Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! As always, I am honored by the opportunity to represent you in Lansing, and encourage you to stay up to date and continue to let me know of the issues you care about most.
Featured Op-Ed in the Lansing State Journal
I was fortunate to have my recent op-ed discussing skills trades and career opportunities for our graduating seniors included in the in the Lansing State Journal earlier this month. We always need to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all path to success for our students and that, as legislators, we need to rededicate ourselves to ensuring all of our students have the opportunity to receive the skills and training necessary to compete in today’s 21st-century economy. We should be supporting increases in worker training programs and encouraging more of our students to consider training in these extremely high-demand and lucrative careers.
Sports Gaming Signed Into Law
Last month, the governor signed a significant bipartisan bill package to legalize internet gaming and sports betting, while fixing burdensome restrictions that were placed on non-profit charity poker fundraisers in Michigan. I’m glad the Legislature finally worked together to pass these meaningful reforms so we can ensure those who choose to take part in gaming and betting can know the system they’re using is secure. Legalization will also bring an estimated $19 million in new revenue to the state, $4.8 million of which will go to the School Aid Fund. I voted yes on these bills and was lead sponsor of a bill similar to the new law that fixes charity poker game rules.
Where I’ve been in the 71st District
My husband, Bruce, and I had a great time at my local church, St. Gerard, for the Knights of Columbus Richard Council 788 Wild Game Dinner. I had the chance to meet a number of new constituents and catch up with some familiar faces from Delta Twp. A big thank you to the Knights of Columbus for all the great work you do in our community.
Last week, I hosted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for a tour of our district roads with MDOT engineers. We traveled a loop around Delta, Oneida, and Benton Townships and talked about the major roads and highways near Potterville and Bellevue that need significant attention. It was troublesome to learn that so many roads in Eaton County are beyond repair and need full reconstruction. Federal dollars require roads to be totally updated – which is costly – and Michigan has 55,000 lane miles that need to be replaced. I’m looking forward to seeing more proposals to completely fix our roads in 2020.
I always admire teachers and even wanted to be one when I grew up. I suppose we all are teachers in some way, but I wanted this to be my career. Last week, I had the opportunity to work with students in Eaton Rapids alongside our legislative director, Joe Fedewa. We talked about what it takes to do our jobs as a State Representative and Legislative Director. We fielded questions from many students interested in this as a career. “Do you get days off?” “Do people attack you?” It really reminded me of how important it is that our office has made our first year about the people in our district, finding common ground and treating each other with civility.
On Monday, I joined a number of community leaders from around Greater Lansing to celebrate MLK Day at the Lansing Center. We heard from a number of powerful speakers, including Andrew Aydin, an aide to the legendary U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who co-authored the civil rights book “March” with Congressman Lewis. Mr. Aydin, speaking on behalf of John Lewis due to his cancer treatment, discussed five things activists demanded during the 1963 March on Washington, including access to public accommodations, the right to vote, fair housing, equal access to education, and livable wages. We also heard from Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, and Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.
On Wednesday, we had the great honor to welcome in the Lansing Catholic High School football team to celebrate their first state championship in 35 years. Almost 20 student athletes on the football team at Lansing Catholic are constituents of mine living in Eaton County. It was a full house in the Michigan State Capitol Speaker’s Library! I had the chance to speak to the team and offer a tribute signed by the entire Capitol Caucus, the Lt. Governor, and Governor, to coach Jim Ahern as State Coach of the Year. Thank you to State Rep. Sarah Anthony for allowing us to be a part of this wonderful ceremony.
I was recently invited to take part in a press conference to help get an important bill, HB 4223, passed the finish line in the House. The bill would requires dental screening of children before they enter school at a young age. Current Michigan law requires children entering kindergarten to receive vision and hearing tests before entering school, but there is no requirement for a dental exam. This effort has been led by a broad coalition of teachers, doctors, dentists, hygienists, community health centers and dental plan providers. The bill is now in the Senate where I encourage our colleagues to vote ‘yes’ to get this critical legislation to the governor’s desk.
How I Voted This Week
I voted ‘yes’ on the following bills this week on the House floor:
SB 588 – Would allow SSDs to accept returns of spirits sold to any special licensee that are unopened and refund them the amount paid minus any credit card transaction fees incurred from the sale if the bottle is without damage that would prevent salability.
HB 5146 & 5157 – Aligns Michigan’s mortgage lender laws with federal law.
HB 5002 & 5003 – Allows individuals under 17 years of age to purchase an all-species fishing license for $2.00.
HB 4266 & 5266 – Makes it harder for a property owner to sue an electric cooperative that has an easement on their property related to an electric cooperative installing certain broadband infrastructure. This will reduce impediments for electric cooperatives to install broadband infrastructure.
HB 5195 & 5313 – Allows for the collection of an additional $5 “registration difference fee” in lieu of payment of the actual registration fee difference when a plate is transferred to a vehicle subject to a different tax rate.
SB 650 & 651 – Eliminates the sunset on a statutory provision that allows third party providers for certain dropout recovery programs to contract out teachers of record (versus having them be hired by the district).
HB 5187 & 5188 – Mandates that all revenue lost to the state School Aid Fund (SAF) as a result of exemptions for qualified data centers be reimbursed by the General Fund.
To get more detail about any of these bills or to easily track their progress, visit www.legislature.mi.gov.
Upcoming Coffee & Happy Hours
- Friday, Jan. 31, from 8-9 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee in Charlotte
- Monday, Feb. 3, from 8-9 a.m. at Swede’s Restaurant in Mulliken
- Friday, Feb. 21, from 8-9 a.m. at MorningLory Café & Bakery
- Thursday, Feb. 27, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at BrickHaven Brewing Company
- Wednesday, March 11, from 8-9 a.m. at Flour Child Bakery
- Monday, March 23, from 8-9 a.m. at Willow Tree Coffee & Bakery
State Representative Angela Witwer
71st House District