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. In this issue you will find information on the following:
· Upcoming Coffee Hour
· House Budget Process Continues
· Sexual Assault Legislation Receives Committee Hearings
· Earth Day Events in Saginaw
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 email@example.com or through my website, guerra.housedems.com. I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your commitment to the community we both call home.
Upcoming Coffee Hour
My coffee hours are a chance to sit down in an informal setting and discuss issues facing our state. My next coffee hour will be held on:
· Monday, May 21, from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Hoyt Library Auditorium, 505 James Ave. in Saginaw
If you can’t make it to the coffee hour, please feel free to contact me by email or phone. I hope to see you then!
House Budget Process Continues
The House Appropriations Committee voted out its suggested budgets for state departments and programs on April 18, and unfortunately, these budgets are characterized by missed opportunities to make our state better for all of our residents. Some of the more troubling aspects of the budget as voted out this week include:
– House Democrats offered an amendment to the budget that would implement $150 million of unspent General Fund money for road repairs. Unfortunately, the majority party also rejected this amendment.
– Although the funding needs for cyber schools are inherently less than those of traditional “brick-and-mortar” schools, the House’s proposed School Aid Budget provides equal funding to cyber and traditional brick and mortar schools alike, at $25 million.
– My Democratic colleagues offered an amendment to provide less funding for cyber schools and instead use that money to fund the Michigan Education Corps reading program, which works one-on-one with struggling readers in schools. Our colleagues across the aisle rejected this amendment.
– Though the Environmental Protection Bond (EPB) Fund and Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) Fund Bond have funded cleanup and remediation activities in our state since 1988 and 1998, respectively, the EPB Fund is now depleted, and the CMI Fund is nearly exhausted. My Democratic colleagues offered amendments to increase the funding for these initiatives. Yet these amendments were rejected as well, with the majority party instead approving lower funding levels for these critical funds.
The next step in the budget process is for us to vote on the budget on the House floor. Our budget and the Senate’s budget have significant differences, and the two will still have to be reconciled in conference committees before we can vote on the final budget. I will keep you updated as the budget process continues to evolve over the coming weeks.
Sexual Assault Legislation Receives Testimony in Committee
This week the Law and Justice Committee began taking testimony on a bipartisan group of more than a dozen bills to better protect survivors of sexual assault, prevent sexual assault, address medical practices related to the Nassar case, and improve accountability. Included in the package is my House Resolution 164 from September 2017 which calls on public universities to improve policies, training and support services for survivors of sexual assault and stalking. Below is a partial list of the other legislation included in this bill package:
· House Bill 5791: Requires the Michigan Department of Education to develop age-appropriate material relating to sexual assault and harassment for students.
· HB 5794: Creates enhanced penalties for the distribution, financing or production of aggravated child pornography.
· HB 5795: Creates a Title IX Ombudsman in the Department of Civil Rights.
· HB 5800: Prohibits schools from expelling or suspending students for reporting sexual assault.
· HB 5796: Establishes training programs for mandatory reporters.
· HB 5791: Facilitates and encourages the submission of a five-year sexual assault improvement plan by public institutions of higher education.
I am encouraged by the conversations taking place around how to address sexual assault, and I am glad to see that legislation is being introduced that builds on my resolution. I continue to be inspired by the survivors who came forward and demanded that a tragedy like the one they experienced at MSU never be allowed to happen again. I am hopeful that leadership understands the gravity of this issue and will take meaningful steps to combat sexual assault on our college campuses and throughout Michigan.
Earth Day Events in Saginaw
This year, Earth Day is Sunday, April 22. It’s a time to recognize how our actions affect our environment and to come together to find solutions. Below is a local activity you can participate in to do your part in preserving our planet for generations to come.
Celebrate Earth Day at the Zoo
Saturday, April 21
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1730 S. Washington Ave.
Celebrate the earth by learning to live sustainably and by speaking with organizations that strive to do so every day. The Zoo helps conserve wildlife and wild places. Find out how by visiting their education stations and enjoying their Animal Experiences. It will be a fun-filled day of games and activities focused on protecting our environment. Contact my office or the Zoo for more information!