Welcome to my monthly e-newsletter! As your state representative in the 102nd Michigan Legislature, I am happy to provide these regular updates on my legislative work, upcoming events and other news relevant to the district. In this issue, you will find information on my upcoming in-district coffee hours, an update on the Michigan Legislature’s policy and budget accomplishments so far, news on my latest policy initiatives, and resources for how my office can assist you!
Neighbors and friends in House District 103 are encouraged to also sign up for these updates at my website, RepCoffia.com. My office can be reached by phone at (517) 373-3817 or by email at BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov. Be sure to check out the latest on my social media platforms as well. As this legislative session continues, I welcome your continued feedback and encourage you to reach out, if my team and I can ever be of assistance to you!
House District 103
Monthly Legislative Coffee Hours
Please join me for my in-person coffee hours, where I give legislative updates and take your questions about the issues facing our state and our community! Every month, I hold a legislative coffee hour in each of the three counties that cover the 103rd District — Grand Traverse, Benzie and Leelanau. These events are a great way to find out what policies I’m working on and to share your ideas and concerns with me!
June meeting information:
When: Monday, June 12, from 9:05-10 a.m.
Where: Long Lake Township Hall*
(8870 N. Long Lake Road, Traverse City, MI 49685)
*Note New Location!
When: Monday, June 12 from 1-2 p.m.
Where: Red Door Coffee House
(19631 Maple St., Lake Ann, MI 49650)
When: Monday, June 12, from 3-4 p.m.
Where: Leelanau County Government Center – Room CMR(8527 E. Government Center Drive, Suttons Bay, MI 49682)
About four months into the 102nd Michigan Legislature, I have been proud to be a part of enacting numerous key priorities into Michigan law. Just last month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation into law — which I voted for — to eliminate sales taxes on delivery and installation costs, which will help to support small businesses, provide relief to consumers, and save taxpayers around $70 million per year.
Additionally, earlier this year, my colleagues and I rolled back the retirement tax and quintupled the working families tax credit (also called Earned Income Tax Credit), cutting taxes by $1 billion for Michigan’s working families and seniors. We have responded to several inquiries regarding the implementation of the long-awaited retirement tax repeal, and House Democrats have put together this FAQ to answer commonly asked questions! Legislation to give the working families tax credit or EITC, immediate effect for this tax year, previously failed due to a lack of Republican support. However, I am cautiously optimistic that a new effort to make this tax credit available this tax year is now making its way through the legislative process and has already passed out of the Senate! I am hopeful to see this relief for working families as soon as possible.
So far this session, the Legislature has also passed policies to strengthen workers’ rights, promote responsible gun ownership and suicide/violence prevention safeguards, expand LGBTQ+ Michiganders’ protections from discrimination, support students’ learning needs, implement voter-approved reproductive health-care rights and promote individual freedoms.
As always, you can find legislation that I have sponsored by going to legislature.mi.gov and clicking “Legislators” and then selecting “Sponsored Legislation” under my name. My co-sponsored legislation — where another legislator has sponsored and championed, but I have added my name in support — can be found at the above link by clicking on “Legislators” and then selecting “Co-Sponsored Legislation.”
Rural School Transportation Funding
Those who have remained engaged in my legislative work know that I have been working closely with education leaders to fix a decades-long inequity in state funding for our rural school transportation needs. My first standalone bill, House Bill 4335, proposes to free up funds currently spent for fuel and other significant transportation costs for geographically large districts like ours, which then allows our rural districts to invest more in our classrooms and critical needs such as increased student mental health support. The bill gained bipartisan support! In turn, the House budget included $150 million to close the rural school transportation funding gap. I am hopeful that the final budget negotiated between the House, Senate and the governor will retain this equitable funding fix for rural school districts. I recently gave an interview with The Traverse City Ticker to discuss the funding initiative in detail, which you can read here.
Expanding Domestic Violence Resources
I recently introduced HB 4516 to formally expand state domestic violence resources to Michigan’s 12 federally recognized tribal nations. This bill would clarify in state statute that the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Treatment Board may provide funding to tribal shelters and service providers. This change was drafted by survivor advocates to solidify the provision of these services. I am honored that this legislation is also supported by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians — a sovereign nation whose seat of government is located within the borders of the 103rd District. The bill has already received a committee hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee, and I’m hopeful the bill will be passed by the committee soon and come to a full floor vote! You can read more about HB 4516 here.
