Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for things to do this month, along with other community information.
I introduced House Resolution 156 to declare Sept. 26, 2017, as Michigan Youth Consent Day in the state of Michigan. MY Consent Day is designed to empower young people, especially college students, to know their rights, to communicate about consent and to engage in healthy relationships to better prevent sexual assault. It is so incredibly important that young people recognize the power of consent in forming both healthy relationships and a strong understanding of their own self-worth. Michigan Youth Consent Day is held annually on the fourth Tuesday in September, during the first three months of the school year when sexual assaults are most likely to take place. According to the most recent statistics, 1 in 5 women, at least 6 percent of men and more than 40 percent of LGBT community members will be sexually assaulted during their time as a student in a Michigan college or university. What’s more, almost 67 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.
I also introduced House Bill 5054 last week to ensure that clergy members who commit sexual assault could be charged with criminal sexual conduct under Michigan law. The bill was inspired by events involving a pastor in Smiths Creek who could not be charged for sexually assaulting a woman during a supposed religious ceremony, even though the victim filed a police report. Under current Michigan law, a pastor who lies to get consent of the victim cannot be charged if there is not also force or coercion. We already hold doctors, therapists, corrections officers, teachers and others who have special relationships with their victims to a higher standard. The fact that Michigan law failed to protect this woman is unacceptable, and the loophole needs to be closed immediately.
I have recently cosponsored HB 4999, a bill to that would prohibit local governments from imposing an excise tax on the production, distribution or sale of food. The purpose of House Bill 4999 is to protect farmers, small businesses and consumers from aggressive taxes. Grocery taxes have a disastrous effect on local economies and place a disproportionate burden on low-income families.
I have also recently cosponsored HB 4971, a bill to grant a larger reward amount for criminal informants. This could make witnesses to crimes more willing to come forward. Currently the maximum amount that could be given to an informant is $2,000, and it comes from a county’s general fund. This legislation would increase the limit to $20,000. There is no particular reason for the proposed limit, although it seemed to be a figure counties could afford.
Flint Families Can Get Nutritious Food at Mobile Pantry in October
Flint families may get nutritious food that can limit the effects of lead exposure during mobile food pantry hours set for October at locations throughout Flint. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are announcing the upcoming schedule for mobile food pantry stops to distribute foods rich in calcium, vitamin C and iron.
Families receive shelf-stable items that include tuna, baked beans, mandarin oranges, cereal, tomatoes and more. Farm-fresh produce in October will be apples, eggplant, peppers, onions, sweet corn, squash, carrots and potatoes.
The program is funded through the more than $300 million in state taxpayer funds that have been provided to help the residents of Flint. Food distribution sites remain open while supplies last. Upcoming dates are:
- Saturday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. – Calvary United Methodist Church, 2111 Flushing Road
- Wednesday, Oct. 11, at noon – Salem Lutheran Church, 2610 Martin Luther King Ave.
- Saturday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. – Flint Muslim Food Pantry, 4400 S. Saginaw St.
- Saturday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. – Higher Quality of Life, 5601 N. Saginaw St.
- Tuesday, Oct. 17, at noon – St. Michael Catholic Church, 609 E. Fifth Ave.
- Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m. – Hispanic Tech Center, 2101 Lewis St.
- Thursday, Oct. 19, at noon – United Methodist Community Center, 4601 Clio Road
- Friday, Oct. 20, at noon – St. Luke’s NEW Life Center, 3115 Lawndale Ave.
- Wednesday, Oct. 25, at noon – Salem Lutheran Church, 2610 Martin Luther King Ave.
- Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 11 a.m. – Richfield Academy, 3807 N. Center Road
- Friday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m. – My Brother’s Keeper, 101 N. Grand Traverse St.
- Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. – Flint First Wesleyan Church, 3825 Davison Road
- Tuesday, Oct. 31, at noon – St. Michael Catholic Church, 609 E. Fifth Ave.
Information about additional food distribution dates will be announced as they are scheduled. These services are open to families other than Flint residents. For more information, call (517) 241-2112.
911 Emergency Text Message Option Now Available
Residents of Genesee County now have the option to send emergency text messages to 911. Sending a text message to 911 would be appropriate when someone is unable to speak because of an emergency such as a home invasion or an abusive partner. Users should send brief messages without using abbreviations or slang, be prepared to communicate your exact location and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 dispatcher. The service also is intended to aid people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability. Parents are urged to educate their children about the 911 texting option and remind them that it is for emergencies only.
National Prescription Drug Takeback Day
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications. With a national opioid crisis devastating communities across the country, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is working to combat this crisis with a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. On Oct. 28, communities across the country will provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications. Locations include:
OFFICE OF GENESEE COUNTY SHERIFF
3400 W. Vienna Road
For more information or to find additional locations, please go to https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
FAFSA Open Oct. 1, 2017
Students will be able to submit a FAFSA application earlier this year. Students will be able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2017, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year. Students will use earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.
For more information, please go to https://fafsa.ed.gov/
FREE DENTAL HEALTH CLEANINGS FOR SENIORS!
Valley Area Agency on Aging (VAAA) and Mott Community College (MCC) are partnering to offer free dental health cleanings to Genesee County seniors! Care is provided by MCC dental hygiene students, under the direct supervision of licensed dental hygienists and dentists. Seniors who qualify are those who are 60 years of age and older. Appointments are being scheduled ALL DAY Monday through Friday; call today to schedule an appointment: (810) 762-0493.
Events, Programs or Services in the 48th House District
Medicare/Medicaid Open Enrollment Opportunity
The Eastside Senior Center will have Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program Counselors on October 16 for assistance with Open Enrollment. Please call (810) 250-5000 to schedule your appointment. The Eastside Senior Center is located at 3065 N. Genesee Road in Flint.
Cock-a-doodle-doo Chicken Show
Join the Clio Area Library on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 1-2 p.m. to see some chickens. The chickens are tame and friendly and can be held. Program includes fascinating facts on fowl, poultry petting, music and audience participation. The event is fun for the whole family. For more information and registration, please visit the Genesee District Library website.
Zombie Makeup 101
Join the Davison Area Library on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 2-3 p.m. to learn how to do zombie makeup. Scare your friends and family just in time for Halloween! For more information and registration, please visit the Genesee District Library website.
Breakout Box Event
Join the Mt. Morris Library on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 2-3:30 p.m. to solve this breakout box puzzle. If you’re a whiz at solving riddles and deciphering codes, help break into the “Breakout Box” and get to the prize inside. Meet new friends, put your heads together and work as a team to play this interactive game, unlock the box and win a prize! Snacks will be provided. For more information and registration, please visit the Genesee District Library website.
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.
State Representative Pam Faris
48th House District