June was a busy month, with calendars loaded up with graduations, Pride Month celebrations, community gatherings and more. As we move into the heat of July, I wanted to let you know that a few things will be changing.
First, because I am a sitting legislator, and this is an election year, I am required to follow a few specific rules that will affect you, too. From July 2 to Aug. 2, I will be unable to send any more e-newsletters like this one or post on my legislative Facebook page, because they are considered a form of mass communication. Don’t let this stop you from reaching out — my office is still open, and my staff are standing by to help. You can email me at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov or give my office a call at (517) 373-7515.
Thanks for your time,
State Budget Update
Today, in the early hours of the morning, the House of Representatives passed the fiscal year 2023 state budget. Addressing our community needs in the state budget is a top priority. I am happy that this budget tackles those needs directly — including major increases for our local public schools, investment in mental health services, and providing funding to reduce unfunded pension obligations for communities across the county, which will allow our local governments to better fund basic services to our residents including public safety and local roads.
Included within the budget were the following items of critical importance for our community;
- $450 per-pupil increase in school funding.
- $500,000 in funding for the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village.
- $2.5 million for 70 new inpatient med-psych beds to serve the greater Flint area.
- $20+ million in funding for land banks and communities to address blight.
- Funding to bring all local government retirement systems to be 60% funded. This lets local governments focus tax revenue on additional, important infrastructure and public safety funding.
- $300 million increase to special education funding.
- $200+ million increase in funding to schools for at-risk students.
- $200+ million increase in funding to schools for mental health services.
The state budget also features historic funding in areas that most benefit Michigan’s working families. It features major investment in for roads and bridges that are in serious or critical condition, funding for public safety and other needed infrastructure changes. If you have specific questions feel free to reach out, or if you’d like to take a closer look at the budget, visit the House Fiscal Agency website here.
$1.5 Million Tuition Giveaway
On Thursday, May 26, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the launch of the Michigan Education Trust (MET) 35th Anniversary $1.5 Million Giveaway. The giveaway is a random, statewide drawing that friends and family can enter on behalf of a child for a chance to win one of 100, $15,000 prepaid tuition prizes.
Under the MET’s giveaway, Michigan residents that are 18 years of age or older on Aug. 31, 2022, are eligible to enter on behalf of beneficiaries ages birth to 5 by the same date for a chance to win $15,000 in prepaid tuition. A person may enter only once, but multiple people may enter on behalf of the same child. The prepaid tuition prize may be used to pay for future tuition and mandatory fees at a community college, college, university or trade school in accordance with MET terms and conditions.
Giveaway entry began on May 26 and ends on Aug. 31. Winners will be announced in a series of drawings beginning Sept. 12. Michiganders can enter the giveaway and review the rules and eligibility criteria at www.METgiveaway.com.
Recovering Michigan’s American Woodcock Population
The American Woodcock is a migratory bird, but Michigan is known for producing more woodcock than any other state. Unfortunately, woodcock populations have been decreasing over the past two decades.
I introduced House Bill 5631 to make sure that we keep these beautiful birds thriving in Michigan. House Bill 5631 requires the Michigan Department of Natural Resources work with stakeholders like the American Woodcock Society or the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan to restore populations of American woodcock.
House Bill 5631 was recently voted out of the House Natural Resources Committee and is now awaiting a vote on the House Floor.
Caring For MI Future
On Monday, May 16, Gov. Whitmer announced the Caring for Michigan’s Future plan, which hopes to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. This will dramatically increase access to programs across the state. As part of the plan, existing child care businesses will receive grants to update their facilities to meet standards, new child care facilities will receive grants to support themselves and hire staff to expand their business, and child care facilities will also receive business development tools to create business plans.
If you would like to review Gov. Whitmer’s press release on the plan, click here.
Home Repairs with State Emergency Relief
State Emergency Relief assists with home repairs to correct unsafe conditions and restore essential services. Eligible home repairs may include repair or replacement of a non-functioning furnace, hot water heaters or septic systems. Apply using the MI Bridges portal here.
Family Support Program
Families looking for assistance paying for childcare or summer care for children 0-14 can apply for scholarships through the Family Support Program.
Order Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests
Every home in the U.S. is now eligible to order 4 free at home COVID-19 tests and are estimated to ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests here and have them when you need them.
Mental Health Resources
If you need to talk with someone because you are in crisis or having a bad day, you can call or visit the Genesee Health System Behavioral Health Urgent Care. They offer walk-in services Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight, and virtual services 24/7. All services offered at the urgent care are free of charge.
The number for the National Suicide Hotline is (800) 273-8255. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
View this document to see a list of other mental health resources in Genesee County.
Located at 735 E. Stewart Ave. in Flint, North End Soup Kitchen serves hot food Mondays through Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4-5 p.m., and Sundays from 1-2 p.m. Call (810) 785-6911 for more information.
Flushing Christian Outreach Center’s Food Pantry is located at 5409 W. Pierson Road. Call (810) 487-2223 to schedule an appointment and receive a grocery bag filled with enough food to feed a family for 5 days.
The Swartz Creek United Methodist Church offers a food pantry on Tuesdays from 3-5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon.
I Want to Hear from You
During this challenging time, I want to hear from you. What do you need? How can we help you? Please, reach out to me at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov or give my office a call at (517)-373-7515.
I hope this information has been helpful.
All the best,