Lansing is getting busier and busier. I’ve participated in my first committee meeting, met with many neighborhood stakeholders, and soon I’ll be attending Gov. Whitmer’s State of the State address. If you’re interested, you’ll be able to tune in on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p. m. on the House website by clicking here. You can also use this link to view our weekly session meetings, or any committee meetings you might be interested in. To keep updated, you can also visit my website at Cherry.housedems.com or follow me on Facebook @StateRepCherry.*
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I hope you will reach out to me. You can email me at any time at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov or call my office at (517) 373-7515.
The Governor’s Executive Order Restructuring the DEQ
You may have heard that Gov. Whitmer moved to restructure the DEQ this week by releasing Executive Order 2019-02. This executive order will not only create the office of the clean water public advocate and the office of the environmental justice public advocate, but it will make our state government more efficient. This executive order is about cleaning up our drinking water and making our state government responsive to issues with Michigan’s environmental contamination. This week on the House Floor, I spoke out against a movement to repealing the governor’s executive order.
The repeal of this executive order would go against what the citizens of Michigan want and need — clean water and an accountable government process. For too long, people across the state have been dealing with water worries, and it’s time we address them instead of ignoring the changes we need to make. View the video of my floor speech here.
This week I introduced my first bill. House Bill 4148 aims to increase government transparency by requiring state rule-making boards and commissions to produce recordings of all meetings. Administrative rules have the full force of law and affect residents across the state. While legislative proceedings are recorded, there is no requirement that boards and commissions produce recordings of their proceedings. Michigan has consistently ranked last in the nation when it comes to government transparency and ethics, and many of us want to see that change.
This is a simple, commonsense step that we can take to increase citizen access to the decisions being made by government officials every day. My bipartisan bill would require audio or video recording of board proceedings and posting of those recordings to state agency websites. Currently, it is awaiting a hearing in the Government Oversight Committee. I look forward to seeing this bill move through the legislative process.
Coffee with Cherry
Join me for coffee and conversation. I’ll give a brief legislative update, then I’ll have time for any questions, comments or concerns you’d like to share. These events are family friendly, and there will be coffee provided.
Monday, March 4 at 10 a.m.
1135 W. Bristol Road in Flint
Tuesday, May 21 at 6 p.m.
Flushing Area Library
120 N. Maple St. in Flushing
Monday, June 10 at 10 a.m.
Mt. Morris Van Buren Library
685 Van Buren Ave. in Mt. Morris
Tuesday, July 16 at 6 p.m.
McCarty District Library
2071 S. Graham Road in Flint
Helpful Resources for the Folks in the Forty-Ninth
Protect yourself from tax scams
As the state of Michigan begins a new year and the state income tax filing season approaches, the Michigan Department of Treasury is asking taxpayers to be alert and watch out for tax scams.
Cybercriminals typically increase their activity in the first part of the year through phone scams and email phishing schemes. These scammers try to obtain personal information using different tricks and tactics so they can file income tax returns and claim refunds on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers. Some scammers may also allege a taxpayer owes taxes and aggressively demand payment for a quick payout.
The Michigan Department of Treasury will never:
● Initiate a phone call or email to ask for personal information.
● Call or email to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, Treasury will first send a bill through the U.S. mail to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
● Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
● Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
● Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Contacted by a scammer? Immediately hang up the phone or delete the email. If you have received a call or email from a scammer, you should report the case to the IRS through the web or by calling (800) 366-4484. To learn more about tax-related identity theft, go to www.michigan.gov/identitytheft.
Are you on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry?
You can give no greater gift than the gift of life. By joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, you can help give that gift. Just one organ and tissue donor can save the lives of eight people and enhance the lives of more than 50. If you join when you renew or when you get your first driver's license or state ID card, you'll have a heart logo printed on your new license or ID card. If you join before your license expires, you'll receive a heart logo sticker that should be placed on your license or ID card. When your license or ID card expires, you'll be sent a new one with the heart logo printed on it after you renew it.
United Way for Genesee County can offer help 24 hours a day by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting their website. They have information and resources on a variety of topics such as utility and rent payment assistance, job search and placement, food, health and child care, housing and temporary shelters, prescription expense assistance, school-related programs, free tax preparation, and more. This is a great resource available to the residents of Genesee County.
Do you have a teen driver in the house?
Life with kids can be hectic-especially if they’re getting behind the wheel. Find the answers to frequently asked questions, resources, and more at the Secretary of State webpage on teen drivers by clicking here.
Flint’s Second Friday Art walk
Partake in delicious food, tasty beverages, live music and the works of various artists on display throughout a variety of downtown Flint galleries and businesses. Stop by the Greater Flint Arts Council, 816 S. Saginaw Street, for a copy of this month's walking tour, while supplies last. For more information visit geneseefun.com.
Date: Feb. 8 from 6-9 p.m.
Location: Flint's Downtown Entertainment District, Saginaw St. in Flint.
Chrome & Ice Winter Indoor Car Show
Join the fun as the lobby, mezzanine and arenas of the Dort Event Center are transformed into the area's only mid-winter indoor car show featuring over 100 vintage and classic cars, sports cars, muscle cars, hot rods and trucks with sponsor and vendor displays, live entertainment and special guests. For more information visit their website.
Date: Feb. 8- Feb. 10
Location: Dort Event Center, 3501 Lapeer Road in Flint.
Flint Repertory Theatre Presents “The Wolves”
Flint Repertory Theatre presents this exhilarating new play that charts nine American teenage girls on an elite soccer team as they go through a season, hoping to make it to nationals. A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Guests can enjoy this Sign Language Interpreted performance. For more information and a schedule of upcoming performances at Bower Theatre visit their website.
Date: Feb. 10 from 2-4:00 p.m.
Location: Flint Repertory Theatre, Bower Theatre, 1220 E. Kearsley Street in Flint.
Book Club at Mt. Morris Library
Love books? Come ready to discuss some great reads! This book club will be covering Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. Check it out now and get ready for the conversation.
Date: Saturday, Feb 23 from 11 a.m. until noon
Location: Mt. Morris Library, 685 Van Buren Ave in Mt. Morris.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov or at (517) 373-7515.
State Representative John Cherry
House District 49