Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! As always, I am honored by the opportunity to represent you in Lansing, and encourage you to stay up to date on what’s going on at the Capitol and continue to let me know of the issues you care about most.
Veteran’s Day Bill Introductions
In honor of Veterans Day this upcoming Monday, I introduced a bill as part of a package to increase veterans’ access to jobs, higher education, certificates, licenses, health care and housing. Specifically, the bill I introduced would require the DNR to give priority to veterans who submit an application if any hunting or fishing license is issued through a lottery. Veterans make incredible sacrifices to defend our country, so the least we can do as legislators is try to eliminate barriers to jobs, education, health care, housing and other aspects of civilian life once they complete their service.
Elder Abuse Town Hall Recap
Thank you to everyone who joined us Monday night for our Elder Abuse and Senior Issues Town Hall with Attorney General Dana Nessel, AARP, and Tri-County Office on Aging. We had great audience participation with plenty of insightful questions asked. For more information on how to identify, stop and prevent elder abuse please contact my office or click here.
Expungement Bills Passed
I was pleased to see the House pass important legislation this week to expand expungement of criminal records in Michigan. These bills expand the number of people and the number of criminal or traffic convictions that are eligible to be expunged under Michigan law. I voted ‘yes’ on these bills because they will allow more individuals to get out from under the heavy weight of a criminal history. Too often, a criminal history is a significant obstacle to getting a good job or housing, which are important components of becoming a productive member of society. In some occupations, having any sort of criminal history is an outright ban from employment or becoming a licensed professional. I do believe gainful employment is one key factor in reducing recidivism. Additionally, studies show that people who have set aside a criminal conviction are less likely to commit a criminal offense than the public at large. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly take up this legislation and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.
Small Business, Big Impact Press Conference
A few of my Democratic colleagues and I held a press conference on Tuesday to unveil our Small Business, Big Impact plan. This multi-bill package is meant to ensure entrepreneurs have access to the critical support and opportunities necessary to get their businesses off the ground and keep their doors open. My bill in the package would create a Small Farm Coordinator position within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. This coordinator would promote the diversification of agriculture, support farmers as they build, expand, or modify their operations, help farmers navigate permitting and licensing processes and provide education on laws and regulations that impact small farms.
Where I’ve been in District 71
I stopped by the Eaton County 9-1-1 Central District offices in Charlotte to present Supervisor Robert Stahelin with a tribute for being named Michigan APCO Supervisor of the Year. Congrats, Robert!
My district director, Sophia, and I took a tour of a dairy farm in Charlotte owned by Chris and Kristina Langmaack. We got to feed, pet and even milk dairy cows for the first time! More importantly, I had a chance to hear first-hand the issues Michigan dairy farmers are currently facing.
Many of you have read of the great generosity from Papa Chips Pizza in Potterville, so we decided to make them the District 71 Small Business of the Month for October. The new owners took over last week and we are looking forward to all of their great traditions. Congratulations!
How I Voted This Week
I voted ‘yes’ on the following bills this week on the House floor:
HB 4851 – Clarifies the end of a property tax exemption for a disabled veteran.
HB 4958 – Prohibit a non-consensual pelvic examinations.
HB 4689 – Allows schools to install temporary locking devices or systems that meet outlined requirements.
HB 4912 – Adds “The John G. Kulhavi Events Center at Central Michigan University” to the list of facilities to be considered “conference centers” for the purposes of receiving a license to sell alcoholic beverages.
HBs 5043-5044 – Allows for the use of mediation as a first step in a dispute raised by a recipient regarding mental health services.
HBs 5117-5118 – Makes a technical fix to the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act to ensure that the legislative intent behind WICA is truly realized.
HB 4830 – Requires DHHS to provide notice of quality assurance assessment on ambulance providers.
SB 320 – Removes the statutory bonding requirement to obtain certain licenses under the Michigan Liquor Control Code.
HB 4908 – Raises the cap on aggregate principal amounts of notes and bonds the Michigan State Housing Development Authority could offer.
SBs 174, 179-183, 361 – Makes changes to the Animal Industry Act to align Michigan law with federal and industry standards regarding animal and human health.
I voted ‘no’ on the following bills this week on the House floor:
HB 4687 – Overturns the Natural Resources Commission’s (NRC) decision to ban the baiting of elk and deer during their respective open hunting seasons.
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, 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
Other Upcoming Events in Eaton County
The League of Michigan Voters of Lansing Area will be hosting their Making Democracy Work Town Hall on Thursday, November 14 from 3-5 p.m. at the Delta Township District Library. Topics to be discussed include Michigan’s new voting rights (resulting from the passage of Proposal 3) the Citizens Redistricting Commission (created by Proposal 2 to end gerrymandering), and the 2020 Census. This event is free and open to the public.
State Representative Angela Witwer
71st House District