Hello Friends,
We all know how important it is to stay involved and up to date on what’s happening in our government. You can visit 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.*
I’d like to take a moment to invite you to my informational town hall on PFAS at Mott Community College on March 8. Come learn about the spread of PFAS and what to do if you live in a contaminated area. For more information, visit the Facebook event here.
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.
Legislative Update
Gov. Whitmer’s State of the State Priorities
On Feb. 12, Gov. Whitmer outlined her priorities in her first State of the State address. I was pleased to see her focus on important issues that directly affect our community. I agree with the governor that we must work urgently to improve Michigan’s infrastructure.
Michigan families can’t afford to keep driving on our roads in their current condition. Michigan motorists average over $500 per year in vehicle repairs because our roads are in such disrepair. Better roads do more than keep our cars on the roads, they attract the companies, jobs and talent Michigan needs to succeed. We can’t expect companies to invest in Michigan if we won’t invest in ourselves.
Michigan is home to the greatest supply of freshwater on the planet. We need to do better to protect those resources. No family should have to go without clean drinking water in the Great Lakes State. Restructuring the Department of Environmental Quality into an organization that focuses on water quality and environmental justice is the first step of many towards making sure everyone has access to clean drinking water. Special interests should not dictate the decision-making process when it comes to protecting our environment.  Michigan families deserve a responsive and accountable government that protects our state’s environment and the people in it.
I also agree with Gov. Whitmer that we need to do more to improve our education system and lower our auto insurance rates, while protecting our drivers. I look forward to working with the governor and members of both parties to overcome these challenges and unleash our state’s full potential. I know that by working together we can build a state that provides quality jobs, good roads and clean water.
Working Toward Lead Free Pipes Statewide
When water chemistry is not properly adjusted, as was the case in Flint, lead can leach out of pipes within a home and reach taps at hazardous levels. We owe it to the families and communities across Michigan to be proactive with safety measures and address these situations before they can occur again. That is why I introduced House Bill 4175 to lower the acceptable limit of lead in pipes in order for them to be labeled “lead-free.”
While lead-free pipes are required for all new construction and plumbing projects in Michigan, the current definition allows for pipes made from up to 8 percent lead. My bill would amend the definition of lead-free in the state construction code to ensure that pipes, pipe fittings and other plumbing fixtures contain no more than 0.25 percent lead.
Public health cannot be a partisan issue. We need to address the risk that lead plumbing fixtures causes, and stop potential health risks at the source.
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 coffee will be provided.
Friday, March 1 from 4:30 – 6 p.m.
The Good Beans Cafe
328 N Grand Traverse St. in Flint
Monday, March 4 at 10 a.m.
Donna’s Donuts
1135 W. Bristol Road in Flint
 Friday, March 8, 6-8 p.m.
Informational PFAS Town Hall
Mott Community College
Join me and special guests state Reps. Kennedy, Neeley, and Sneller to learn about the spread of PFAS and what to do if you live in a contaminated area. For more information, contact my office at (517) 373-7515 or by email at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov.
Friday, March 15 from 2-3 p.m.
Highlands Estate (Mobile Home Park)
2197 E. Mount Morris Road in Mt. Morris.
Monday, April 15 from 2:45-3:45 p.m.
Swartz Creek High School
1 Dragon Dr. in Swartz Creek
Thursday, April 18 from 6-7 p.m.
Flint Public Library
1026 E. Kearsley St. in Flint
Monday, April 22 at 10-11:00 a.m.
Calvary United Methodist Church
2111 Flushing Road in Flint
Helpful Resources for the Folks in the Forty-Ninth
Tax Assistance with the Genesee County United Way
Low-to-moderate income families in Genesee County can file their taxes for free with an IRS-certified volunteer through United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is a volunteer run program in partnership with the IRS to help families access the EITC and other credits that can boost financial stability. See the image below for hours and dates.
Receiving Too Many Robocalls?
I know that many people are fed up and frustrated with the amount of robocalls they’re receiving. I am too. I put together a list of resources for you to try in order to help cut down on the amount you receive.
  1. Use the Do Not Call list: You can register your numbers on the national Do Not Call list at no cost by calling (888) 382-1222 (voice) or (866) 290-4236 (TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register. You can also register and add your personal wireless phone number to the national Do-Not-Call list by visiting the website: donotcall.gov.
  1. Don’t answer: It may go against your good manners, but even answering the phone can trigger the computerized system to keep your phone number in the system, meaning there’s no end in sight. If you don’t know the number, don’t answer it. Let them leave a message on your voicemail and you call them back, if it’s somebody you want to talk to.
  1. Talk to your Provider: AT&T offers a variety of services that can help their customers prevent robocalls. AT&T customers can opt into AT&T Protect. This is a service that flags suspicious phone numbers from telemarketers, spam and more. If you have another provider, give them a call and see what services they offer.
Energy Bills Heating Up?
Applications for the Home Heating Credit (HHC), which helps low-income Michiganders with their winter energy bills, are now being processed for the 2018 tax year, notes the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE).
Last year, 315,000 state residents applied for the credit, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury, and the average credit was $191.
Instruction booklets and forms have been mailed out by the Treasury Department. Individuals may apply for the credit even if they do not file a Michigan tax return. Forms and instructional materials are available on the internet at Michigan.gov/IncomeTax or by calling (517) 636-4486.
Forms also will be available at many libraries, Northern Michigan post offices, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) offices across the state. Heating assistance information is available at Michigan.gov/HeatingAssistance.
Some 82 percent of the credit applications were filed electronically in 2018. E-filing speeds processing and reduces HHC processing errors. To find an authorized e-file provider and information on free services, visit Treasury’s website at MIFastFile.org.
For eligibility guidelines and how to apply, click here.
Other ways you can get a handle on winter heating bills:
Be WinterWise helpful consumer tips and resources
Weatherization assistance such as State Emergency Relief through MDHHS.
Community Events
Crockpot Cooking Courses
The United Methodist Church of Swartz Creek will host crock pot cooking classes on four Mondays in March and April. Anyone is welcome to register. Participants will learn how to plan, shop for, prepare and use leftovers to create affordable meals for busy families on the go. Dinner together will be provided, and childcare is available.
Classes will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. March 4 and 18, and April 1 and 15. Enter through door 8 and go to the gym kitchen. The church is located at 7400 Miller Road in Swartz Creek. Participants need not be members of the church to enroll in the class. Register by calling the church at (810) 635-4555.
Looking for a New Hobby? Try Woodworking!
On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 1-4 p.m. any senior center member in Genesee County can come out and use the Woodshop at the Krapohl Senior Center, 5473 Bicentennial Dr. #G in Mt. Morris Township. You can take lessons from experienced members, and it’s free as long as you pay for supplies used. Contact the Kraphol Senior Center for more information at (810) 785-2270.
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