Dear Neighbor,

Welcome to our July e-newsletter!

Included in this edition are some important legislative updates, community events and other resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by telephone at (517) 373-0820 or by email at for questions about these resources or any other state-level issues.


In service,

Felicia A Brabec

State Representative

House District 33


Coffee Hour

Please join me for our next Coffee Hour! This is an opportunity to chat, ask me questions, and share how I can best represent you in Lansing. I will be hosting my Coffee Hour in-person on Saturday, July 13, from 10-11 a.m. at Brewed Awakenings Cafe (7025 E. Michigan Ave.) We hope to see you there!


Legislative Updates


Behavioral Health Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Social Work Licensure Bills

Earlier this month, the House Health Policy Subcommittee on Behavioral Health held a hearing and heard testimony on House Bills 518485, also known as the Social Work Licensure Modernization Act. State Rep. Kimberly Edwards (D-Eastpointe) and I sponsored this package of bills, which supports robust multi-tier licensing for Michigan social workers, expands licensure portability and replaces the requirement of passing the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) social work exam to become licensed.

Recent data from ASWB analyzing its social work exam found significant disparities in the pass/fail rate among social workers. These disparities highlight significant flaws in the exam, which have created barriers for many to enter the field, particularly older folks and people of color. Many social work licensure candidates have sat for the exam at significant financial cost multiple times, many failing by only one or two points. These disparities have caused Michigan’s social workers to lose employment, miss promotional opportunities and experience quantifiable financial harm. Many organizations and practice owners have shared that they also continue to experience excessive wait periods for their clients due to staffing shortages.

Social work licensure candidates are also frustrated by the exam’s out-of-date language, questions without real-world application and harmful language that perpetuates stereotypes and bias about vulnerable populations. This exam also has no wrong answers; candidates are asked to select the “most correct” choice, which can differ based on the community one serves. That’s why, with the Social Work Licensure Modernization Act, we intend to replace the ASWB exam with a jurisprudence exam approved by Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. This new exam would test candidates on subjects that have definite right or wrong answers, such as those regarding the legal and ethical practices of social workers.

I am so proud of this legislation and for the immense support we’ve received from the Michigan chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, as well as from individual social workers and social work licensure candidates across the state. As the chair of the Behavioral Health Subcommittee, I intend to hold a vote to send this legislation back to the Health Policy Committee for further consideration during our next committee meeting.


Gun Violence Awareness Day Resolution Passes in the House

Last month, I introduced a resolution declaring June 7 as Gun Violence Awareness Day in the state of Michigan to better recognize this uniquely American problem affecting our communities. Michiganders deserve to feel safe during their daily activities and confident in their decision to send their children to school. As the chair of the Michigan Firearm Safety and Gun Violence Prevention Caucus, I believe it is imperative to bring attention to the violence that affects nearly all aspects of Michiganders’ lives. I’m happy to announce that my House Resolution 272 passed, helping us better recognize gun violence prevention as a priority issue.

Following the passage of this resolution, gun violence has now been recognized at the federal level as a public health crisis. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever as we see an increase in firearm homicides and nonfatal shootings, calls to domestic violence hotlines and city gun violence across the country. As a state representative, protecting public safety in the communities I serve is among one of my highest responsibilities.


Michigan state Representative Felicia Brabec speaks on the House floor on gun violence prevention in Lansing.


Veterans Mental Health Legislation Passes in the House

Last week, a bipartisan bill package aimed at providing mental health and substance abuse resources for service members, veterans and their families passed the House. I’m proud to sponsor one of five bills in the package alongside my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: state Reps. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor Charter Township), Christine Morse (D-Texas Township), William Bruck (R-Erie) and Bob Bezotte (R-Howell).

House Bills 5276, 5277, 5279, 5280 and 5720 would:

  • Establish the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention within the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and ensure the collection of data surrounding mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Establish a statewide outreach program on mental health and substance abuse for service members and veterans. The program would also provide resources and support for family members of service members and veterans navigating mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Place the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Mentorship Program within state law. This will offer stability for the program, which offers one-on-one, veteran-to-veteran mentorship.
  • Create a transition program for all Army and Air National Guard members in the state. Modeled after many of the same courses that are required for service members leaving the armed forces, this program will focus solely on mental health and wellbeing, navigating the military to civilian transition and exploring ways to find purpose after service.

