Dear Neighbor,

Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including updates and news from your state government.

June is Pride Month

This Pride Month (and every month), let’s celebrate the diversity and resilience within Michigan’s LGBTQ+ communities and recommit to the fight for equality and justice for all. 

Last year, we amended the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as protected classifications. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 4 in March 2023.

Additionally, we passed legislation (House Bills 4616 and 4617) to prohibit harmful and unscientific conversion therapy practices for minors. The term “conversion therapy” refers to any act that attempts to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices can lead to adverse long-term effects, and have been widely criticized by both medical and mental health professionals.

More recently, House Bills 5400 and 5401 were introduced to strengthen Michigan’s laws against hate crimes by explicitly including disability, gender expression, ethnicity and sexual identity as characteristics that constitute a hate crime. The bills passed the House Criminal Justice Committee (which I chair) in April and currently await a vote on the House Floor. Hate crimes are on the rise in Michigan. It is important to me that prosecutors have clear hate crime laws to better charge offenders and minimize the amount of hate crimes committed in Michigan. 

While more needs to be done to protect our state’s LGBTQ+ community, this legislation is a step in the right direction towards a more inclusive future.

MDHHS’ Kinship Advisory Council Seeking Applicants

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is seeking new applicants, including professionals and individuals with kinship care experience, for its Kinship Advisory Council. 

Kinship care is the full-time care of children by family members or other important adults in the child’s life. This could include grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings or family friends. Kinship care can occur when a child is placed through the MDHHS foster care system or through an arrangement between the parent and the kinship caregiver. 

Council members will advocate on behalf of the needs of kinship caregivers and the children in their care. Applications must be submitted by Friday, June 28, at If you are interested in being considered for the Kinship Advisory Council or if you have questions about the application process, email Jessica Bodell at

On a personal note, my husband and I were kinship caregivers to our niece and nephew, who are now adults. Caring for them was the most rewarding experience of my life, but it was also one of the most challenging experiences. When the kids moved in with us (at ages 8 and 3 years old), I could have used some outside support. That’s why I am happy to support the legislation that created this council, as well as legislation that eliminates some of the red tape for prospective kinship caregivers.

Arthritis Foundation Presents ‘Walk with Ease’ Program for Seniors

Get moving with the Arthritis Foundation’s free, six-week “Walk with Ease” program! Walk with Ease is an exercise program that focuses on reducing pain and improving overall health. Participants will commit to walking three times per week for six weeks and weekly check-ins. Optional group walks will also be offered every Thursday from July 18 through Aug. 22, at Sam Corey Senior Center, 2108 Cedar St. in Holt. To register, contact the Tri-County Office on Aging at (517) 887-1465 or


Kara Hope

State Representative 


In Case You Missed It…


Protect Yourself Against Ticks This Summer

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging Michigan residents to learn how to prevent tick-borne diseases while exploring the outdoors. You can reduce you and your pet’s risk of disease by:

  • Steering clear of tick-infested areas by walking in the center of trails, avoiding contact with overgrown grass and brush.
  • Contacting your veterinarian about tick prevention products for your pets.
  • Using insect repellent.
  • Treating clothes with permethrin, an insecticide that kills ticks on contact.
  • Checking for ticks daily, inspecting all parts of your body and removing attached ticks with tweezers.
  • Bathing after spending time outdoors.
  • Washing clothes in hot water and drying on high heat to kill any lingering ticks.

For more information, visit

Save Money on Groceries with Double Up Food Bucks

I know groceries are expensive right now, especially for our neighbors who may be struggling to put food on the table. Double Up Food Bucks is here to help. Those who shop for groceries with a SNAP/Michigan Bridge Card can double their benefits by using Double Up Food Bucks to purchase fresh, Michigan-grown fruits and veggies. The program is available at over 230 participating farmers markets, farm stands and grocery stores across Michigan. With farmers market season around the corner, it’s a great time to use this program! Learn how it works and find a participating location near you at

Find Opioid Resources at Attorney General’s New Website

The Michigan Department of Attorney General recently unveiled their new opioid resource website. If you or someone you know is interested in getting help, the MDAG website has information on treatment options, how to request Naloxone (a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses) and more.


How to Properly Dispose of Expired Medication with

When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Proper disposal of unwanted or expired medicine is an important factor in keeping communities safe and healthy. Not only is it unsafe to consume expired medicine, but leaving it around the house could be harmful for those who accidentally come into contact with it. If you have unused or expired medicine, it is important to dispose of it the right way. makes disposal of unused or expired medication easy:

Step 1: Find a disposal site near you by using the locator tool on Visit and enter your zip code into the site’s locator tool to find the disposal option closest to you. 

Step 2: Remove any personal information from the medication’s labels and packaging. 

Step 3: Dispose of your unwanted medicine by dropping it off in a kiosk or use the mail back option.

How to #StayCovered if You No Longer Qualify for Medicaid 


Nationwide, Medicaid beneficiaries have had to renew their coverage to comply with federal legislation. If you receive notice that you or a family member are no longer eligible for Medicaid or MIChild benefits, don’t worry, you have other options, including options for low or no-cost coverage:


Purchasing a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Thanks to savings recently put in place by the federal government, many Michiganders are eligible to buy a Marketplace plan for less than $10 per month. Free local enrollment help is available in-person, over the phone, or by email to help you choose the plan that meets your needs and budget. 


Enrolling in employer-sponsored health coverage. Many employers offer health insurance to their employees, and those plans often offer a special enrollment period for employees who experience a qualifying life event, such as losing Medicaid coverage.


Enrolling in Medicare. Eligible seniors who missed their initial enrollment window and lost their Medicaid coverage can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, Part C and/or Medicare Supplement plan. Free help is available to seniors who need assistance enrolling. 


Having health insurance is important, not just for when you are sick or hurt, but also to help you stay healthy and avoid big medical bills. It is important to take action as soon as possible to reduce the risks that come from a lapse in coverage.


To learn more about how to get the health insurance you need, call the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services at 877-999-6442.