In this e-newsletter:
Upcoming IN-PERSON Coffee Hour – Oct. 15
My coffee hour for the month of October will be on Friday, Oct. 15, from 9 to 10 a.m. This will be an IN-PERSON coffee hour at the pavilion in Farrell Park located at 809 N. Rose St. in Kalamazoo. I will be providing a legislative update and offering an opportunity for residents of the 60th House District to share their thoughts and perspectives.
Please note that restrooms will NOT be available and advanced arrangements are encouraged.
While an RSVP is not required, if individuals would like to register for the coffee hour or submit a question in advance, they can do so by clicking here or by sending us an email at JulieRogers@house.mi.gov. The coffee hour will follow all CDC guidelines, and while not required, masking is encouraged.
House Bill 4854 Reported from Committee
On Sept. 28, my bill, House Bill 4854, along with House Bills 4851, 4852 and 4856 were reported out of the House Judiciary Committee with overwhelming support. These four bills are part of the bipartisan and bicameral Sexual Assault Prevention and Education package. The package was first introduced during the 2018 investigation into the MSU/Larry Nassar scandal. This term, there are eight bills in the House and five bills in the Senate. The remaining four House bills (HB 4853, 4855, 4857 and 4858) are expected to be brought up for a vote to report from committee in the coming weeks.
Each bill in the package addresses a critical failing in our state’s systems that allowed these repeated travesties to unfold. These House Bills were passed last session and the session before with overwhelming bipartisan support on the House floor and from the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. My bill requires the distribution of a training package to mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect.
Mandatory reporters are supposed to be a voice for people who are unable to speak up and protect themselves from any form of abuse or neglect; however, not every mandatory reporter is properly trained on all of the signs they should look for. As a health care provider, I understand the importance of looking for signs of abuse in one of our most vulnerable populations. HB 4854 will ensure that training materials, developed by experts in the field, are provided to all mandatory reporters.
Democratic Vice Chair of the Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee Appointment
As the daughter of a veteran, I am extremely honored to be appointed by Speaker Wentworth to serve as the Democratic vice chair of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee. As a physical therapist, I have had the privilege of rehabilitating many of these brave men and women throughout the years, and I am keenly aware of some of the challenges they face. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this committee to champion policies that address many of the issues impacting those who have sacrificed so much to serve our country.
Budget Includes Funding for the Reconstruction of the U.S. 131 Interchange
Gov. Whitmer recently signed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes historic investments in health care, child care and infrastructure. Included in the budget is $3 million to fund the reconstruction of the U.S. 131 interchange with the business route U.S. 131 in Kalamazoo, $10 million toward a Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund and $1.5 million for a new senior facility in Portage.
I am proud to have helped secure the necessary funds to make improvements to the U.S. 131 interchange in Kalamazoo. This funding will build upon the ongoing state, local and private partnerships that have invested more than $600 million in the area and will bring 1,000 jobs to the Kalamazoo community. As a practicing health care provider, I am also especially pleased that we are investing $10 million in lead poisoning prevention. Comprehensive lead remediation in our homes and infrastructure is critical to the health and well-being of the Kalamazoo community.
Finally, I am thrilled that the budget we passed includes $1.5 million for a new facility at the Portage Senior Center, which will be a great benefit to the seniors in our county. This new budget demonstrates that after a tumultuous year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are putting the people of Michigan first.
Bill to Regulate the Lead Leachate Levels for Tableware Introduced
This week, I introduced House Bill 5374 to regulate the lead leachate levels for tableware. Leaching is when a chemical substance, such as lead, moves from an object or surface to a liquid when it is exposed to that liquid. For example, lead from dinnerware could leach into drinks or food after coming in contact with the dinnerware.
As a practicing physical therapist, I have firsthand knowledge of the dangers that leaching may cause. One of my patients experienced balance issues that progressively worsened despite our best attempts to treat the issue. It wasn’t until a heavy metal panel blood test was performed that we became aware that my patient was experiencing the side effects of lead exposure. He had been drinking out of a coffee mug every morning that was painted with lead-based paint.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently regulates the amount of lead allowed to leach from tableware, but only to a certain degree. My bill would set the acceptable lead leaching levels from tableware below what the FDA has established, resulting in a much higher level of safety.
In 2007, under PA 160, Michigan added a prohibition on the sale of lunch boxes used to carry food or drink for human consumption that contain lead-bearing substances. My bill would take the necessary next step to ensure we are protecting our friends, families and community members from the dangers of lead exposure.
As always, we are interested in hearing from YOU! Please reach out and share your ideas/suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.