The official first day of summer is June 21 — and it’s time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. We will be having our June, July and August Community Conversations in person and streaming on Facebook Live. We’ve been busy in Lansing fighting back against continued attempts to strip funding from our public schools and elections and agreeing on a budget that helps all Michiganders. I’m looking forward to bringing you these updates and more!
‘Community Conversations’ Last Virtual Events
May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and that was the theme of my May Community Conversation. We heard from Jill Blackson, who is a licensed social worker and director of development for Hegira Health. We were also joined by Hegira Health President Edward L. Forry. Hegira Health has been a leader in behavioral health care since it was founded in Livonia in 1971, and it has locations all over Southeast Michigan.
We also heard a powerful presentation from my friend Kevin Fischer, the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Michigan. Kevin shared how he started as a volunteer after the tragic death of his teenage son. He has committed his life to making sure people get the resources they need to secure their mental health and wellbeing. As always, you can watch my virtual meetings in their entirety on my Facebook page.
My June Community Conversation will discuss all things voting and our new districts, which have been very confusing for many voters. It will be held on Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m., in person at the Motor City Java House, 17336 Lahser Road in Detroit and streaming live on our Facebook page. We will address important information like: “What district am I in?”, “How can I get an absentee ballot?”, “Can someone register and vote on the same day?” and more.
Foster Care Bill Moves to House Floor
I testified before the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors in support of House Bill 5980, my bill that streamlines the foster home licensure process and reduces paperwork for caregivers. The bill is part of a bipartisan package that came out of the House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force I served on.
The committee sent the bill to the House floor, and it passed unanimously! The Senate has now scheduled testimony on the package. If it gets voted out of the Senate, it will be sent back to us in the House for concurrence and then off to the governor for her signature! Good legislation like this is why we do this important work.
Foster Care Awareness Month Resolution
Foster care is one of the many issues I care very deeply about, so I was very grateful that the House unanimously passed my House Resolution 278, designating May as Foster Care Awareness Month in the state of Michigan.
As a member of the House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force, advocating on behalf of children in foster care is a responsibility I take extremely seriously. There are 3,000 children in our state’s foster care system and over 426,000 across the country. Children don’t enter the foster care system because of their actions. It’s the actions of a parent or guardian that land them in this position. At the age of 18, there are more than 20,000 youth who “age out” of foster care without a legal permanent connection to an adult or family, and many become homeless. This resolution is an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges children in the foster care system experience and continue the work on how to fix these challenges.
Check out my floor speech on YouTube.
Go Team Go For Motor City Makeover 2022
Team Young had great weather for the Motor City Makeover. We partnered with Detroit Blight Busters and Motor City Grounds Crew to clear a safe route to school for students traveling to and from Old Redford Academy.
We also partnered with Greater Ebenezer Church to clean up a vacant lot in the district. Our young people, in particular, deserve a clean and safe community, and we were proud to play a part in ensuring that safety for them and all other residents.
Team Young had great weather for the Motor City Makeover. We partnered with Detroit Blight Busters and Motor City Grounds Crew to clear a safe route to school for students traveling to and from Old Redford Academy. We also partnered with Greater Ebenezer Church to clean up a vacant lot in the district. Our young people, in particular, deserve a clean and safe community, and we were proud to play a part in ensuring that safety for them and all other residents.
Michigan Budget Inches Toward Approval
The Michigan budget continues to inch its way through the Michigan House and Senate in time for the required approval date on Oct. 1. Both the House and Senate approved 18 separate bills appropriating funds for each Michigan department.
The next step in the process is to work out differences in the bills approved by each body. A “conference committee” consisting of an equal number of members from the House and Senate will work out the differences based on targets from leadership after negotiations with the governor. Once the individual conference committees have completed their work, they will present a report to the full House and Senate for a vote. Once that is completed, it will go to the governor for her review, where she can sign or veto each bill or use a line-item veto on individual items in each budget.
The process should be completed by the end of June. The Michigan Constitution requires the budget to be in place by Oct. 1.
Constitutional Amendment Will Change Term Limits
Michigan is one of only two states in the nation that has no form of financial disclosure/transparency for state elected officials including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and legislators. I believe it’s time to build more trust with voters, and legislation recently introduced is one positive step forward in doing just that. Additionally, Michigan is one of only a few states with the most stringent term limits of two terms in the Senate and three terms in the House. This has led to a revolving door of legislators and has had the unintended consequence of placing institutional knowledge in the hands of lobbyists and staffers.
I voted yes on an amendment to Michigan’s Constitution that would allow voters to decide if they want elected officials to be required to disclose financial information and reduce the number of potential years served to 12 instead of 14, while at the same time providing more stability by allowing legislators to remain in one chamber for the entire 12 years.
Now it’s up to you. Amendments to the state constitution require voter approval. Come November, you’ll get the chance to have your say on this issue. I urge you to read the proposal and make the decision you feel is best.
We all know of individuals and organizations that deserve special recognition for the tremendous work they do to serve the people of our communities and our state. If you know an individual or organization that has truly gone above and beyond for their neighbors, fill out the form on this page to request an official state tribute so we can show our full appreciation for their efforts.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to call me at (517) 373-3815 or email me at email@example.com.
STEPHANIE A. YOUNG