy.  

Therefore, public comments will be incredibly useful in helping to draft MIHI’s proposal and determine how the state of Michigan will utilize the historic funding. Public comment on Volume 1 of the BEAD Initial Proposal is open now through 11:59 p.m. on October 31.  

To submit a comment via form, click here.   

MI Healthy Climate Corps to Launch in January 2024

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has announced that the MI Healthy Climate Corps (MHCC) program will start in January 2024. MHCC will field a cohort of 30 federal AmeriCorps members who will provide vital support for climate action across Michigan. Corps members will receive training and career development support to bolster Michigan’s climate leadership pool.

Interested in being a candidate or a host community? Fill out this form to keep connected on program updates and launch information.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself from COVID-19As the fall season begins, 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 VariantsThe 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 for additional information on ways to obtain a free vaccine.

For more information, click here.

Testing Options: At-Home and In-PersonAs of September 25, 2023, all U.S. residents can go to and 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, remains in place to assist in locating a testing site.

Resources for Michiganders Potentially Affected by the UAW Strike

For those who may be potentially impacted by the UAW strike, it is important to be prepared as the negotiations continue.

In light of the 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:

To connect with your local Michigan Works! service center for career services, call (800) 285-WORKS (9675) or visit

For additional assistance, workers can schedule appointments at or call Customer Service at (866) 500-0017.