Dear Neighbor,

Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including updates and news from your state government.

Gov. Whitmer Signs Monumental Education Budget

Last week, Gov. Whitmer signed the 2023-24 education budget (Senate Bill 173). The historic budget makes the largest per-pupil investment in Michigan history, expands free preschool programs, and provides free breakfast and lunch for all public school students. SB 173 also includes funding for before- and after-school programs, mental health resources, and literacy support. I was proud to vote “yes” on a budget that prioritizes student success. Click here to view the full contents of the budget.

Michigan Shows Historic Employment Rate

Michigan’s unemployment rate reached its lowest point in 23 years in June with a rate of 3.6 percent. Michigan has seen an unemployment rate below 4 percent only three times — from 1998 to 2000, 2019 to March 2020, and April 2023 to the present — since the mid-1970s.

Additionally, the state’s labor force participation rate increased to 60.7 percent this month. The first six months of 2023 report the highest growth for the first half of a year since data began in the mid-1970s.

New Distracted Driving Law in Effect

As a reminder, the state’s new distracted driving law, which prohibits all handheld cell phone use while driving, went into effect June 30. These bills aim to reduce distracted driving and save lives by ensuring that drivers are focused on the road. Drivers may continue to use hands-free technology.

Child Care Coalition Seeks Parent Input on Lowering Child Care Costs

Gov. Whitmer recently announced grants for regional projects to help lower child care costs and to expand access to child care in our state. The Capital Area Child Care Coalition, joined by Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Capital Area Michigan Works!, and United Way of South Central Michigan, is looking for parent input on the planning process. If you or someone you know is interested in providing input, there will be a virtual discussion group on Aug. 9 from noon to 1 p.m. You can find more information here 


Kara Hope

State Representative