I am writing to you today to invite you to my upcoming coffee hour on Friday, April 29, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. These events provide an excellent opportunity to receive updates on my work at the Capitol and discuss any other questions or concerns you may have. Connecting with my constituents is an important part of my job here in the legislature, so if you are able, come join!
This month’s Coffee with Christine will be held at the Oshtemo Township Building, 7275 W. Main St. in Kalamazoo. You can find us in the conference room just down the hall.
After a restful and productive in-district work period, my colleagues and I have been itching to get back to Lansing and the work of legislating. Spring time is always busy in the Legislature, with budget negotiations, new bill ideas, and a flurry of advocacy and informational events.
I have been getting in on the action in several ways:
Opioid Settlement Bills:
I am happy to announce that on March 24, I introduced a bill as part of a package to utilize the funds awarded to the state of Michigan in the Distributor and Janssen settlements. If you aren’t familiar with these settlements, it was an effort by municipalities to win restitution for the devastation caused by the opioid crisis.
As many of you know, Michigan was one of the states which suffered greatly from the opioid crisis. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that in 2018, 78% of drug overdoses in Michigan involved at least one opioid. You can learn more from The National Institute on Drug Abuse here: https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/.
I am proud to be working across the aisle with Rep. Mary Whiteford to fight for Michiganders who have been hit hard by this crisis. I am planning to testify on my bill, House Bill 5970, before the Judiciary Committee later this week, and I hope to see the committee vote in favor of the package.
Yearly, each representative may introduce two commemorative resolutions. My first commemorative resolution this year recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Despite recent efforts to bring awareness to the prevalence of sexual violence in our society, it remains a deeply ingrained problem that negatively impacts the lives of so many people. I am grateful for the support of the Progressive Women’s Caucus in drafting this resolution, and I hope it will remind the people of Michigan that we all must step up to prevent sexual assault.
If you have experienced sexual violence and need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Helpline at (800) 656-4673 or the Kalamazoo YWCA at https://www.ywcakalamazoo.org/contact.
As many of you may have heard in the news, on Thursday, April 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed a suit with the Michigan Supreme Court to affirm the constitutional right to abortion in Michigan. As we know, the right to abortion has been continuously eroded throughout the country, with the right-wing effort picking up steam in the last year.
I am proud to stand with the governor in her commitment to protecting Michigander’s right to abortion and reproductive health care.
Along with my resolution to recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, April is host to many more celebrations and recognitions.
My office is taking a moment throughout the month to recognize each of these important commemorations and holidays:
Within the last month, my office has seen some staffing changes! While we were sad to see my former legislative staff member, Abigail Klomparens, move on, we are excited to see her excel in her new employment opportunities!
My former constituent services staffer, Acacia Costales, will be taking on the position of legislative staffer, and she is excited to dig into some policy while still being a point of contact for constituents, as she has been for the last year.
Taking the constituent services staffer position is Connor Loftus! Connor joins us from the office of Rep. Sara Cambensy and is an expert in all things constituent services and community engagement. We are looking forward to him joining the team and can’t wait for the constituents of the 61st to give him a warm welcome.
While our office is changing, our dedication to representing and assisting the constituents of Michigan’s 61st remains the same.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently released their list of Regional Teachers of the Year (RTOYs), and I am proud to announce that Dustin Sayers, a social studies teacher at Schoolcraft Junior-Senior High School in Schoolcraft Community Schools, was awarded Teacher of the Year for Region 7, which includes us here in Kalamazoo County.
According to the MDE, “The RTOYs were selected following a multi-part, competitive application process that began with being nominated for Michigan Teacher of the Year. The nominations were submitted by students, staff, and community members from across the state. A map of the 10 RTOY regions can be found on the MDE website.
“The 2022-23 honorees were chosen for their dedication to the teaching profession, as evidenced by their commitment to their students and track record of service in the teaching profession.
“Together, the RTOYs comprise the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council (MTLAC). The mission of the MTLAC is to bring teacher voice to a wider audience, including direct work with MDE to provide input on proposed policies and initiatives, and to help to share valuable information and resources with teacher colleagues in their respective regions.”
Congratulations Dustin! We are so proud to host so many amazing educators such as yourself here in Kalamazoo County. Keep up the amazing work!
Thank you all for being a part of the Morse Force and for following along on our e-newsletter and on social media (https://www.facebook.com/RepChristineMorse/). As always, please feel free to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns, and my staff and I would be happy to assist as we are able.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and (517) 373-1774.
State House Representative