Happy Pride Month! This year, Pride Month feels extra special now that LGBTQ+ rights are enshrined into the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act here in Michigan. I’m proud to be a part of the largest LGBTQ+ caucus in the Legislature’s history to ensure that everyone in Michigan has the rights, opportunities and resources to achieve their greatest potential.
The Legislature has some pretty significant accomplishments under its belt after the first six months — I voted YES to repeal the retirement tax, expand the working families tax credit, enact commonsense gun safety measures, and repeal unconstitutional restrictions on abortion and other reproductive freedoms, to name a few. I’ve been working hard to advance legislation that speaks directly to the priorities of West Bloomfield, Commerce, and the Lakes, and I am proud to say that several pieces of my legislation have made significant progress this month.
I always say I ran to do something, not be something. As your representative in the state Legislature, I promise to always listen to what is important to you. I encourage you to reach out to me as frequently as you would like. To get in touch, send me an email at NoahArbit@house.mi.gov or call my office at (517) 373-3816.
State Representative, 20th House District
Proudly serving West Bloomfield, Commerce, and the Lakes
House Passes My Landmark Hate Crime Reform Legislation
On June 20, the House passed my bills, the Michigan Hate Crime Act and the Institutional Desecration Act, which I introduced alongside two of my colleagues, state Reps. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids) and Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton). These bills work to turn Michigan from a national laggard to a national leader in our response to hate crimes by expanding the protected classes to include targeting based on age, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation, and national origin. They also disaggregate property damage done to communal institutions like houses of worship, minority-owned businesses, and cultural centers as a separate crime known as institutional desecration. The bills now await a hearing in the Senate.
I was joined by Attorney General Dana Nessel and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy at our committee hearing earlier this month to draw attention to the need to update Michigan’s inadequate hate crime laws. You can view my testimony on my Facebook page.
Rep. Arbit Chairs Committee Hearing on Banning Conversion Therapy
It was my distinct honor to preside as chair over a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Behavioral Health as we took testimony supporting a ban on conversion therapy. As the youngest openly gay member ever elected to the Michigan Legislature, I felt an immense sense of pride as I wielded the gavel as we heard from bill sponsors, survivors of conversion therapy, and physicians and psychologists, all of whom agree this practice is not real therapy. With the passage of these bills, law enforcement will have the tools to go after providers who perform this form of abuse under the guise of therapy. The House passed the legislation on June 14, and it now awaits a hearing in the Senate.
Juneteenth to Become Michigan State Holiday
Two years after it became a federal holiday, Juneteenth will finally be recognized as a state holiday in Michigan. I was proud to co-sponsor and cast my YES vote on House Bill 4457, which adds Juneteenth to the list of state holidays, earlier this month. Juneteenth is the oldest national commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, and I am glad it has received its long overdue recognition here in Michigan. With this yes vote, we celebrate how far we have come in the liberation of Black America but also recommit ourselves to breaking all modern-day chains that remain, preventing too many from achieving their fullest potential.
Education Committee Approves Count Day Holiday Deconfliction Bill
I’m proud to share that my bill, House Bill 4648, was passed out of the House Education Committee on June 13. The bill states that pupil count day, which is used to determine school funding, will move by one day if it is scheduled to fall on a religious observance or holiday. No parent should have to choose between sending their child to school and honoring their religious traditions, as they did in 2022 when count day fell on Yom Kippur. At the time, both Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan State Superintendent of Education called on the Legislature to amend the statute to ensure pupil count day would not occur on a religious holiday, and we are delivering on that promise.
This affirmative vote by the Education Committee brings us one step closer to ensuring that this does not happen again, and it could not come at a better time. Without legislative intervention, count day will again fall on a holiday, Erev Rosh Hashanah, in 2024. I’m looking forward to working with Gov. Whitmer and my colleagues in the House and Senate to get this simple fix across the finish line.
House Committee Approves Addition of Religious and Ethnic Holidays to State Holidays
The House Government Operations Committee passed a six-bill package adding various minority religion holidays and observances to Michigan’s list of state holidays, including my bill, House Bill 4544. Alongside my incredible colleagues — state Reps. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton), Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy), and Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) — we received the committee’s approval to recognize Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Eid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha, Vaisakhi, and Lunar New Year as state holidays. This move allows employers and schools to observe these holidays more easily, and also recognizes the great diversity of the state of Michigan.
Reasons to Contact Your State Representative
There’s no wrong reason to reach out to me! I can best represent our district when I know what is impacting your daily life and what is important to you.
My office and I are eager to assist you with any of the following services:
- Unemployment insurance claims.
- Issues with state agencies like the Secretary of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Treasury.
- State income tax return questions.
- Legislative updates.
- Recognition for a small business or outstanding individual.
- Connections with local or federal leaders who serve our community.
- Other resources or assistance — if we don’t offer it, we’ll help you find it!
Thank you for tuning into my June e-newsletter! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any comments, questions, or concerns that you have. I’m looking forward to having a productive term guided by your input.