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:
- Bill to Protect Bicyclist Safety Signed Into Law
- Fighting to Guarantee a Right to Literacy in Michigan
- Fireworks Safety Reminders
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Bill to Protect Bicyclist Safety Signed Into Law
According to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, Michigan bicycle fatalities doubled from 2012 to 2016, rising from 19 deaths to 38. This includes a 2016 incident when nine bicyclists were hit by a driver near Kalamazoo, resulting in five of them dying. These tragic statistics and the deaths of those five riders prompted the Legislature to take a closer look at our bicycle safety laws and find ways we can make sure folks are safe when they are enjoying a bike ride through their community. I am pleased that we were able to work together to pass House Bill 4265 — which would require the driver of a vehicle passing a bicycle to pass at a distance of 3 feet — and that it has since been signed into law by Gov. Snyder. We should all have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful outdoors without fearing for our safety; this law is a critical step toward making sure our bicyclists are protected.
Fighting to Guarantee a Right to Literacy in Michigan
Too many students that do not grow up in affluent areas, or whose schools continue to be underfunded year after year by Republican leadership who control the budget, are at a disadvantage when it comes to having the updated textbooks and resources they need to be successful. Having a well-equipped and updated classroom sets the foundation for a student’s success, chiefly a young person’s ability to read. However, as basic and fundamental as it may seem, literacy has for too long been considered a privilege, rather than a right of Michigan students.
I believe literacy is a fundamental right of all young people, regardless of their ZIP codes or the school they attend, which is why I was proud to co-sponsor an amendment to the Michigan Constitution that would ensure students’ fundamental right to read in Michigan. Unfortunately, this legislation has not moved since being introduced, and our young people only continue to suffer because of it. I will continue to fight for this right to literacy, and in doing so fight for our young people to have the skills they need to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Fireworks Safety Reminders
While I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July holiday, please use caution when lighting off fireworks in your neighborhood. Though consumer fireworks became legal in 2012, only low-impact fireworks are legal for sale and use. This includes ground-based items such as sparklers, toy snakes, snaps and poppers. State law requires consumer-grade fireworks only be ignited from personal property. It is illegal to ignite fireworks on public property (including streets and sidewalks), school property, church property or another person’s property without their express permission. When fire-related incidents that involve consumer, low-impact or illegal fireworks result in property damage or the injury or death of another person, individuals are subject to being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony punishable by imprisonment of not more than five years and fines of up to $10,000 or both, depending on the severity of the crime.
Here are important safety tips to protect lives and property while enjoying the Fourth of July.
- Purchase fireworks from an authorized retailer and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- Have an adult supervise fireworks activities, including sparklers.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then immediately back away to a safe distance.
- Keep people and pets out of range before lighting fireworks.
- Light fireworks outdoors on a driveway or other paved surface at least 25 feet away from houses and highly flammable materials such as dry grass or mulch.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Douse spent fireworks in a bucket of water before discarding them.
- Allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
- Try to re-light “duds” or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. (Rather, wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.)
- Point or throw fireworks at other people.
- Carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- Buy fireworks packaged in brown paper or use unlabeled fireworks, they are for professional use.
- Never experiment with or make your own fireworks.