Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Eligible State Employees Would Receive Bonuses Under HB 6091
Last week, I introduced House Bill 6091, which would allocate federal American Rescue Plan funds to pay $2,000 bonuses to qualified state employees who have worked for the state since March 10, 2020. These employees worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often putting their own health at risk. The bonuses would recognize their efforts. Bonuses would be paid by the end of the 2023 budget year.
House and Senate Pass Budget Bills
The Michigan House passed a $76.3 billion budget earlier this month. While there were some positive investments proposed, several of the budgets included politicized language that I could not support. For example, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services budget was tie-barred at the last minute to a bill that would prohibit using Medicaid dollars for Planned Parenthood. This “prohibition” has no other purpose than to inflame citizens. Federal law already prohibits using federal funds to pay for abortion care. By taking money away from Planned Parenthood, majority legislators would make it more difficult for Michiganders to get the birth control and health screenings that Planned Parenthood provides. There is already an OB-GYN shortage in Michigan; this budget would make it even worse.
The Michigan Senate also passed a separate fiscal year 2023 spending plan. The two chambers’ budgets have to be reconciled before heading to the governor for her signature.
Legislature Approves Ballot Proposal to Shorten Term Limits, Create Financial Disclosure Requirements
Last week, the Michigan Legislature approved asking voters to decide whether to change term limits and to require financial disclosures from state elected officials, including legislators. The language for this proposed change will be on the general election ballot in November.
Currently, lawmakers can serve six years in the House and eight years in the Senate. This ballot initiative would reduce the total number of years that a member could serve from 14 to 12 years, but it would allow those 12 years to be served in either chamber.
Michigan is one of two states in the U.S. that does not require that legislators disclose their sources of income. This constitutional amendment could improve transparency, allowing the public and press to identify conflicts of interest. Michigan has nowhere to go but up when it comes to improving ethical requirements for our elected officials.
Bill to Remove Cap on County Rewards Receives Senate Hearing
Last week, the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee heard testimony on my bill. 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. The $2,000 cap has been in statute since 1927. Thank you to Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth for his testimony in support of the bill.
CATA Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary
On Thursday, my Greater Lansing area colleagues and I presented a tribute to the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) at its 50th anniversary celebration. Over the past 50 years, CATA has worked to provide a high level of customer service, create regional mobility and develop community partnerships. I look forward to seeing what the future of public transportation looks like over the next 50 years.
Classroom Visit to Lansing School District’s GED Program
Last week, I spoke to a class of Lansing General Education Development (GED) students about state government. They asked great questions, and we had an interesting discussion about the role of government and how to engage with elected officials. Thank you to their teacher, Dan Earl, for inviting me to speak, as well as all of the students who participated in our discussion.
The Lansing School District offers a variety of adult education classes, including a GED program, a high school diploma track, English as a second language classes and a Career Pathways Program. More information about Lansing’s adult education options can be found here.
Happy 517 Day!
It is an honor and a privilege to represent part of the Greater Lansing area. I am proud to call it my home, and I look forward to continuing to work with local organizations, community members, and small businesses to make this area a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.