Safe Patient Care Act
Last week, I joined a bicameral, bipartisan coalition of legislators to propose a legislative plan that would, among other things, set safe limits on the number of patients nurses can be assigned and require hospitals to disclose their registered nurse (RN) staffing figures. My bill in the package, HB 4551, would also curb excessive mandatory nurse overtime. I want to particularly thank my fellow Grand Traverse County representative, state Rep. John Roth, for being one of the Republican co-sponsors on this bipartisan package.
The bills, known as the Safe Patient Care Act, aim to keep patients safe in Michigan hospitals and build and retain a strong nursing workforce. I have worked to partner with our health-care system on the critical issue of hospital staffing, including my vote earlier this year for a budget supplemental of $75 million to support hospitals’ efforts to increase the number of nurses. At the same time, I firmly believe it is vital that we listen to nurses as to what needs to change for the safety and wellbeing of both nurses and patients. Two sobering statistics that motivated me to sponsor the Safe Patient Care Act:
- Of RNs with active Michigan licenses, about 50,000, or one third, are currently choosing to not work as bedside nurses.
- 40% of nearly 9,000 Michigan nurses surveyed stated they look to exit the profession within a year and cite the need to improve working conditions for nurses as a key contributor in their decision.
See this MLive article for coverage of our bill package introduction. I am proud to be a sponsor of this package, and I look forward to seeing these bills advance! More on the package can be found here.
After decades of spending cuts and intentional disinvestment, Michiganders elected new leadership in both legislative chambers in November to address our state’s longstanding challenges and invest in our working families. We are delivering on those promises by proposing the most comprehensive budget in Michigan’s history that will put money directly to work in communities across our state. Here are just a few ways that the proposed House budget would responsibly return tax dollars to our communities and investing in Michigan’s future:
- Funding road repairs and water infrastructure replacements.
- Supporting veteran, senior and victim services.
- Boosting per-pupil funding by 4%, prioritizing student mental health, and funding the MI Kids Back on Track program to address pandemic-related learning loss and put Michigan students in the best position to compete and succeed.
- Making preschool more affordable for every family.
- Offering free school breakfasts and lunches for every child so they can focus on learning.
- Investing in teacher retention and recruitment to alleviate teacher shortages.
- Providing skilled trades programs and promoting good-paying jobs for those that don’t feel that the traditional college route is right for them.
- Raising direct care worker wages and foster family support.
- Increasing community mental health resources and public safety initiatives.
As we move closer to having a finalized state budget for the coming year, we have already seen supplemental funding for some of our key priorities in House District 103, such as investments in affordable housing. You can read more about this in my recently published op-ed: “Betsy Coffia: Progress report from ‘The Housing Rep’ on her first 100 days.” Those without a Traverse City Record Eagle subscription can also read the op-ed here. Furthermore, I recently offered a budget amendment to commit an additional $50 million to affordable housing — and it was adopted to bring our total investment in the proposed House budget to $150 million! You can see my statement on this major win for our region here, and you can also watch my floor speech here.
Note: While I am excited about our House budget proposal, it is important to recognize this is not yet finalized. As the House and Senate have passed their respective budget proposals, we will now move into a conference committee with Gov. Whitmer to hash out the differences with the aim of voting on a final budget by June. I will continue to advocate for key priorities for the 103rd District to be included in the budget to its final passage. The current, proposed House budgets can be viewed here as passed by each appropriations subcommittee and the full House.
I will note that even with these and more historic reinvestments in the people of Michigan, we are preserving the largest rainy day fund in state history. We are proving that it is indeed possible to be fiscally responsible while investing in Michiganders and our state’s future.
In Other News:
Apply for State Boards and Commissions
As you may know, Gov. Whitmer makes appointments to nearly 250 statewide boards and commissions. These appointments are opportunities for Michiganders to engage with their state government on the issues they care about and represent their expertise and communities at the state level.
Vacancies for the first two quarters of 2023 can be viewed here. The list is broken down by department. Each board listed includes the number of total members, number of vacant seats and specifications for each vacancy. If you match the descriptions and are interested in applying, please go to Michigan.gov/appointments.
E-News Archives, Publications, & Recognitions
My e-news archive is available on my website here.
State publications on various topics are also available on my website here. Physical copies of any of these publications can also be mailed to you by emailing my office with your request!
Do you know someone in the district who is retiring and would like a legislative tribute to celebrate their years of service? Has a local team or group reached a milestone that they would like to be acknowledged with an official certificate for each member? Our office can provide legislative tributes, letters and certificates on a wide range of recognitions for constituents and local small businesses. If you would like to request any of these materials for yourself or others, please fill out this form or email my office at BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov with as much information as possible on the requested recognition, and we will work with you to arrange delivery or presentation of the recognition!