Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! As always, I am honored by the opportunity to represent you in the Capitol, and encourage you to stay up to date on what’s going on in Lansing.
Prescription Drug Affordability Press Conference and Bill Introduction
I joined some of my fellow caucus members at a press conference last week to unveil the Health Over Profits for Everyone (H.O.P.E.) package, aimed at lowering out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and doctor visits while increasing accountability for pharmaceutical companies engaged in price gouging.
I was proud to be joined by a neighbor of ours from Delta Twp., Glenda Stevens, who shared her heartbreaking story about how difficult it has been for her to access affordable care and prescription medications to help treat her multiple sclerosis—prescriptions that now cost more than $1,500 each month. People like Glenda should not have to choose between paying for their prescriptions and making sure their bills are paid. Glenda isn’t asking for free medications, she and many others are simply asking for them to be affordable.
The bill I introduced creates a Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board to require drug manufacturers to justify increases for prescription drugs and impose penalties for those who refuse to do so. Skyrocketing health care prices don’t just exist in the abstract, these are real costs facing families in our communities every day. It’s time for us to focus on big, innovative solutions that finally put the needs of Michiganders ahead of corporate profits.
Senior Financial Protection Bill Introduction
With a rapidly aging state population, financial exploitation of Michigan’s seniors is a significant problem that needs to be addressed. According to the American Bankers Association, senior financial abuse cost victims a collective total of almost $3 billion last year across the U.S.
That’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation this week that mirrors recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and SEC rules to give investment advisors and broker-dealers the tools they need to take action if they detect suspicious financial activity on an account belonging to a senior citizen or other vulnerable adult. The bill would authorize these financial professionals to place a temporary hold on an account that may have been targeted for exploitation to allow time for further investigation without continued financial damage to be done. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get a hearing in committee on this important legislation.
Where I’ve been in District 71
When I first took office, a main priority of mine was to take care of seniors and the most vulnerable in our community. One of my first meetings was with Gov. Whitmer and the AARP State Director, Paula Cunningham, to work on getting Michigan designated as an age-friendly state. After months of work, I was happy to see the governor announce it as a priority and have Michigan become the first Midwest state to join the Age-Friendly State network. The announcement was made last Monday at AARP’s Age-Friendly Conference at the Crowne Plaza in West Lansing.
As part of Fire Prevention Month, I had a chance to tour a handful of fire departments in our district that held open houses. Benton Township Fire Department, Charlotte Fire Department and Delta Township Fire Department all hosted great open houses that helped build even better relationships with the communities they serve. The training and danger these first responders endure to give us peace of mind and safety in our toughest times does not go unnoticed. Thank you Eaton County first responders!
I also was able to attend the Michigan National Guard Departure Ceremony with many National Guard family members and Gov. Whitmer. It was very touching to talk to these families and the more than 80 service members departing to Afghanistan. I met Captain Stephen Ronan and his wife Danielle along with other great service members. I pray for a safe return for all of them.
How I Voted This Week
I voted ‘yes’ on the following bills this week on the House floor:
HBs 4516-4517 – Requires the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to adopt and use a variation of the International Symbol of Access and revise the terminology used to designate parking for persons with disabilities.
HBs 4540-4543 – Amends MI Sales & Use Tax laws to require marketplace facilitators to remit sales and use tax on behalf of third-party marketplace sellers and codify Wayfair v. South Dakota, allowing states to require remittance of sales and use tax by out-of-state sellers who meet certain transaction or sales thresholds.
HBs 4133, 4140, 4443, & 4452 – “Raise the Age” package. Raises the age to 18 for “specified juvenile offenses” in the automatic waiver process for juveniles. Michigan will no longer be only one of only four states that still automatically allows for the prosecution of 17-year-olds as adults for any offense.
To get more detail about any of these bills or to easily track their progress, visit www.legislature.mi.gov.
Upcoming Coffee & Happy Hours
- Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 8-9 a.m. at Flour Child Bakery in Grand Ledge
- Friday, Nov. 8, from 8-9 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee in Charlotte
- Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Cugino’s Italian Restaurant in Grand Ledge
- Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 8-9 a.m. at Willow Tree Coffee & Bakery in Olivet
- Friday, Nov. 22, from 8-9 a.m. at Swede’s Restaurant in Mulliken
- Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 8-9 a.m. at MorningLory Café & Bakery in Dimondale
- Friday, Dec. 13, from 8-9 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee in Charlotte
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 the 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
Don’t miss the Bridge Street Trick or Treat on Friday, Oct. 25, from 5:30-7 p.m. in downtown Grand Ledge. Local businesses, Bridge Street Plaza and both sides of Bridge Street will be full of Halloween spirit and be open to kids in costumes.
The last Grand Ledge “Market on the Grand” of the year will be on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Be sure to stop by and stock up on enough of its local goods to last you through the winter!
State Representative Angela Witwer
71st House District