June Legislative Updates

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy July, and I hope you all had a happy Pride Month! June was Pride Month, and I invite you to join me in honoring those in the LGBTQIA+ community who couldn’t be with us to celebrate and remember those who fought for the rights we have today.

June was a busy month! We passed the fiscal year 2023 budget, and the House has been moving through a long list of legislation before we take a break from session to spend time in our districts connecting with our constituents.

Even as we transition into the summer break, I am working hard to represent your interests in Lansing. As your state representative, I am most effective when acting on your input. Don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with questions, comments or concerns.

Additionally, I’m always looking to encounter new faces and places in House District 10. If you’d like to highlight a small business, community activist or an incredible resident of HD10, I would love to feature them in our E-News, Community Conversation, social media pages and more!

You can contact me at (517) 373-0857, by email at MaryCavanagh@house.mi.gov, or by visiting my website.

With gratitude,

Mary Cavanagh

State Representative

House District 10 (Redford Twp. & NW Detroit)

Legislative Update

Cavanagh Introduces First-Ever Grassroots Week Resolution

June was extra special to me because I introduced a resolution commemorating the first ever Grassroots Week in the state of Michigan! House Resolution 319 declared June 23-29, 2022, as Grassroots Week, a week to honor and thank our precinct delegates and grassroots leaders. Their work is essential to building participation in our democracy through voter registration, organizing and facilitating community conversations on important issues.

I chose June 23 to begin the Grassroots Week celebration in honor of a historic moment in the history of Michigan’s grassroots activism. On June 23, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was invited to walk the streets of Detroit and joined grassroots leaders and city officials, including my grandfather, Jerome Cavanagh, former mayor of Detroit. The Detroit Walk To Freedom was a testament to the strength of grassroots activism, and with its 125,000 spectators and participants, was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in Michigan’s history.

In a time of tension and opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, Detroit leaders rose above the obstacles and rallied people together for a shared purpose. This event gives me inspiration and hope for our future because it highlights the history of grassroots organizing in our state.

It was an honor to introduce this resolution and celebrate our hardworking grassroots leaders on such a special anniversary. You can view my floor speech on the resolution here.

What the Dobbs v. Jackson Decision Means for Michigan

As an executive board member of the Progressive Women’s Caucus, I’m appalled by the attack on reproductive freedom in the decision handed down by the court last week. On Friday, June 24, the United State Supreme Court released its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ruling that Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is constitutional. The Dobbs decision effectively overturns Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which for decades have upheld an American’s right to an abortion through fetal viability, typically around 23 or 24 weeks.

This ruling allows states to impose their own limits on abortion, and Michigan is one of nearly half of U.S. states that has archaic laws criminalizing abortion on the books. The state Legislature is now our last line of defense for the right to an abortion. Currently, a temporary injunction is blocking the enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 law which criminalizes abortion, meaning Michiganders presently have access to abortion and other reproductive health services endangered by the decision.

However, my Republican colleagues are actively working to codify Michigan’s previously unenforceable law. Last week, one Republican representative introduced HB 6270, which adds language that directly imperils the lives of pregnant people and puts doctors in jail for up to 20 years for doing what is right or requested by their patients.

I will not stand for this assault on bodily autonomy and a person’s ability to make decisions about what is best for their health and life. I’m a proud co-sponsor on the Reproductive Health Act, introduced by the Progressive Women’s Caucus, which not only guarantees a person’s right to an abortion, but also protects decision-making abilities about contraceptives and sterilization, lifts restrictions requiring a person to wait 24-hours before receiving an abortion or being presented with biased, medically inaccurate information, and offers safety to minors who might need an abortion by removing the parental consent requirement.

The precedent of Roe v. Wade was the floor, not the ceiling. Reproductive freedom means ensuring anyone can make decisions about their reproductive health and removing barriers to medically necessary, completely safe and common procedures. Together we will stand up to the anti-abortion minority and take back the power over our own lives and medical decisions.

House Passes Personal Finance Curriculum Requirement

I am pleased to share that after a series of negotiations between the House and Senate, I delivered a YES vote on HB 5190, a bill that incorporates a half-credit of personal finance into our state mathematics curriculum.

For years, personal finance professionals and educators alike have agreed that our children need a stronger foundation in understanding and managing their personal finances. Recent studies have shown us that recommendations from financial experts, like how to effectively save to cover emergency expenses, were not observed by the majority of Americans.

The difficulty in implementing this requirement arose from the question of what to replace to make room for a semester of personal finance. When we modify our curriculum to add something, another requirement has to be altered.

Earlier this year, I voted no on a proposal which aimed to replace a half credit of foreign language for a personal finance course. Studies show us that there are several benefits from the study of a foreign language, and students pursuing college would fall behind their peers from other states if they were inadequately prepared to meet a university’s foreign language requirement.

This bill, HB 5190, incorporates personal finance into the mathematics curriculum, where it is most fitting. The change will take place for students entering eighth grade in the 2023-2024 school year after the governor signed the bill into law earlier this month.

There is a great need to ensure our students are graduating high school with a strong level of financial literacy, and I’m grateful for the success of collaborations with my colleagues in the Senate and House to deliver this needed update to our state curriculum.

Legislature Approves Financial Disclosure and Term Limits Constitutional Amendment

I voted YES on HJR R, a proposed amendment to the Michigan Constitution. This amendment would finally bring financial disclosure to elected officials in our state.

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. These reports would be publicly available and contain information on income, debts, positions held in outside entities, and contributions from lobbyists. Instead of wondering whether your lawmakers are serving you, themselves or someone else, you will be able to find out for yourself.

The amendment also modifies our laws governing term limits in the state legislature. 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. These rules were approved by voters in 1992, and made our laws some of the tightest in the nation with regards to how long an elected official can serve in the state Legislature. An unfortunate side effect of our term limits is that since the voters enacted this change, the halls between the chambers have become revolving doors.

This amendment addresses the turnover issue while sticking true to the original intention of term limit laws by lowering 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.

Proposed amendments to the constitution require voter approval. In November, you get to decide whether we should move forward with these changes. I urge you to read the proposal and make the decision you feel is best.

I Want to Hear from You!

During this challenging time, it is more important than ever to stay in touch. Please don’t hesitate to reach me via email at MaryCavanagh@house.mi.gov. I want to hear from you! My office is here to assist you or answer any questions you may have.

I hope you found this information useful and look out for the next newsletter coming out next month! Again, feel free to contact my office if we can ever be of any assistance.

From my family to yours,

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Rep. Mary Cavanagh