In this e-newsletter:

  •       Upcoming Coffee Hour: July 19
  •       Maternal Health Bills Pass the House
  •       Budget Passes House and Senate
  •       Health Eating Reminder: Visit a Local Farmers Market


Upcoming Coffee Hour

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

Friday, July 19

9-10 a.m.

Milham Park: 607 E. Kilgore Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49001

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

Maternal Health Bills Pass the House

On June 26, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the Maternal Health Bill Package (House Bills 4728, 5027, 51665173,) a 10-bill package that passed out of our Health Policy Committee last fall which aims to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, and addresses maternal mortality rates, which disproportionately impact mothers of color.

House Bill 4728 (my bill) eliminates redundant breast milk donor testing, which will decrease processing times and costs.

House Bill 5027 (Rep. Pohutsky) outlines guidelines for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to implement regarding prenatal carrier screenings for certain genetic conditions.

House Bills 51665173 would:

  • Codify Regional Perinatal Quality Collaboratives into state statute, which are already funded in the budget and will be maintained through MDHHS
  • Require insurers to provide coverage for blood pressure monitors for pregnant mothers
  • Increase mental health screenings for postpartum mothers and add flexibility by offering the screenings at either an obstetrics visit or at a newborn checkup at a pediatrician’s office
  • Establish a process for hospitals to register a perinatal facility with maternal levels of care
  • Reduce the financial burden on families by requiring hospitals share information about enrolling newborns in health insurance plans.

As the chair of the House Health Policy Committee, I am proud of the bipartisan support this package received on the House floor. For too long, I, as well as many others, have heard stories about deaths and complications in pregnant individuals that could have been prevented. The policies in this package will go a long way toward improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and their families in Michigan.

Budget Passes House and Senate

After months of hard work, negotiations and a marathon session into the early morning hours on June 27, the Michigan Legislature passed the final state budget for the year ahead. This year’s budget had many great wins for Kalamazoo and the state.


  • $1 million to go toward the infrastructure for Kalamazoo Township Fire Department and Police.
  • $3 million to go toward tornado and storm relief for Kalamazoo County.
  • $5 million to go toward the development of mixed-income housing in Portage.
  • $20 million investment into the Rx Kids program for Kalamazoo, Detroit and Saginaw, which will provide direct financial assistance payments to income qualified mothers to improve health outcomes for them and their babies.
  • $1 million community enhancement grant for the Ecumenical Senior Center.
  • $750,000 for El Concilio toward its building project
  • $200,000 for Western Michigan University’s Cold Case Program
  • $350,000 to enhance broadband/internet connectivity for Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s campus.

Other Budget Wins:

  • $7.5 million for Racial Disparity Task Force initiatives, which are designed to target regions with large health disparities.
  • $30 million more for child welfare caseloads.
  •  $2.95 million for e-bike purchase incentive program.
  •  $1.5 million to increase the clothing allowance for foster care children by 40 to 50 percent, depending on the child’s age, along with tripling the holiday allowance.
  • $161.8 million investment into Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which will allow clinics to be expanded into other counties providing services to an estimated 35,000 additional individuals.
  • $17.2 million to the hourly rate of autism behavioral technicians to $66 per hour.

This year’s budget continues to focus on strategic, targeted investments that will continue to improve the lives of families across the state. These investments are a powerful statement to families and communities across the state that Michigan is committed to being a place where everyone can live, thrive and have a community that they are proud to call their home.

Healthy Eating Reminder: Visit a Local Farmers Market

Summertime has officially arrived in Michigan! This time of year can be spent enjoying the beautiful sunny weather with friends and family. With the weather getting warmer and the days now longer, there is so much time to enjoy outdoor activities that keep us active and healthy.

One such option is visiting a local farmers market to help support local businesses and farmers. These markets always have a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, sauces, spices, food businesses and more! Taking care of ourselves is vital to living a long, healthy and fulfilling life, and being able to get fresh produce from local farmers is a great way to stay healthy while also supporting your community.

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market, located at 1204 Bank St., is now open for the season and will be running until Nov. 23. It is important to note that pets are not allowed at the market, so please plan accordingly. From now until Oct. 26, their hours are the following:

  • Saturdays (May 4 to Oct. 26): 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday Mini Markets (June 4-October 10): 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

If you cannot make it to the daytime market, there is also a nighttime market that you can attend, which will be the third Thursday of each month which runs from 5-10 p.m. The remaining dates for the nighttime market are:

July 18

Aug. 15

Sept. 19

The Portage Farmers Market is now open as well. The market runs every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Portage City Hall, located at 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., and is running from now until Oct. 13. The Portage Farmers Market features 20 to 30 vendors that sell a wide variety of items, such as fresh produce, milk-based products, meats, eggs, fruits, baked goods, flowers, crafts and handmade gifts. If you have the chance this summer, stop on by and enjoy all the Portage Farmers Market has to offer.

Fill your summertime with fun activities with friends, family, and loved ones, stay healthy, and support your local farmers and small businesses!