Welcome to my monthly e-newsletter! As your state representative in the 102nd Michigan Legislature, I am happy to provide these regular updates on my legislative work, upcoming events and other news relevant to the district. In this issue, you will find information on my upcoming town hall with Attorney General Dana Nessel, my in-district coffee hours, an update on the Michigan Legislature’s policy accomplishments so far, news on my latest policy initiatives and resources for how my office can assist you!
Neighbors and friends in House District 103 are encouraged to also sign up for these updates at my website, repcoffia.com. My office can be reached by phone at (517) 373-3817 or by email at BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov. Be sure to check out the latest on my social media platforms as well. As this legislative session continues, I welcome your continued feedback and encourage you to reach out, if my team and I can ever be of assistance to you!
House District 103
Town Hall with Attorney General Dana Nessel
I am so excited to welcome Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel back to Michigan’s 103rd House District! Join me and Attorney General Nessel for a Consumer Protection and Senior Issues Town Hall to discuss her work as Michigan’s top law enforcement officer and our collaborative efforts with the Michigan Legislature to deliver long-awaited policies to protect consumers and support Michigan seniors.
When: Friday, July 7 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: Traverse City Michigan Works!
(1209 S. Garfield Ave #C, Traverse City, MI 49686)
Monthly Legislative Coffee Hours
Please join me for my in-person coffee hours where I give legislative updates and take your questions about the issues facing our state and our community! Every month, I hold a legislative coffee hour in each of the three counties that cover the 103rd District — Grand Traverse, Benzie and Leelanau. These events are a great way to find out what policies I’m working on and to share your ideas and concerns with me!
June meeting information:
When: Monday, July 10 from 9:05-10 a.m.
Where: Long Lake Township Hall
(8870 N Long Lake Road, Traverse City, MI 49685)
When: Monday, July 10 from 1-2 p.m.
Where: Red Door Coffee House
(19631 Maple St., Lake Ann, MI 49650)
When: Monday, July 10 from 3-4 p.m.
Where: Leelanau County Government Center – Room CMR (8527 E. Government Center Drive, Suttons Bay, MI 49682)
State Rep. Betsy Coffia speaking with constituents at a recent coffee hour.
So far this session, the legislature passed policies to reduce tax burdens for working families and seniors, strengthen workers’ rights, promote responsible gun ownership and suicide/violence prevention safeguards, expand LGBTQ+ Michiganders’ protections from discrimination, support students’ learning needs, implement voter-approved reproductive healthcare rights, and promote individual freedoms.
Among the critical priorities signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is House Bill 4199, which was sponsored by my colleague state Rep. Jennifer Conlin. The bill would allow the spouse of an eligible person under the Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Act or other specified dependents to utilize an eligible person’s tuition assistance. I was proud to vote for this bill in the House, and I’m thrilled to see it signed into law to expand higher education opportunities in our state and to further improve recruitment and retention for the Michigan National Guard!
As always, you can find legislation that I have sponsored here or by going to legislature.mi.gov and clicking “Legislators” and then selecting “Sponsored Legislation” under my name. My co-sponsored legislation — which another legislator has sponsored and championed, but to which I have added my name in support — can be found here.
This was also a special month for your state representative, as this was my first time chairing a committee – and my second time! While I am not a regular committee chair, when the chair testifies to a bill in their committee, typically the majority vice chair steps into the chair role during testimony. As the majority vice chair of the Families, Children, and Seniors Committee, I was happy to step in to lead the committee for the first time. When the majority vice chair is unable to chair the committee in these cases, another member of the committee is selected to lead the committee through testimony, and that’s how I also chaired the House Agriculture Committee this past week! This was a great experience in leading discussions on vetting policies for the state, and I look forward to more of these opportunities as the legislative session.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia chairing the House Agriculture Committee.
Expanding Domestic Violence Resources
My bill, HB 4516, was unanimously voted out of the House Criminal Justice Committee and voted out of the Michigan House and sent to the Senate with huge bipartisan support — 103 YES votes! Current Michigan law leaves out sovereign tribal nations as recipients to receive state domestic and sexual violence treatment and shelter funding. My bill rectifies this and was drafted in partnership with survivor advocates to solidify the provision of these services. I am honored that this legislation is also supported by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians — a sovereign nation whose seat of government is located within the borders of the 103rd District. You can watch my testimony from the committee hearing here, and you can read more about HB 4516 here. My speech on the House floor can also be viewed here. The next step for this bill will be passage in the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee, where I am hopeful it will pass with additional bipartisan support!
