State budget update
Late last week, the Legislature sent 16 departmental budgets to Gov. Whitmer. Unfortunately, after having the entire summer to put together a solid bipartisan budget to send to the governor, the Legislature procrastinated until the last minute and did not officially send the budgets to her desk until last Friday. It seems completely unreasonable to me to expect a comprehensive review of a $60 billion state budget within three days. Because these budgets were not negotiated ahead of time, the governor had no choice but to heavily line-item veto each budget. The good news is that by signing the budgets into law, even with line-item vetoes, we avoid a shutdown of state government, which neither side wants.
In all, 147 line-item vetoes were issued throughout the 16 budgets. Among the budgets that were most heavily line-item vetoed were the School Aid and MDOT budgets. The MDOT budget, in particular, had $375 million in one-time road funding struck from it because it fails to address the long-term problem of lack of investment in our roads. The vetoed amount is only 15 percent of the total funds necessary to get the majority of our roads in good or fair condition, and it is only effective for one year. On top of this, the $375 million was set to be taken out of the state’s General Fund, an account used to fund other important priorities like our schools and local governments. Though all of this, I am still hopeful we eventually find a permanent, responsible solution to invest in our roads that does not sacrifice other historically underfunded areas.
Vulnerable Workers News Conference
Last week, I joined a handful of my House colleagues at a news conference announcing legislation to reduce the undue financial strain many families in the state are facing due to a combination of increased job insecurity, stagnant wages and rising costs. The bill package includes 5 bills and 1 resolution aiming to provide workers the protections they need to ensure they receive every dollar they earn, as well as the support needed to help those dollars go farther. We also highlighted my bill from earlier this year that would restore the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to its pre-2011 level of 20 percent of the federal level. According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, restoring this credit would allow the average family qualifying for EITC in Eaton County to receive an average increase of $319 per year. It also returns over $2 million to local economies throughout our county alone.
Where I’ve been in District 71
I had a chance to stop by the Eaton County Farm Bureau’s 100th anniversary party at the Country Mill in Charlotte before heading to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, also in Charlotte, to present a flag that flew over the capitol to a veteran at the Pheasants Forever dinner.
On Tuesday, I joined some of my legislative colleagues at the Greenstone Farm Credit Services Celebrate Ag Event. This event highlighted our shared support for Michigan agriculture and Greenstone’s role in financing agriculture and rural communities.
Last night, I attended a very important community engagement meeting focused on improving public safety for our Amish communities in Eaton County, specifically when it comes to road safety. As you may have heard, there was an incredibly tragic traffic accident a couple weeks ago in Chester Township involving an Amish family which left their community devastated. I’m hoping to work with our county commissioners to do everything in our power to save lives by preventing similar accidents from happening in the future.
New staff member!
Please help me welcome our new Director of Constituent Relations, Sophia Rishar, as she joins our legislative team! Sophia will be taking over for Chelsea Fraley who recently accepted a job in U.S. Senator Gary Peters’ office. Sophia currently resides in Delta Township and is a graduate of Grand Ledge High School and Northwestern Michigan College. She formerly worked as the Director of Member Services at the Country Club of Lansing.
How I voted this week
I voted ‘yes’ on the following bills this week on the House floor:
HBs 4315-4316 – Enhances the penalties for taking a firearm from a peace or corrections officer by force or violence or causing the officer a serious or aggravated injury.
HBs 4389-4391 – Requires reporting on the use of firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS and prohibits the use of firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS for training.
To get more detail about any of these bills or to easily track their progress, visit www.legislature.mi.gov.
Upcoming Coffee & Happy Hours
- Monday, October 7 from 8-9 a.m. at Cops & Doughnuts in Delta Twp.
- Thursday, October 17 from 5-6 p.m. at Maple Leaf Inn in Vermontville
- Wednesday, October 23 from 8-9 a.m. at Flour Child Bakery in Grand Ledge
- Friday, November 8 from 8-9 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee in Charlotte
- Wednesday, November 13 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Cugino’s Italian Restaurant in Grand Ledge
- Wednesday, November 20 from 8-9 a.m. at Willow Tree Coffee & Bakery in Olivet
- Friday, November 22 from 8-9 a.m. at Swede’s Restaurant in Mulliken
- Wednesday, December 4 from 8-9 a.m. at MorningLory Café & Bakery in Dimondale
- Friday, December 13 from 8-9 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee in Charlotte
Upcoming District Walk
Here is the last planned walk day of the year that you expect to see us in your neighborhood:
- Friday, October 11 at 11 a.m., Grand Ledge
**Contact Joe Fedewa at (517)373-0853 or firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in participating in a district walk**
Elder Abuse Town Hall with Attorney General Dana Nessel
Please join me for our next public town hall scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. at the Delta Township District Library. This event will focus on preventing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Joining us for a panel discussion will be special guests Attorney General Dana Nessel and AARP State Director Paula Cunningham to share updates about the AG’s Elder Abuse Task Force and AARP’s work designating Michigan as an Age-Friendly State. We will also be joined by Tammy Lemmer from Tri-County Office on Aging to discuss some exciting programs they are working on in our region. Anyone is welcome and no RSVP is necessary!
Other Upcoming Events in Eaton County
The 40th Annual Color Cruise and Island Festival in Grand Ledge is coming up starting on Friday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 13. For more information and for the schedule of events, check out https://www.grandledgechamber.com/color_cruise_and_island_festiv.php.
The Grand Ledge Opera House will be hosting the Opera House Oktoberfest on Friday, October 11 from 5-10 p.m.
State Representative Angela Witwer
71st House District