Dear Neighbor:

Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates on the state’s efforts to address COVID-19 as well as other news from your state government.

Package Would Ban Child Marriage in Michigan

I recently re-introduced a bill that is part of a bipartisan package to ban child marriage in Michigan. Currently, Michigan law allows 16 and 17 year old children to marry with permission from a parent or guardian and children can marry at any age with both parental and judicial approval. This package would ban marriage under the age of 18 in our state.

Between 2000 and 2018, at least 5,259 children were married in Michigan, some as young as 14. Of those, 83% of the marriages were between girls and adult men. Child marriage hurts young people. It harms their health and creates social problems that persist for a lifetime. It is past time to end this harmful practice and protect children in our state.

Governor Presents 2022 Budget Recommendations

Governor Whitmer presented her $67.1 billion Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal to a Joint Session of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees last Thursday.  The proposed budget prioritizes getting communities and businesses back on their feet while dealing with the effects and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the highlights include:

  • Education:
    • $203 million increase in per-pupil funding;
    • $14.1 million for economically disadvantaged students, English language learners, special education students, and students in rural and isolated districts;
    • $250 million in one-time supplemental funding to support student academic recovery, physical and mental health, and post-secondary readiness and transition;
    • $200 million to stabilize budgets for districts experiencing losses in fiscal year 2022;
    • $120 million for summer learning, after school learning, and day camps in 2021 and 2022;
    • $125.7 million of funding for the Education Emergency Relief Fund to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on students;
      • $38.9 million for public schools and $86.8 million for nonpublic schools;
    • $32 million for the Great Start Readiness Program; and
    • $2.9 million to address the educator shortage.

  • Economic Opportunity:
    • $370 million for the expansion of childcare options by temporarily increasing the income eligibility threshold from 150% to 200% and temporarily waiving out-of-pocket copays through fiscal year 2022, with a 10 percent increase in hourly rates for child-care providers;
    • $120 million one-time investment for the Michigan Reconnect program;
    • $60 million one-time funding for the Futures for Frontliners program;
    • $15 million one-time increase for the Going Pro program;
    • $3 million for apprenticeship programs that will expand Michigan’s talent pool in the construction and building trades;
    • $25 million one-time funding for the Mobility Futures Initiative that would help develop autonomous vehicle infrastructure; and
    • $1 million one-time funding for Focus: HOPE.

  • Public Health:
    • $360 million to permanently maintain the $2 an hour wage increase for direct care workers;
    • $38 million for a one-time supplemental payment for nursing homes;
    • $91 million for behavioral health for Medicaid enrollees and those served through the child welfare system;
    • $26.5 million for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Pilot to provide behavioral health services for adults;
    • $7.4 million to expand the Infant Home Visiting program for visits to families with infants born with substance exposure;
    • $6.7 million for the Sickle Cell Disease Initiative to expand treatment coverage and increase outreach and clinical capacity to support people in our state living with sickle cell disease;
    • $8.4 million to reduce health disparities;
    • $2.1 million for the Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office to promote racial equity and inclusion in MDHHS-administered services; and
    • $10 million one-time funding for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund.

  • Criminal Justice:
    • $29.1 million to support the additional costs of raising the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18, which takes effect in October;
    • $20 million to support the enacted clean slate legislation for criminal record expungement;
    • $10.2 million for de-escalation training for law enforcement; and
    • $12 million for local trial courts to comply with new defense standards for low-income individuals.

  • Infrastructure:
    • $300 million to repair or replace 120 local bridges in serious or critical condition;
    • $290 million in infrastructure grants for the MI Clean Water Plan;
    • $40 million for grants to local governments to address issues like coastal erosion, flooding, transportation networks, urban heat, and stormwater management;
    • $15 million for the Dam Safety Emergency Fund; and
    • $20 million to protect from cyber threats on the state’s information technology systems.

  • Environment:
    • $20 million for contaminated site cleanup to support rapid response to contaminated sites that pose an immediate threat;
    • $5 million for the State Facility Green Revolving Fund; and
    • $5 million for the Michigan Saves Green Bank.

The entire Fiscal Year 2022 proposed budget can be found here. You can watch the budget presentation here.

Special Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period


President Biden signed an executive order to open up the federal health insurance market through May 15, 2021. Uninsured people will be able to buy a plan and those who want to change their marketplace coverage can do so during this three-month period. To learn more or apply, visit

Health Insurers Will Provide COVID-19 Testing and Treatment at No Cost to Patients

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services announced last week that Michigan has secured an agreement from most health insurers in the state to waive all out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and treatment. This agreement includes over 92% of the commercial health insurance market in Michigan.


While legislative offices remain closed to the public, my team and I are still providing responsive service as we work from home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (517) 373-0587 or by email at if we can help.


Kara Hope

State Representative