Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Roe v. Wade Overturned; Abortion Still Legal In Michigan
Friday’s radical, partisan decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade will endanger lives, and it confers second-class citizen status on women. It makes it all the more important that we finally wipe Michigan’s archaic, draconian 1931 anti-abortion law off the books.
It is important to emphasize that abortion is still legal in Michigan. Last month, a court temporarily blocked the enforcement of the 1931 law that criminalizes abortion by issuing an injunction in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the ACLU. The injunction stated that the ban likely violates the Michigan Constitution. In addition, Attorney General Dana Nessel has been very clear that she will not prosecute cases under the 1931 abortion ban. However, county prosecutors could still have people criminally charged. Separately, activists are currently gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that, if passed by voters this November, would amend the Michigan Constitution to guarantee reproductive freedom, including abortion care.
We must work to pass state laws and to amend our state constitution to secure Michiganders’ rights to reproductive freedom. This isn’t over. I am committed to fight to restore and protect the right to privacy and bodily autonomy that were ripped away last week.
Responsible Gun Sellers Save Lives Package Introduced
Last week, my colleagues and I introduced a package of bills to enhance the security of gun stores in the state of Michigan. Bills in the Responsible Gun Sellers Save Lives package would require gun stores to perform background checks on employees (HB 6274), require dealers to report lost or stolen guns within 48 hours (HB 6272), make gun dealers liable for damages if they sell a firearm to a person who is prohibited from possessing one (HB 6275), and require gun dealers to have an alarm system, video surveillance system, and otherwise adequately secure guns and ammunition (HB 6273).
A 2010 Washington Post investigation found that in 2009, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was able to inspect less than 10% of federal firearm licenses (FFL), and that — on average — dealers are inspected once a decade. This lack of oversight has created an opportunity for illegally trafficked firearms to get into our communities. By requiring reasonable security precautions, we can stem the flow of illegal guns and save lives.
Law to Help Apprehend Fugitives Signed by the Governor
On Friday, Gov. Whitmer signed my bill, House Bill 4173, into law. This gives law enforcement another tool to use in apprehending jail escapees and other fugitives. Now Public Act 114, this law removes the cap on the amount a county can offer as a reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a wanted suspect or an escapee from jail or prison. The previous version of this nearly 100-year-old law limited the amount that could be offered at $2,000. Higher reward amounts can lead to better information, help apprehend dangerous people, and increase public safety.
This bill has been introduced in three previous terms — twice by my predecessor and once by me. Even though it had broad bipartisan support, it took many years to become a law.
Growing MI Business Grant Program Notifies, Pays Recipients
The Michigan Treasury Department began notifying Growing MI Business Grant Program recipients about their grant awards on June 24. This $409 million grant program was designed to provide financial support to certain Michigan businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards will be distributed starting on July 1.
Under this program, eligible businesses in operation before Oct. 1, 2019, may receive a grant of up to $5 million due to financial hardship. Eligible businesses that began operating between Oct. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, may receive a grant equal to 25% of certain specified costs. Funding for this program comes from federal American Rescue Plan dollars appropriated by Senate Bill 85, which was signed into law in December.
Have a Happy Fourth of July!
Have a safe and happy Independence Day! Make sure you know your municipality’s fireworks laws before setting off any private fireworks this weekend. If you choose to have your own display, remember to practice fireworks safety by keeping them away from children and only lighting them a safe distance from people and structures.
In honor of the holiday, state of Michigan offices, including legislative offices, will be closed on Monday, July 4. While the office will be closed on Monday, please do not hesitate to call or email us. We will get back to you as soon as we can!