It’s vital for Michiganders to have access to the mental health care, treatment and support they need. Our veterans and active military members have sacrificed so much. I’m thrilled that the House passed this vital legislation that will give our veterans the support they deserve. All five bills are now awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Veterans and Emergency Services.


FY 2024-25 Budget Update

The Michigan Legislature passed the final state budget for the 2025 fiscal year ahead of the legally required July 1 deadline. My Democratic colleagues and I have worked incredibly hard to craft a budget focused on strategic, targeted investments that improve the lives of people and hometowns across Michigan, without raising taxes.

As Democrats, one of our top priorities is bolstering equity and inclusion so all Michiganders can thrive. This year’s budget empowers more people to have a seat at the table by funding a tribal liaison for the state Legislature, opening up formal channels of communication with our tribal government partners. Michigan Democrats are making common-sense investments to reduce language barriers to state services and information, bring justice to survivors of sexual assault through Operation Survivor Justice and ensure Michiganders can access lifesaving medical care by promoting live organ donation with the Living Donor Tax Credit. I’m proud to have helped pass a state budget that champions equity, supports Michigan’s diversity and allows individuals to strive toward healing and uplifting their wellbeing.


Michigan state Representative Felicia Brabec speaks about the budget on the House floor in Lansing.


Community Resources


MIFarmLink Project

The Washtenaw County Conservation District (WCCD) is dedicated to addressing land access barriers through MIFarmLink, a WCCD project to keep valuable agricultural land in the hands of Michigan farmers. By connecting farmers seeking land with farmland owners looking to sell, lease or create another type of arrangement, MIFarmLink plays a vital role in preserving Michigan farming as a lifestyle, industry and land stewardship practice, helping to bridge the divide between farming generations.

To get involved with the project and connect with other Michigan farmers, visit and navigate to the “Find Farmland” or “Find a Farmer” tabs, depending on your current agricultural needs. For more information, questions or concerns, please contact MIFarmLink by email at or by telephone at (734) 302-8715.

A green and yellow circular logo that reads "MIFarmLink Project, Linking Michigan growers to resources" in front of a silhouette of Michigan.

Great Start Readiness Program Start Up Grants

The Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential has awarded $8.7 million in Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) Start Up Grants to open hundreds of new pre-K classrooms this fall and expand access to no-cost, high-quality pre-K for over 5,000 Michigan 4-year-olds. Specifically, GSRP Start Up Grants provide $25,000 to help offset the costs of opening new pre-K classrooms, including staff recruitment and training, facility improvements, outreach materials and instructional materials such as curriculum and classroom supplies.

Since launching the grant program in 2023, the GSRP Start Up grants have awarded grants to providers in all 56 intermediate school districts to open 749 new and expanded classrooms. These funds have enabled community partners and organizations to establish high-quality GSRP classrooms where it previously was not possible.

How to Apply for a GSRP Start Up Grant

Pre-K providers, including community- and school-based programs, in our district that are interested in applying for a GSRP Start Up Grant should contact Washtenaw ISD at (734) 994-8100 to learn more. Another round of grants will be available later this summer.

How to Apply for Free Pre-K

It’s not too late for families to enroll their 4-year-olds in pre-K this fall. Michigan’s free pre-K programs are enrolling now for fall at GSRP and Head Start locations!

Pre-K is a safe place where children learn how to get along with others, share, take turns and make friends. Math, reading and thinking skills are taught every day through fun, hands-on activities. Pre-K helps ensure children are ready for kindergarten and beyond. Programs follow a school-year schedule, running from September through June. There are part-day, full-day, and 4- and 5-day pre-K options available. Before- and after-school care and transportation are offered at some locations. Learn more and find a GSRP or Head Start program in Washtenaw County at or on Washtenaw ISD’s website.


