Dear Neighbor,

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

Financial Aid for Incarcerated Students Package Heard in Higher Education Committee

House Bills 51755177 would allow Michigan to invest in all college students by providing equal access to student financial aid programs whether their classroom is online, on campus or in prison.

Under current law, seven colleges and universities in Michigan have degree or certificate programs for incarcerated students. Four of these are bachelor’s degree programs. Students are not charged for enrollment in these programs, and most are funded through private grants, institutional funds, as well as limited federal financial aid. Inadequate financial resources create limitations to starting or expanding a degree program in prison, but these bills will change this.

Michigan has eight student financial aid programs, only half of which are accessible to incarcerated students. These bills will expand these final four programs to include incarcerated students. None of the changes will impact current budgets or require a large state investment but will have immeasurable lasting impact. Individuals who obtain a degree are less likely to become incarcerated again. The average recidivism rate for an individual who completes high school is 55%, but only 5% for those who obtain a bachelor’s degree.


Maternal Infant Health Package Receives Hearing in House Health Policy Committee

Earlier this month, the Progressive Women’s Caucus introduced a package of bills aimed at improving the health and well-being of mothers and their infants across Michigan. Severe maternal morbidity, which includes unexpected outcomes of delivery that have significant short- or long-term impacts on a woman’s health, have been rising. And they have been rising much faster and have been far more prevalent in some underserved communities. Non-Hispanic Black individuals have significantly higher rates of severe maternal morbidity and, from 2015-2019, were 2.8 times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes in Michigan. Black non-Hispanic infants die three times more often than white non-Hispanic infants.

These bills will help address this glaring disparity in health outcomes while making pregnancy and the postpartum period safer for everyone. My bill in the package would require hospitals to provide an informational form on the health insurance enrollment process to parents of newborns (HB 5173). Other bills in the package would:

  • Require mental health screenings for new mothers as part of their baby’s 4-week, 8-week, 6-month and 18-month check-ups (HB 5169).
  • Require these screenings to be covered by private insurance and Medicaid (HBs 5170 and 5171).
  • Establish levels of maternal care in Michigan that focus on specific obstetric criteria and promote risk-appropriate care to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity (HB 5172).
  • Recognize Michigan’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative, which facilitates communication, collaboration and practice improvement statewide and across nine regional entities (HB 5166).
  • Require blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum individuals to be covered under Medicaid (HB 5167).
  • Require blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum individuals to be covered under private insurance (HB 5168).
  • Require the medical assistance program to develop guidelines for prenatal carrier screening autosomal recessive and x-linked genetic conditions (HB 5027).
  • Eliminate expensive and redundant testing of donors of breast milk to breast milk banks (HB 4728).

The House Health Policy Committee has been hearing testimony on this package over the last couple weeks and was recently successfully voted out of committee!

Uniform Power of Attorney Act Passes Senate

Last week, legislation to enact the Uniform Power of Attorney Act here in Michigan and repeal sections of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code that currently provide for a durable power of attorney passed the Senate. A power of attorney is a document that permits one person to appoint another person to act as his or her agent. Although these are common, the laws governing them vary widely from state to state. This causes problems for principals and agents, as well as anyone who is asked to accept a power of attorney and must determine its validity.

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act is a model statute developed by the Uniform Law Commission in 2006. Uniform state laws standardize procedures across states. The UPOAA is intended to provide cross-jurisdictional consistency regarding power of attorney agreements. It provides uniformity and enhances the usefulness of durable powers while protecting the principal, the agent and third parties. Michigan currently has no general codification of the law of agency concerning powers of attorney — only a set of skeleton provisions regarding “durable” powers. By enacting the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, our state will expand these provisions from five sections in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code to 48 sections. More than 30 states have already passed the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Massachusetts and Vermont also have legislation pending that was introduced this term.

These bills are now awaiting the governor’s signature.

Rep. Hope Provides Legislative Update at Coffee Hour

Thank you to everyone who attended my recent coffee hour! I appreciate citizens taking time out of their day to learn more about how their state government is working for them.

Rep. Hope pictured at a Coffee Hour providing a legislative update

Rep. Hope to Host Community Violence Intervention Town Hall in November

I am hosting a town hall on community violence intervention from 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, 5509 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Lansing. Community violence intervention is an approach that seeks to reduce violence through evidence-based strategies and tailored community-centered initiatives. CVI focuses on individuals who are most at-risk of experiencing or continuing violence in our communities and takes into account the many social, economic and institutional factors that perpetuate violence.

We’ll hear from activists, experts and community leaders. Community members are welcome to share their questions and concerns during this event.


Capitol Caucus to Host MiCare Town Hall

This summer, state Rep. Carrie Rheingans introduced MiCare (House Bill 4893), a publicly financed, universal health care system for the state of Michigan. The Capitol Caucus, along with special guest Rep. Rheingans, will host a town hall on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Cristo Rey Community Center, 1717 N. High St. in Lansing. We will discuss the need for a universal health care system, the contents of the bill, and your experiences with the current health care system.


Rep. Hope and AG Nessel Host Senior Scam Event in November 

Special Guest Attorney General Dana Nessel and I will host a senior scam event on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 10-11:30 a.m. at Sam Corey Senior Center, 2108 Cedar St. in Holt. The Michigan Department of Attorney General will provide helpful information to protect seniors who are often targeted by scam artists.


Kara Hope

State Representative