While winter is on the horizon and temperatures are cooling down, our legislative endeavors are ramping up as we continue to focus on the important issues that matter most to Michiganders. I hope to provide you with updates on the progress Senate Democrats have achieved.
I also look forward to sharing with you some information you may find helpful.
As always, thank you for reading my newsletter and staying informed.
Featured in this newsletter:
- Legislative Updates
- Community Updates
- Transformational State Budget Takes Effect as New Fiscal Year Begins
- 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,
Progress on SB 282: Addressing Financial Penalties for Returning Citizens in Auto Insurance
I’m happy to see my legislation, SB 282, being referred to the committee and having testimony heard on the issue.
This bill requires auto insurance companies to not penalize returning citizens that can prove they were released within the last 6 months. Many times, we financially penalize returning citizens when they are trying to do the right thing.
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.
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.
Last week, on October 26, the Senate took another step in expanding reproductive healthcare access in Michigan by passing Senate Bill 593. On October 19, the Michigan Senate took the first steps in expanding healthcare access by passing the Reproductive Health Act, Senate Bills 474–477.
This bipartisan legislation 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 enshrined in Michigan’s constitution after Senate Democrats repealed the 1931 abortion ban earlier this year.
The comprehensive package of bills will repeal medically unnecessary regulations and remove reporting requirements and administrative burdens that are not placed on any other healthcare providers. This legislation was crafted with constituents and advocates in mind – taking into account their diverse lived experiences and perspectives.
New Laws Protect Affordable Healthcare for Millions of Michiganders
Governor Whitmer signed legislation that aims to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ensuring affordable healthcare coverage for millions of Michiganders and their families.
The legislation includes provisions to prohibit insurers from denying coverage based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, as well as the prohibition of coverage denial due to pre-existing conditions. The legislation also guarantees coverage for dependents under the age of 26 and prevents insurers from instituting annual and lifetime dollar limits on coverage.
The bills were sponsored by several state legislators — including Sens. Hertel, Cavanagh and Klinefelt — who emphasized the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare for all Michigan residents.
These new laws are a significant step in safeguarding the healthcare access of Michiganders and ensuring that their coverage remains protected. They build upon the provisions of the ACA that have been instrumental in extending and expanding coverage for thousands of Michigan residents.
By codifying these critical provisions into state law, we are taking proactive measures to secure a healthier future for Michigan residents and maintain quality and consistent insurance benefits. The legislation reflects the collective effort of Michigan lawmakers who recognize the importance of affordable healthcare and the positive impact it has on individuals and families across the state.
Read more about the legislation here.
What a Difference a Week Makes
In a single week, our #MajorityForThePeople took steps to address several pressing issues facing Michiganders. Here’s a quick recap:
- Senate Bill 410 to provide accountability for drug companies, restoring Michiganders’ ability to pursue justice and recoup damages if a faulty drug leads to injury or death
- Senate Bills 474–477 to establish the Reproductive Health Act, building on the repeal of Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban and reducing barriers for those seeking reproductive healthcare.
- Senate Bills 530, 531 and 575 to strengthen Michigan’s 2019 auto no-fault policy reform and improve access to care for Michigan drivers.
- Senate Bill 351 to strengthen Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act to expand protections for those who use a breast pump or other means to express milk
- Senate Bills 395 and 396 to abandon punitive and problematic requirements to better enable the growth of teachers
Senior Luncheon at Optalis
Thank you to Optalis Health & Rehabilitation of Dearborn Heights for allowing me to host a lunch for your residents. We had a wonderful time and had some great questions and comments. I am honored to represent this group of seniors in District 2.
Senior Luncheon at American House
Thank you so much for the hospitality at the American House in Dearborn Heights. It was so much fun sharing lunch with you and bringing the office of the Secretary of State, The Senior Alliance, Walgreens and CCA Health to share information. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
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.
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-19
As 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 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.gov 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, Michigan.gov/COVIDTest 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:
- 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.