Welcome to my e-newsletter! I’m honored and humbled to serve as our community’s voice at the Capitol in Lansing. As we continue into the term, rest assured that the challenges residents in our community and state are facing are at the top of my legislative priorities.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0837 or email at AmosONeal@house.mi.gov if we can help.
State Representative, 94th House District
In this issue:
- Community Conversation — April 20
- Town Hall — Good Time Credits Legislation
- HB 4003 and SB 4 — Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) Expansion
- Gun Safety Legislation
- HB 4004-05 — Anti-Worker “Right-To-Work” Repeal and Expanded Workers’ Rights Bills
- Committee Updates — Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections
On April 20 at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live, we will host another Community Conversation. I will give a brief legislative update. Afterward, we will have a conversation with special guest Jumble Firewood on businesses and with recently released individuals re-entering society.
We hope to save some time for Q&A, so come with questions for our guests. You can join us on Facebook Live by clicking here or searching @StateRepAmosONeal.
I hope to see you there!
Town Hall – Good Time Credits Legislation
I am planning to introduce a bill package in April that would provide prisons with a system of good time credits to be earned by incarcerated individuals who demonstrate behavioral change in measurable ways. This will incentivize rehabilitation for those who make an effort to improve their behavior to re-enter society as transformed residents.
Michigan is one of only six states in our country that does not offer incarcerated citizens good time credits. Michigan is also number one in the country in money allocated to corrections. It is time we do more to address these problems.
Shortly after its introduction, we are planning a town hall to discuss the bills and answer any questions. Save the date for April 24, and we will have more details to come!
Committee Update – Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections
As the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections, I have been working to prepare and report out the Department of Corrections budget. We have been taking testimony, and this week, we heard from the department on prisoner education and programming. This included a discussion on vocational villages and prisoner health care.
HB 4003 – Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) Expansion
Recently, the House finally passed the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. This will make Michigan the 23rd state to adopt comprehensive non-discrimination laws.
Discrimination, hate and bigotry have no home in our state. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Aimee Stephens’ case (2020) upheld the principle that all people should be treated fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, the reality is that many LGBTQ+ individuals still face harassment and mistreatment in many areas of life.
The Michigan Supreme Court also held that discrimination based on sex under ELCRA includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the Rouch World LLC v. Michigan Department of Civil Rights case. It is long past time for us to amend Michigan’s civil rights laws so that it explicitly includes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under state law. Doing so would ensure LGBTQ+ individuals have explicit, comprehensive, statewide protection against discrimination, which would result in greater protection of our LGBTQ+ communities.
Gun Safety Legislation
The House also introduced gun violence prevention legislation that will protect Michiganders, keep illegal guns off our streets, and keep our kids safe by helping to prevent mass shootings like those in Oxford and at Michigan State University.
Since last month’s deadly mass shooting at MSU, our offices have heard from parents, teachers, school administrators and community partners. The resounding response has been: We need immediate action.
The Gun Violence Prevention bill package comprises three main priorities:
- Establishing safe storage mandates, requiring gun owners to secure their firearms safely and responsibly.
- Allowing the courts to issue extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) to take temporary possession of a firearm if an individual is a risk to themselves or others.
- Requiring universal background checks for all firearm purchases.
As legislators, the safety and well-being of our constituents is our top priority. We have seen the cost of inaction — more lives lost, more families broken, more communities shattered. We will no longer sit by and allow the epidemic of gun violence to ravage our communities and our state.
These bills are not a cure-all, but they have been shown in other states to decrease the rate of accidental and intentional shootings. With this legislation, we are not only taking steps to address mass shootings, but we are also taking steps to prevent them in the future by keeping illegal guns off the street and out of our schools.
HB 4004–05 – Anti-Worker “Right-To-Work” Repeal and Expanded Worker’s Rights Bills
Another monumental package that we were able to pass out of the House recently was the package for expanding workers’ rights. This legislation will create more good-paying jobs that people can actually raise their families on, instead of low-wage work.
About 24% of jobs in states with worker-suppression laws like ours were in low-wage occupations, compared with about 14.5% of jobs in states without these laws (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020). Expanding workers’ rights puts more money in the pockets of working families by guaranteeing their ability to negotiate for raises and help deal with rising costs. Workers in states with expanded workers’ rights make $8,989 (roughly 15%) more annually. I am so proud to have stood together with my colleagues and passed this package of bills.