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
- Tax Return Preparation
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, Feb. 3, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Hoyt Public Library, 505 Janes Ave. in Saginaw
Expungement Town Hall
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 the Saginaw Defenders Office and Legal Services of Eastern Michigan.
When: Monday, Feb. 10, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Where: Bethel AME Church, 535 Cathay St. in Saginaw
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.
When: Friday, Jan. 17, from 8 – 9:30 a.m.
Where: Dawn of a New Day Coffee House and Cafe, 210 S. Washington Ave. in Saginaw.
MDHHS Behavioral Health Forum
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will be holding public forums throughout the state and online during the beginning of this year to discuss the future of behavioral health in the state of Michigan. The purpose of the forums is to hear from people and families served by Michigan’s specialty behavioral health system, receive feedback on the department’s vision for strengthening Michigan’s Medicaid-funded behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disabilities system.
When: Thursday, Jan. 30, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Saginaw Valley State University, Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall, 7400 Bay Road in Saginaw.
When: Thursday, Feb. 6, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: The link for this online forum will be posted here at the end of January.
Confidentiality for Domestic Violence Survivors
Last Fall, the Senate unanimously passed a package of bills aimed at creating a confidentiality program to protect survivors of domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking. This program would provide survivors an address at which a state department would receive their mail, which would then be forwarded to them. Their physical address would remain confidential and be protected from public-record requests. 37 other states have adopted similar programs, which provide security and peace of mind to those who may be at risk of being threatened or physically harmed by someone from their past.
We are expecting these bills to be brought up for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee soon, and I look forward to their swift passage.
Michigan CARES Hotline
After serving on the House C.A.R.E.S. Mental Health Task Force last year, I was pleased to see our work result in the development of the “Michigan CARES Hotline.” The recently passed supplemental budget appropriates $3 million to fund the creation of the hotline, which will provide resources for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, as well as their loved ones. Mental health is a serious issue that is often accompanied by a stigma that prevents those suffering from seeking help, so it is imperative we provide an accessible way for those in our community to seek the care they need. Hotline operators will refer callers to local services or health facilities to provide appropriate care. The creation of the hotline is underway, and I look forward to seeing it up and running soon.
Tax Return Preparation
With the state income tax filing season beginning in late January 2020, the Michigan Department of Treasury is asking taxpayers to take a couple of actions today to ensure returns are processed promptly.
Taxpayers are encouraged to begin gathering tax-related documents and updating their home addresses with current and previous employers so W-2s and other financial documents can be mailed to the correct address. Incorrect addresses typically lead to information being mailed to the wrong location and could cause delays when filing tax returns.
Please contact my office at (855) 347-8095 or by email and we will be happy to provide a ‘Taxpayers Guide.’
Other notable items for Michigan’s 2020 filing season (2019 tax year):
- Beginning in January 2020, forms and instructions may be viewed and downloaded from www.michigan.gov/taxes. In addition, commonly used forms will continue to be available at Treasury offices, most public libraries, northern Michigan post offices and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services county offices.
- When tax season begins in late January, taxpayers can e-file their state tax returns instead of mailing a paper return. To learn more, go to www.mifastfile.org.
- Taxpayers may elect to use direct debit when e-filing their 2019 tax returns. A direct debit is a tax payment the state Treasury Department electronically withdraws from the taxpayer’s bank account using the bank information provided on the electronically filed return.
- State income tax filers have the option of making payments electronically using the Michigan Department of Treasury’s e-Payments system. Payments can be made by using electronic payment (eCheck), credit card or debit card.
- The ability to claim a refund for the 2015 tax year expires on April 15, 2020.
- Taxpayers who have been recent victims of identity theft are asked to report their circumstances to the state Treasury Department. Reporting identity theft helps thwart cyber criminals who attempt to file and steal a state tax refunds. To learn more about tax-related identity theft, go to www.michigan.gov/identitytheft.
Information about new developments for the 2019 tax year will be available on the state Treasury Department’s website.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns!
95th House District