Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! It continues to be a privilege to represent Livonia, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in Lansing. I encourage you to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in Lansing and continue to let me know about the issues that matter to you.
Protecting Reproductive Health Care
Michiganders seeking reproductive health care have been left in a state of uncertainty, after a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked. Last week, I took several legislative actions to ensure that citizens of our state are protected if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Anti-abortion language was riddled throughout the proposed budgets that we were voting on last week. I offered an amendment to the proposed Michigan Department of Health and Human Services budget that would strike the anti-abortion language and tie-bar the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) to the bill. The Reproductive Health Act would ensure that every single person in the state of Michigan has the right to reproductive health care. In addition, I made a motion to discharge the RHA from the House Health Policy Committee so that it could be voted upon immediately. Both the amendment and the motion failed.
I also offered an amendment to the proposed General Government budget bill that would provide some protections for Michigan residents if Roe is overturned. Specifically, the amendment would have provided the following:
- Legal aid to those performing or receiving an abortion.
- A travel fund for those who must travel out of state to seek an abortion.
- Funds for an education campaign so that Michiganders know abortion is still legal. When that changes, it would also prohibit state funds from being used to prosecute or investigate abortions and clawback county revenue sharing for those who prosecute abortions.
If the GOP majority refuses to keep abortion safe and legal in Michigan, then they should provide protections and resources to mitigate the consequences. While this amendment also failed, I can assure you that I will never stop fighting for your right to choose.
House Joint Resolution R
HJR R is a proposed amendment to the state constitution to require elected officials to file an annual financial disclosure report and modify term limits. Joint resolutions seeking to amend the Michigan Constitution require passage by a two-thirds majority of members elected and serving in each chamber. The proposed amendment(s) must then go before Michigan voters as a ballot proposal. Joint resolutions are not subject to approval by the governor.
I voted yes on HJR R, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why.
Firstly, this was a vote to simply put the measure on the ballot. Nothing has effectually changed yet, and I want that part to be clear. But given the conversations over the last several years I’ve had with constituents, I know this is a matter people are passionate about and should have the ability to vote on. Regarding the term limits piece, this would change the current limits (three two-year terms in House, two four-year terms in Senate, so 14 possible years total) to a total of 12 years in or between either chamber.
Term limits have had many negative effects, chief among them that there is little to no institutional knowledge among actual elected officials (that remains primarily with lobbyists) and issues that take a long time to address get neglected. There’s also a disproportionate focus on what comes next. I’ve told stories about how as soon as I was elected to my first term, I was asked if I was going to run for the Senate. By allowing folks to stay in one chamber for the duration of the twelve allowable years, it helps them build bipartisan relationships, cultivate an area of expertise and keep them focused on the job they’re currently doing, not what comes after.
On the financial disclosure piece, it’s far from what I would prefer. It still allows for the use of many loopholes that many legislators take advantage of regarding travel and gifts. But it’s worth noting that at this time, there is no financial disclosure requirement in Michigan. I have watched legislators on both sides of the aisle vote for legislation that would benefit them personally with no consequence and, more importantly, no established recourse to begin with. The public financial disclosure in this constitutional amendment will not solve all of our ethics issues, but it will be helpful in addressing many of the conflict-of-interest issues that currently arise.
This amendment is far from perfect — both when it comes to term limit reform and financial disclosure, but I do believe it’s a positive step to address some of the problems these issues have created, and I think the people of Michigan should have a voice.
To see what we’ve been voting on over the last couple of weeks, please click here. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at (517) 373-3920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together for Mental Health
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. On May 17, the city of Livonia will be partnering with Growth Works for a mental health resource event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Kirksey Recreation Center. Growth Works wants to ensure that all residents know about their local community’s services available to them. The event will consist of personal stories, community experiences, youth programs and panel discussions.
Together, we can realize our shared vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives. For more information, please call (734) 455-4095.
Livonia Historical Society
The Livonia Historical Society will host its next meeting on Monday, May 23, at 2 p.m., in Livonia’s Greenmead Historical Park to hear stories and trivia as Allen Zondlak answers the question, “Did you really visit every county in the United States?”
Zondlak, a retired Detroit educator, offers fascinating stories about achieving his lifetime goal. Travel with him as we crisscross America to experience the land and the people. See the cities, small towns, countryside, backroads, high points, low points and our parks.
Registration is required for refreshment planning. To register, email your name and number of guests you are bringing to email@example.com. The Livonia Historical Society meets in the historic Alexander Blue House, Greenmead Historical Park, 20501 Newburgh Road in Livonia. The entrance to Greenmead is on the west side of Newburgh, a short distance south of Eight Mile Rd. For more information, email Jim McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 525-2962.
I hope you can join me for one of my upcoming in-person and virtual coffee hours! I look forward to having an informal conversation with you about the issues families face in our community. The in-person coffee hour will be held at Coffee + Cream here in Livonia. You can join the livestream for my virtual coffee hours on my Facebook page.
In-person: Sunday, June 5, from 2-3 p.m.
Virtual: Tuesday, June 21 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns!
19th House District