Dear Neighbor,

Happy May! This month’s Coffee with Christine will be held at the Portage Community Senior Center, 203 E. Centre Ave., Portage, MI 49002on May 31 at 10:30 a.m. I always look forward to meeting constituents face to face, answering questions and hearing your concerns directly. Buckle up for this newsletter, we had a very busy month in Lansing!


Legislative Updates:

Supporting Abused and Neglected Children

I am extremely happy to report that my bill cementing a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program for our state (House Bill 5429) has passed the House across party lines with a bipartisan vote of 97-10! As mentioned in a previous newsletter, about 30 counties around Michigan currently have CASA programs to advocate for abused and neglected children. This volunteer-based program holds a high standard for screening and training their volunteers that provide vital support to children. My legislation would codify those high standards to ensure that each child has the best advocate possible during their time of need. Last year alone, Michigan had 768 CASA volunteers that served over 1,400 children. My legislation will strengthen this already thriving program. The bill will now be sent to the Senate’s Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety and is awaiting a hearing.

Allowing Telemedicine Options

As many of us know, COVID-19 changed the way we meet and interact with our health care providers. The quick expansion of access to telemedicine increased many Michiganders’ access to health care, especially those who have difficulty leaving their homes, or those who have to travel long distances for routine or minor appointments. The value of people’s ability to connect with their doctor from the comfort of their own home cannot be underestimated. Therefore, it was very important for me that we cement this practice into state law to ensure this remains an option. It is with great honor that I can say that my telemedicine bill, House Bill 4213, has passed the Senate and will be on its way to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for signing. I am extremely thankful for all the input and contribution from stakeholders, constituents and my colleagues during this process.

Supporting Our Veterans’ Mental Health

Veterans can be at a higher risk for mental health difficulties due to their service. Thus it is absolutely crucial that there are resources designed to support them. I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that would create an Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), as well as create various programs and other resources addressing mental health. My bill, House Bill 5277, would amend the Michigan Military Act to allow the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to enter into an interagency agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to conduct statewide outreach on mental health and substance abuse support resources for service members and their families. Recently, these bills received a hearing in the House Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security, and I was proud to testify in support of the package alongside my colleagues.

Budget Updates:

The state budget process is in full swing in Lansing! Recently, my proposal for the House’s DHHS budget was introduced, and we will now begin negotiations with the Senate and the department. I am eager to build a robust, balanced budget to propel Michigan forward that safeguards public health, improves DHHS services and helps our most vulnerable friends and neighbors. Some of the highlights of my House budget recommendation include:

  • Substantially higher provider reimbursements for behavioral and mental health services.
  • Expanding sites for seniors that want to live in PACE facilities.
  • Support for court-appointed special advocates for children.
  • Increased funding for the Double Up Food Bucks program.
  • Multiple grants for firearm injury and violence prevention, including education on new firearm laws.

Tornado Resources:

My heart goes out to those impacted by the recent tornado this month. It is devastating to see our community in such a disarray, but to see us come together so swiftly and in such large numbers was uplifting and heartwarming during this difficult time. I would like to extend a massive thank you to all the first responders for their committed efforts and the volunteers who acted without question or hesitation; together, we will rebuild our beautiful community even better than it was before.

Below I have included some resources individuals impacted by the storm may need. We will continuously update and share on our Facebook page as new information and resources come to attention. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you are unable to find resources or information that apply to you.

Scams/Price Gouging:

  • Read Attorney General Dana Nessel’s latest consumer alert following allegations of contractor price gouging during storm cleanup.

Cleanup/Brush Removal & Pickup:

The city of Portage has engaged College H.U.N.K.S. to remove tornado debris from city streets. The collection program will begin on Wednesday, May 29, and will service both public and private streets in the areas impacted by the May 7 tornados.

How you can help:

  • Gryphon Place has launched a donation center at 9246 Portage Industrial Drive in Portage to facilitate the donation of items by the public and the distribution of items to those directly affected by the May 7 tornados.
  • If you want to help those affected in Portage, Pavilion Township and Texas Township, learn more at Kalamazoo Community Foundation ( or United Way of Southwest Michigan (

Office Updates:

Mila Bodewes, who had most recently served as my constituent services director, moved to a new role in the Senate. Mila was with my office for a year and was a great asset to our team. I am grateful for all the work she has done to serve our community, and I wish her well with this new position.

As my office goes through this transition, we ask for your patience and compassion if we do not get to your message at our typical response rate. I always appreciate hearing from all my constituents, and we are still dedicated to serving the community to the best of our ability.

Thank you all for staying connected with my updates. As always, please feel free to reach out to my office at any time should you have questions or concerns about any legislative or local issues. My office can be reached at or (517)373-8670, and any friends or neighbors who wish to join my mailing list can do so here.


Morse Signature

Christine Morse
State Representative
House District 40