Dear Neighbor,

I hope everyone has been staying cool with the hot summer weather we’ve had this season. The last few months in Lansing have been focused on passing the budget, which was passed by both the House and Senate on June 27. In fact, we worked over 19 hours to get the budget and bills completed. Below are a few updates and highlights from the past month, including updates on what was included in the budget that now awaits Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature. I will also add that since taking office, I have brought in over 40 million dollars in state funding to my district.

Funding for Monroe County Community College

For over a year now, I have fought for funding for the Monroe County Community College’s capital outlay request to renovate and expand the Welch Center for Health and Public Safety. This funding came to $10.9 million and was finally approved in the budget that now awaits the governor’s signature. These funds will go toward renovation and expansion and will add critically needed classroom and laboratory spaces for registered nursing, practical nursing, certified nursing assistant (CNA) and respiratory therapy programs. Additionally, it will add classroom and laboratory space to allow for the creation of new programs and forge new partnerships with area healthcare providers. The MCCC criminal justice program will also be relocated into the building with dedicated space needed to ultimately expand the program into accredited police, fire and paramedic academy. These funds will greatly benefit Monroe County and the surrounding communities by expanding options for career development and increasing public safety.

Doubled Mental Health Funding for Police, Firefighters and EMTs

In May, I stood on the House floor to speak on my amendment to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services budget that would provide an additional $2.5 million toward a grant program aimed specifically at providing support for firefighters, police officers and EMTs with PTSD. This would bring the total amount of funding for these services to $5 million. It is imperative that we recognize the mental health challenges faced by those who serve to keep people in our communities safe.

I’m happy to say that in June, the final budget passed with my amendment. We can’t expect our first responders to continue to serve and protect us without providing the necessary tools to navigate the mental toll their jobs take on them. This legislation is a step in ensuring these brave individuals have access to the mental health resources they need to cope and heal. Thank you to all of these heroes for everything you do.

Increased Funding for Double Up Food Bucks

I advocated for this year’s budget for additional funding for the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program. DUFB supported over 211,000 Michigan households and 782 Michigan farms in 2023 by providing a dollar-to-dollar match (up to $20/day) at participating grocery stores and farmers markets for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables with a Bridge Card. On April 30, I spoke during a session in support of my legislation, House Concurrent Resolution 14, calling on the federal government to increase funding for Michigan’s DUFB program. In this year’s state budget, DUFB received $3 million in additional funding, for a total of $5 million in ongoing statewide funding. This was something that I felt very passionate about and immediately saw the need to expand this program across Michigan.

Buying food is expensive right now, especially for our neighbors struggling to put food on the table. DUFB has proven to be an essential resource for many families to eat nutritional meals while also supporting our local farmers. The program is currently available at 230+ participating farmers markets, farm stands and grocery stores across Michigan. This increase in funding will allow this widely successful program to expand into more stores and markets and to benefit more families and farmers. More information about this great program can be found here.

Statute of Limitations Bill Passed Out of the House

I am happy to report that my bill in the Justice for Survivors package, House Bill 4485, was passed out of the House the last week in June. This bill would extend the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse to age 42. The average age a child sex assault survivor discloses their abuse is 52 years old, and studies have shown that it can take survivors decades to come forward about their trauma. The passage of this bill is a win for survivors.

Bipartisan 4-H License Plate Bills Heading to the Governor’s Desk

The 4-H youth program is such an important part of not only agriculture, but also young people learning about leadership. My colleague state Rep. Matt Bierlein (R-Vassar) and I got to work on a way to raise money for this very important program. The bipartisan bill package comprised HBs 5056 and 5058. I got this package passed out of the House and in June with nearly unanimous support and it was passed by the Senate 38-0 at the end of June. These bills will create fundraising for our state’s 4-H program through the sale of 4-H license plates. I’m proud to have worked with my Republican colleagues to create legislation that empowers the 4-H youth in our state. This is a critical step in the development of our state’s future farmers and agricultural scientists.

The FY 2025 Budget Has Been Passed

At the end of June, we passed the fiscal year 2025 budget. This budget will help uplift our farmers, improve local government services and ensure more fresh fruits and vegetables at the kitchen table. It represents a commitment to stronger and safer main streets, healthier families and a more sustainable Michigan for all residents. The budget totals $82.5 billion, which includes $15 billion in general fund spending, along with $19 billion in state education funds. The budget is now at the governor’s desk and is pending her final approvals and signature. There are several items that will specifically benefit communities in House District 31, including Belleville, Sumpter, Monroe, Dundee, Romulus and Van Buren Township. Some of these benefits include:

  • $10.9 million for Monroe Community College Capital outlay.
  • $5 million for Wayne Road repairs in Romulus.
  • $4 million to support new housing in Dundee.
  • $1 million for Romulus Public Safety initiatives.
  • $1 million for Romulus roads.
  • $750,000 for Belleville Horizon Park Lake erosion project.
  • $500,000 to repair the Van Buren Quirk Road Intersection.
  • $25,000 for Sumpter Township Park improvements.
  • $5 million in statewide funding, an increase of $3 million from the current year, for Double Up Food Bucks, which makes the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable.
  • An additional $75 million in revenue sharing for local governments, bringing more funds back to our community.
  • $2.5 million in additional funding to support firefighters and other first responders with PTSD.

