Happy July! This month, I will be hosting my monthly Coffee with Christine at the new Portage Senior center (203 E. Centre Ave. in Portage). We are so excited to finally get the chance to use the new space. As always, this is a great time to come say hello, ask me questions about goings-on at the state level and hear any updates from me. Even though we will be at the senior center this month, please remember folks of all ages are always welcome at my coffee hours!
Speaking of coffee hours, I know our regular Friday morning meeting time doesn’t work for some people. This year, I decided to take advantage of my lighter legislative summer schedule and planned an extra evening coffee hour for July and August!
These “coffee hours” are called the Summertime Sip Series! They will be the same casual conversations between myself and constituents, just like on Friday mornings, but these will be in the evening, so more folks can come by and say hello.
Mark your calendars for July 12 and Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at The Distant Whistle in Vicksburg. I can’t wait to see new and familiar faces there!
At the time this has been released, the legislature has just entered our summer in district work period. This means I will be spending less time in Lansing, and more time in the district, hopefully hearing directly from constituents!
This also means that the legislative agenda is winding down, so I won’t have as much to share about legislation until we come back in the fall.
On Thursday June 30, I was happy to introduce a set of bills alongside Rep. Calley which revise chapter 22 of the drain code. These two bills will establish the necessary statutory tools and processes to empower local and county officials to address the growing storm-water management problem. Our offices worked with the Michigan Association of Counties to draft bills which will make the drain code better for those who utilize it. I hope to see it go through the legislative process quickly!
Summer is in full swing, and this year has been extremely hot so far. Unfortunately, most predications say that we should expect the high temperatures to continue throughout the summer. This means two things: we need to continue to combat climate change so our hot summers don’t continue getting hotter, and we are going to need to find ways to stay cool this summer.
High temperatures are dangerous, meaning many more people are using air conditioning, which creates significant energy usage. The high usage can cause costs to go up, which can be a burden at the best of times.
Michiganders struggling with these costs have options for help. Those having trouble paying home energy costs may contact their electric or natural gas utilities for information about financial assistance, or contact Michigan 211 by calling 211 or going to www.mi211.org. Michigan 211 is a free, confidential service that connects Michiganders with a broad range of assistance programs and services and other resources, including help with food, housing, transportation and home energy bills.
More energy assistance information is available through the MPSC’s energy assistance consumer tip sheet. Utility customers also can help reduce their costs by using energy efficiently. Check out the MPSC’s consumer tip on beating the heat for suggestions on reducing energy use. The U.S. Department of Energy has additional spring and summer tips for saving energy.
Our office is here to help — if you need assistance contacting any of these resources, please feel free to reach out, and we are happy to walk you through the process. Staying cool and healthy is a priority for everyone this year, but especially elderly and vulnerable individuals.
Keeping kids safe is one of the most important aspects of being a parent. The risks you and I faced as kids may be very different from what our kids today have to deal with. Much of that is because of access to the internet.
Michigan families, especially minors, are often approached with a deluge of advertisements from alcohol, tobacco, pornography, illegal drugs and gambling marketers through different internet and cell phone inboxes. Thankfully, the State of Michigan offers a free program to stop adult advertisements from reaching e-mails, text messages, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. The Michigan Child Protection Registry, is a free do-not-contact service for Michigan’s families and can be located at www.ProtectMIChild.com.
If you are looking for ways to allow your child to access all of the great things the internet has to offer, but still protect them from age inappropriate advertisements, the registry can be a great option. As always, it is important that parents keep a watchful eye out for negative influences, but with this tool, hopefully you can feel more empowered to do so!
2022 Governor’s Service Award:
This year, the Michigan Community Service Commission reached out and asked my office for nominations for the 2022 Governor’s Service Award. So many of my constituents are giving, community-oriented individuals, and so I want to share this message with you all, so you can nominate friends and neighbors!
“The Michigan Community Service Commission and Governor Gretchen Whitmer are actively searching for selfless Michiganders who go above and beyond to serve in their communities to be nominated for the 2022 Governor’s Service Awards.
“There are several nomination categories for volunteer and philanthropy efforts that took place during the last year, including honors for youth, mentors and older adults. Organizations will be recognized for civic engagement and businesses for maximizing the collective impact of employee volunteerism. Corporate social responsibility programs will be honored, as well. Special awards will be given for lifetime achievement in service and giving.
“We want to highlight the incredible service and volunteer work occurring statewide, which is why we are asking for nominations. Please consider nominating an individual or organization by visiting https://www.research.net/r/2022MIServiceAwards.
“The deadline for nominations is July 15.”
What is more July than Independence Day? And what is a better way to celebrate than a parade? I will be walking in the Schoolcraft 4th of July parade this year, and I still have some space in my group for more volunteers! We need folks to wave, wear red, white, and blue, and throw candy!
If you are interested in joining me, check out the Facebook Event here!
The issue on everyone’s mind is the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24. If you have followed my time in office so far, you know where I stand on this fundamental issue. All people deserve full access to their bodily autonomy, meaning everyone should have access to the reproductive care they need.
I will include my press release from the decision day here.
Important to note:
Michigan’s 1931 law, which is currently still on the books, would criminalize abortion providers. However, because of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit and the subsequent injunction against enforcement of the 1931 law that was issued, abortion continues to be legal in Michigan. If you are a provider, you can continue to perform abortions, and if you have an appointment for an abortion, you do not need to cancel or skip it. While the injunction is in place, this will not change. However, this is only a temporary fix, and I will continue to fight to get reproductive freedom on the books in our state.