Hello Friends of the 75th District,
May has been a whirlwind of a month here in our office, and I am thrilled about all of the things we were able to accomplish.
This month, I got to do some great work improving public safety and focusing on other exciting opportunities. Our Clean Slate expungement package, which gets people back to work and makes the community safer, keeps gaining traction. We also had great success with our expungement fair with Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Grand Rapids NAACP and many more great community organizations!
My Central Registry reform package was signed by Gov. Whitmer on May 5. This package has been years in the making, and I am overjoyed to see it be signed into law. This is probably the most impactful legislation to be signed this session, and I am so proud of the good it will do to keep kids safe and help parents all across Michigan.
Finally, the work I have been doing for clean government took a huge step forward. My initiative to make politicians’ finances public to the voters will be on the ballot in November. I am confident Michigan will make the right choice this fall.
As always, I am so grateful to be able to represent the 75th district as your state representative, and I want to make sure my constituents’ voices are heard in Lansing. If you ever have any questions, comments or concerns about what is happening in our district, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. For the latest updates, I encourage you to follow me on social media.
In This Newsletter
- Central Registry Package
- Expungement Fair
- Bans Off Our Bodies March
- Disparate Impact Statement Bills
- MI Tuition Reimbursement Tax Credit
- Financial Disclosure On The Ballot
- Contact Us
Central Registry Package
On May 5, our Central Registry Reform package was finally signed into law. This package will be life-changing for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who have been impacted by the Central Registry and will allow them to get their lives back. In terms of scale of impact, this is one of the most important things to happen so far this session, and I am very excited to be able to help those who have been impacted by this list.
The federal government mandated this list to be implemented by Child Protective Services, and the goal was to create a registry of parents who had substantiated claims of child abuse. Over time, this list grew to include 470,000 Michigan parents. This list has affected those people’s eligibility for volunteer opportunities, employment and has broken up communities and families.
This package of bills will reform this list to make it more effective at tracking individuals who pose a risk to children, while also removing people who don’t pose a risk from the list. Those who are removed would no longer have to live with the stigma of being on the central registry, and be able to return to their volunteer and community activities. Not only that, reforming the list to be narrower will allow more qualified individuals to become foster parents, increasing our pool of individuals who can take in foster children.
On Saturday, May 7, I was able to team up with Legal Aid of Western Michigan, NAACP Grand Rapids and many other amazing organizations to hold an expungement fair for Kent County. If you know me, you know that the Clean Slate expungement reform package is one of my proudest accomplishments as state representative. The fair was able to provide hundreds of Kent County residents with the support necessary to start the expungement process and clear up their criminal record in order to truly get a clean slate. Thank you to all the organizations involved and every single volunteer that came out and assisted with the event. Without your help, this would not have been possible!
Bans Off Our Bodies March
On May 14, I joined Planned Parenthood for its Bans Off Our Bodies March. I stood in solidarity with thousands of Grand Rapidians to defend reproductive rights in the state of Michigan. Reversing Roe v Wade will not stop abortions — it would lead to unsafe, deadly abortions. If Roe v Wade is overturned, it will put women’s health at risk, especially those with less financial means. As I have stated before, I will vote to overturn Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban, and I stand in solidarity with women across our state as we fight for safe and legal abortions.
Disparate Impact Statement Bills Press Conference
On May 18, I was able to introduce a package of bills alongside my colleagues Rep. Ronnie Peterson, Sen. Erika Geiss and Sen. Stephanie Chang. This legislation would require the House and Senate fiscal agencies to craft impact statements based on race/ethnicity and poverty level for legislation that seeks to create a new crime or amend existing criminal procedure. The House and Senate fiscal agencies prepare a fiscal analysis of every bill that receives a committee hearing. They do this to keep us aware of spending implications as we work on policy. A similar mechanism regarding the implication of criminal justice reform and its effects on specific communities will help us better ensure that our laws don’t have a disproportionate impact. As we work to build and maintain a state with equal treatment in our justice system, this tool will be invaluable to helping us make good policy.
MI Tuition Reimbursement Tax Credit
The student debt crisis is real, and it’s hurting Michigan. To help our graduates and our state, I introduced House Bill 6131, which would create the MI Tuition Reimbursement Tax Credit.
Graduates who live and work in Michigan would be able to claim a tax credit equal to up to 50% of what they’ve paid towards qualifying student loans in the previous tax year! Not only does this provide relief to graduates during tax season, it also helps keep that talent in Michigan, which could convince new emerging industries to make our state their long term home. That creates even more jobs and strengthens our economy.
Financial Disclosure On The Ballot
Clean government starts with honest leaders. I have disclosed my personal finances every year for the past 17 years, and in 2015, I began work to require this for all other public officials. I introduced bills mandating it every session; I designed the form officials would be required to complete; I got dozens of my fellow legislators to fill out financial disclosure forms even before it was legally required. Over the last six years, I was able to grow our coalition for financial honesty from a small few to a clear majority in the Legislature. If we politicians want voters to trust us, we have to act in trustworthy ways, and a majority of my colleagues agree.
Now, with the help of my colleagues committed to clean government, my financial disclosure initiative is going to be on the ballot in November. I am confident Michigan is going to make the right choice and require our officials to practice real transparency. It is the only way to restore faith in government and the connection between the people and their leaders.
As always, it’s very important to me to hear from constituents like you! If you need assistance with any state department, my team would be more than happy to assist you with your issue.
Also, if you have comments or questions about current legislation we would love to hear from you. We value your opinion! You can reach out via email at DavidLaGrand@house.mi.gov or by my office phone at (517) 373-2668.