It is an exciting time to be around Lansing and the district, with many parades, family visits, and holiday celebrations. But with these fun events also comes some of the heaviest workload of the legislative session – lame duck. Lame duck refers to the time between election results and the end of the legislative term. It’s a hectic time, with a lot of policy flying around and a busy schedule. I urge you to stay updated and to share your opinions with me while I work to finish out the year. Lame duck ends when session adjourns for the last day of the year.
If you want to follow my activities in Lansing and around the district, please look on my Facebook page for more legislative updates and information on resources and events around the district. Want faster and more frequent updates? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @DonnaLasinski.
As always, you can contact me at (517) 373-0828, by email at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov, or by visiting my website at RepLasinski.com, with any questions, thoughts, or suggestions. I am here to help and serve you. I look forward to hearing from you, or to seeing you out and about in the wonderful House District 52.
Minimum Wage and Earned, Paid Sick Leave Heading to Governor’s Desk
In September, two ballot initiatives — to raise the minimum wage and to establish earned, paid sick leave — were voted into law instead of being allowed to proceed to the ballot box. With that vote, you were guaranteed a minimum wage of $12 by 2022 and the ability to earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked beginning in April.
Both of these laws will be dramatically scaled back under bills that have passed the Senate and the House.
Not only will the minimum wage increases be eliminated compared to the original ballot initiative language, but the inflation adjustment for future wage increases will also be eliminated after 2030 when it reaches $12.05. Despite the petitioning of over 400,000 Michiganders to earn a spot on the ballot, the current majority is choosing to deliberately undermine the will of the people.
A ballot initiative is the only method that a citizen has to change the law. By undoing the will of the people using legislative procedure, I firmly believe that those who voted to support the gutting of the ballot initiative are not serving the will of the people, but instead imposing their own will. On Tuesday, Dec. 4 Senate Bill 1171, which was introduced to eliminate any impact of Michigan’s voter-initiated minimum wage law, passed the House 60-48. Senate Bill 1175, introduced to eliminate the voter-initiated earned paid sick time law, also passed the House 60-48.
The people of Washtenaw County sent me to Lansing to be their voice. They don’t deserve to have their voice put down by the callous use of legislative procedure. Our citizens were wrongly denied the right to vote on the minimum wage and earned paid sick leave bills by a cynical, political act of the Legislature.
As a small business owner myself, I know strong wages and secure benefits are vital to keep our talent here in Michigan. Our economy depends on the success of our families, and they should be able to depend on their elected officials.
I voted “No” on Senate Bill 1171 and Senate Bill 1175.
House Bill 6553: An Executive Power Grab
On Wednesday, legislative leaders rushed through House Bill 6553 to allow the Legislature an absolute right to intervene in court proceedings. When our communities went to the polls last month, they did so to exercise their constitutional right to vote. They voted to decide who they wanted to lead our state, to oversee our elections and to defend our laws in court. They did not cast their vote so that bureaucrats in the state Legislature could usurp the authority of those executive positions. Voting in favor of House Bill 6553 sent Michiganders the message that their vote — their voice — does not matter. Click here to view my speech on the House Floor against House Bill 6553. The people of Washtenaw County sent me to Lansing to contribute to a government focused on collaboration. One that brings every person to the table, regardless of political party, to find innovative and meaningful solutions to the problems Michigan must tackle.
Passing House Bill 6553 will do nothing to help solve these real problems, like our schools, our water or our roads. It won’t save your retirement fund, or slow skyrocketing health care costs. These action will only further divide us.
Protecting our Wetlands
I’ve had many of you contact my office to express your concern over Senate Bill 1211. I want you to know that I hear you, and I understand your concerns. This bill was introduced by state Sen. Tom Casperson, and would amend Part 301 (Inland Lakes and Streams) and Part 303 (Wetlands Protection) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). This amended bill would change the definition of a wetland, weakening or eliminating protection of many Michigan’s wetlands.
Wetlands are areas of land where water covers the soil — all year or just at certain times of the year.
Wetlands may be natural or artificial and the water within a wetland may be static or flowing, fresh, brackish or saline. As a critical part of our natural environment, I believe our wetlands should be protected and valued. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.
I believe that the preservation of our environment should be upheld with the highest standards. As your state representative, I work every day to protect our freshwater and other natural resources, and ensure that all Michiganders have access to safe, clean drinking water. Like you, I am very concerned about any project that would threaten Michigan’s great natural resources, and wildlife. Senate Bill 1211 has passed through the Senate and is currently awaiting testimony in the House.
