Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including updates and news from your state government.
Rep. Hope to Host Workers Rights Town Hall in September
I will host a Workers Rights Town Hall on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 6-7:30 p.m., at Alfreda Schmidt Community Center, 5825 Wise Road in Lansing. Grassroots activists from statewide organizations and labor will join me to discuss the labor legislation that the House has passed so far, as well as future legislation to help working people in our state.
Rep. Hope to Host Coffee Hour in September
Mark your calendar! Join me for a Coffee & Conversation event on Monday, Sept. 18, from 4-5 p.m., at Sam Corey Senior Center, 2108 Cedar St. in Holt. Send an email to email@example.com with any questions or topics you would like covered. See you there!
Rep. Hope Joins Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth’s Advocacy Day
I recently participated in a panel discussion regarding the Juvenile Life Without Parole bill package as part of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth’s Advocacy Day in Detroit. About 100 people attended this event. The State Appellate Defender’s Office participated in this event along with me, other legislators, crime victims and several former “juvenile lifers.”
As background, it helps to start with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana, which affirmed its previous decision in Miller v. Alabama: Sentencing juveniles to mandatory life without parole violates the U.S. Constitution. Miller did not prohibit the use of LWOP against juveniles, but it required that sentencing courts consider certain factors before imposing a life sentence.
Here in Michigan, the House Criminal Justice Committee heard House Bills 4160–64 in the spring. If these bills are passed, Michigan would join 28 other states that have already eliminated life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders. Specifically, these bills would eliminate JLWOP for those under 19; provide a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of no more than 60 years for certain offenses; and allow for parole eligibility after 10 years where incapacities of youth must be considered.
Banning juvenile life without parole would be in line with the Justice for Kids and Communities bill package. Those bills — which derived from the work of the nonpartisan Juvenile Justice Task Force — would invest significantly more into the rehabilitation of juveniles while ensuring they get whatever help they might need to succeed as adults.
It is past time to remove inequities from the juvenile justice system. Together, these two legislative packages would do just that. It is well-documented that youths of color and youths from low-income homes are more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system and more likely to be sentenced to LWOP. It is also well-documented that juvenile offenders have a significantly lower recidivism rate than adult offenders do. In MIchigan, 1% of juvenile offenders go on to commit another offense, while 24% of adult offenders return to prison.
Capital Area Michigan Works! Receives Funding for Early Childhood Educators
Capital Area Michigan Works! is one of 12 recipients of the Early Care and Education Registered Apprenticeships from the Early Childhood Investment Corp.’s Child Care Innovation Fund. Capital Area Michigan Works! will receive $120,000 to help finance, offer guidance and increase pay for Michiganders who are interested in becoming early childhood educators. This funding addresses the early learning workforce shortage and expands access to child care in our state.
MDHHS Budget Includes More Support for Foster Parents
The 2024 state budget provides funding to help address the foster parent shortage in Michigan and better support kids in foster care who have behavioral health needs.
Daily payments for foster parents were raised by 8%, making the rate for caregivers of children under 13 approximately $670 per month; $800 per month for kids older than age 13; and $825 per month for people age 18 or older who still receive foster care assistance. This money is in addition to the 20% increase in rates paid to foster parents, relatives, independent living providers, adoptive parents and guardians in 2022. Additionally, $10 million was allocated for respite care services to help provide short-term relief for foster families.