I hope this finds you well! I know the past two years have been unlike any we’ve ever lived through. While far too many members of our community have experienced far too much loss, I am hopeful that we can continue working together to make the future of our state brighter. The Legislature’s historic investment in students this year will set a generation up for expanded educational opportunities, and if the members of the Jefferson Middle School Robotics Team I had the chance to meet at the Capitol this month are any indication, I know our young people will do incredible things.
As 2022 comes to a close, I wanted to share with you some exciting news about legislation that has recently passed out of the House. I am grateful for this opportunity in my third term to do meaningful, bipartisan work that will make a real difference in community members’ lives. As always, if you have any ideas for or thoughts on legislation, or if you have any questions regarding a state departmental issue, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. We are here to serve you. To stay up to date on coffee hours and community conversations in the new year, please visit hertel.housedems.com or visit my Facebook page.
I hope you and your families have a safe, wonderful holiday season and a happy 2022!
Public Safety Supplemental
On Dec. 2, the Michigan House passed a $328.5 million budget supplemental focused on public safety. The supplemental uses $197.8 million from the state’s general fund and $130.8 million from federal funds and will allocate needed dollars across a broad range of public safety initiatives, including funding for first responder and public safety mental health services, community-oriented policing, and $10 million for school resource officers, whose primary responsibility will be to ensure the physical safety of students in our schools. After the tragedy in Oxford, it is more important than ever to ensure that our students are physically safe and mentally healthy. I will continue to advocate for expanded resources to ensure that our students have everything they need to succeed.
The bill also includes $25 million in funding for a new pilot program in Macomb County focused on incarcerated people’s mental health. This funding, a 50% match to the county’s investment in the program, will allow for the building of a new central intake assessment facility. This facility will serve as the center for a new way of doing justice, which includes bringing individuals in need to substance abuse and mental health treatment rather than jail. Many thanks to Sheriff Wickersham, County Executive Hackel and everyone at all levels of government who have worked to make this project a reality.
As many of you know, for the past two terms, I have reintroduced Wyatt’s Law. Mothers Erica Hammel and Christyne Kadlitz, whose children were harmed by a repeat abuser, have been fighting for since 2014. This legislation, first introduced by my predecessor in the seat, has consistently made it through one legislative chamber only to die in the other during lame duck.
This term, we approached the topic from a new angle as part of a broad, bipartisan reform of the Child Protective Services Central Registry. House Bills 5274–5280 work together to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio of the registry, removing people who have been shown to pose no threat to children’s well-being. My bill in the package, House Bill 5276, provides a requirement for the department to release information that is in the best interest of the child upon request. I am excited to see this package’s passage through the House, giving it more than a full calendar year to pass the Senate and be passed into law. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Erica and Christyne, we are one step closer to keeping all children in Michigan safe from abuse and neglect.