New UIA Coaching Session Walks Claimants Through Their Determination Letters

When you file for unemployment, the first letter you receive from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is the Monetary Determination letter, which states whether you are approved or denied for benefits. But how did the UIA make that determination? A new coaching session aims to help claimants understand the Monetary Determination letter everyone receives after applying for benefits.

“Understanding Your Monetary Determination” is the second in a growing series of online group coaching sessions by trained, professional UIA staff. These innovative sessions provide practical information to help workers better understand the process of filing for unemployment benefits and empower individuals with the knowledge they need to take appropriate actions regarding their UIA determinations.

“Understanding Your Monetary Determination Letter” online coaching sessions are scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday virtually. Time is allowed throughout the presentation for attendees to ask questions. Those interested in participating in the coaching session can sign up by going to the Online Coaching Sessions page at


TheRide: Free Ride Weekends & Independence Day Route

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide), Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) and Ypsilanti District Library (YDL) are partnering again this summer to provide Free Ride Weekends in coordination with the AADL Summer Game and the YDL Summer Challenge!

Every Saturday and Sunday from June 15 to Aug. 25, library cardholders can ride any of TheRide local fixed-route buses for free. All you need to do is show the driver your valid Ann Arbor District Library card or valid Ypsilanti District Library card when boarding the bus!

While riding, look for codes to earn points during the games. The AADL Summer Game code sign inside the bus has a code to earn 1,000 points, which can be used to earn awesome Summer Game shop prizes. Each bus has the same code inside, so it’s easy to find! When you see the code, visit, enter the code and get 1,000 points. The YDL Summer Challenge code sign earns you a badge and points you can put towards a prize. Visit for more details.

TheRide and AADL have created fun ways for you to get even more Summer Game prizes:

  • Find a Summer Game code on AADL ads on the outside of several buses for 500 points.
  • Find a Summer Game code hidden on org. Click the “Services” tab and select “Washtenaw Express” to learn more about TheRide’s NEW Washtenaw Avenue Express and find the Summer Game code for 100 points.

The AADL Summer Game and YDL Summer Challenge are great ways to enjoy your summer and to use TheRide for free! Remember, just show your valid AADL or YDL library card when boarding the bus to ride any of TheRide’s local fixed routes.


A blue and yellow advisory that reads "Ride Free on weekends this summer with your library card!, June 15th through August 25th" next to the Ann Arbor District Library and the Ypsilanti District Library logos.


TheRide will not operate fixed-route bus service, FlexRide East/West or A-Ride services on Thursday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday. Regular Service will resume on Friday, July 5. The Blake Transit Center, Ypsilanti Transit Center and TheRide’s Main Office will be closed on Thursday, July 4, and will reopen on Friday, July 5.

Passengers may take advantage of FlexRide Holiday Service, which is a shared-ride service on designated holidays for just $5 per person. Seniors with an AAATA GoldRide card and persons with disabilities with an A-Ride identification card can ride for $2.50. Individuals with a valid go!Pass can ride for $3. FlexRide Holiday trips are limited to designated areas within the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Service Hours on Independence Day:

  • FlexRide Holiday hours: Thursday, July 4, from 6 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.
  • FlexRide Late Night hours: Thursday, July 4, from 11:45 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning in the evening on Wednesday, July 3.
  • Reservations for both Late Night and Holiday Service can be made through the MODE Car App or by calling (734) 528-5432. Reservation hours:
    • Monday-Friday:
      • Reservations stop at 5:15 a.m. OR at 5 a.m. for trips outside of Ann Arbor.
    • Saturday-Sunday:
      • Reservations stop at 7:15 a.m. OR at 7 a.m. for trips outside of Ann Arbor.

The latest information on TheRide’s routes, schedules and detours is available at (734) 996-0400 and on


Community Events


Independence Day Festivities

For its 34th year running, Ann Arbor’s Fourth of July Parade is returning for 2024! Hosted annually by the Ann Arbor Jaycees, the parade draws a crowd of thousands to witness the spectacular floats, bands and people walking the streets to celebrate the independence of our nation, as well as the 200th anniversary of the founding of the city of Ann Arbor! Come celebrate America’s birthday in true Ann Arbor fashion at this free, family-friendly parade on Thursday, July 4, at 10 a.m. beginning downtown at the corner of East William Street and South State Street. The parade route will run north on State Street, west on Liberty Street, south on Main Street, east on William Street and end south on Thompson Street.


