I am honored and humbled to be your state representative. I plan to work hard to help bolster our Lakeshore community, Southwest Michigan and the entire state.
If you are in need of support or resources or have any questions regarding legislation or state government in general, please feel free to reach out to me at my office via email at JoeyAndrews@house.mi.gov or by calling (517) 373-0827.
Michigan’s 38th District
In this issue:
- Upcoming Office Hours
- Capitol Update
- Policy Update
- Community Update
Upcoming Office Hours
Friday, March 10, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at North Pier Brewing Co., 670 N. Shore Drive, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.
Friday, March 31 from 10-11 a.m. – Covert Branch Library, 33805 M-140, Covert, MI 49043
I am honored to have been appointed majority vice chair of the House Committees on Criminal Justice and Energy, Communications, and Technology; and a Labor Committee and Housing Subcommittee member. I am excited to bring my experience as a licensed attorney to uplift policies that bring much-needed change to the criminal justice system. My district is home to two nuclear power plants — making it the highest nuclear density of any state house district in Michigan. These plants provide an essential service and are large employers and economic drivers in our community.
Lowering MI Costs Plan Puts Money Back in Michiganders Pockets
House Bill 4001, sponsored by state Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township), passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Whitmer earlier this week. The Lowering MI Costs plan will put money back in people’s pockets to help them pay the bills and put food on the table. The plan rolls back the retirement tax to save 500,000 households an average of $1,000 a year and quintuples the working families tax credit to put an average of $3,150 back into the pockets of 700,000 Michiganders, directly benefiting nearly half the kids in Michigan.
Bill Expanding Protections for LGBTQ Individuals Passes
Senate Bill 4, sponsored by state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), and its partner House Bill 4003, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Hoskins (D-Southfield), expands the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, public accommodations, public services and housing. I was honored to join my Democratic colleagues in voting yes on this historic bill, showing the world that Michigan is a state where all are welcome and our LGBTQIA+ siblings can live their lives free from discrimination at their place of employment, public spaces, housing and educational institutions.
Restoring Workers’ Freedoms
Also on Wednesday, the Michigan House heard three major labor bills. House Bills 4004 and 4005, sponsored by state Rep. Regina Weiss (D-Oak Park), restore worker freedoms and reestablish union rights by eliminating Michigan’s anti-union, anti-worker “right-to-work” laws. House Bill 4007, sponsored by state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), reinstates Michigan’s prevailing wage law, which ensures highly skilled workers are paid what they’re worth on taxpayer-funded construction projects.
Labor is what built the middle class in this country. Unions are what enable the American dream. Millions of families, just like mine, came to Michigan because we were the state that built the middle class, put working families first and protected our workers. I wholeheartedly voted yes on all three bills, and the Democratic Caucus took a leap forward to restoring workers’ rights, protecting working families and putting Michigan back at the forefront of prioritizing our workers and our families.
Michigan House Votes to Repeal 1931 Abortion Ban
House Bill 4006, sponsored by state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) directly repeals the unconstitutional 1931 abortion ban. House Bill 4031, sponsored by state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township) and House Bill 4032, sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit), remove all traces of statute criminalizing reproductive health care, respectively. I voted to expand access to reproductive health care because abortion is a decision between a patient and their doctor, not politicians.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The Michigan Spark Grants program is designed to help local communities that want to create, renovate or redevelop public opportunities for residents and visitors — especially those whose economic opportunities and health were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Covert Township, Berrien County and Benton Harbor were three of 21 communities throughout the state that received the first round of funding, which totaled $14.2 million.
Covert Park Beach & Campground North Boardwalk
Covert Township has received $475,000 to replace an aging boardwalk at Covert Park Beach and Campground overlooking Lake Michigan. Construction will begin fall 2023 and improvements will include the addition of safety rails, widening of the boardwalk and installation of benches.
Silver Beach County Park Playground Enhancement
Berrien County was awarded $850,000 to replace the existing, aging playground at Silver Beach County Park with a much improved, inclusive playground. Current playground equipment at Silver Beach is 30 years past its lifespan. Construction of the new playground is targeted to begin in fall 2023 and be completed in spring 2024.
Hall Park Restoration Phase I
The city of Benton Harbor was awarded $958,000 to begin Phase I of the restoration of Hall Park. The first phase would include restorations to the overall landscape, including a paved walking trail around the park, restored stairs and an accessible parking lot. Future phases could include a restored baseball field, new seating, fencing and a playground.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Benton Charter Township Water Update
Benton Charter Township has been awarded a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Grant totaling $5,175,000 as well as a Drinking Water Asset Management Grant totaling $649,175. These two state grants will help improve water quality and access to safe, clean drinking water.
City of Benton Harbor Water Update
The city of Benton Harbor’s Lead and Copper Rule monitoring has shown the 90th percentile for lead to be at or below the 15 parts per billion action level for the third consecutive time in 18 months and meeting all standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act. More than 99% of lead lines have been replaced under the state’s accelerated investment program. However, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends that Benton Harbor families should use lead-reducing filters or bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing food and mixing powdered infant formula until MDHHS confirms that sources of lead in a home’s plumbing have been fixed, removed or replaced as part of the free home lead inspection process.
Visit bit.ly/drinkingwaterroadmap to learn more about the free home lead inspection and removal process.
Strategies to reduce lead exposures in the home can be found on the state’s MI Lead Safe website.