Welcome to the latest edition of my e-newsletter! Included in this issue are some important updates, along with a few resources I hope you find helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0844 or email at NataliePrice@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue. Please follow me on Facebook to get regular legislative updates, as well.
5th House District
In this issue:
- Upcoming Events
- Community Conversation with Special Guest House Speaker Tate: Dec. 18
- Legislative Updates
- Closing Out One of Michigan’s Most Productive Sessions in Recent Decades
- Climate, Energy Bills Signed into Law
- State Updates & Resources
- Scanner Error Bill of Rights
- Become a Free Tax Preparation Volunteer
- AG Nessel Re-Issues Charitable Giving Consumer Alert
- Important Dates
- Dec. 18.: Community Conversation with Special Guest House Speaker Tate
My office will host a year-end community conversation at the Mathis Center in Detroit on Monday, Dec. 18, at 5:30 p.m., with special guest Speaker of the House Joe Tate. This will be a great opportunity to connect with me and to hear from Speaker Tate about House leadership’s priorities in the coming year. We would love for you and your neighbors to attend and talk with us about this year’s triumphs and the remaining challenges facing our district as we set our sights on the new year. Feel free to RSVP on our Facebook event.
Closing Out One of Michigan’s Most Productive Sessions in Recent Decades
Since September, I have worked with my colleagues in Lansing to pass landmark legislation that will position Michigan as a leader not only in the Midwest, but in the nation. We kept our promises to Michiganders from all over our state, delivering real solutions to real challenges. As we shift gears to continue our work in our communities, I am excited to spend time discussing the issues, concerns and priorities that matter to you and your families. With your input going into the new year, we can ensure that Lansing keeps putting Michiganders FIRST. This fall, I have been proud to work for you on the following legislative successes:
- Passing the Reproductive Health Act, removing unnecessary and burdensome barriers to abortion care and other basic reproductive health care.
- Advancing a bill designating the Southfield Freeway the “Bishop P.A. Brooks Memorial Freeway” in honor of a beloved Detroit community leader.
- Providing 100% disabled veterans and their widows who rent their homes the same tax break that their homeowner counterparts enjoy.
- Eliminating unnecessary red tape that presents challenges when our state invests in critical buildings, such as public colleges and universities.
- Instituting telemedicine parity, requiring insurance companies to reimburse health care providers the same amount whether the appropriate service is rendered in-person or via telemedicine.
- Reforming Michigan’s guardianship system to ensure that vulnerable adults receive the care they deserve.
- Retooling our state’s approach to the juvenile justice system to promote justice and fair treatment for minors.
- Leading the Midwest through passage of the landmark Clean Energy and Jobs Act, a critical step toward Michigan’s clean, socially conscious, energy-independent future.
Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all the issues our office is working on. Stay tuned for updates as we continue working on our agenda that puts working families first.
Climate, Energy Bills Signed into Law
2023 was an unprecedented year for bold climate action for Michigan. In November, the legislature passed the Clean Energy Future package (Senate Bills 271, 273, 277, 502, 519) and the Clean Energy and Jobs Act (House Bills 5120, 5121) containing key climate initiatives that were called for in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan. Both packages were signed into law this week.
These bills not only help the state implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan but will, according to a recent report, save Michigan households an average of $145 a year in energy costs, help the state secure nearly $8 billion in federal investment and spur the creation of almost 160,000 jobs.
State Updates & Resources
Scanner Error Bill of Rights
Michigan law mandates that the price of most items in stores must be clearly displayed at the location where the item is found. If you find yourself being charged more than the displayed price, the law grants you specific rights. Discover your consumer rights with this handy guide from the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
The guide is ready to be printed, in card-size, so that it can be kept in your wallet or purse for quick reference to your scanner error pricing rights.
For more information or to report a store’s failure to display prices properly, contact the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 517-655-8202 or write to 940 Venture Lane, Williamston, MI 48895. Dana Nessel, Attorney General of the Consumer Protection Division, can also be reached toll-free at (877) 765-8388 or https://www.Michigan.gov/AG.
Learn How to Help Your Neighbors by Becoming a Free Tax Preparation Volunteer
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced an opportunity for Michigan residents to contribute to their communities during the 2024 tax filing season by participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This initiative provides free tax preparation services to individuals earning $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities, seniors and limited English-speaking taxpayers. Volunteering with VITA can help neighbors maximize tax refunds and bring back earned state and federal dollars into communities.
In the previous filing season, VITA programs saved Michigan residents about $15.2 million in tax preparation fees and returned $52 million to the community. With recent state law changes, including a boost in the working families tax credit and the rollback of the retirement tax, accessing tax preparation services is crucial for working families and older Michiganders to receive their earned benefits. Get involved with the resources available below:
- Sign up to volunteer with VITA.
- Learn more from the IRS about volunteering.
- Information about free tax return preparation for qualifying taxpayers.
- Learn more about receiving assistance from the AARP Tax-Aide Program.
AG Nessel Re-Issues Charitable Giving Consumer Alert
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel emphasizes the importance of thoughtful charitable giving, especially during the holiday season. With the spirit of generosity in the air, it’s crucial to make informed choices when selecting organizations for donations. While Michigan boasts numerous legitimate and commendable charities, the Department of Attorney General’s It’s the Season for Wise Charitable Giving alert and Charitable Giving Public Service Announcement provides questions that you should ask of any charity before donating your money, time or belongings. Those questions include asking how much of your donation will actually be used for the charity’s purpose and whether the charity is registered to solicit donations by the Michigan Attorney General’s office.
Residents are further advised to check an organization’s status on the Attorney General’s website or by calling (517) 373-1152, recognizing that not all legitimate charities may be listed. Additionally, for tax-deductible gifts, it’s crucial to confirm the organization’s IRS 501(c)(3) status, searchable through the IRS Select Check tool. By following these steps and reviewing the provided guidelines, individuals can confidently make informed decisions about their charitable contributions throughout the year, ensuring their donations positively impact those in need.
Monday, Dec. 28: Community Conversation with Special Guest House Speaker Tate; Mathis Center in Detroit, at 5:30 p.m.