Welcome to my final monthly e-newsletter of 2023! As your state representative in the 102nd Michigan Legislature, I am happy to provide these regular updates on my legislative work! In this issue, you will find information on my upcoming events, a legislative update, additional opportunities for local organizations and residents, 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. You can reach my office 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 in 2024, 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
2023 Wrapped: By end of November, we had three bills signed, 5,300+ constituents helped, 27 coffee hours, 4,727 legislative doors knocked. And counting!
Constituent Services on the Road
I will be hosting this event with special guests from Gov. Whitmer’s Constituent Services Division to act as a mini resource fair to be able to resolve or assist any issues on site and answer any questions folks might have about state government. The departments that will have staff on site to assist 103rd House District constituents include the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and the new Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) to address child care licensing.
When: Friday, Jan. 12, from 1-3 p.m.
Where: Traverse Area District Library
(610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City, MI 49686)
Monthly Legislative Coffee Hours
In 2023, I held in-person coffee hours monthly in each of the three counties that I represent. Thank you to everyone that has joined me this year at these events. It’s been a pleasure connecting with you and getting to know more about your priorities for the 103rd!
Please join me at my upcoming 2024 coffee hours, where I will continue to give legislative updates and take your questions about the issues facing our state and our community! My legislative coffee hours occur in counties located fully or partially in 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.
January meeting information:
When: Monday, Jan. 8, from 9:05-10 a.m.
Where: Traverse Area District Library — McGuire Room
(610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City, MI 49686)
When: Monday, Jan. 8, from 1-2 p.m.
Where: Red Door Coffee House
(19631 Maple St., Lake Ann, MI 49650)
When: Monday, Jan. 8, from 3-4 p.m.
Where: Leelanau County Government Center — Room CMR
(8527 E. Government Center Drive, Suttons Bay, MI 49682)
State Rep. Betsy Coffia speaks with constituents at a recent coffee hour.
The Michigan Legislature is on an in-district work period until we reconvene session in the new year. So far, this has been the most productive legislative term in years, if not in decades. The legislature passed over 235 bills that have been signed into law so far, the vast majority with bipartisan support, and this year, the House voted more days than previous legislatures over the last 20 years. The work does not stop here. It is my great honor to put the people of Michigan first by delivering on our promises, and I am ready to keep the momentum moving forward in 2024.
More time in the 103rd offers more opportunities to connect directly with constituents. Among many in-district engagements, I recently had the chance to connect with faith leaders in Benzie County to discuss how we can partner to expand affordable housing and rural internet initiatives. I was also honored to attend the Veterans of Foreign Wars Cherryland Post 2780 Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony to meet with and honor our veterans. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet with folks from Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG), whose efforts are vital to the success of every student in our community. It’s important that no matter what path our students choose to take in life that they are supported and given the resources to succeed.
If you would like to schedule a call or meeting with me or my team on an issue, please reach out to BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov.
As always, legislation that I have sponsored can be found here or by going to legislature.mi.gov and clicking “Legislators” and then selecting “Sponsored Legislation” under my name. My co-sponsored legislation — which another legislator has sponsored, but to which I have added my name in support — can be found here. Real-time updates on my legislative work can also be found here.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, middle, stands with high school students enrolled in Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates and in the automotive repair program at the Northwest Ed Career Tech Center. Rep. Coffia attended a ceremony to welcome new JMG enrollees and celebrate graduating seniors in the program Dec. 15.
My Bill Expanding Domestic Violence Resources:
Signed into Law!
My bill, House Bill 4516, has been signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan law previously omitted sovereign tribal nations as recipients of state domestic and sexual violence treatment and shelter funding. This was despite the fact that in especially more rural areas of Michigan, tribal services may be the only sexual and domestic violence services available, and that they serve both Native survivors and non-Native survivors alike. My bill rectifies this and was drafted in partnership with survivors and tribal 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 had strong bipartisan support, passing two committees and the Senate unanimously, and passing the House 103-4. Read more about HB 4516 here. My speech on the House floor can also be viewed here.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia testifies in the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.
My Bill Banning Child Marriage: Signed into Law!
My bill, HB 4296, was signed into law as part of a bicameral bill package to end child marriage in Michigan. While not widely known, the reality is that between 2000 and 2021, more than 5,400 minors were married in Michigan – and about 95% of child marriages are between girls and adult men. Research has shown that child marriage has devastating health effects, social consequences and economic results for a minor. A survivor of child marriage advocating to end the practice is what inspired this package of legislation. I was honored to be invited to be part of this bill package, and I am thankful that we were able to get it across the finish line to end the inappropriate and harmful practice of adults marrying children.
My Bill Supporting Youth Voter Turnout: Signed into Law!
HB 4569 is the third bill I sponsored that has been signed into law this year. Young people have the lowest voter turnout among all age groups, and my bill will make strides toward closing that gap by allowing for voter pre-registration for those that are at least 16 years old. Note that this bill, which has had bipartisan sponsorship over the years, does not decrease the voting age, which constitutionally remains at 18. At age 16, many young people are learning about civic engagement and governance, and are starting to be held accountable to our laws in significant ways, such as when they get their drivers’ licenses. Research shows that, by enabling early participation in the democratic process through pre-registration, young people will be better prepared to be lifelong voters once they turn 18. States that have enacted pre-registration have seen increases in young voters as a percentage of the total voting public. Especially at a time when young people are beginning college, trade school, work, military service, etc., ensuring that these new eligible voters will already be prepared to cast their ballots will be key to improving voter turnout in Michigan. The bill is part of a larger package to lift barriers that prevent individuals from exercising their right to vote and encourage voter registration. You can watch my testimony here and read more about HB 4569 and the other bills in this package here.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia testifies in the House Elections Committee.
