Hello from Lansing,
Due to the horrific events that took place on Michigan State University’s campus on Feb. 13, I have had many tough conversations this week. I have spoken directly with first responders, with constituents and with my 6-year-old daughter about how our state will move forward from these events. The Democratic caucus was in constant conversation during Monday’s events, and with heavy hearts, we came to Lansing to begin the healing process on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, we passed a memorial resolution honoring the lives lost and praising the fast response of the many first responders and dispatchers who came to Lansing from across the state. Many of those first responders, medics and dispatchers joined us on the House floor when we passed the resolution. The gallery was full of Michigan State University students who came to the Capitol to demand action.
While this is still an incredibly dark time, I have not lost hope. Due to the Democratic majorities this term, we stand on the cusp of real, substantive changes to Michigan’s guns laws. I look forward to supporting, and passing, the common-sense, lifesaving reforms my colleagues will be introducing shortly.
As always, you can contact my team through email at CarrieRheingans@house.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-8835 with any questions, comments or concerns.
Lowering Costs For Families
I am working with my colleagues in the Legislature to pass the following important priorities:
- Repeal the retirement tax.
- Boost the working families tax credit.
- Deliver pre-k to all children.
Repealing the retirement tax would save half a million Michigan households an average of $1,000 per year! Boosting the working families tax credit would deliver an average of $3,000 in savings per year to over 700,000 families. And delivering universal pre-k would save Michigan families an additional $10,000 a year while putting over 100,000 four-year-olds on a path to success. These priorities represent real, substantive benefits for Michigan families.
House Bill 4001, which would begin the process of repealing the retirement tax, expand the working families tax credit from 6% of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to 30% and apply corporate income tax to economic development, was approved by the Senate just yesterday. As the House of Representatives passed this bill earlier this month, this bill is now headed to the governor for her signature.
Gov. Whitmer’s proposal to expand pre-k services in Michigan would be accomplished through an increase in income eligibility for the already existing Great State Readiness Program, which is currently only available to families with incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level (about $70,000 per year for a family of four). As this program is currently being debated in the House Appropriations Committee, stay tuned here for updates.
My First Bill Introduced
On Thursday, Feb. 16, I introduced my first bill. Part of a bill package regarding sexual misconduct, these bipartisan bills were developed with hundreds of hours of discussions and consultations with survivors, experts, community organizations and advocacy groups. The package included bills that would:
- Require that comprehensive training materials be provided to individuals who are mandated to report child abuse and neglect unless their employer already provides substantially similar training (Rep. Rogers).
- Require a disciplinary hearing for a licensed medical professional when they are convicted of sexual misconduct under the pretext of practicing medicine (Rep. Breen).
- Require permanent revocation of a medical license in a disciplinary hearing for a medical licensee who is convicted of sexual misconduct under the pretext of practicing medicine (Rep. Hope).
- Prohibit using a position of authority to prevent reporting of certain crimes and make violation a misdemeanor with a 1-year sentence and/or $1,000 fine (Rep. Filler).
- Prohibit using a position of authority to report an alleged violation of certain crimes to a Title IX coordinator at a post-secondary educational institution (Rep. Glanville).
- Prohibit schools from expelling or suspending a student who reports being a victim of sexual assault (Rep. Rheingans).
One in 9 girls under the age of 18 experience sexual assault or abuse at the hands of an adult. Many sexual assaults are never reported to law enforcement. Unfortunately, we likely all know someone who has described their experiences and has either been dismissed or disbelieved and left to deal with these experiences for the rest of their lives. In addition, many survivors choose not to report because they believe the systems available would not help them or that authorities would cause them further psychological harm. These truths speak volumes about the need to change the culture around sexual assault in our communities and daily lives. This package seeks to increase the ways in which perpetrators of sexual violence can be brought to justice.
The bill package spans House Bills 4120-4125, and this package has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. My bill in this package is House Bill 4125. If you would like to stay up to date on the status of these bills, you can sign up for email notifications on committee activities through the legislature’s website.
Tax Filing Deadline
I wanted to remind you all of the upcoming tax filing deadline, which is Tuesday, April 18.
This year, certain filers may be eligible for free e-filing this year. You can check to see if you are eligible for this service through the Michigan Treasury Department’s website.
Need Help Filing Taxes?
United Way chapters across the state offer tax filing assistance for eligible filers through their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs. Below, please find contact information for the United Ways in our district.
United Way of Jackson County
536 N. Jackson St.
Jackson, MI 49201
United Way of Washtenaw County
2305 Platt Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Next Constituent Coffee Hour:
Please join me for my next constituent coffee hour Monday, Feb. 20, from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Argus Farm Stop located at 325 W. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor.
Our first constituent contact meeting for March will be on Friday, March 10, at Over the Edge Sports Bar, located at 230 E. Main St. in Manchester, from 4-5 p.m.
My team and I are always looking for the next best place to host our coffee and happy hours. If you would like to make a suggestion, reach out to any of my official social media pages to share your thoughts!