Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Bill Would Eliminate Capitol Sign Ban
Last week, I introduced House Bill 5328, which would allow visitors to bring signs into the Michigan State Capitol Building. Signs have been banned in the Capitol since the “Right to Work” protests in 2012. The stated reason for this ban was to protect the Capitol building from damage and to protect staff, legislators and visitors from signs or sticks to which signs are attached. No one who was in the building on April 30, 2020, will ever forget the heavily armed “protesters” who crowded the Capitol in opposition to the “stay-at-home” order. Common sense and common experience indicate that a semi-automatic weapon poses a greater threat to our historic Capitol and the humans inside it than signs do.
HB 5328 would lift the ban and allow the public to fully exercise their First Amendment rights while visiting the Capitol. The First Amendment protects our right to carry a sign into the Capitol. By allowing guns in the Capitol and not signs, we are telling the people of Michigan that we value some parts of the Bill of Rights over others.
More Flexibility, Local Control Sought in ‘Designated Assessor Requirement’
Last week, I introduced House Bill 5329, which would amend the designated assessor requirement. This change would allow counties to opt out of keeping a designated assessor on retainer. Under this legislation, counties that opt out will have a designated assessor appointed by the State Tax Commission, but only when one is required. This bill would give counties the flexibility they need to make sure the work of assessing gets done in the way that works best for them.
Currently, every county is required to have a designated assessor approved by the State Tax Commission. However, some counties have trouble finding assessors to fill that role. In addition, depending on the state equalized value of properties in their jurisdiction, counties may need a Michigan Master Assessing Officer. These highly trained, in-demand professionals can be costly. Another challenge is that the amount of work required of the designated assessor fluctuates. This uncertainty can make the position difficult for counties to fill.
Child and Family Charities Merges With Child and Family Services, Receives State Funding Under Recently Passed Budget
Last Thursday, I attended the Child and Family Services of Michigan and Child and Family Charities’ merger celebration. Under the recently passed state budget, Child and Family Charities (as the combined organization will now be known) will receive $2 million to repurpose the McLaren Hospital Greenlawn campus in south Lansing to consolidate services and expand their capacity. Child and Family Charities offers a range of prevention and treatment services. With the merger, their outreach has expanded to more than 8,000 children, youth and families each year in the mid-Michigan area and 15,000 statewide. The McLaren Greenlawn campus will allow Child and Family Charities to offer all of their services in one place, with room for future expansion.
Are You #VoteReady? Check Your Status on National Voter Registration Day
Today (Sept. 28) is National Voter Registration Day. In Michigan, it is easy to check your voter status and, if necessary, to register. You can register by mail or online if there are more than 15 days before the next election. If there are 14 days or fewer remaining before the next election, you must register in person at your local clerk’s office. Read more about Michigan’s eligibility and registration requirements here.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (517) 373-0587 or by email at email@example.com if we can help.