A digital advisory that resembles an American flag in red, white and blue that reads "Join us for the 34th Annual 4th of July Parade, Hosted by the Ann Arbor Jaycees"


At 11 a.m., our neighbors in Ypsilanti will also be hosting their 95th Annual Fourth of July Parade, known as Michigan’s longest-running Independence Day parade! The parade route will begin at the Ypsilanti Water Tower and make its way down Cross Street to Depot Town.


Michigan Celtic Festival

The Michigan Celtic Festival will be hosted in Saline this summer on Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13, at the Washtenaw County Fairgrounds (5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road). Doors will open at 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday, with a closing fire show ceremony at 11:30 p.m. both nights. The festival began in 1996 as the Saline Celtic Festival before officially changing its name this year to become Michigan Celtic.

The festival will be offering Celtic music on stages throughout the grounds and more than a dozen free workshops that provide lessons in traditional folk dance, swordplay and acrobatics, athletics, traditional musical instruments and historic living! Enjoy free parking (accessible parking available in the first row), plenty of seating and various local food vendors stationed on the farm grounds. To view the full lineup of events and workshops go to


64th Annual Ann Arbor Art Fair

Come out and support our local arts community during the 64th annual Ann Arbor Art Fair this July 18-20! Every July, nearly half a million people attend this lively three-day festival that features music performances by local artists, food vendors and — you guessed it — art exhibitions! Renowned as the largest juried art fair nationwide, the Art Fair showcases the talents of nearly 1,000 artists, spanning 30 city blocks throughout downtown Ann Arbor. The Fair will take place on Thursday, July 18, and Friday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is a family-friendly event where all are welcome to attend. Look out for the kids tent in Ingalls Mall featuring crafts, art activities and snacks for your kiddos! The Fair will also be offering free wheelchair rentals provided by Trinity Health (please note that a driver’s license will be required at the time of rental). Wheelchairs can be picked up and dropped off at either of Trinity Health’s wheelchair rental tents, which are located near East Madison Street and State Street, and near Fletcher Street and East Washington Street. The Ann Arbor Art Fair features three unique, independently juried, nonprofit art fairs, all operating concurrently:

  • Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original
    • Located on North University Avenue, Ingalls Mall and East Washington Street
  • The Guild’s Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair
    • Located on Main Street, East Liberty Street, State Street and South University Avenue
  • Ann Arbor State Street District Art Fair
    • Located on State Street, East Liberty Street, North University Avenue, Maynard Street, East William Street and Thompson Street


A red, orange and teal digital advisory that reads "Ann Arbor Art Fair. Three Fairs. One Event."


Jazz In The Park Festival

The Saline Arts & Culture Committee is hosting its second annual Saline Jazz Festival, known as “Jazz in the Park,” on Saturday, July 20, from 2-8 p.m. at Mill Pond Park (565 W. Bennett St.) This FREE event features a lineup of renowned jazz artists, including Jonathon Muir-Cotton & Expressions, Olivia Van Goor and the Grammy-nominated ensemble Straight Ahead! The festival will also feature several food trucks and giveaways for attendees to participate in. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy this amazing, family-friendly jazz event in our Saline community!


A digital advisory that resembles splatters and swirls of yellow, teal, red and purple paint. Atop the paint in bold black letters, the advisory reads "Jazz In The Park, Saturday July 20, 2024, Mill Pond Park"


Sonic Lunch Outdoor Concert Series

For its 15th year, the Bank of Ann Arbor is hosting its Sonic Lunch summer outdoor concert series every Thursday from June 6 to Aug. 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor’s Liberty Plaza (at the corner of Liberty Street and Division Street). Sonic Lunch officially began in 2008 to provide attendees with an energizing mid-day break featuring live music from an impressive array of talent, not only from Michigan and the Midwest, but from all over the world. These concerts are free and suitable for all ages, and lunch will be available for purchase from a local vendor. Seating will also be available, but lawn chairs are encouraged. For more information or to view the concert lineup, visit