Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Tomorrow: Veterans Listening Tour
Please join my special guest state Rep. Julie M. Rogers, Director Zaneta Adams of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and me for a statewide veterans listening tour. We want to hear directly from the brave men and women who have served our country about the issues that matter most to them and their families. The mid-Michigan listening session will take place online via Zoom this Friday, Feb. 18, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
To register for one of the sessions, please click HERE. Individuals are encouraged to submit questions in advance when they register.
Bill to Remove Cap on County Rewards Passes House Judiciary
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill I sponsored. House Bill 4173 would remove the $2,000 limit on the amount of money a county can offer as a reward for the arrest and conviction of wanted criminal suspects or jail escapees. HB 4173 now awaits a vote on the House floor. The amount of money that counties are able to provide as a reward has not increased in nearly 100 years. Higher reward amounts could lead to a higher quality and quantity of tips, which would produce more arrests and convictions. It is past time that we give counties a better tool to encourage reluctant witnesses to come forward.
Common-Sense Gun Safety Measures Introduced
On Tuesday, my colleagues and I were joined by Attorney General Dana Nessel and other gun violence prevention advocates to urge legislative action on the safe firearm storage bills that were introduced in June 2021. I proudly co-sponsored the following bills:
- House Bill 5066: Would require guns to be stored safely to prevent injury. The bill provides criminal penalties if failure to safely store a gun results in injury or death. Specifically, guns would have to be kept in a secure lock box, in a location a reasonable person would believe is secure, or securely locked with a locking device.
- House Bill 5069: Would make complementary changes to the sentencing guidelines to reflect changes created by the main “safe storage” bill.
- House Bills 5067 and 5068: Would exempt the sales and use tax for gun safety devices, like safes, lock boxes, and trigger and barrel locks.
According to the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, nearly 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else every year. Sadly, suicides have been on a steep rise among people under the age of 19. 3,000 kids intentionally kill themselves with firearms every year. This legislation would help put an end to these preventable shootings and save lives.
$400 Million Will Support Businesses, Boost the Economy
On Wednesday, Gov. Whitmer announced a new $409 million grant program to support certain businesses that have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding for these Afflicted Business Relief Grants comes from federal American Rescue Plan dollars appropriated by Senate Bill 85. This bill was signed into law in December.
Under the program, eligible businesses in operation before Oct. 1, 2019, may receive a percentage of their lost state sales up to $5 million. Eligible businesses that began operating between Oct. 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020, may receive a grant equal to 25% of certain specified costs. To ensure that all eligible businesses can receive funding, these grants may be prorated based on the number of applicants.
The application will open at 8 a.m. on March 1 and will close at 11:59 p.m. on March 31. Awardees will be notified in the spring and grants will be distributed by July 1. The state Treasury Department is hosting informational webinars on Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 10 to 11 a.m. and Monday, March 7, from 1 to 2 p.m.
More information, including the application and registration for the webinars, can be found at michigan.gov/abr.