Welcome to winter! As the year comes to a close, I want to reflect on the progress we’ve made and the bright future ahead. Thank you to all who have attended community conversations, Stigma events or other events in the district and shared your concerns and ideas. Your input guided my support of legislation to address issues such as health care access, education, infrastructure, the environment and local projects.
I look forward to a 2024 full of even more engagement. For even timelier updates, please connect with me on Facebook and Instagram. As always, if you have any questions, concerns or need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at (517) 373-0852 or KimberlyEdwards@house.mi.gov. Enjoy your holidays!
Rep. Kimberly L. Edwards
House District 12
Juvenile Justice Package Signed into Law
Bipartisan juvenile justice legislation was signed into law on Dec. 12. The package focuses on six major topics: enhancing the Child Care Fund; providing juveniles with legal counsel; expanding the Juvenile Diversion Act; requiring tailored treatment for juveniles; eliminating most fines and fees; and renaming and expanding the Office of Children’s Ombudsman. Together, these areas aim to improve outcomes for kids who have been in the justice system, reform the system and promote equity for Michigan youth. My bill in the package, House Bill 4639 (Public Act 293 of 2023), helps improve Michigan’s juvenile justice system by making it fairer, more effective and responsive to the needs of our kids.
As a social worker, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of making sure vulnerable kids can get the support they need, especially when navigating state systems and services. I’m glad we were able to continue the Juvenile Justice Task Force’s bipartisan work and update Michigan law to improve youth outcomes and community safety in the juvenile justice, foster care and adoption services systems.
Affordable Care Act Protections Signed into Law
I sponsored House Bill 4620 as part of a package to put key provisions of the Affordable Care Act into state law. My bill incorporates federal law that prohibits insurers from refusing to provide health coverage based on preexisting physical or mental health conditions. I’m proud to say that the governor has signed this bill into law!
As a former social worker, I’m acutely aware of how lacking insurance can affect families. We cannot take chances that federal laws are rolled back; we must enshrine these protections in Michigan. These laws will save lives, give opportunities and safeguard the future of health care coverage in Michigan.
Reproductive Health Care Act Signed into Law
Since gaining majority this year, House Democrats have delivered on their commitment to upholding the will of the voters who passed Proposal 3. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Reproductive Health Act into law on Nov. 21. The RHA rolls back medically unnecessary and politically motivated barriers that hinder access to abortion care, now better allowing Michiganders to make the decisions about their bodies that are right for them. The legislation serves to repeal many medically unnecessary and harmful regulations, known as TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws, that create barriers to abortion.
Protecting Maternal Health
I introduced House Bill 5168, which would amend the Insurance Code to require insurers that deliver, issue for delivery or renew a health insurance policy in Michigan to cover the cost of a blood pressure monitor for an insured individual who is pregnant or postpartum. Making sure new parents get the care they need around birth is crucial, lifesaving care. HB 5168 has passed the Health Policy Committee and now heads to the House floor for a full vote.
Connecting with Us
A Year of Breaking the Stigma
This year, we hosted four events specifically focused on breaking the stigma of mental health. Talking about topics ranging from sobriety to grief and loss, members of our community opened up to have meaningful conversations about mental health challenges in their own lives.
Mental health is personal to me. I know that mental health issues can cause or contribute to many other problems, and I keep that in mind when legislating. Using the resources of my office as your state representative to start the conversation and help people realize they are not alone is another way I can help make change. I look forward to hosting more Stigma events in 2024, and I hope you will join me.
Standing with SEIU Workers
I proudly stand with the health care workers at the Orchards in Detroit. Health care is so critical to our aging society. We cannot let down seniors, workers or our community by allowing health care workers to labor for as little as $11 per hour. Thank you to the SEIU for organizing workers and fighting for their workplace rights and safety. Across the nation, working people are waking up to how the rich and powerful are exploiting American workers and banding together to take their power back!
Connect with us Online
My office is social! If you are looking for the most up-to-date information about what I’m up to in Lansing, I please follow along on my legislative Facebook and Instagram pages. I am always excited to connect with constituents online as well as in-person.
Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests
The United States government has resumed providing free at-home COVID-19 tests to each U.S. household. Each household may request up to eight free at-home tests to be mailed to them, which is up from four previously. The tests will ship free, and you will never be asked for more information than a name and a shipping address. To order your household’s free tests, visit COVIDtests.gov.
- Suicide & Crisis Hotline: 9-8-8
- Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network 24 Hour Helpline: (800) 241-4949
- Macomb County Community Mental Health 24 Hour Helpline: (586) 307-9100
- Social Security Administration: (800) 772-1213
- Area Agency on Aging 1-B: (800) 852-7795
- Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program: (800) 803-7174
- Disability Network of Eastern Michigan Oakland/Macomb office: (586) 268-4160
- AARP Friendly Voice: (888) 281-0145
- Please reach out to our office if you are interested in a printed publication covering services from the State of Michigan.
- U.S. Veterans Administration Benefits: (800) 827-1000
- Unemployment Insurance Agency: (866) 500-0017
- OK2SAY Student Safety Program: 855-565-2729
- Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: (855) 444-3911
- Adult Protective Services 24-Hour Hotline: (855) 444-3911
- Foreclosure Hotline: (866) 946-7432
- 2-1-1 Michigan: 2-1-1 or (844) 875-9211
- St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center: (313) 535-9200