Honoring Community Leaders

I’ve recently presented three tributes to some amazing people and organizations. I delivered a tribute to Ryan Wilman, owner of The Owl, Morning til’ Night coffee shop in Milan. The Owl celebrated its 10th anniversary this May. Over the past decade, The Owl has turned into a staple of downtown Milan and has had a transformative effect on the entire area. We’re extremely lucky to have them in our community!

The next tribute I delivered was to Tyler Elementary School Principal Aleisa Pitt honoring her career and retirement after 47 years of serving our children and parents. Her commitment to the education and well-being of our young people cannot be overstated. She taught kindergarten for 24 years, worked as a teacher leader and interventionist and finished her career as principal, first at Haggerty Elementary and then at Tyler Elementary. Happy retirement to this incredible and dedicated educator!

The third tribute was for the 50th anniversary of the Special Tree Rehabilitation System in Romulus. Since its founding in 1974 by Dr. Joseph Richert, Mrs. Jean Richert and Joseph C. Richert, Special Tree has become a vital element in providing hope, encouragement and expertise to Michiganders experiencing life-altering changes from brain injury, spinal cord injury and other disabilities. Over the years, this organization has adapted and expanded to meet the needs of our community, and we cannot thank them enough.

MDARD Update on Avian Flu

On May 1, MDARD Director Dr. Tim Boring signed a Determination of Extraordinary Emergency, “HPAI Risk Reduction Response Order” to protect Michigan’s poultry and livestock industries from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). This order went into effect on May 8, and applies to all of Michigan’s dairy and commercial poultry facilities.

The emergency order requires the following measures:

All Michigan dairy farms, as well as poultry operations considered commercial by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), must develop and implement biosecurity practices that include:

○  Designation of a biosecurity manager.

○  Designation of a line of separation to represent the perimeter of a secure area, limiting access points.

○  Establishment of cleaning and disinfection practices and procedures at those access points for both vehicles and individuals.  This must include deliveries of feed and other supplies and training for employees.

○  Establishment of a logbook maintaining a record of all vehicles and of individuals who have gotten out of vehicles and crossed those access points, to be retained and made available for examination upon request by MDARD.

○  All lactating dairy cattle, and those in the last two months of pregnancy, are prohibited from being exhibited until there are no new cases of HPAI in dairy cattle in the State of Michigan for at least 60 consecutive days. No dairy cattle of any age from an infected premises may be exhibited until further notice.

○  All exhibitions or expositions of poultry are prohibited until such time that there are no new cases of HPAI in domestic poultry in the State of Michigan for at least 30 consecutive days. As defined in the Animal Industry Act, “poultry” means, but is not limited to, chickens, guinea fowl, turkeys, waterfowl, pigeons, doves, peafowl and game birds that are propagated and maintained under the husbandry of humans.

On June 26, Dr. Boring amended the HRRRO, effective July 1, to include the following:

Any cattle not lactating nor in the final two months of pregnancy originating from any licensed dairy farm premises intended to be exhibited at Michigan fairs, exhibitions, or expositions must demonstrate to fair, exhibition, or exposition officials upon arrival at the grounds a negative HPAI A (H5N1) test that has been conducted in the last seven days.

Permissible tests include:

○  Nasal swab tests on the individual animal being exhibited, or

○  Milk bulk tank sample test from the dairy farm.

Fairs, exhibitions, or expositions must keep a list of all exhibitors of livestock including poultry with contact information including home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, and must provide it to the department upon request.

Fairs, exhibitions, or expositions with livestock including poultry must have signage educating the public about biosecurity at the entry and exit of every barn housing livestock including poultry for exhibition, including hand washing and maintaining a safe distance from animals.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that beginning Monday, July 1, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting applications through its updated Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to provide financial assistance to eligible dairy producers who incur milk losses due to HPAI A (H5N1). FSA expanded ELAP through the rule-making process to assist with a portion of financial losses resulting from reduced milk production when cattle are removed from commercial milking in dairy herds having a confirmed positive HPAI A(H5N1) test. Positive test results must be confirmed through the USDA APHIS’ National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL).

More information about MDARD’s emergency response order can be found here, and updates from the FDA can be found here.

At this time, three people in the U.S. have become infected with HPAI. Two of these people have been farmworkers in Michigan who were exposed to infected cattle. At this time, none of the counties in our district are known to have HPAI infections. Counties with HPAI-infected cattle are currently Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Clinton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Montcalm, Newaygo and Ottawa. Up-to-date information from MDARD, including maps of counties with confirmed cases and the option to sign up for HPAI email updates, can be found here. MDARD press releases about HPAI can be found here.



State Representative Reggie Miller

Michigan’s 31st District

Office Phone: (517) 373-0159