Upcoming Time with Donna
I only have one more legislative in-district meeting before the end of the year, but please keep an eye out around the district — I’ll be participating in holiday celebrations, and supporting our small businesses as I plan my celebrations with family and friends.
Manchester Coffee Hour
Stop in and join me for coffee and conversation about the issues that matter to you this Saturday! We can discuss lame duck and upcoming legislations.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10-11 a.m.
Where: Manchester Village Room, 912 City Road in Manchester
What To Do In HD 52
Small Town Holiday Parade
The Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a small-town holiday parade on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 6 pm. The parade will start at Kensington and Ann Arbor Street and end at the American Legion on Dexter Chelsea. The route is similar to the Dexter Daze Parade.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m.
Where: Downtown Dexter
Visit Hudson Mills for Santa Central! Kids (and adults) can visit with Santa, go on a hayride, and make seasonal crafts.
When: Sunday, Dec. 9
Where: Hudson Mills Metropark
To preregister: (734) 426-8211.
Chelsea Area Players Jr. Presents “Hotel Escargot”
A comedic play that takes the audience to the French Riviera, where the annual Kantz France International Film Festival is about to take place. A hodgepodge of people come together at the elegant Hotel Escargot. Though unbelievably silly, you and your family will have one crazy time watching this play!
When: Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.
Where: Washington Street Education Center Auditorium
Custom made gingerbread houses are displayed at various locations throughout Chelsea. For a list of locations, or to participate with your own creation, click here.
When: Nov. 30-Dec. 15
Where: Downtown Chelsea
Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) helps to pay for specialty medical bills and to coordinate services for children and adults with certain eligible medical conditions. Families of all incomes are eligible to join, even those with health insurance.
Stay Informed with Emergency Weather Notifications
It’s best to know if a situation may turn dangerous. You can tune into the National Weather Service (NWS) which provides alerts and warnings for all hazards through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR) receiver. There are radio receivers that are designed to work with external notification devices for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information on NWR receivers, visit nws.noaa.gov/nwr/info/nwrrcvr.html. Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications that your community may offer.
You can also download the FEMA and American Red Cross apps on iOS or Android at no cost. These apps may provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery. Search for the FEMA or American Red Cross apps on your smartphone or other mobile devices.
Wise Choices helps Washtenaw County residents make healthy changes by setting small goals. To enroll, call (734) 544-6700 and ask for Wise Choices.
Wise Choices provides free health screenings and coaching to help you make small, healthy changes in your life. It consists of:
● A brief health intake screening (glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.)
● Goal-setting and planning — you decide which behavior you want to focus on to improve your health (anything from eating more fruits and vegetables, to going on a 15 minute walk three days per week, to being more diligent about taking your blood pressure medication, and more)
● Consistent follow-up with a community navigator, including text or phone support
● Community navigators may refer you to community-based lifestyle programs, and Wise Choice will pay for the program. Examples include a weight loss program called Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) and the Diabetes Prevention Program
Prepare for Winter Storms
If you want to be prepared for possible winter storms but are not sure how, take a look at this info published by the Michigan State Police which aims to help you prepare: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/FEMA_MSP_Winter_Weather_Hazards_Packet_637153_7.pdf
Be Safe on the Roads this Winter
Driving in the winter can be scary, especially for new drivers. The Department of State and the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association recommend the following tips to keep you and your family safe while driving in winter weather:
● No matter the season, drinking and driving is dangerous and illegal.
● Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
● Keep an emergency kit ready in your vehicle
● To avoid slipping off the roadway, drive more slowly and give yourself more room to stop.
● Brake gently to prevent skidding
● If your vehicle does get stuck:
○ Never spin your wheels. That only digs the tires in more deeply.
○ Use a shovel to dig around the wheels and undercarriage.
○ Turn the steering wheel from side to side to clear snow away from the front tires.
○ Gently ease the vehicle out.
○ If that doesn’t work, try rocking the vehicle by shifting into forward and giving it some gas and then shifting it into reverse and accelerating until the vehicle is free.
● Let other people know your travel plans so if you don’t arrive they’ll know where to start looking. Tell people the route you plan to take
● Make sure your vehicle has fresh air if you become stuck by checking the exhaust system to see if it’s plugged by snow. Open a window or turn off your car if necessary. Carbon monoxide produced by your vehicle is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill.
● Check the news for weather reports before you leave, or visit weather sites such as www.weather.gov.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-0828.
State Representative Donna Lasinski