Legislators commend work accomplished, look forward to continuing to put all people first

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 15, 2024 — House Democrats are celebrating over 100 laws that took effect this week. These policies focus on putting people first by uplifting Michiganders from all communities and backgrounds, and 2023 was one of the most productive years in the history of the Michigan Legislature. The laws that went into effect support workers, improve education, protect elections, lower costs, safeguard rights, invest in communities, expand clean energy, increase public safety and decrease gun violence. House Democrats will continue their progress throughout 2024 with continued focus on lowering the cost of living for working families, safeguarding democracy and bolstering the economy.

“We’ve gotten a lot of work done here at the House, and the work’s not over yet. One notable win I’m proud of is the repeal of the retirement tax and expanding the working families tax credit,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township). “As we work to craft this next budget, we’re going to continue to make Michigan a shining example of what you can achieve when you put people first.”

On Tuesday, 141 laws took effect, several of those laws focus on improved gun violence prevention. These new gun laws moved Michigan four spots up in a national ranking on gun reform strength. Michigan now ranks 20th in the nation. The changes in Michigan law included universal background checks, safe storage and extreme risk protection orders. Not only did Michigan Democrats initiate these milestone changes, they passed legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers. Democrats are committed to advocating for more legislation that will keep communities safe.

“We’ve made commendable strides in gun reform, but we have more work to do,” said state Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), chair of the Judiciary Committee. “Looking forward, I plan to introduce legislation to combat ghost guns that threaten our kids and our communities. We must continue to find ways to protect Michignaders, and legislation like this does so.”

Protecting communities from physical violence isn’t the only action Dems have taken — they also implemented laws to safeguard Michiganders’ personal protections and individual rights. With the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Michiganders can live their authentic lives free from discrimination; and with the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, any Michiganders can access the care they want and need. 

“Dems want equity for all, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you live or what your gender is,” said state Rep. Donavan McKinney. “We’ve made it clear, we will not tolerate individuals’ rights being stomped on. Michigan is a welcoming place, and we will continue to ensure our rights can be expressed.” 

Affordable housing has been a big priority on Dems’ list, and they are ready to keep the momentum going in the right direction. Though steps have been made, many pieces of legislation related to housing went into effect this week. Some of them include requiring landlords and real estate agents to stay up to date on fair housing laws, an additional $40 million in funding for redeveloping brownfield sites into affordable housing and establishing new housing authorities in areas that lack one.

“Addressing the housing crisis is key to securing a bright future for Michigan. Creating more housing and diverse housing types will improve access to housing for more Michiganders and attract people to our great state. These investments will help revitalize communities and build homes people take great pride in,” said state Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming).

The Countdown to a Better Michigan project has officially ended; it marked the implementation of numerous laws on Feb. 13 that change Michigan for the better. Dems made change happen by putting all people first. The new laws make Michigan a better place to live, whether that be education, putting more money in Michiganders’ pocketbooks; promoting personal rights and freedoms; or building more affordable housing. Together, let’s celebrate a stronger, more resilient Michigan.