Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read my monthly e-newsletter.  Keeping residents informed and engaged is at the core of my service as a state representative. Communication is a two-way street, so please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have concerns, questions or bill suggestions. We are in this together!


Rep. Steph


March 2021 Highlights


District 8 ‘Community Conversations’ 2021

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We will continue with our monthly “Community Conversations”, which serve as a meeting of residents, business owners and other stakeholders from the district. We had a great discussion in February on heart health and Black History.

This is a time to share your suggestions and concerns as we work together to improve our overall quality of life. Please join us for our April virtual conversations. We hold a morning meeting and evening meeting twice monthly to ensure those interested in attending have an opportunity to do so.

April is Financial Literacy Month. Topics will include:

Banks vs Credit Unions

Pay Day Lending Pros & Cons

Youth Financial Education & Empowerment   


Mon, April 12           10 – 11 a.m.

Fri, April 30             5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting

Bicameral Legislation Aims to Close Gender Gap

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I joined with a bicameral coalition of Michigan Democratic legislators to introduce several bills on Equal Pay Day, designed to close the wage gap between men and women.

Equal Pay Day marks the day in the calendar year when women earn the same that men do for the same job. As it stands, for every $1 earned by men of all races, women of all races averaged just 82 cents. The problem is worse for women of color, with an even starker disparity; Black women earn $0.62, Latinas earn $0.54 and Indigenous women earn $0.57 for every dollar made by their White male counterparts.

My bill, House Bill 4578, would create a commission on pay equity in the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The bill is currently before the Committee on Workforce, Trades, and Talent.

Resolution Declares Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day

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I am proud that my House colleagues joined me in passing a resolution I introduced to declare March 25, 2021, as Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day in the state of Michigan. HR 66 will help raise awareness of the most common motor disability in children. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the developing brain, which usually occurs during fetal development before, during, or after birth. The CDC’s latest report found that 1 in 345 children in the United States have cerebral palsy.

Researchers across the United States are conducting important studies involving cerebral palsy, and they are hopeful for breakthroughs as medical science advances. Days like this will help.

Bill Package Address High Cost of Prescription Drugs

House Bill 4350

My bill, House Bill 4350, was passed out of the House by a vote of 101-6. It is part of a broad, 14-bill bipartisan package that will make health care and prescription drugs more affordable. My bill will amend the Health Care False Claim Act to ensure that Michigan law does not unintentionally punish drug manufacturers when they provide copay assistance to Michiganders.

Access to affordable health care is one of the most important challenges facing our communities today. The means to obtain the care and medication we need is vital to our ability to get to work, care for our loved ones and build a future for ourselves and our families. With soaring prescription drug prices and high out-of-pocket costs, copay assistance from drug manufacturers can be a lifeline to patients who, without such assistance, would be unable to afford life-saving medications. This change is just one piece of a larger package that will improve the lives of countless Michiganders by preserving one of the few resources that ensures the accessibility and affordability necessary for their treatments.

Resolution Honoring Young Author

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In March, the Legislature had the pleasure of welcoming children’s authors from all over the state to celebrate National Reading Month. I had the honor of welcoming both a constituent and the youngest author, Gabrielle Ethridge, at age 10. It only goes to show you are never too young to have something to say. Gabrielle has been honing his craft as part of a weekly writing group called Wee-bots since he was 5. Gabrielle wrote his first book at age 9, “When I Grow Up What Might I Be,” inspired by his aspiration to be mayor when he grows up. He has also had several short stories published in his school’s anthology, The Omnibus. Writing is an outlet that allows Grabrielle to express his feelings, and he plans to continue writing and publishing.

Bills Shine Sunlight on State Government

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I joined every member of the House in supporting a 10-bill, bipartisan package expanding the Freedom of Information Act(FOIA).

The legislation opens up to the public some records from the Legislature and Executive Office, both of which are now exempt from releasing anything other than financial records.

Transparency is a core Democratic value, and passing this legislation is a huge step in the right direction. The bills now head to the Senate. Last term, similar bills that received overwhelming support in the House died in the Senate when they failed to take the legislation up.

Tax Filing Deadline Extended

Tax Day

State of Michigan individual income tax annual returns are now due on May 17, 2021, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The new filing deadline comes after the Internal Revenue Service extended its deadline to the same date. For the benefit and convenience of taxpayers, both the beginning and end of income tax filing season are the same as the IRS. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request an extension to Oct. 15, 2021. Taxpayers requesting additional time to file should estimate their tax liability and pay any taxes owed by May 17, 2021, to avoid additional interest and penalties.

Bill Aims to Hold Bad Actors Accountable

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I introduced House Bill 4505 as part of a six-bill package to usher in unemployment reform that would hold bad actors accountable and, in the process, protect hardworking Michiganders and honest businesses who do things the right way.

Many people found themselves ineligible for state unemployment benefits because their employer did not pay into the unemployment insurance system to protect their employees, as required by law. This package will stop unscrupulous business owners from fraudulently misclassifying employees as independent contractors and ensure employers who play by the rules and pay their taxes are not placed at an economic disadvantage.

My bill would:

  • Increase the penalty for delinquent employer UI taxes if there is associated fraud.
  • Require the UIA to submit annual reports to the Legislature regarding employers who are delinquent on contribution taxes, and what the UIA is doing to remedy the situation.
  • Require employers to keep track of all declared tips of their waitstaff and report them on their quarterly reports to the unemployment agency.
  • Remove some statutory requirements regarding involuntary leave for medical reasons, shifting the burden of proof onto the claimant in these situations.
  • Reduce work requirements to 4 weeks for involuntary leave cases and 6 weeks for discharge cases, instead of 12 and 17 weeks, respectively.
  • Remove the language ‘a person who has been absent 3 days and not contacted the employer in a manner acceptable to the employer’. Employers have used this technicality to get rid of workers and deny them unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

The bills were referred to the Committee on Government Operations for consideration.

EITC is Overlooked Anti-Poverty Program


Working families and individuals with low-to-moderate income may be able to receive Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

To qualify, individuals must meet certain requirements and file a federal income tax return, even if no tax is owed or there is no requirement to file a return. If a federal EITC is granted, the state of Michigan will provide a supplemental EITC when the taxpayer files his or her state income tax return.

The EITC is one of the federal government’s biggest, if often overlooked, anti-poverty programs. The state Treasury Department estimates there are thousands of eligible Michiganders who are eligible for both the federal and state EITCs and do not claim them each year.

To learn more about the EITC, go to


Tribute Request

We all know there are individuals and organizations that deserve special recognition for the tremendous work they do to serve the people of our communities and our state. If you know an individual or organization that has truly gone above and beyond for their neighbors, you may fill out the form on this page to request an official state tribute so we may all show our full appreciation for their efforts. You can do that at the link below:

If you should have any comments or questions, please feel free to call me at (517) 373-3815 or email me at

In service,

Rep. Steph


State Representative

8th District

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