Welcome to my e-newsletter! I’m honored and humbled to serve as our community’s voice at the Capitol in Lansing. As we continue into the term, rest assured that the challenges families in our community and state are facing are at the top of my legislative priorities.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0152 or email at AmosONeal@house.mi.gov if we can help.
State Representative, 95th House District
In this issue:
o Community Conversation, May 19 — Saginaw County Youth Ambassadors
o State Budget Update
o Term Limits
Upcoming Community Conversation
Please join us on May 19 at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live. I will give a brief legislative update. Then, we will have a conversation about mental health in our community. Our special guests helping discuss this crucial issue are from the Saginaw County Youth Ambassadors Luke Premo, Mia Fahrenbach, Emily Smith, Lionel Baldwin and Kennedy Aldrich.
We hope to save some time for Q&A, so come with questions for our guests. You can join us on Facebook Live by clicking here or searching @StateRepAmosONeal.
I hope to see you there!
State Budget Update
Last week the House passed the FY2023 budget. The budget bills are listed below for reference:
- HB 5778 (Agriculture & Rural Development — MDARD)
- HB 5779 (Community College)
- HB 5780 (Corrections — MDOC)
- HB 5781 (Education — MDE)
- HB 5782 (EGLE)
- HB 5783 (Gen Gov)
- HB 5784 (Health & Human Services — DHHS)
- HB 5785 (Higher Ed)
- HB 5786 (Insurance & Financial Services — DIFS)
- HB 5787 (Judiciary)
- HB 5788 (Military & Veteran Affairs — DMVA)
- HB 5789 (Natural Resources — DNR)
- HB 5790 (State Police — MSP)
- HB 5791 (Transportation)
- HB 5792 (Licensing & Regulatory Affairs — LARA)
- HB 5795 (School Aid — K-12)
I did support the School Aid K-12 budget, the Health and Human Services DHHS budget and the Higher Ed budget. I was so excited to offer an amendment to require school districts to spend not less than 17% of their allocation on career and technical education programs. The School Aid Budget unfortunately did also include language that would revoke an entire school district’s annual funding if it allows students to play on the sports team that matches their gender identity. It also falls short of the governor’s recommended per-pupil funding amount and fails to contain promised payments for Detroit schools as part of a literacy lawsuit. I also was disappointed to see so many amendments to the General Government budget that would have protected reproductive rights get shot down. This comes one day after the passage of the Department of Health and Human Services budget containing a provision that prohibits any Medicaid spending at the expense of a radical anti-abortion rights provision.
On May 10, I voted yes on House Joint Resolution R, which was a proposed amendment to Michigan’s Constitution. This amendment would finally bring financial disclosure to elected officials in our state and change term limits.
Currently, Michigan is one of only two states in the nation that doesn’t require some form of financial disclosure from politicians. Under this proposal, all the members of the Legislature, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state would be required to file an annual report. The report would contain information on income, debts, positions held in outside entities and contributions from lobbyists. These reports would be posted online for any member of the public to read. So if this proposal is added to the constitution, instead of wondering whether your lawmakers are serving you, themselves or someone else, you can find out for yourself.
In addition to the financial disclosure provision, this amendment changes Michigan’s term limits. Currently, a person can serve up to three, two-year terms in the House of Representatives and two, four-year terms in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. What has happened since the voters enacted this change is that the halls between the chambers have become revolving doors. This amendment lowers the amount of time a person can serve to 12 total years, regardless of which chamber they serve in. Instead of constantly worrying about their next job, lawmakers can focus on what matters most: serving you, our constituents.
This vote is just the first step in the process. Amendments to the state constitution require voter approval. In November, you’ll get the chance to have your say on this issue. I urge you to read the proposal and make the decision you feel is best. I voted for this proposed amendment because I believe it will make Lansing a more ethical and effective place.