Dear Friends,

Hello, and welcome to my e-newsletter. I would like to take this moment to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you in House District 95 and to act as your voice in the Capitol.

As your representative, I am most effective at my job when acting on your input, and I encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any questions, comments or concerns you may have about issues in the district, or legislation that will impact our state. You can contact me toll-free at (855) 347-8095, by email at or through my website, I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your commitment to the community we both call home.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish you happy holidays! Have a safe and enjoyable December and New Year’s celebration with your friends and family!

In this issue, I will provide you with updates on:

Prevailing Wage: Signatures Turned In to State Officials

  • MDOT Asks “Don’t Crowd the Plow”

OPEB Legislation: Democrats Protect First Responder Retiree Benefits

Last week, House Democrats voted to protect the earned health care benefits of Michigan’s retired first responders. Last month, hundreds of police officers and firefighters rallied against proposals which could have gutted health care for local heroes. During session last week, the recommendation of House Democrats to implement the reforms of the bipartisan Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force was accepted. Democrats have successfully stopped legislation that would have taken from our police officers and firefighters their hard-earned and critically necessary health care benefits.

I am proud to join my colleagues in ensuring that our police officers and firefighters have the protections they were promised. By accepting the task force’s recommendations, we are one step closer to addressing our chronic underfunding of local governments — who have lost $8.1 billion in revenue sharing over the past 17 years — while still guaranteeing that our hometown heroes have the protections they were promised and deserve.

Prevailing Wage: Signatures Turned In to State Officials

Signatures gathered by a group wanting to overturn Michigan’s prevailing wage laws have been turned over to state officials for validation. If the signatures are validated, then the initiative petition goes to the Legislature, which can vote to adopt it and repeal the prevailing wage law. If they fail to vote on it then the initiative would go on the ballot.

Michigan’s prevailing wage law sets a local wage rate on state construction projects based on a survey of actual wages, benefits and training contributions that are paid in the community where the project occurs. I support our prevailing wage laws because I believe it allows construction workers to earn a fair wage, and it helps ensure quality construction, completed in a timely manner. Prevailing wage laws help create good-paying jobs in our communities. That’s good for our local economy because it means workers and their families have more money to spend in our local businesses.

<span “>Senate Approves UIA Reform Bills

In November, my House colleagues and I approved a bipartisan package of bills bringing needed reforms to the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Earlier this year, it was revealed that nearly 44,000 unemployment fraud cases brought against nearly 50,000 people from October 2013 to August 2015 were incorrect, due to the UIA’s faulty MiDAS computer program. By August of this year, more than 85 percent of those cases were overturned.

The bills we passed were the result of the work done by the House Unemployment Insurance Agency workgroup, and are designed to reform the system to prevent these types of errors from happening again. This week, the Senate also approved these bills and they will now go to the governor to be signed into law.

House Democrats also sponsored a package of bills that would work to address specific parts of the system, and reimbursed those falsely accused of fraud. I believe that we need to do better for the victims and their families who were harmed at the hands of the state. I will continue to work with my colleagues to see this issue addressed.

MDOT Asks “Don’t Crowd the Plow”

The Michigan Department of Transportation is committed to keeping Michigan roads as safe as possible during the winter months. Winter maintenance crews maintain roads and bridges as conditions require. MDOT asks motorists to please slow down and stay at least 50 feet behind snow plows during snow events. MDOT is also installing flashing green lights on plow trucks to make the trucks more visible to motorists — especially in blowing snow — to keep them and plow drivers safe.

MDOT says that the flashing green lights are being installed on all state vehicles, and will also be installed on county vehicles in some areas of the state. For information on winter driving go to MDOT’s Roads and Travel page by clicking <span “>here<span “>. You can also go to MDOT’s <span “>Mi Drive<span “> for up-to-date construction and travel information.


State Representative Vanessa Guerra
95th House District