Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my e-newsletter! As always, I am honored by the opportunity to represent you in Lansing, and encourage you to stay up to date on what’s going on in Lansing and continue to let me know of the issues you care about most.
In this Edition
- Governor’s Budget Presentation
- Legislative Update
- March is Reading Month
- MiAble Announcement
- Good Neighbor and Student of the Month
- Coffee Hours
Governor’s Budget Presentation
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presented her first budget, outlining her vision and priorities for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The major items included in her budget include:
- An increase of $507 million for operational spending for K-12 schools.
- Doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 6 percent to 12 percent of the federal tax credit.
- Repeal of the ‘Pension Tax’ installed in 2011.
- A funding increase of 3 percent to public universities and community colleges.
- An investment of $120 million for drinking water infrastructure around the state.
- A proposed 45 cent increase to the gas tax that would raise more than $2 billion to get the majority of our roads in good condition.
The governor’s presentation was just the first step in a long process to ensure the things that matter most to families in our community receive the funding they need. Rarely does the budget – which will be developed through months of bipartisan conversation and compromise – look exactly like what the governor proposes. I look forward to discussing these proposals — and many more — with my colleagues as the budget process heats up throughout the spring.
Recent House Floor Votes:
I voted yes on the following bills this week on the floor:
HB 4112 (Vaupel) – Requires postings to warn of the potential problems of drinking alcohol during pregnancy on premises of retail liquor licensees.
HB 4129 (LaFave) – Revises procedures for parole of prisoners who are determined to be medically frail.
HB 4130 (Carter, T.) – Amends parole corrections code to implement medically frail parole.
HB 4131 (Griffin) – Provides for penalties related to a parolee in a medical facility.
HB 4132 (Bolden) – Amends corrections code of 1953 to implement medically frail parole.
HB 4286 (Johnson, S.) – Provides for reporting requirements related to candidates eligible for compensation for wrongful imprisonment and makes an appropriation.
I co-sponsored the following bills to support my colleagues’ legislative efforts
HB 4060 (Love) – Designates a portion of M-10 as “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway”
HB 4061 (Yaroch) – Designates a portion of M-53 as “Officer Jason Freiwald Memorial Highway”
HB 4226 (Berman) – amends section 3240 of the Revised Judicature Act to set a limit of $200 for the fee charged by a designee of a purchaser of foreclosed property for assisting in computing the amount required to redeem the property
HB 4299 (Sowerby) – increases hourly wages for tipped employees
HB 4326 (Johnson, C.A.) – prohibits certain inquires of a potential employee’s criminal record
HB 4363 (Love) – exempts higher education textbooks from sales tax
HB 4370, 4371, 4378, 4379 and 4380– aims to protect the rights of sexual assault victims and prevent sexual assault by creating on office of advocacy, implementing campus assault improvement plans, and preventing retaliation efforts on a student who reports assault
HB 4382 (Clemente) – requires school districts to request information surrounding unprofessional conduct for job applicants
HB 4384 (Garret)- Requires health care professionals to disclose if they are on a form of probation to their patients
In Tax Policy Committee, my co-members and I voted to report HB 4006 to the House Committee on Ways and Means. HB 4006 aims to repeal the pension tax, so retirees would no longer be taxed twice on their benefits. This issue is extremely important to our community, which is why I voted yes. Stay tuned for HB 4006 to reach the House floor for a vote.
March is Reading Month
We know how valuable reading skills are for elementary education and how important it is to develop consistent reading habits at a young age. That’s why I’ve joined other legislators across the state in celebrating ‘March is Reading Month’ by reading to a number of classrooms throughout Detroit and Dearborn.
So far, I’ve enjoyed reading to classrooms at Dossin Elementary and Middle School and Carver STEM Academy I’m still looking forward to reading at Gardener Elementary, Mann Elementary School, Ann Arbor Trail Magnet School, Maples Elementary, Dixon Educational Learning Academy, and Henderson Academy.
MiAble Announcement – Save Without Losing Your Benefits!
On Monday, I enjoyed learning about Michigan’s new state-operated savings program, called MiABLE, to help people with disabilities and their families save money and prepare for the future without fear of losing vital government benefits like Medicaid and Social Security Income. Michigan residents with disabilities are no longer limited to just $2,000 in assets. Now, by creating a disability savings account with the Michigan Department of Treasury’s MiABLE program, individuals and their loved ones are free to save and invest up to $15,000 annually. For more details, visit miable.org.
Announcing Good Neighbor and Student of the Month Program
I’m excited to unveil a new program my office will administer each month that spotlights an outstanding member of the community and outstanding student. Beginning in April, we’ll be accepting nominations for both the “Good Neighbor of the Month” and “Student of the Month” in district 9. This is a great opportunity to highlight the unsung work members do for our community each day as well as our outstanding academics and express our gratitude. Check out my web page to nominate someone who deserves recognition!
If you would like to nominate a student or a neighbor please give us a call, (517) 373-6990, or email us, with their name and why you think they should be acknowledged.
Upcoming Coffee Hours
Join me for coffee and conversation!
Friday, April 26 from 10 – 11 a.m., McDonalds 15501 Plymouth Rd, Detroit
Friday, April 26 Noon – 1 p.m., Mary’s Grill 20804 Plymouth Rd
“Success is liking yourself, what you do, and liking how you do it”
State Representative Karen Whitsett
9th House District
State Representative Karen Whitsett
9th House District