Hey there District 9,

I hope you’re staying dry today! As per our usual, we’ve been busy up here in Lansing and have passed some great legislation in the last few days. As you gear up for the holiday weekend ahead, please take a moment to check out the great work we were able to do this week.

As always, if there’s anything my office can do to assist you, you can always reach us at (517) 373-6990 or email us at KarenWhitsett@house.mi.gov, and my staff and I will be happy to assist you. In the meantime, whether you’re headed up north, planning to spend time with loved ones, or simply hoping to spend a relaxing day at home, I wish you and your family a pleasant and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Making Improvements to Michigan’s Foster Care System

On Tuesday, I was glad to vote yes on a large package of bills to improve our state’s foster care system.

After months of conversations, extensive research and formal hearings, these bills implement recommendations brought forward by the House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force. The 12-bill package does a multitude of things — one bill creates the Foster Care Improvement Commission, while another provides a tax credit to employers who offer paid adoption leave to employees, and another requires DHHS to work with entities that help foster youth connect with family and friends. Through these changes and more, this package works to ensure that the state of Michigan is investing in a foster care system that best serves our children, adoptive services and families alike.

The bill numbers are House Bills 58015974785980816070607375 and HR 262 if you’d like to learn more.

Securing $2.7 Billion in Tax Breaks for Michiganders

Last week, I reported that I had voted yes on House Bill 4568, a bill that would deliver $2.7 billion in tax cuts for Michiganders. This week, I was glad to vote ‘yes’ on Senate Bill  784, a bill that works alongside HB 4568 to eliminate the property tax exemption for certain disabled veterans in order to replace it with an income tax credit, at the same time, expanding eligibility for disabled veterans and their families to receive the credit. I’m proud to support a bill that gives back to our veterans and their families — this is the least we can do to thank them for their service and sacrifice, and I’m glad to see the bill pass.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Working Together For Safer Schools

When our session schedule was drawn up at the beginning of the week, we never could have anticipated how relevant this next bill would become by the end of it. After the horrific tragedy that unfolded in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, a bill like this could not be any more important. As our nation mourns the loss of 21 beautiful souls, we as lawmakers must remember that we hold the power to help prevent disasters like these from continuing to wound our communities. Though it is through sadness and heartbreak, I am thankful to have seen House Bill 6042 pass this week.

In brief, this bill requires school boards to provide critical incident mapping data to local law enforcement as is consistent with school safety policy. This bill makes it easier for local law enforcement to work together with schools to implement safety policy and emergency plans, and it also provides for the easier reporting of serious incidents where police intervention may be necessary. This bill equips first responders with the data they need to improve their ability to prevent and respond to school shootings and other dangerous threats, providing them with floor plans outlining entry and exit points, vectors, and emergency assets. This bill is just one step towards protecting our schools from danger, and I will continue to support legislation that aims to keep our schools safe.

More information on these bills or others can be found at www.michiganlegislature.gov or at www.michiganvotes.org.