I hope this newsletter reaches you and your family safe and healthy. Below are some updates I hope you’ll find helpful.
Featured in this newsletter:
If you have any questions, want to comment on pending legislation, or resolve any issues in state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov.
Introducing the Second Look Sentencing Act
This week, my colleague, Sen. Stephanie Chang, and I announced the Second Look Sentencing Act, legislation that would provide an opportunity for incarcerated individuals to petition their sentencing judge for a reduction of their sentence after serving at least 10 years and if they are no longer a risk to the community. The bills were announced on the Capitol steps this week alongside advocates, former justice-involved residents, and their families. The bills will be introduced in the coming week.
Under this legislation, the incarcerated individual, their lawyer, or the prosecutor would be able to petition the sentencing judge for a reduction of their sentence. The judge would consider factors such as the age of the person at the time of the crime and research on brain development, the person’s history while incarcerated, the person’s role in the offense compared to other co-defendants, relevant evidence about the person’s mental or physical health now or at the time of the offense, whether the person was a victim of human trafficking, whether the person experienced domestic abuse, and other factors.
“It’s no secret that the cost to incarcerate someone is extremely high. Rather than allow this expense to continue to grow as costs rise and force families and friends to be away from each other for extreme periods of time, why not give these individuals the opportunity to have their sentences reviewed so they may return to their community,” said Sen. Wojno. “Saving taxpayer dollars and giving deserving folks a second chance at positively contributing to their community is a win.”
Senate Passes Bill to Make AV Voting Easier for Military Members, Begins Work on Implementing Proposal 2 Election Reforms
The Michigan Senate Democrats passed the first piece of election reform legislation related to Proposal 2 of 2022, passing my legislation (Senate Bill 259) to allow for absentee voter ballots from military members, their spouses, and voting-age dependents to still be counted if they are signed and dated by Election Day and received up to six days after the election. The bill has the support of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of State, associations representing county and municipal clerks, and voting advocates.
“While our men and women of the military are serving overseas to uphold our freedom, democracy, and safety, it’s only right that we do what we can to ensure their votes are counted and they have a say in their representation back home,” said Sen. Wojno, a longtime advocate for Michigan veterans and voting rights. “This is the flexibility and consideration our servicemembers have been asking for, and this is a direct execution of the will of the Michigan people this past November.”
This is the first bill to pass out of the Senate to implement Proposal 2’s election reforms, with additional legislation to follow soon. Senate Elections and Ethics Committee Chair Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) is working on an extensive bill package to implement a number of the other changes passed by the voters this fall. In addition to requiring that military and overseas ballots postmarked by election day are counted, Proposal 2 added the following policies to the state constitution:
- Creating a nine-day early voting period;
- Requiring voters to present photo identification or sign an affidavit when voting in person or applying for an absentee ballot;
- Providing eligible voters the right to a single application to vote absentee in all elections;
- Requiring the state to fund prepaid stamps and a tracking system for absentee ballots;
- Requiring the state to fund a number of absentee ballot drop boxes;
- Providing that local governments can accept charitable and in-kind donations to assist with running elections as long as donations are disclosed and aren’t from foreign entities; and
- Providing that election officials are responsible for election audits, requiring election audits to be conducted in public, and requiring election results to be certified based on votes cast.
Free Heart Screenings
The Ascension Michigan Healthy Heart is putting on an event to provide free heart screenings with on-the-spot results and a one-on-one conversation with a doctor to review results.
WHEN: Saturday, May 6, starting at 7 amWHERE: Ascension St. John Hospital, 2nd Floor, 22101 Moross Road, Detroit, MI 48236
Smoke Detector Program
To help protect the residents of Warren, Local 1383 is happy to announce a partnership between the City of Warren and the State of Michigan Fire Marshal’s Office to expand upon the Smoke Alarm Program.
The State Fire Marshals Office has supplied Local 1383 with smoke alarms that Warren firefighters will personally install in 500 homes to protect Warren residents. There is no charge for this service.
Interested residents can sign up through the contact information below:Phone: (586) 759-9320E-mail: SmokeDetector@warrenfiredept.org
Incoming College Students: Fill out your FAFSA!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline is approaching soon. The deadline is May 1, 2023, to be given priority consideration for some Michigan financial aid programs. Filling out your FAFSA can save you thousands of dollars a year off the cost of community, private, or public college. You can unlock grants, scholarships, and other assistance to put you on the path to higher education right here in Michigan.
One of the new ways you can save money is the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, a bipartisan scholarship we established last year to lower the cost of community, private, or public college by thousands of dollars a year—up to $27,500 over 5 years—for the majority of graduating seniors. All you need to do to qualify for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship is fill out your FAFSA—that’s it. You are probably eligible for more financial aid than you realize, and I encourage you to fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible!