Hello from Lansing!
The legislature is back from the summer in-district work period and my team and I have been hard at work on your behalf. Just this week, many bills we’ve been working on, including a bill in the recently introduced Reproductive Health Act, were up for testimony in various committees. If you’d like to learn more about this legislation, I will be hosting a happy hour in Ann Arbor next Friday, Sept. 22; details are below.
My colleagues and I are back for regularly scheduled legislative session — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays until the Thanksgiving break in early November. As always, my team can be reached at CarrieRheingans@house.mi.gov or (517) 373-8835.
On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Michigan House of Representatives hosted the 22nd annual 9/11 ceremony on the steps of the Capitol. My guest was Scio Township Fire Chief Andy Houde.
I was happy to host Chief Houde at such a special event to pay tribute to the bravery of the first responders that keep our communities safe.
Testifying On Bills to Increase Child Car Seat Safety
On Tuesday, I testified with state Rep. John Fitzgerald in the Michigan House of Representatives’ Transportation, Mobility, and Infrastructure Committee on our House Bills 4511 and 4512, which would update Michigan’s car seat regulations to reflect current best industry and national standards.
As the mother of a young daughter, I have often found it frustratingly unclear which type of car seat she should be in as she grows. These bills make the guidance clearer for parents and will greatly improve safety of children across the state.
We expect a vote on these bills in the coming weeks.
Designating Manoomin as Michigan’s State Grain
On Wednesday, I testified in the Michigan House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee on House Bill 4852, which would designate Manoomin — wild rice — as Michigan’s state native grain.
I was honored to be joined by members of tribes across Michigan, as well as members of the Anishinaabek Caucus, to educate the members of the agriculture committee on the importance of manoomin to indigenous people across the Great Lakes. Manoomin — the Anishinaabe word for “good grain” or “good seed” —- holds a prominent place in the history of the Anishinaabe people. According to tradition, the Anishinaabe people followed a shell in the sky thousands of years ago to find a place where food grows on water. They settled in the Great Lakes area when they found Manoomin — a grain that grows on water — and fulfilled the prophecy. Manoomin historically and currently provides nutrition for many tribal nations across the Great Lakes region. The grain is also widely used as a spirit offering for ceremonies, such as funerals.
This bill was voted out of committee unanimously. I look forward to a floor vote on this bill.
Testimony on Regalia Legislation
On Wednesday, members of the Michigan Anishinaabek Caucus testified before the Higher Education Committee in support of House Bills 4853 and 4854, which were introduced by Reps. Steckloff and Scott as part of the Michigan Indigenous Culture and Heritage package our office has been working on this term. These bills would allow Michigan students to wear traditional regalia at school events and ceremonies, such as graduations. Our office worked closely with the Anishinaabek Caucus and the sponsors’ offices to introduce this legislation.
Members of Michigan’s indigenous communities shared moving stories of how important wearing traditional regalia is to their cultures. These bills will allow for much greater cultural appreciation and understanding in Michigan schools, and we look forward to these bills receiving votes in committee next week.
(Vice Chair of the Michigan Anishinaabek Caucus, Nat Spurr)
(Treasurer of the Anishinabek Caucus, Nichole Keway Biber)
(Mary Lee, boarding school survivor, left; Ramona Henry, right)
(Anishinaabek Caucus Secretary, Julie Dye – Pokagon Band Potawatomi Elder)
Testifying on the Reproductive Health Act
On Thursday, the Michigan House of Representatives’ Health Policy Committee held testimony on the recently introduced Reproductive Health Act (RHA) bill package.
The package of 11 bills can be found on the Michigan legislature’s website as House Bills:
4949: (Pohutsky) prohibits government entity from violating Section 28, Article I of the Michigan Constitution (Prop 3 of 2022)
4950: (Tsneroglou) repeals abortion related regulations.
4951: (Hope) repeals criminalization of abortion from Michigan law.
4952: (Rheingans) repeals abortion related regulations.
4953: (Morse) updates Michigan Penal Code to reflect decriminalization of abortion.
4954: (Brabec) updates State School Aid Act to reflect decriminalization of abortion.
4955: (Price) updates Michigan Occupation Code to reflect decriminalization of abortion.
4956: (Rogers) updates Michigan expungement law to reflect decriminalization of abortion.
4957: (Steckloff) repeals ban on offering referrals for abortion services.
4958: (Weiss) repeals ban on abortion services for those on welfare.
4959: (Grant) requires Medicaid coverage for abortions.
The committee heard testimony from several medical professionals highlighting the importance of reproductive health care and how these bills will save lives. As we saw with the overwhelming passage of Proposal 3 of 2022, Michigan residents do not want politicians to tell them what their health care options are; they want to hear their options from their doctors. In addition, in order for the right of reproductive freedom to be truly a right, widespread access must be ensured. These laws we are working to repeal impose unnecessary burdens on providers and patients to provide or receive medical care.
(Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of Michigan, Dr. Sarah Wallett)
(American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Halley Crissman, left; Western Michigan School of Medicine, Dr. Charita L. Roque. right)
We look forward to these bills passing in committee soon.
Introduction of Rent Stabilization Enabling Legislation
On Thursday, Sept. 7, I introduced House Bill 4947, which would repeal preemption of local governments to choose to institute local policies to stabilize local rents. On Sept. 5, I joined the “Rent is too High” coalition for a rally on the steps of the Michigan Capitol to call attention to the growing number of Michigan residents that find themselves burned with the ever-increasing cost of rent. This is especially important in localities where there are high proportions of renters, like the cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit, where more than half of residents are renters.
This bill was referred to the Michigan House of Representatives’ Economic Development and Small Business Committee, where I hope it will receive a hearing soon.
End of Summer Constituent Engagement Happy Hour
Next Friday, Sept. 22, from 4-5:30 p.m., I will be hosting a constituent happy hour at HOMES Campus (112 Jackson Plaza in Ann Arbor).
If you’d like to learn more about the happenings in the Capitol, please mark your interest on my official Facebook event page.
To stay up to date on my actions in the Michigan House of Representatives, please consider following me on my official social media platforms: