Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.
Summer Reading Contest – Win an E-Reader!
Many students received bookmarks in their classrooms with instructions for how to enter my summer reading contest. Many local Genesee County District Library branches now have bookmarks available for those who did not receive one – or maybe even misplaced it in the excitement of ending the school year. Students may also enter without a bookmark by visiting my House website at faris.housedems.com. Any student grades 1-8 is welcome to enter the contest to win an e-reader. This contest is not a school-sponsored event, and the prizes are paid for with private funds.
House Bill 4642 Signed Into Law
I introduced House Bill 4642 in May, and it became Public Act 77 of 2017 when it was signed into law this week. My bill was part of a legislative package that increased penalties for female genital mutilation, or FGM. Now, doctors who perform the procedure and parents who transport a child to undergo the procedure can be guilty of a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Additionally, doctors convicted under the new laws can lose their license to practice medicine.
I supported the new, stronger punishments to increase what the state can do to deter the practice and punish offenders. I also thought it was just as important to educate those in vulnerable populations how traumatic the procedure is, both physically and emotionally. My bill requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop an education program for residents and medical providers to explain the effects – and punishments – for FGM.
Vietnam Veteran Pinning
I am honored to be a guest at Michigan’s Military and Space Heroes Museum with fellow guest state Sen. Ken Horn for a Vietnam Veteran Welcome Home Pinning Ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 5. This official pinning ceremony serves to show our gratitude to living United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975. Our veterans have put their lives on the line for the sake of the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today. I am grateful for the opportunity to thank our veterans at this ceremony, but am mindful of the need for us to show our thanks to them every day, for the sacrifices they made so that we can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Health Care Bill of Rights
Democrats in the state House introduced the “Health Care Bill of Rights” recently to resist Congressional health care cuts that have already passed the U.S. House. House Resolution 139 calls on the governor, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to adopt a Health Care Bill of Rights and to urge the governor not to make cuts to the state’s Medicaid program.
The Michigan Health Care Bill of Rights plan would:
- Protect People with Pre-existing Conditions. It will prevent people with pre-existing conditions from losing their protections.
- Stop the “Age Tax.” Seniors and older people who aren’t eligible for Medicare are protected by banning insurance companies from increasing their rates. Under the majority in Washington’s plan, seniors would be forced to pay five times more than what other people pay. Millions of people would also lose tax credits, causing their rates to skyrocket even more.
- Prevent Massive Rate Hikes. The Health Care Bill of Rights stops insurance companies from being able to raise the rates of people who get sick and need treatment or add coverage caps, which leave people with massive out-of-pocket costs.
- Protect Essential Health Benefits. Insurance companies will not be able to deny Michiganders coverage for maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, substance abuse services, preventive care, pediatric services, hospitalization and emergency services.
Our goal is to shield hundreds of thousands of Michigan families who stand to see their costs skyrocket, coverage reduced or health insurance disappear altogether. For more information, please visit www.ProtectMIHealthCare.com.
Saginaw Bay Wildfowl Festival
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ annual Saginaw Bay Wildfowl Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5 and 6, at the Bay City State Recreation Area, 3582 State Park Drive in Bay City. There is no cost to attend the event but, as at all state parks and recreation areas, a parks passport is required for entry. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Highlights of the festival include the Michigan’s State Championship Duck and Goose Calling Tournament, the 2018 Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Competition, a wildlife arts and craft show, a Hunting and Outdoor Recreation Expo featuring over 100 outfitters and exhibitors from all over the Great Lakes region, an adult and youth waterfowl calling clinic, a waterfowl carving contest, a wildlife photo contest, a Quak-Athalon, a parent-youth canoe race, live animal programs, dog retrieving fun trial, and more.
For more information about the 2017 Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival, go to http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,,7-153–406576–evt,00.html.
Michigan DNR is Recruiting Conservation Officer Candidates
The eighth Conservation Officer Recruit School begins this Sunday, July 16, when 18 men and seven women begin a 23 week training program in hopes of becoming Michigan Conservation Officers. These 25 recruits first had to pass a stringent screening process that evaluated their physical fitness, background investigations and interviews.
During this recruit school, the DNR Law Enforcement Division is recruiting for future academies. If you are interested in becoming a Conservation Officer, you can follow this class through updates the DNR will post on its Facebook page and blog. Click here for more information or contact Sgt. John Meka at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 284-6499. To learn more about the hiring process and the role of a conservation officer, go to www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.
Self-Care for Caregivers
Providing intensive care for a loved one in need is something many of us have done or will do in our lifetime. Traditionally, focus has been on the well-being of the person who needs care, but many of us know how difficult the experience can be for the caregiver. Recently, efforts have been made to improve the quality of life of the care-giver, too, so that both people can have the best experience possible.
As part of this effort, The Valley Area Agency on Aging presents “Self-Care for Caregivers,” a program to highlight the needs of caregivers. University of Michigan-Flint Program Manager of Masters of Public Health, Dr. Laurel E. Hilliker, Ph.D., will discuss compassion satisfaction, fatigue and burnout. This program will help caregivers evaluate their own needs and quality of life, and provide strategies for addressing the challenges faced by caregivers.
The event will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at Riverside Tabernacle, 429 Northbound Chavez Drive in Flint. To register for this presentation please call Abbie Mars at the Valley Area Agency on Aging by Friday, July 28, at (810) 239-7671.
Watch for Adopt-A-Highway Crews
The Michigan Department of Transportation urges drivers to be on the lookout July 15-23, as Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect litter and debris to help keep our highways and state beautiful. This is the second of three cleanups that will take place this year. The final cleanup is scheduled for Sept. 23-Oct. 1.
Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect more than 60,000 bags of litter from along our roadways each year. Please drive with extra care when you see one of the more than 2,800 volunteer groups collecting trash along the road. Slow down and give them extra room whenever possible.
Fall Turkey License Applications Now Open
The introduction of the wild turkey to Michigan is one of the great wildlife management successes in our state. Wild turkeys are now abundant throughout much of Michigan, and hunting opportunities are available in the spring and fall. Applications are available until Aug. 1. Applications are available at authorized license agents or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com. The cost of an application is $5. Results and leftover license availability will be posted at www.michigan.gov/turkey on Aug. 14.
“Michigan is a land where water has been the unifying force of destiny and will most certainly remain so far in the future.” Governor William G. Milliken
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.