Hello and welcome to my e-newsletter. I would like to take this moment to thank you for allowing me to serve you in the 95th House District and act as your voice in Lansing. This issue of my e-newsletter will provide an update on what’s going on at the Capitol this month, upcoming times to meet with me and other relevant information for our community.
As your representative, I am most effective at my job when acting on your input. I encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any questions, comments or concerns you may have about issues in the district or legislation that will impact our state. You can contact me toll-free at (855) 347-8095, by email or through my website. Thank you for your commitment to the community we both call home; I look forward to hearing from you!
In this Edition:
- Upcoming Events
- Legislative Update
- DIFS Launches New Website
- Attorney General Cracks Down on Robocalls
I hope you can join me for my upcoming coffee hour! I look forward to having an informal conversation with you about the issues that families are facing in our community. This coffee hour will include special guest Chloe Updergraff, a Regional Census Coordinator.
When: Friday, Feb. 21, from 8 to 9:30 a.m.
Where: Dawn of a New Day Coffee House and Cafe, 210 S. Washington Ave. in Saginaw.
Census Employment Application Workshops
Join me at one of the following workshops to receive assistance in filling out Census job applications.
When: Thursday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Hoyt Public Library, Computer Lab, 505 Janes Ave. in Saginaw
When: Friday, March 6, from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Hoyt Public Library, Computer Lab, 505 Janes Ave. in Saginaw
This event will provide an opportunity to learn about the process of having a criminal record expunged, as well as discuss current legislation to expand Michigan’s expungement process. I will be joined by special guests from Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, Saginaw County Defenders Office, Saginaw County Sherriff Federspiel’s office and State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers.
When: Friday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Bethel AME Church, 535 Cathay St. in Saginaw
Safety in Schools Town Hall
I hope you can join me for a discussion about gun safety, mental health care and bullying in our schools.
When: Monday, March 23, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Saginaw Learn to Earn Academy, 1000 Tuscola St. in Saginaw
Gov. Whitmer’s Budget Recommendations
This month, Gov. Whitmer officially unveiled her state budget recommendations. There are a lot of proposals to be excited about, but I was particularly proud of her commitment to expanding education funding, increasing revenue sharing to local governments by 2.5 percent and restoring $1 million to the Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps to help veterans and at-risk youth obtain valuable job experience.
Prioritizing education is vital to the success of our children, and Gov. Whitmer’s recommendations would provide a $415 million increase in K-12 funding and additional money for universities and community colleges.
Under the Whitmer plan, base per-pupil funding would increase $150-220 per student with additional dollars going toward special education, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Support for our children in economically disadvantaged communities will go a long way in providing equal opportunities to build a bright future for all.
The highlights of Whitmer’s education budget recommendations include:
- $290 million to increase base per-pupil funding to $8,336 for districts at the minimum (a $225 per pupil increase) and $8,679 for districts at the maximum (a $150 per pupil increase). This would reduce the gap between the highest and lowest funded districts to $343 per pupil.
- $60 million to increase state reimbursements for special education services. This would double last year’s additional state reimbursement and, including other state payments for special education services, bring total state funding for special education services to nearly $1.3 billion. This would help districts address the wide variety of needs for special education students, ranging from academic support to one-on-one specialists.
- $60 million to provide additional support for academically at-risk & economically disadvantaged pupils, an 11.5 percent increase over FY20. This would bring total funding for this purpose to $582 million. This funding would allow districts to provide additional instructional support like tutoring and non-instructional support like counseling to improve academic outcomes for these students.
- $5 million for additional payments for English Language Learner programs, a 38 percent increase over FY20. This would bring total funding for this purpose to $18 million and help support higher-cost student intervention services.
- Continue to fund literacy coachesand expand resources to improve training for other educators in best practices of literacy learning.
- $42 million to expand state-funded preschool programming. This new program would expand access to preschool programming for children living in high-poverty, high-academic need school districts. This expansion would provide services to an estimated 5,000 children, giving those children a strong foundation for their future academic success.
- $35.5 million to increase payments for state-funded preschool programs. The Great Start Readiness Program provides free preschool to 38,000 4-year-olds. The Executive Budget would raise the state payment for a full-day preschooler from $7,250 to $8,336 – the same level as the proposed K-12 base foundation allowance. This would be the first increase in rates since 2014.
- $40 million for school infrastructure. These one-time grants would support districts with air and water filter replacement, lead and asbestos abatement, heating and cooling modifications, building modifications, and other facility upgrades to provide students with safe, healthy learning environments.
- Cyber Schools. A reduced funding level of approximately $24 million (20 percent off of the full foundation allowance) for the state’s cyber schools, in recognition of lower facility, maintenance, and transportation costs compared to brick-and-mortar schools.
- $25 million to reimburse teachers for out-of-pocket supply costs. Recognizing underfunded local supply budgets and the fact that most teachers spend their own money to supply their classrooms, the proposed budget would help to offset these costs through a $250 teacher supply reimbursement.
DIFS Launches New Website
n May 2019, Gov. Whitmer signed historic bipartisan auto no-fault legislation to lower costs for Michigan drivers, maintain the highest coverage options in the country, and strengthen consumer protections. The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced it has developed educational resources to help Michigan drivers navigate the state’s new auto insurance law. DIFS has launched a new website, www.michigan.gov/autoinsurancea consumer hot line (833) ASK-DIFS (275-3437), and an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, where drivers can ask questions and file complaints related to auto insurance in Michigan.
Attorney General Cracks Down on Robocalls
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced last week that more than 1,700 people have signed up to become members of the Attorney General’s Robocall Crackdown Team, and since the mid-November launch of the initiative, more than 1,800 robocall complaints have been submitted. In that short time frame, the Robocall Complaint Form has become the most viewed complaint form on the Attorney General’s website.
To further address the pervasive problem of robocalls, the Attorney General’s office is:
- Continuing preliminary investigative work into potential targets involved in major robocalling operations;
- Working with the telecom industry on solutions and approaches to tracing illegal robocalls to their sources;
- Developing protocols and procedures to expand and guide participation in our Robocall Crackdown Team and to supplement our enforcement efforts; and
- Working with our partners in the Legislature to enact new laws that will allow our department to hold bad actors accountable.
The best way to deal with robocalls is to simply hang up or don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. However, to aid investigators in their efforts to hold robocallers accountable, certain pieces of information are extremely helpful to the department’s efforts to investigate, particularly when submitted to the Attorney General’s office as part of an official complaint:
- Robocaller’s phone number;
- Your phone number and service provider (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.);
- The date and time of the robocall;
- Whether the robocall was soliciting goods or services worth at least $25; and
- The topic of the robocall scam (e.g., student loans, Social Security numbers, IRS liability, etc.).
Please note: Robocalls to landlines cannot be traced back so any complaints about landline calls cannot be used to further the department’s investigation.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns!
95th House District