Summer is here, and so is fireworks season. There are several laws on the books regarding the legal use of fireworks. Please make note of the article on fireworks and the bill I have in a package to address the effects and dangers of commercial-grade fireworks being set off in residential neighborhoods. Please also note, I will be having my July and August Community Conversations in-person and streaming on Facebook live. July’s conversation topic will focus on staycation ideas. Now that we finalized a budget that will help all Michiganders, please be certain to check my Facebook page for updates. Hope to see you around the district!
‘Community Conversations’ Go Live
We had a lively discussion during my June Community Conversation regarding redistricting and the upcoming Aug. 2 primary election. Alyson Grigsby, civic engagement associate with Voters Not Politicians, was on-hand to talk about the work of Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, and former Assistant Michigan Secretary of State and former Executive Director of the NAACP, Heaster Wheeler, talked about the effect the new districts will have on the political landscape, especially how it will affect African American representation and Detroit representation.
As always, you can watch my virtual meetings in their entirety on my Facebook page.
Our July conversation is all about summer fun! If you are considering a staycation, you may want to check out some of the greatest attractions in the great state of Michigan which are in our backyard in Detroit — from Belle Island to Comerica Park. Christopher Moyer, the senior director of communications at Visit Detroit, will be our guest to talk about some of the wonderful hidden gems our great city has to offer. Be a tourist in your own town!
Scouting Day Comes to the Capitol
I was proud to serve as the co-chair of the fist-ever “Scout Day at the Capitol.” Leaders from the Michigan Crossroads Council – Boy Scouts of America brought Boy Scout, Cub Scout, Sea Scout, Venturer and Explorer units and their parents from across the state of Michigan. The scouts turned the Capitol lawn into a mini-camp for hands-on activities, including a rock climbing wall and tours of the Capitol.
A delegation of Scouts also presented the formal “Report on Scouting in the State of Michigan” to the Legislature. As the mother of an Eagle Scout and Star Scout, I know firsthand the benefits of Scouting, which include developing self-confidence, responsibility, leadership skills and citizenship skills.
Bills Address Gun Violence
As a member of the bipartisan and bicameral Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus, I am concerned about the rash of gun violence and gun accidents in my district and across the state. I spoke at a press conference that unveiled a package of legislation aiming to enhance gun store security, crack down on illegal gun sales and prevent the loss and theft of lethal weapons.
Gun dealers represent a major source of illegally trafficked firearms. One report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) analyzed 1,530 trafficking investigations conducted between July 1996 and December 1998 and found that dealers and pawnbrokers were associated with over 40,000 trafficked guns. Between 2004 and 2011, federal firearm licensees reported 174,679 firearms missing from their inventories.
Gun stores are rarely inspected. Although the law allows for one unannounced inspection a year, it’s not uncommon for gun stores to be inspected only once a decade due to the underfunding of the ATF.
Bills in the package would:
Roe v. Wade Overturned
As you know, last month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion without exception. Abortion is an extremely difficult, personal and private decision that government should not insert itself into.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Planned Parenthood of Michigan have each asked the courts to rule on the constitutionality of Michigan’s abortion ban from 1931, and because of that, abortion is still legal in Michigan.
Foster Care Bill Moves to Senate Floor
My bill, House Bill 5980, looks to streamline the foster home licensure process and reduce paperwork for high quality caregivers was approved by the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services. The bill is part of a bipartisan package that came out of the House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force I served on.
The House passed it unanimously before sending it to the Senate. The final hurdles before it becomes Michigan law is passage by the full Senate and the governor’s signature.
Inmate FOIA Bill Clears Committee
The House Oversight Committee passed my bill, House Bill 4617, which would add a new section to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and to the proposed Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) to allow an incarcerated person access to information on their own case.
House Bill 4617 came about as I listened to testimony on a FOIA bill package. In the definition of a “person” who was eligible to utilize FOIA, those incarcerated were left out and had been since the 1970s. I learned from men who had been incarcerated for crimes they did NOT commit that if they only had access to their own records, they could have potentially shaved decades off their unjust sentences. After more than a year of work with stakeholders to overcome their concerns, the bill was passed out of committee.
House Bill 4617 is now headed to the House floor for a full vote.
The Legislature approved the largest K-12 state aid budget to Michigan schools in state history. The per-pupil foundation grant increased $450 to $9,150. The School Aid Fund omnibus bill also includes $1 billion for the Michigan Public Schools Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), which was a huge priority for the House.
The governor wanted to see additional money for at-risk funding, special education, school infrastructure and teacher recruitment, and those increases are included.
Under the budget deal worked out, roughly $7 billion will remain unallocated as the governor and legislative leaders continue discussions on what to do with the excess. That discussion centers on how large the tax cut should be and how it will be enacted.
The Senate remains intent on passing a gas tax holiday. The House wants an income tax cut along with additional debt pay-down. The governor has suggested a $500 tax rebate and an additional deposit into the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, an economic development fund.
We all know there are 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEPHANIE A. YOUNG