In this e-newsletter:

  • Upcoming Coffee Hour April 19
  • Community violence prevention town hall sparked good conversation
  • Bottle deposit return bill receives committee hearing
  • Whitmer signs Michigan Family Protection Act
  • Senate passes Research & Development Tax Credit bill package
  • Annual Earth Day cleanup April 22


Upcoming Coffee Hour: April 19

Please join me for an informal, in-person discussion of legislative and community issues

9-10 a.m. (please note the time)

Sarkozy’s Bakery, located at 350 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Kalamazoo.

While advanced registration is not required, anyone who would like to RSVP or submit questions in advance may do so by emailing

Community violence prevention town hall sparked good conversation

Our town hall on community violence prevention, held on March 26 at the Kalamazoo Public Library. Addressing the issue of gun violence, which is an issue not only in our community but across the state, the event brought together government representatives, community organizations and concerned citizens in a collaborative effort to find solutions and prevent further tragedies. We delved into the causes of gun violence, current prevention programs and ways to enhance these efforts. We were thrilled to see active community engagement as it showed our collective commitment to tackling this critical issue.

I would like to give special thanks to our panelists, which included Beth Berglin (Director of Public Policy & Strategy for Michigan Transformation Collective,) Pastor Esteban Juarez (Pastor of Vanguard Church,) Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Assistant Chief David Juday, and Tia Whitley Vice President of Community and Partner Engagement with Gryphon Place. We also appreciate our community partners who staffed tables with educational resources at our event. This town hall will not be the last time I engage with community partners on this important issue in Kalamazoo.

Bottle deposit return bill receives committee hearing


State Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) testified on behalf of her House Bill 5421 in the House Regulatory Reform Committee on March 12, 2024, at the House Office Building in Lansing.

On March 13, I testified in the House Regulatory Reform Committee on House Bill 5421, which amends Michigan’s bottle deposit law to ensure that retailers that are required to accept bottle deposit returns do so at a minimum between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. if they are open and operating, or during the hours they are open between those times if they operate during a shorter window. Currently, there is no minimum time period that a retailer must accept bottle deposit returns, which has led to some retailers making deposit return services available infrequently and for very short periods of time.

Michigan’s historic bottle deposit law has been instrumental in reducing litter and landfill waste and promoting recycling since its inception in 1976. Retailers play a crucial role in this process, but some have not fulfilled their responsibility, especially for working people. While the vast majority of retailers have embraced this partnership and worked to make returns convenient for consumers, some retailers, particularly those serving our economically disadvantaged communities, have not lived up to their responsibility to support deposit returns.

The bill puts all retailers on an equal playing field by requiring those who accept bottle deposit returns, do so at a minimum between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m., or whatever hours they are open in that range. Testifying in support of HB 5421 alongside me were representatives from Schupan & Sons, UBCR LLC and the Container Recycling Institute.

Gov. Whitmer signs Michigan Family Protection Act

Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Michigan Family Protection Act” into law, which comprises HB 5207-5215, ending the 36-year ban on surrogate parentage contracts in Michigan. The legislation establishes a new system authorizing and regulating surrogate agreements. These new laws open up options for families, including cancer survivors who cannot conceive and carry embryos themselves. The Myers family from West Michigan was present at the bill signing. The mother, Tammy Myers, could not conceive after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2019, a woman agreed to be their carrier, but two local judges denied Myers and her spouse legal rights over the infants. For two years, they were subject to legal battles. The state’s Medicaid insurance system had to pay for their neonatal intensive care unit care when they were born premature despite the family holding their own private insurance. My colleague, state Rep. Samantha Steckloff, is in a similar situation as a cancer survivor and was the lead sponsor of the package. I was proud to vote for these long overdue bills.

Senate passes Research & Development Tax Credit bill package

The Senate recently passed the Research and Development Tax Credit package of bills which include HBs 4368, 5099, 5100, 5101 and 5102. They had a few amendments with some technical fixes and so they must come back to the House for a concurrence vote. House Bill 5101, which I introduced in October of 2023, is part of a 5-bill bipartisan package to give Michigan an economic development tool most other states already have to encourage investment in cutting edge technology and research projects.

Annual Earth Day cleanup April 22


Our district office located at 315 N. Burdick St. in Kalamazoo will be holding its annual Earth Day cleanup, which will take place on Earth Day, April 22 from 10-11:30 a.m. Please consider joining us and if able, bring your own gloves. Bags, donuts and coffee will be provided for everyone.