I hope this finds you well. We’re getting into the swing of the 101st Legislature, and I’m excited to have legislative news to share with you. In this newsletter, you’ll find information about two bills I have recently introduced, as well as information about my upcoming coffee hours and the latest on the state’s Coronavirus response.
This term, I am serving as Minority Vice Chair of Regulatory Reform and a member of the Rules and Competitiveness committees. These are new assignments—Ways and Means, which I served on last term, was removed in the committee restructuring process that happens each term—and I am excited to be doing a deep dive into our state’s rules and regulations.
If you would like to follow these or other committees’ bills and hearings, you can sign up for committee meeting emails. This is one good way to ensure that you are up to date on the issues you care about.
And as always, please feel free to contact my office if you have thoughts or questions about the legislative process or any particular bills. My team is not always the expert, but we will work to find answers for any resident of the 18th District.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and enjoy this taste of spring we’ve been getting!
Upcoming Conversation Hours
Please join me for coffee and conversation this month!
Saturday, March 13 at 10 a.m.
Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m.
My standard coffee hours are the second Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. and last Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.; however, my April 10 hour is being rescheduled. I will send an email blast with the new date and link!
Newly Introduced Legislation
HB 4368 and 4369: Paraprofessional to Teacher Pathway
Together with my colleague Rep. Koleszar, who served as an educator for over a decade before joining the legislature, I recently introduced legislation that creates a pathway for paraprofessionals to become certificated educators in our state tuition-free. Our state is facing a teacher shortage, and our students are the ones who pay the price when the teacher workforce is unstable. Teacher turnover is not only bad for our students but also districts, which must constantly undergo costly and time-consuming hiring searches. These bills aim to help solve that problem by creating a grant that would allow paraprofessionals to first earn an associate degree if they do not currently have one (or equivalent credit hours), then after further service, a bachelor’s degree in the field of education. We know that our paraprofessionals have been on the front lines of education both prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is one way our state can both give back to them and improve our educational services. I am especially thankful to Jeff Whittle, an amazingly dedicated paraprofessional in my district, for bringing this idea to our office.
HB 4431: Definition of “Occasion”
Last session, the state changed and updated many of its gambling and charitable gaming laws. Unfortunately, during that time, the definition of “occasion” for charitable gaming was changed to apply to a singular bingo game rather than the entire event for which the license is held. As our fraternal organizations and nonprofits often use bingo for fundraising, it is important that this inadvertent error is corrected quickly! My bill would return the definition to the one used by the department, resolving the accidental change. I am glad to be working with our partners at the Michigan State Lotto on this bill.
New DHHS Guidelines
The state continues to closely monitor COVID-19 cases across the state. As they do, new guidelines are released, with the newest update taking place as of today, Friday, March 5. Please review the fact sheet given to us by the Department and remember: masking up and keeping our distance helps keep us all safe until there are enough vaccine doses for everyone! To read other DHHS FAQs, please follow this link.