Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! As always, I will be most effective in my job when acting on your direct input. I encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any questions, comments or concerns that you may have regarding our community or the state and with any policy ideas you might have.
Please sign up for up-to-date news from the Capitol by going to www.repwitwer.com. And as always, please do not hesitate to reach out by phone at (517) 373-0853 or send an email to AngelaWitwer@house.gov.
State Representative, 71st House District
Prescription Drug Price Transparency
This morning, my House Bill 4347 was approved by the House Health Policy Committee today. The bill would require drug manufacturers to file a report with the state within 30 days of raising the wholesale acquisition cost of certain prescriptions by 15% or more in a given year, or 40% or more over a three-year period.
No one should ever have to choose between their medication and putting food on the table, but for so many throughout our state that is the disheartening reality they are living in. Prescription drug price hikes have gotten completely out of control in recent years, and there does not always seem to be a good reason for it. Wealthy drug manufacturers need more oversight; if they cannot explain their price increases with good reason, they must be held accountable.
I host virtual coffee hours on Facebook Live each Friday at 11 a.m. You will find the link on my coffee hour event page on Facebook at that time, and no code is needed to join. *Please note, we may be changing the day and time due to scheduling difficulties.
Community Speaker Series
I hope you can join me for my upcoming Community Speaker Series event with special guest, Ele’s Place Capital Region Director Kristine Kuhnert. The event will take place on March 29 at 3 pm on my Facebook page.
Village Council Meetings
On Monday, March 1, I visited one of my favorite villages in our district, Mulliken, for their council meeting. I’ve become friends with many people on the council over the past few years, so it was nice to be able to visit with them and others who attended. I gave a legislative update, answered questions from attendees and had some laughs before heading home.
Additionally, I attended the Bellevue Township board on Monday, March 8 to discuss updates from the state level. After, I attended the Roxand Township meeting. I’ve been working with members of the township and local residents along with EGLE and Eaton County Roads and Drain Commission. We have been putting all the agencies together to get the best outcome to replace the Gates Roads bridge which has been out for almost a year. I’m happy to report that we are at the toward the end of the approvals and are hopeful to have this bridge repaired soon.
If you know of an upcoming community event or meeting that you would like me to attend, please reach out to my office. I would be happy to come by and provide an update and answer any questions!
Small Business of the Month
The February winner of our district’s Small Business of the Month recognition was awarded to Riverside Café in Bellevue. They have served as the gracious host for many of my in-person coffee hours over the years, and I can speak from personal experience that the food and refreshments are wonderful.
Here is a quote we received from the resident who nominated the business:
“Riverside Café is the heart of the Bellevue community. It provides a place for people to come together to enjoy delicious food and hospitality. Their menu offers a variety of choices at reasonable prices. Their wait staff is efficient, but most of all welcoming. People travel long distances to enjoy all the Riverside Cafe has to offer. What also sets them apart is their commitment to the community. They support the schools, both in donations and in providing an opportunity for employment. They support the local organizations by providing them a location to meet. They quietly, without recognition, provide meals to seniors and other shut-ins. Ask anyone in the area what their favorite business is in Bellevue, the Riverside Cafe will likely be their answer. This is an awesome restaurant. The staff is great and the food is delicious!”
Congratulations April and Frank!
Click here to submit nominations for the March Small Business of the Month recognition.
Teacher of the Month
The February winner of our district’s Teacher of the Month recognition was awarded to Matthew Oppeheim of the Waverly Public School District. Matthew has been teaching at Waverly since 1996 and has been a fixture of the community and district since that time. As I said when I talked about Matt, he is the teacher you remember 30 years later. He takes the time to help kids reach their goals and makes meaningful relationships with his colleagues, parents and students. Congratulations, Matt!
Click here to submit nominations for the March Teacher of the Month recognition.
Last week, I gave testimony on two bills I sponsored in the House Health Policy Committee.
House Bill 4317 would create a commission tasked with conducting a comprehensive assessment of the overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic in our state’s nursing homes, then making recommendations for future improvement. It is so vitally important that we do what we can to protect all Michiganders during a public health crisis, but especially those most vulnerable among us. This bill would help ensure we do that.
House Bill 4347 would increase cost transparency for prescription drugs. Many patients, including those that live right here in our district, are having to choose every day between buying the prescription drugs they need or paying their bills. No one should ever have to make that choice, and this bill would help hold wealthy drug manufacturers accountable for the prices they decide upon.
Last week, the House passed supplemental appropriations bills comprised of mostly federal dollars to help COVID-19 relief efforts around the state. These bills do not release all federal dollars available to Michigan. Much like all other states, we should receive all tax dollars afforded to us by the federal government and put it to good use supporting the people of Michigan. I have always urged members of the house and senate to make choices good for the people of Michigan. We need to stop political grandstanding that negatively affects our communities and release the funds allocated to Michigan.
Here are some updates from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as of last week. These updated orders took effect last Friday and remain in place until April 19.
Gatherings Order Update
- Increases indoor residential gatherings to 15 persons, 3 households
- Increases indoor non-residential gathering limits to 25 persons (intended to address public meetings amongst other things)
- Increases outdoor residential gathering limits to 50 persons
- Increases outdoor non-residential gathering limits 300 persons (without fixed seating) or 1000 persons (with fixed seating)
- Increases limits on size of groups of patrons in recreation/entertainment facilities to 25 persons
- Increases density limitation on recreation entertainment to 25% (was 20%)
- Increases max capacity in stadiums and arenas (<10,000 capacity/10,000+ capacity) to 375/750
- Increases max capacity in all other indoor recreational facilities to 300 persons
- Increases max capacity in all other outdoor recreation facilities to 1000
- Increase restaurant/bar capacity to 50%
11 p.m. curfew (was 10 p.m.)
- Continues limits on 6 guests per table
- Increases capacity at casinos to 30% and to 20% in shared spaces (not subject to 300 persons cap)
- Increases capacity at retail settings to 50%
- Increases capacity at exercise facilities to 30%
- Increases capacity at public pools to 40%
- Increases capacity in ice and roller rinks to 10 person/1000 sq ft.
Nursing Home Visitation Updates
- Allows for visitation at facilities regardless of county risk level
- Visitation may continue as long as the facility has not had a COVID case in the last 14 days (please note that this is a CMS requirement and a facility could be cited for non-compliance)
- Limited to two visitor per resident
- Rapid tests will be required for visitors 13 & over, subject to masking, and social distancing
- Opening up communal dining and group activities with appropriate precautions in place.
Covid-19 Vaccine Update
To help reach the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and bring a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials today announced the state is expanding vaccination eligibility beginning Monday, March 8. This change follows the announcement by President Joe Biden that ramped-up production will provide enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end of May.
MDHHS is moving forward with the vaccination of Michiganders age 50 and older with medical conditions or disabilities and caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs. Beginning Monday, March 22, vaccine eligibility will again expand to include all Michiganders 50 and older. To date, more than 40% of Michiganders age 65 and older have been vaccinated.
If you are still having issues with your unemployment, know someone who is having issues or have any questions regarding unemployment, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office and we will be able to help.
Please email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information and we can submit a ticket to make sure you get a call from UIA and have your issue be resolved.
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- Case Number
- Summary of Issue