Additional Policy Updates
- Representative Betsy Coffia helped secure a $1.8 million grant
- Gov. Whitmer Announces Michigan Wins Rural Transportation Grant to Increase Connectivity, Improve Quality of Life, and Generate Economic Growth in Northern Michigan
- State voters want full transparency
- House Democrats Celebrate Signing of Clean Energy Bills
- Dems Pass One-Two Legislative Punch to Increase Renewable Energy, Create Jobs
- Whitmer signs election reform bills focusing on registration, certification, AI & more
- Election law amendment should have been easy for all to approve
- Renewed focus on mental health outreach for Spanish speakers in Northern Michigan seeks state funding boost
- Rep. Coffia Calls on Congress to Restore Child Care Funding
Money Back in Families’ and Seniors’ Pockets
Working Families Tax Credit
Earlier this term, I was proud to vote to expand the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Working Families; it had been cut to 6% in 2012 by the Snyder administration despite proven benefits for working families. The EITC is a tax credit for working individuals with income below a certain level. The Michigan tax credit is similar to the federal EITC. The Lowering MI Costs Plan quintupled the Michigan EITC from 6% of the federal EITC to 30%, significantly expanding savings for Michigan taxpayers. In the 103rd, about 5,000 working families will qualify for this tax credit with an estimated $3 million back into the local economy for necessities like school clothing, car repairs and other needs.
The expanded Michigan EITC is retroactive to the 2022 tax year (last tax season), but the law change did not take effect when it was passed due to a lack of support from Republican senators. The law will take effect on Feb. 13, 2024.
Tax Year 2022 (Jan. 1, 2022 – Dec. 31, 2022; due Apr. 18, 2023)
Federally eligible individuals who claimed the Michigan EITC on their 2022 MI-1040 received the original 6% credit. Between tax year 2022 and tax year 2023, the Michigan Department of Treasury addressed impacted returns. On Feb. 13, Treasury will begin issuing supplemental check payments over a 5-to-6-week period to provide eligible taxpayers with the remaining 24% portion of the credit.
These paper check payments will be issued to the most recent address on file with Treasury. If you have moved frequently or recently and have concerns about your address accuracy, you can manually update it through IIT eService. Visit how to change your address with Treasury for more information. Do not file an amended 2022 individual income tax return in an attempt to change your address or claim the increased Michigan EITC.
Tax Year 2023 (Jan. 1, 2023 – Dec. 31, 2023; due Apr. 15, 2024)
Michigan’s 2023 tax return, forms, and instructions (e-file and paper format) reflect the expanded Michigan EITC created in the new law. Although the law will not take effect until Feb. 13, 2024, Michigan EITC-eligible individuals should not delay in filing their tax year 2023 return and claiming the expanded credit. Treasury will address impacted returns as they are received and prepare them for release as soon as the law takes effect.
Please visit https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/iit/eitc for more information.
Retirement Tax Rollback
One of the first actions of the new Democratic trifecta was enacting the Lowering MI Costs Plan earlier this year, repealing the Snyder-era 2012 tax on Michiganders’ retirement. Repealing the retirement tax provides an estimated 500,000 retirees with more options to choose the best taxing situation for their retirement benefits. Although subject to a four-year phase-in period beginning tax year 2023, this new law essentially restores the pre-2012 retirement and public and private retirement income subtraction for most taxpayers in Michigan beginning in 2026. This law change will ultimately benefit most retirees in Michigan while ensuring that taxpayers in unique circumstances are not harmed.
The phase in of this retirement tax repeal will begin on Feb. 13, 2024. Retirees can file and take advantage of the expanded retirement income subtraction options at the start of tax season, which saves taxpayers time and eliminates the need or expense of filing an amended return after the law takes effect. For that reason, eligible retirees should not delay in filing their tax year 2023 return and claiming the most advantageous pension and retirement benefit subtraction. Treasury will address impacted returns as they are received and prepare them for release as soon as the law takes effect.
Please visit https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/iit/retirement-and-pension-benefits for more information.
Grant Funding Opportunities
Current federal and state grant opportunities include:
- Apprenticeship Grant
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is encouraging organizations who can help provide underrepresented individuals with access to life-changing career pathways through registered apprenticeship to apply for funding from the Michigan Statewide Targeted Apprenticeship Inclusion and Readiness System (MiSTAIRS). The application deadline is Dec. 18 at 5 p.m.
- Health and Wellness Enhancement Grant
The Michigan Fitness Association (MFA) Health and Wellness Enhancement Grant is from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) to assist Michigan-based fitness businesses in promoting health and wellness in their communities. Grant applicants must meet the qualifications for membership with the MFA, but do not currently have to be a member. All grant applications must be completed by midnight on Dec. 31.
- Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Grant
This federal pilot program has made $65 million available to help agricultural employers with financial challenges in hiring agricultural workers. Grant applications will be accepted through Jan. 3.
- Rural Development Fund Grant
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is offering a competitive grant program to promote the sustainability of land-based industries and support improving infrastructure in rural communities. Proposals must be received by 3 p.m. on Jan. 9.
- Lead Line Replacement Grant
All publicly owned community drinking water systems are eligible for this funding. There are no local match requirements. Representatives of publicly owned Type I Community Water Supplies with known lead service lines can apply. Proposals will be accepted until Jan. 31.
- Small Business Worker Protections Grant
Michigan small businesses with 250 employees or less can apply for a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) matching grant up to $5,000 to make improvements to their workplace health and safety. The grant period began Oct. 1 and will continue until grant funding is expended.
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 can be viewed online. 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 and Recognitions
My e-news archive is available on my website here.
State publications on various topics are also available 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. Please provide as much information as possible on the requested recognition, and we will work with you to arrange delivery or presentation of the recognition!