I hope this letter finds you and your family well. It’s been a busy few months, and I’m excited to return to Lansing after hearing from many of you on what matters most for our district. During the summer months, legislators had the opportunity to spend more time in our communities to meet with and work with constituents and local stakeholders. I’ve appreciated the time this summer traveling to all the communities in my district to discuss unique and important issues. And now, I’m excited to take what I’ve learned back to the Capitol to craft the policies and laws to make Jackson and Washtenaw Counties — and all of Michigan — a better place to live for everyone.
Please reach out to me — I work hard to represent you and appreciate hearing your concerns and ideas (more on what we’ve accomplished below!). The best ways to connect with my office can be found below. For more frequent updates on what I am working on and where I am in the district, please follow my official Facebook page.
Phone: (517) 373-2426
U.S. Mail: P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 48909
Featured in This Newsletter:
- Upcoming Events
- Legislative Updates
- Community Resources
- In the Community
Community Conversations: What’s Next in Ann Arbor for Reproductive Access
In 2022, voters turned out in record numbers to pass Proposal 3 and enshrine reproductive freedom in the Michigan constitution — but our work is far from over. Dozens of anti-abortion restrictions remain in Michigan’s law books, pushing the promise of Proposal 3 out of reach for far too many people.
Join me, Representative Carrie Rheingans and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan for an educational town hall to learn about these harmful abortion restrictions and the work we are doing to ensure people can access the care guaranteed to them under Proposal 3. RSVP here.
Featured speakers include:
- State Senator Sue Shink
- State Representative Carrie Rheingans
- Paula Thornton Greear, PPAM President and CEO
- Dr. Sarah Wallett, PPMI Chief Medical Operating Officer
Consumer Protection and Senior Town Hall with Attorney General Dana Nessel
Join me and Attorney General Dana Nessel to learn how to protect yourself and report scams and fraud in Michigan. The event will include a presentation on scams that target seniors. Learn how to spot the telltale signs of scams through phone calls, mail, email and texts and how to minimize your risk of being scammed.
WHEN: Tuesday, October 3, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Mill Creek Middle School Cafeteria, 7305 Dexter Ann Arbor Road, Dexter, MI 48130
Please help us get an accurate count of expected attendees by signing up here.
Voting Rights Expansion Bills Signed into Law
Ensuring that all individuals have an equal opportunity to vote — regardless of their socioeconomic status or background— is part of upholding our fundamental rights and liberties. That is why the Michigan Senate Democrats listened to voters last November who overwhelmingly voted in favor of expanding voting rights with Proposal 2. Now, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed Proposal 2 into law.
In this moment, it is important to highlight the work of my colleagues in moving this legislation forward:
- Senate Bill 339, sponsored by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), will establish a website for Michiganders to track their ballots. It will ensure voters are notified when their vote is received and counted and inform them if there are any errors and offer a solution to remedy them.
- Senate Bill 367, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), requires at least nine days of early voting before each statewide and federal election so people can find a convenient time to vote that works for them without facing lines on Election Day. It also authorizes pre-processing and early tabulation of absentee ballots, ensuring a timely result after polls close on Election Day.
- Senate Bill 370, sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit), implements requirements to allow voters to fix clerical errors with their ballots. It also requires prepaid postage for all absentee ballot applications and envelopes, saving voters time and trips to the Post Office.
- Senate Bill 373, sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), allows Michiganders to use their US passport, tribal photo ID card, military ID card, or student ID to identify themselves when they show up to vote. As has always been the case, they will need to be registered to vote in their precinct to cast a ballot. This law simply expands the valid forms of ID accepted to certify that you are who you say you are.
This is a major legislative win — not only for the Majority Democratic Caucus — but for the entire state of Michigan. It was not too long ago that marginalized communities were fighting for their right to vote, and we are proud to further the hard work of our civil rights movement leaders and suffragists through passing Proposal 2.
Michigan Ranks High in Auto Manufacturing, EV Investments
A new report in Business Facilities Magazine ranks Michigan as a top state for automotive industry and electric vehicle investments, holding its number one spot from 2022. Additionally, this ranking follows multiple reports showing Michigan as a leader in business, clean energy, battery investments and high-tech mobility development.
The new Senate Democratic Majority — along with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — has been pushing to grow Michigan’s electric vehicle economy with investments in our state’s budget and the establishment of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the EV Jobs Academy and MI EV Scholars Program.
Only one year out from the bipartisan CHIPS and Science ACT, there have been many opportunities for Michigan to win investments to support the growth of domestic semiconductor technology as well as better-paying, high-quality jobs for Michiganders.
Climate Press Conference
On August 11, Rep. Jason Morgan, Rep. McKinney, Sen. Chang, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist III and I had the opportunity to share some of the work this legislature has done on the MI Healthy Climate Plan. This comprehensive plan serves as Michigan’s path forward to address climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. These bills will generate $14.75 billion in federal investments, create 160,000 more jobs by 2050 and save Michigan families an average of $145 each year on utility bills, all while serving to protect our state’s environment and natural resources.
Helping Medicaid Members Keep Their Coverage
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency, allowing Medicaid members to keep their healthcare coverage even if their eligibility for Medicaid changed. On May 11 this year, the federal public health emergency ended, making Medicaid beneficiaries once again have to renew their eligibility for Medicaid. Renewals were planned to start again in June, however, becuase of recent federal legislation, Medicaid beneficiaries with upcoming deadlines for returning renewal forms will have an additional month to submit paperwork to avoid loss of health care coverage due to not responding. This timeline will continue monthly going forward through May 2024.
Michigan uses a 90-day renewal timeline. The process begins two months before an enrollee’s renewal date and ends at the close of the enrollee’s renewal month. A complete timeline of renewals is available here.
Following these steps will help determine if you still qualify:
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Check mail or text messages for a letter.
- Complete your renewal form (if you get one).
More information can be found here.
Public Open House: Barton Drive/M-14 Planning and Environmental Linkage Study
As of August 23, the Michigan Department of Transportation began holding a public open house to obtain input on the planning and environmental linkage (PEL) study for the M-14/Barton Drive interchange. The open house is virtual and can be found at M14-BartonPEL.com and will close on September 13. The PEL study analyzes the various safety, environmental and social impacts of the potential changes being considered for the interchange. Your comments and input will help MDOT decide what changes and improvements are needed at this location.
Who: Interested Residents, Commuters, Community Stakeholders and Local businesses
When: Wednesday, Aug. 23- Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023
Where: M14-BartonPEL.com or with the online comment form
If you require mobility, visual, hearing, written or other assistance to participate, contact Orlando Curry at (517) 241-7462 or CurryO@Michigan.gov. Mail and phone comments can be submitted to Monica Monsma at (517) 335-4381 or 425 West Ottawa St. P.O. Box 30050 Lansing, MI 48909.
In the Community
Ann Arbor Community Clean Up
Last month, Rep. Debbie Dingel and I joined the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and the Huron River Watershed Council in cleaning up Bandemer Park to help bring attention to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget’s focus on clean water and the environment. The FY’24 budget includes:
- $278.1 million for water infrastructure projects;
- $39.3 million for remediating PFAS and emerging contaminants;
- $18.2 million for acquisition and development projects around river trails and land areas; and
- $50,000 for the Huron River Water Trail, one of nine State Designated Water Trails.
Thank you again to LCV, the Huron Watershed Council and all the volunteers who spent their afternoon helping to keep our parks clean and bring attention to the importance of protecting our environment.
Jackson College Prison Graduations
I recently celebrated the Jackson College graduates at the Michigan Department of Corrections Cooper Street and Cotton Correctional Facilities! State Representative Amos O’Neal, Chair of the House Corrections Budget Committee, also joined for a heartwarming celebration commemorating this wonderful achievement.
Education is more than just a pathway to future earnings and lower recidivism. It’s a powerful vehicle for personal growth and transformation. The FY’24 budget invested $1.5 million in higher education opportunities, and we are not only investing in the incarcerated individuals who will engage in vocational and academic programs, but also in the potential of our communities to flourish. Through these programs, we’re building Michiganders’ skills and ensuring everyone has a chance to thrive.
Make it in Michigan Budget Celebration
Last month, State Representatives Carrie Rheingans and Jennifer Conlin joined me and Dexter Schools Superintendent Chris Timmis in a briefing to discuss Governor Whitmer’s “Make it in Michigan” initiative and the $8.5 million in appropriations that will be used for the new Dexter Senior and Community Center.
The Governor’s initiative is important in that it highlights the many contributions of our state’s community organizations and businesses, and I am excited to see how those in the Dexter area will benefit from the utilization of the new center.