Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! It continues to be a privilege to represent Livonia, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in Lansing. I encourage you to stay up to date on what’s going on in Lansing and continue to let me know about the issues that matter to you.
Protecting Our Children
In July 2020, the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) investigated the circumstances surrounding a tragic child fatality reported in Kent County. The intent of this review was to identify areas for improvement in the child welfare system. As a result of this investigation, the OCO put together a report highlighting their findings and recommendations for various state agencies and the legislature. After reviewing the report, I partnered with the OCO and state Rep. Markkanen to introduce a two-bill package to address some of the shortcomings identified.
My bill, HB 6076, would amend the Mental Health Code to decrease the timeline that mental health professionals are required to release pertinent mental health records and information to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) caseworker or administrator involved in the child abuse or neglect investigation from fourteen days to seven days. Shortening this timeframe will ensure that MDHHS caseworkers, who already have a limited amount of time to review these cases, can respond swiftly and accordingly.
Rep. Markkanen’s bill in this package, HB 6077, amends the Child Protection Law to require mandated reporters every three years to complete training developed by MDHHS on recognizing child abuse, neglect and mandated reporting obligations. This legislation is critical because there is currently no universal statute in Michigan requiring mandated reporters to complete this training on a regular basis. According to the OCO, this lack of mandatory training has directly contributed to child abuse and neglect going undetected or unproperly addressed.
To see what we’ve been voting on over the last couple of weeks, please click here. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at (517) 373-3920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Department of Treasury: Fraudsters Using Fake Letters in Collections Scam
Michigan taxpayers with past-due tax debts should be aware of an aggressive scam making the rounds through the U.S. Postal Service, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
In the scheme, taxpayers receive a letter about an overdue tax bill that requests individuals to immediately contact a toll-free number to resolve an outstanding state tax debt. The letter aggressively threatens to seize a taxpayer’s property — including bank accounts, wages, business assets, cars, real estate, refunds and cash — if the debt is not settled.
The piece of correspondence appears credible to the taxpayer because it uses specific personal facts pulled directly from publicly available information. The scammer’s letter attempts to lure the taxpayer into a situation where they could make a payment to a criminal.
The Michigan Department of Treasury corresponds with taxpayers through official letters that use state of Michigan letterhead that embody both the names of the governor and the state treasurer. These official letters are sent through the U.S. Postal Service, provide several options to resolve an outstanding debt, and outline taxpayer rights.
Taxpayers who receive a letter from a scammer or have questions about their state debts should call the Treasury’s Collections Service Center at (517) 636-5265. A customer service representative can log the scam, verify outstanding state debts, and provide flexible payment options.
Neighborhood Grant Application Deadline Extended to June 10
The Neighborhood Grant Program was established by the Livonia City Council to encourage residents to work collaboratively to foster a sense of community and actively participate in making improvements to their neighborhoods.
Supporting Community Involvement
A maximum of $500 per neighborhood grant can be awarded for projects or events that support community involvement and reflect positively on the entire city.
The types of projects or events can include:
- Community art programs.
- Community events — e.g., neighborhood parties (eligible only once), Rosedale Gardens Parade, etc.
- Public space land landscaping/beautification projects.
- Stewardship of neighborhood parks and common spaces.
- Youth programs — e.g., Beverly Soccer League, Clements Circle Boy Scouts, etc.
Complete a Neighborhood Grant Application or pick one up in person at the Community Resources office on the 5th floor of City Hall. The application deadline is today, Friday, June 10, and funds must be spent and documented by Nov. 30, some restrictions apply.
All applications will be evaluated after the due date. Preference will be given to first-time applicants.
Passport to Safety 2022
Passport to Safety is back for 2022 on Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Livonia Police Department and Livonia Fire & Rescue headquarters on Farmington Road. Passport to Safety is a day of learning about safety in a fun, family setting. The event includes food, entertainment and 10 safety stations geared toward kids ages 3-10. You can find more information about Passport to Safety here.
Senior Resources Town Hall
Join me with special guests Kari West of the Senior Alliance and Michelle Danou, the Wayne County Long-Term Care Ombudsman for an evening of education on resources available to seniors in our area. We will provide a legislative update and a Q&A period to get all of your questions answered.
Please join me at 6 p.m. at the Livonia City Hall Auditorium located at 33000 Civic Center Drive in Livonia.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at (517) 373-3920, or you can send me an email at LauriePohutsky@house.mi.gov.
I hope you can join me for one of my upcoming in-person and virtual coffee hours! I look forward to having an informal conversation with you about the issues families face in our community. The in-person coffee hour will be held at Coffee + Cream here in Livonia. You can join the livestream for my virtual coffee hours on my Facebook page. Please be sure to note that our June virtual coffee hour will be held on a Tuesday evening instead of a Monday evening.
Virtual: Tuesday, June 21, from 6:30-7:30 p.m
In-person: Sunday, July 3, from 2-3 p.m.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns!
19th House District