Good morning, District 9. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday with your families and loved ones. In my house, I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with my husband, Jason, and my dog, Peace, and I hope yours was just as wonderful. Last week, as we also welcomed in December, the Legislature returned to Lansing to continue working on more legislation before the end of the year. I’d like to take a moment to loop you in on some of the most important bills that were passed last week.
First, I was proud to support HB 5190, a bill that would make a half-credit personal finance course a requirement for high school graduation. This bill will ensure that Michigan students are graduating high school with the knowledge they need to confidently and successfully manage their finances, as they learn how to safely spend and borrow money, manage debt, create and follow personal budgets, and more. These courses are an important step in ensuring financial literacy among high school graduates, helping them to start their adult lives on the right foot as they navigate college, join the workforce and start families.
Next, I voted to pass a package of four bills (HBs 5261–5264) that expand access to non-opioid directive forms. By making the forms more widely available, these bills will help prevent addiction in patients following a prescription. As we continue to battle opioid addiction in Michigan, it is important that we remain vigilant, utilizing every resource we have to stifle this deadly epidemic.
First, I voted to pass a supplemental appropriation through HB 5522 of over $500 million for first responders and law enforcement for the fiscal year 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a heavy toll on the mental and physical health of our first responders and officers, not to mention a financial toll, it is important to continue to support these brave individuals however we can.
Finally, we passed a pair of bills (HB 4798 and HB 4974) that require victim contact information and witness contact information, respectively, remain confidential during legal proceedings unless absolutely necessary. It is our hope that this legislation will protect victims and witnesses from harassment by a defendant or their legal counsel, and, in doing so, victims and witnesses may be more comfortable taking part in legal proceedings.
Other bills passed by the Michigan House of Representatives this week include: