Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.
Criminalizing Female Genital Mutilation
I'm proud to be a part of a bipartisan package of bills that will prohibit and provide state criminal penalties for young girls under 18 who are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM would be punished by up to 15 years in prison under bipartisan legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. The eight bill package and one resolution would make it a felony to perform or facilitate an FGM procedure. Hosting or transporting someone for the purpose of performing an FGM procedure would also be a felony.
The disturbing reports earlier this year of young girls, ages 6 and 7, who were subjected to brutal genital mutilation procedures in Michigan show that the state needs to do more outreach and raise awareness about what is already a federal crime. As part of this package, my bill, House Bill 4642, would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop and administer an educational and outreach program that informs the public about FGM.
Other bills in the package would revoke the state health professional license of anyone convicted under the legislation and extend the statute of limitations for FGM victims to file a civil lawsuit against their perpetrators to up to 10 years after their 18th birthday.
Remediating Records of Wrongful Arrests
I also co-sponsored a bill that would ensure that a person charged with a misdemeanor or felony because of identity theft or mistaken identity is entitled to dismissal of these charges and destruction of all related records. The prosecutor issuing the charges should request dismissal of the erroneous charges in the court of jurisdiction.
This legislation would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure and allow for the automatic expunction of arrest records for wrongful arrest due to mistaken identity or identity theft. Currently, citizens wrongfully accused must engage litigation and suffer the harmful effects of an errant arrest on their records.
Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights
Michigan House and Senate Democrats have introduced a Health Care Bill of Rights to resist congressional health care cuts that passed in the U.S. House. This resolution would shield hundreds of thousands of Michigan families who stand to see their costs skyrocket, coverage reduced or health insurance disappear altogether. The latest Congressional Budget Office estimate found that 23 million Americans would lose health insurance by 2026 under the federal plan.
The Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights keeps critical parts of the Affordable Care Act in place in the state should Congress succeed in passing the American Health Care Act. The plan would:
- Protect People with Pre-existing Conditions: The Health Care Bill of Rights prevents people with pre-existing conditions from losing their protections, as is the case under the ACA.
- Stop the “Age Tax”: Seniors and older people who aren’t eligible for Medicare are protected by banning insurance companies from increasing their rates.
- Prevent Massive Rate Hikes: The Health Care Bill of Rights stops insurance companies from being able to raise the rates of people who get sick and need treatment or add coverage caps, which leave people with massive out-of-pocket costs.
- Protect Essential Health Benefits: Insurance companies won’t be able to deny Michiganders coverage for maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, substance abuse services, preventive care, pediatric services, hospitalization, and emergency services.
David Pollie Essay Contest
Those who face mobility challenges are encouraged to enter the David Pollie Classic essay contest, sponsored by the Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors through the state Department of Natural Resources. The contest winner will be awarded with an Action Trackchair, an all-terrain electronic wheelchair that will help those with mobility challenges take advantage of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
The contest is in memory of David Pollie, who became paralyzed after an injury he sustained at a young age, but remained an avid outdoorsman throughout his life. His traditional wheelchair limited his ability to spend time hunting with his brothers outdoors, which lead him and his family to begin a fundraiser to purchase a Trackchair. With the help of his friends and family, he raised half the money he needed, but fell short of the full amount. An anonymous donor ultimately contributed the remaining amount for Pollie to purchase his Trackchair.
This essay contest is not only an incredible opportunity for those with mobility challenges to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is a beautiful tribute to a man who inspired so many others to break through barriers and live their lives to the fullest. Thanks to the generosity of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors and its partners, this opportunity could truly change someone’s outlook on life.
The David Pollie Classic essay contest is open to Michigan residents only from June 1-June 30. Applicants may only apply once, and must submit a two-minute video or a one-page essay with an entry form detailing why they should be awarded the Trackchair. The essay may be entered by the applicant themselves, or by friends and family members on their behalf. For more information, including a link to the online entry form, please visit the Michigan DNR page or contact Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors at (989) 277-0524 for complete contest rules and eligibility requirements.
Eat Safe Fish
Now that the weather is nice and people are out fishing in our rivers and lakes, it’s important to only eat safe fish. What are “safe” fish? Safe fish are fish that are low in chemicals. If you use the Eat Safe Fish Guide when you choose fish to catch and eat, you will protect yourself and your family from chemicals that could make you sick.
If there are chemicals in the fish, why should you still eat it? Fish have a lot of great health benefits, including being a great source of protein. They are also particularly beneficial for the brain. Some fish also have heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Plus, fishing is a fun way to get outside and enjoy Michigan’s incredible resources, including our 11,000 lakes, rivers and streams.
For more information, including a pamphlet explaining how to best choose, clean and cook your fish, please go to michigan.gov/eatsafefish.
Experience #MiFreeFishing Weekend June 10-11 and Enjoy the Outdoors
Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer during the 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 10-11. That Saturday and Sunday, everyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.
Additionally, during #MiFreeFishingWeekend, the DNR will waive the regular recreation passport entry fee for vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas. Several of these locations will host official 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend events perfect for the whole family.
Michigan has celebrated summer’s #MiFreeFishingWeekend every year since 1986 as a way to promote awareness of the state's vast aquatic resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams and 11,000 inland lakes – Michigan and fishing are a perfect match.
“Being outdoors and enjoying Michigan’s world-class fisheries never gets old,” said Jim Dexter, DNR Fisheries Division chief. “We encourage avid anglers to consider inviting a new angler out for this year’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend to show them how simple and fun it can be.”
Official summer #MiFreeFishingWeekend activities are being scheduled in communities across the state to assist with public participation. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations including constituent groups, schools, local and state parks, businesses and others. A full list of these events can be found online at michigan.gov/freefishing.
AVIAN ADVENTURE: EAGLE EXPEDITION
Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to noon
Goldenrod Disc Golf Course, 6405 Irish Road in Davison
Come see an active eagle nest and hike the trails of the Genesee Recreation Area, which offers great opportunities to see a variety of different birds. Bring a pair of binoculars, and the For-Mar naturalist will lead you on a birding hike. Free for all ages and abilities; pre-registration not required.
Kaleidoscope Day at Crossroads Village
Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad, 6140 Bray Road in Genesee Township
Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This is your chance for a FREE family fun day with activities for the whole family and free admission to Crossroads Village. Tickets for the Huckleberry Railroad, Genesee Belle and Vintage Amusement rides are not included in admission and may be purchased separately. This family-friendly event is brought to you by your Genesee County Parks in collaboration with local businesses. Enjoy fitness activities, kids crafts, super hero activities and more!
Village tickets do not have to be reserved in advance, but if you want to ride the train or Genesee Belle at Kaleidoscope Day, tickets cost extra, and purchasing them in advance will better guarantee you a seat. You can purchase by calling (810) 736-7100, extension 6, or visiting the reservations desk in the Genesee County Parks and Recreation department during normal business hours.
Davison Festival of Flags
Wednesday, June 7 – Sunday, June 11
Main Street in Downtown Davison
Come out for one of Flint and Genesee County's largest parades along with live music, sports tournaments, carnival rides, a storybook pancake breakfast, entertainment tent, great food and beverages, and much more. Patrons can also participate in the annual Color Me Davison Fun Run 5K. For more information and a detailed schedule of events, please click here.
Catfish for a Cause Tournament
Sunday, June 11, from 6 a.m. to noon
Bluegill Boat Launch, 4045 Coldwater Road in Genesee Township
There are still way too many Channel Cats out there, so let’s get fishing and have some fun! It’s FREE Fishing Weekend in Michigan, so you don’t need a fishing license. All other state of Michigan fishing rules and regulations will be followed, including size and daily possession limits. Registration begins at 6 a.m., and fishing starts at 7 a.m. Weigh-in is at noon.
Monday, June 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Clio City Park, 402 N. Mill St. in Clio
Rescue 9-1-1 is a FREE event and is geared for children 8-12 years of age. It is a fun hands-on learning program that gives children the knowledge, skills and confidence to protect themselves and react safely in emergency situations, well-being, bullying education, and wellness/nutrition. Each child receives a free t-shirt, free lunch and a graduation certificate upon completion of the program. Space is limited; register today by clicking here or by calling (810) 238-7672, extension 224.
“When you look at a field of dandelions you can either see a field of weeds or a field of wishes.” – Unknown
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.
State Representative Pam Faris
48th House District