Sorry for the flurry of emails; we have been very busy in Lansing over the past two weeks. Late last night and early this morning, we passed the state budget for the year. In this e-news, I will be giving an update on that, as well as my upcoming events for summer and my first bill that was passed through both chambers.
Community Conversation Dates and Times
Please join me for one or more of my upcoming community conversations. During these events, I give a brief update on what has been happening in Lansing and hear from you on issues that you are interested in.
- Wednesday, July 13, from 1-2 p.m. at the Huntington Woods Public Library.
- Thursday, July 21, from 1-2 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library.
- Friday, Aug. 12, from 1-2 p.m. at the Berkley Public Library.
We were able to pass the state budget late yesterday and early this morning. While this budget was not perfect, I believe that it will accomplish many things for our district and the people of Michigan as a whole.
I was particularly proud of the school aid budget that we were able to pass. This budget makes powerful investments into the foundation allowance to increase per-pupil funding, special education, at-risk funding, pre-K, mental health, teacher recruitment and school safety, among several other gains. The item that I am particularly proud of is securing funding for a study to examine school facility needs across our state. For years, this has been a critical area of inequity in Michigan. This year’s school aid budget begins to address this disparity by appropriating $20 million for a statewide capital needs study so that we can establish and understand the scope of facility concerns that exist across Michigan. It also includes $475 million for a reserve fund for infrastructure needs, so districts that are unable to provide adequate facilities based on their local revenues will have access to this statewide funding to supplement their needs. My hope is that we can further invest in this fund in the future and work towards finding a long-term, sustainable and equitable solution for funding school facilities. You can view my speech on final passage of the school aid bill and facilities funding here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9aGs37x0Ec
Additionally, the omnibus budget that we passed also included many strong investments. One item that I want to highlight is an increased investment into our local communities. The budget includes a 6% increase in revenue sharing — the money that we pay in our taxes that comes back to our local communities. This increase in funding will help fund local road and bridge repairs, assist with water safety and affordability, strengthen efforts for climate resistant infrastructure projects and flood mitigation, support public safety and local emergency services, enhance local parks and recreation programs, and more.
I was also able to work with my colleagues to secure funding for specific projects in our district. These projects include $700,000 to the city of Berkely to replace HVAC systems in city buildings, $68,000 for the Ferndale Martin Road Park Walkways and Pavilion project in a supplemental appropriation, and $500,000 for a Matrix Services Public Health Grant, which provides HIV/AIDS prevention, support and care services in Ferndale.
Passage of HB 6079
In addition to passing two strong budgets last night and this morning, I was also able to pass my first bill through both chambers of the Legislature, and it is now on its way to the governor’s office for her signature. HB 6079 would establish a section of highway on I-75 that runs between 8 Mile Road and 10 Mile Road in Hazel Park after Officer Jessica Nagle-Wilson, a police officer from Hazel Park, who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 2002. This summer marks the 20th anniversary of Officer Nagle-Wilson’s death, and the bill is posed to be signed into law before the anniversary.
Update on Upcoming Communications
Finally, I just want to let everyone know that starting tomorrow, July 2, through Aug. 3, the House of Representatives is moving into a communications blackout period due to the upcoming primary election on Aug. 2. During this period, my office will not be able to send out mass communications via email, mail or social media. However, my office is still working diligently to meet constituent requests. Please reach out directly to my office if you have any needs or questions over the next month. Please also take special note of the previously mentioned upcoming Community Conversations, as my office will not be able to send out reminders for the events starting tomorrow.
Have a wonderful and safe summer, and a very happy and healthy 4th of July.
All the best,