Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! It is and continues to be a privilege to represent Livonia, Redford Township and Detroit, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in Lansing. I encourage you to stay up to date on what’s going on in Lansing and continue to let me know about the issues that matter to you.
Reproductive Health Act Heads to the Governor’s Desk
This week, the package of bills that comprise the Reproductive Health Act have passed the Michigan Senate and are on their way to the governor’s desk for her signature. These bills not only enshrine the right to reproductive freedom into state statute, but they also repeal medically unnecessary and politically motivated restrictions on abortion care.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank the grassroots reproductive justice advocates who have fought incredibly hard for the passage of this legislation for years. We could not have done this without them.
While this is a victory worth celebrating, it is important to acknowledge that there is more work to be done. As your state representative, I will continue to fight for abortion care that is affordable and accessible to all Michiganders.
Clean Energy and Jobs Act Passes
Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the Clean Energy and Jobs Act. This House legislative package is designed to streamline the approval process for building large-scale renewable energy projects. These bills put into place the tools necessary to achieve energy independence, to thrive economically and to make Michigan a national leader in the clean energy landscape — all while enhancing personal property rights.
The bill sponsors collaborated with community members, farmers and stakeholders from across the state as they helped to craft this legislation to support landowner autonomy, reach carbon-reduction goals and create good-paying union jobs.
Along with the Clean Energy and Jobs Act bill package, the House passed the Senate Clean Energy Future legislation. The two packages together serve to set clean energy goals and, importantly, put into place the necessary tools to make those goals an achievable reality. In August, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined her fall agenda, which included enacting a bold clean energy standard to protect Michigan’s air and water for future generations, while creating manufacturing jobs, lowering costs and enhancing reliability. This Democratic trifecta has demonstrated its commitment to making sure energy is clean, renewable, homegrown, efficient and affordable — and we’ve proven to follow through on that commitment.
House Democrats Continue Reinvesting in Michigan Students and Communities
Last week, Michigan House Democrats celebrated the passage of two budget bills that will have a positive impact on families across the state. House Bill 4292 and Senate Bill 174 were carefully crafted to address various needs — such as access to clean drinking water in schools and child care centers, reducing public school debt and investing in talent development. This legislation represents a fiscally responsible approach to both addressing these challenges and closing the books on the 2023 fiscal year.
Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental right for every Michigander, most certainly including our students and educators. To ensure clean water access for children, these supplemental budget bills include the funds necessary to provide filters to schools and child care centers across Michigan.
Furthermore, these bills allocate $30 million to replace lead lines and water meters in Highland Park, marking the resolution of a historic 10-year dispute between communities in the Great Lakes Water Authority service area. This settlement will enable the community to move forward, to reduce costs and to establish a fairer system for surrounding areas.
The supplemental budget demonstrates a commitment to investing in Michigan’s youth and lowering costs for residents. The bills allocate $114 million to eliminate school debt in Inkster, Benton Harbor, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac and Ypsilanti, significantly boosting resources for classrooms and potentially bringing tax relief to local residents.
A substantial portion of the funding in the legislation is dedicated to investing in infrastructure improvements for Michigan’s universities and community colleges. These projects will strengthen Michigan’s talent pipeline by preparing students for high-demand jobs in industries like engineering, advanced manufacturing and mobility.
The budget bills include other vital investments, such as $3 million for election equipment and improvements in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing — as well as almost $4 million in additional funding to the Michigan Department of Transportation to be used in critical infrastructure projects.
Michigan House Democrats are proud to have passed these bills, reflecting their dedication to put people first by ensuring high-quality education to the prosperity of our great state. These bills represent a fiscally responsible approach to addressing the daily needs and kitchen-table values of Michiganders throughout our state.
Follow this link to see what we have been voting on over the past couple of weeks. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.
Health Insurance for 2024 Available Through the Health Insurance Marketplace
Having health insurance is important — not just for when you are sick or hurt, but also to help you stay healthy and avoid big medical bills. All Michiganders can evaluate their options during the Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, 2024 on HealthCare.gov. This enrollment period is an important opportunity for Michiganders to obtain health insurance through 2024.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to afford the health insurance you need or that it is too complicated to enroll, help is available! Subsidies are available that can help make health insurance more affordable for Michiganders. For 2023, more than 85% of enrollees qualified for a subsidy, saving an average of more than $400 per month, with many consumers able to get health insurance for less than $10 per month. In addition, free, local enrollment help is available at HealthCare.gov/LocalHelp.
Don’t wait! If you miss the Jan. 15, 2024 deadline, you might not have another chance to sign up for health insurance until November 2024. It is important to get started. You can learn more by going to Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance or by calling the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ call center at (877) 999-6442, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New Career Training Scholarship Program
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is announcing the launch of the Michigan Achievement Skills Scholarship, a new career training scholarship designed to help individuals gain skills needed to prepare for in-demand jobs.
The Skills Scholarship is backed by a $10 million investment through the state budget and adds on to the Michigan Achievement Scholarship launched by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year to lower the cost of higher education for Michiganders, starting with the class of 2023. Under the program, graduating high school students will be eligible to receive up to $4,000 over two years to attend an eligible career training program in Michigan.
Eligible career training programs were selected to ensure students will receive training and skills that will ultimately lead to in-demand jobs with high paying wages.
To apply, interested students must complete an application through the Michigan Student Aid Student Scholarships and Grants portal, administered through the Michigan Department of Treasury.
To be eligible for the Michigan Achievement Skills Scholarship, applicants must:
- Be a Michigan resident for at least the immediately preceding year.