Promoting Youth Voter Turnout
I recently gave testimony on my bill, HB 4569, which passed out of the House Elections Committee! As young people have the lowest voter turnout among all age groups, my bill would make strides toward closing that gap by expanding eligibility for voter pre-registration from 17.5 years old to 16 years old. Note that this bill does not decrease the voting age, which constitutionally remains at 18. At age 16, many young people are learning about governance and are starting to be held accountable to our laws in significant ways when they get their drivers’ licenses. Research shows that, by enabling early participation in the democratic process through pre-registration, young people will be better prepared to be lifelong voters once they turn 18, as they will already be registered to vote. Especially at a time when young people are beginning college, trade school, work, military service, etc., ensuring that these new eligible voters will already be prepared to cast their ballots will be key to improving voter turnout in Michigan. The bill is part of a larger package to lift barriers that prevent individuals from exercising their right to vote and encourage voter registration. You can watch my testimony here and read more about HB 4569 and the other bills in this package here.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia testifying before the House Elections Committee.
Ending Child Marriage
A package of bills to end the practice of child marriage in Michigan has unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee and passed the House with strong bipartisan support! My bill in the package is HB 4296. The unfortunate reality is that about 95% of child marriages are between girls and adult men. Abusive parents often force rape survivors into marrying their abusers to avoid charges of neglect. In most states, and under federal law, sex with a child that would otherwise be considered rape becomes legal within marriage. Our current lax laws make our state attractive to sex abusers and human traffickers from around the nation, and these bills will change that. I look forward to the legislature and the governor coming together to say loud and clear that we will protect our children and their childhoods.
Food Pantries Grant Opportunity
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross Complete of Michigan have partnered with United Dairy Industry of Michigan to address food and nutrition insecurity with a grant opportunity for food pantries across the state.
The Food Pantry Grant Program provides equipment and resources supporting an increase in distribution of dairy and other nutrient-rich fresh food options to clients. Food pantries may apply for a refrigeration unit, valued up to $7,000, to improve pantry infrastructure in support of the distribution of dairy foods and fresh produce and receive $250 in dairy match funding to purchase additional dairy foods for their clients.
MI Fire Equipment Grant Opportunity
Local units of government can now apply for a grant to purchase fire equipment for part-time, on-call or volunteer firefighters through the MI Fire Equipment Grant Program.
Within the State of Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget, the Michigan Department of Treasury was appropriated $12 million to establish and operate the MI Fire Equipment Grant Program. Grant awards of up to $10,000 are available for local units of government for any eligible purchase made after August 1, 2022.
Qualified local units may begin the application process for the MI Fire Equipment Grant Program. Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted through the State of Michigan’s eSignature Solution by July 10. Grant awards are anticipated to be announced in early August.
Program documents — including Frequently Asked Questions, application forms and instructions, checklists, and other supporting documents — can be found at Michigan.gov/MIFireEquipmentGrant.
Apply for State Boards and Commissions
As you may know, Gov. Whitmer makes appointments to nearly 250 statewide boards and commissions. These appointments are opportunities for Michiganders to engage with their state government on the issues they care about and represent their expertise and communities at the state level.
Vacancies can be viewed online. The list is broken down by department. Each board listed includes the number of total members, number of vacant seats and specifications for each vacancy. If you match the descriptions and are interested in applying, please visit Michigan.gov/appointments.
E-News Archives, Publications, & Recognitions
My e-news archive is available on my website here.
State publications on various topics are also available on my website here. Physical copies of any of these publications can also be mailed to you by emailing my office with your request!
Do you know someone in the district who is retiring and would like a legislative tribute to celebrate their years of service? Has a local team or group reached a milestone that they would like to be acknowledged with an official certificate for each member? Our office can provide legislative tributes, letters and certificates on a wide range of recognitions for constituents and local small businesses. If you would like to request any of these materials for yourself or others, please fill out this form or email my office at BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov. Please provide as much information as possible on the requested recognition, and we will work with you to arrange delivery or presentation of the recognition!