- Have graduated from high school in Michigan with a diploma or a certificate of completion or achieved a high school equivalency certificate in 2023 or after.
- Have not yet earned an associate or bachelor’s degree.
- Have not yet earned a degree, certificate or other credential with this scholarship.
Students should review the list of eligible career training programs at Michigan.gov/CareerTraining before filling out their application and will need to indicate their chosen career training provider in the application.
To learn more about how students can receive tuition assistance through the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. go to Michigan.gov/Achievement.
Redford Township Public Advisory — Lead Action Level Exceedance
The Charter Township of Redford Water Department conducts periodic testing of tap water in homes for lead and copper. During the most recent round of sampling, the department collected samples from 31 homes in Redford Township. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy evaluates compliance with the Action Level based on the 90th percentile of lead and copper results collected in each round of sampling. The lead 90th percentile for the township’s water supply is 21 parts per billion (ppb), which exceeds the action level of 15 ppb.
The action level is not a health-based standard. It is a level that, when exceeded by more than 10% of the homes tested, triggers additional actions including, but not limited to, increased investigative sampling of water quality and educational outreach to customers. The goal for lead in drinking water is 0 ppb. There is no safe level of lead in the blood.
The Charter Township of Redford’s water is supplied by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA). GLWA routinely monitors the source water for lead. If lead was detected in the source water, it would be reported on GLWA’s and Redford Township’s Consumer Confidence Reports. Lead can enter drinking water when in contact with pipes, solder, and home/building interior plumbing, fittings and fixtures that contain lead.
In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Redford Township Water Department tested 31 homes with known lead service lines. Of the homes tested, four homes showed levels above 15 ppb, triggering a public awareness and education campaign.
The Redford Township Water Department has set up a dedicated webpage on the township website. The page will feature information to inform and educate the public, how to test home tap water, obtain water filters, ways to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water and further resources.
Redford Township Water Department would like to share some ways you can reduce your exposure to lead since lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water and other sources.
Homes with lead service lines have an increased risk of having high lead levels in drinking water. If water has been sitting in your pipes without being flushed out, the more lead it may contain. Therefore, if your water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking to help flush lead from pipes. Additional flushing may be required for homes that have been vacant or have a longer service line.
How to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water:
- Check whether your home has a lead service line.
- Run your water to flush out lead-containing water.
- If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature.
- If you do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from your home or building’s plumbing and the lead service line.
- Everyone can consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends every household use a certified lead filter to reduce lead from their drinking water, especially households with a child, frequent child visitors, pregnant persons, or individuals with high blood pressure, or people residing in houses built before 1987. MDHHS also recommends making baby formula or cooking with filtered water.
- Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction and NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction (Class I).
- For filters to work properly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- DHHS recommends that filter cartridges are replaced every two months.
- Use cold water (not hot water) for drinking, cooking or preparing baby formula.
- Do not boil your water, as boiling will concentrate the amount of lead in water.
MDHHS recommends that residents use a certified lead-reducing drinking water filter if their home has or if they are uncertain if it has one of the following.
- Lead or galvanized plumbing.
- A lead service line carrying water from the street to their residence.
- Old faucets and fittings that were sold before 2014.
Residents who receive water from Redford Township Water Department are eligible for a filter at no cost if they live in a home where a Medicaid-enrolled child under 19 years of age or a Medicaid-enrolled pregnant person resides.
Eligible residents can pick up a faucet water filter beginning on Nov. 6 at the Leo Snage Public Services Building at 12200 Beech Daly Road, Redford, MI 48239, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Redford Township Water Department will soon send a comprehensive public education document about lead in drinking water. It will begin collecting 60 water samples from 60 homes every six months and review the results to determine if corrective actions are necessary to reduce corrosion in household plumbing. If you are a Redford Township water customer and would like your service line inspected, contact the Redford Township Water Department at (313) 387-2670.
- Wayne County Department of Health, Human and Veterans Services is available to answer any health-related questions at waynecounty.com/lead or call the Public Health Community Hotline at (866) 610-3885.
- If you would like your water sampled, find a list of certified labs at michigan.gov/EGLElab.
- If you have a lead water service line and would like to participate in the township’s water sampling program, contact the Redford Township Water Department at (313) 387-2670 or go to redfordtwp.com/220/Water-Sewer.
- To contact the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), call Environmental Assistance toll free at (800) 662-9278. Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/EGLELeadPublicAdvisory.
- To contact Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), call toll free at (800) 648-6942. Additional information is available at michigan.gov/MILeadSafe.
Voting Rights Town Hall
On Tuesday, Nov. 21, I will be hosting a Voting Rights Town Hall with special guest Deputy Secretary of State Aghogho Edevbie. We will be discussing the legislation that was passed earlier this year to implement Proposition 22-2 and other legislation that will expand access to voting in Michigan. This event will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Detroit 8th Precinct Police Department’s auditorium. If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to reach out to my office.
I hope you can join me for one of my upcoming coffee hours! I look forward to having an informal conversation with you about the issues families face in our community. I host two coffee hours a month, one in-person and one virtual. The location for in-person coffee hours will rotate throughout the year between Livonia, Redford Township and Detroit. My in-person December Coffee Hour will be in Redford Township at Michno’s Café (25524 Five Mile Road Redford Charter Township, MI 48239). You can join the livestream for my virtual coffee hours on my Facebook page.
Virtual: Monday, Nov. 20, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
In-Person: Sunday, Dec. 3, from 2-3 p.m.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns!
Speaker Pro Tempore
17th House District