Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Happy spring! With the warmer weather comes a lot of exciting developments in the Legislature. We’re seeing movement on the state budget and federal relief money, competing ideas on tax reform, late-night negotiations on supplemental appropriations, and much more. Through it all, I carry your concerns to the Legislature, making your voices heard as we navigate these busy weeks.
As your state representative, I am the most effective when acting on your input. Don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with questions, comments or concerns. Additionally, I’m always looking to encounter new faces and places in House District 10. If you’d like to highlight a small business, community activist or an incredible resident of HD10, I would love to feature them in our e-news, Community Conversations, social media pages and more!
House District 10 (Redford Township & NW Detroit)
TONIGHT: March Community Conversation
Join me at 6 p.m. TONIGHT, March 28, on Facebook or Zoom for this month’s Community Conversation! We’re in for another month of legislative updates, community resources and helpful information to keep you in the loop with all things HD 10. This month, the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office will join me to answer your questions on all things taxes. Don’t skip this chance to learn more about what resources are available to you!
House Passes $4.7 Billion for Water Infrastructure Improvements
On March 24, the House and Senate passed a $4.7 billion supplemental appropriations bill largely funded by federal relief dollars. I proudly delivered my YES vote on Senate Bill 565 to strengthen the wellness and safety of our communities. The bill promotes healthy living by targeting water quality, flood prevention, road safety, secure housing and outdoor recreation. Specific items include:
- $515 million for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure improvement projects.
- $750 million for drinking water infrastructure improvement projects.
- $140 million for lead service line replacement.
- $80 million for local road construction programs.
- $60 million for recreational greenways in Detroit.
- $65 million for a local parks and recreation grant program.
- $140 million for individuals and families who are struggling to maintain their housing.
I’ve always been an advocate for greater investment in our infrastructure, especially after last summer’s floods brought waves of devastation and frustration into our lives. This bill reflects a significant step toward recovery and prepares us for the next weather emergency that could hit our community. I’m incredibly proud of this win, and I can’t wait to see these dollars at work in Redford, Detroit and beyond.
Democratic Elections Package Strengthens Voting Rights
Since 2020, we’ve seen Republicans launch full-scale attacks on our voting rights. Their bills aim to disenfranchise people, taking us in the complete opposite direction of where our elections should go after a secure and fair election. I’m furious with this attack on our rights, and I’m committed to challenging any bills which harm our democracy.
I’m fighting against misinformation, unfair voter ID laws, signature matching processes and any other barriers they’d put up between you and your right to vote. We should be looking to shorten lines at the polls and expand options to cast a ballot, not make working people wait even longer in line to vote or enact laws that limit absentee voting. That’s why I’m incredibly proud to be a leader on the Michigan House Democrats’ plan for election reform, which incorporates advice from our hardworking clerks.
The package launched this month is the second installment of voting rights protection bills. Back in November, we introduced a series of bills that would require clerks to send out absentee ballot applications, allow absentee ballots to be processed up to seven days before Election Day, require at least one ballot dropbox per 20,000 people in a municipality and more.
My bill, HB 5948, would impose a fine on people who intentionally spread misinformation about elections, including a voter’s registration status; the time, place, or manner of an election; or a voter’s eligibility. We must shut down the harmful practice of deceiving voters and take a firm stance against disinformation.
The package also includes bills that would:
- Require nine days of early in-person voting with polls open eight hours a day.
- Prohibit firearms from being inside a polling location or within 100 feet of a polling location entrance, with an exception for uniformed law enforcement officers.
- Create a process for clerks to notify voters if their signature doesn’t match the one on an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot return envelope.
- Allow voters to request email or text updates to track their absentee ballots.
- Codify the ability to request an absentee ballot on the Secretary of State’s website.
- Prohibit information on pre-registered voters in the Qualified Voter File from being accessed through the Freedom of Information Act until they turn 18.
- Require the state to reimburse municipalities for the costs of legislative special elections.
- Prohibit petition signature gatherers from making intentional misstatements to convince a voter to sign a petition.
Legislature Passes Preventative Opioid Package
Addiction and mental health struggles are growing at an alarming rate in our communities. Since the pandemic began, the United States has witnessed a surge in opioid-related overdoses and deaths. In order to prevent addiction from occurring in the first place, especially for those who are vulnerable, it is important that we take measures to help residents protect and advocate for themselves in a medical setting.
I’m excited to share that a bipartisan package was signed into law last week that enables Michigan residents to have more control over medical decisions and alert new enrollees of the option to elect an opioid-free treatment plan. I am a proud co-sponsor of House Bills 5261–5264, which require insurance companies to provide all enrollees with an optional nonopioid directive form and require insurers and hospitals to display the form on their websites.
In order to stop this crisis, we need intervention at all points in the system. We’ve already made strides in holding pharmaceutical companies accountable, with Attorney General Dana Nessel securing nearly $800 million for opioid recovery and treatment across the state in a historic settlement. Raising awareness of a patient’s option of an opioid-free treatment plan is one of many steps we can take towards healing our community.
Bipartisan Group Introduces Literacy Legislation
Across the state of Michigan, over 50% of third- and fourth-graders are reading and writing below grade level, and we’ve heard from our hardworking teachers that large class sizes make it difficult to help children who fall behind their classmates. We cannot let this problem continue, which is why I eagerly sponsored a bill on a bipartisan, four-bill package to address Michigan’s reading crisis and improve literacy rates among children.
Michigan is dead last for helping students with dyslexia succeed, which is contributing to our failure to bridge the literacy gap, leaving students and families discouraged and hopeless. These bills ensure that educators are adequately trained to understand dyslexia, to identify students early on who are struggling and to offer the appropriate interventions. Dyslexia is estimated to affect between 108,000 and 217,000 children in Michigan alone. There are proven solutions to treat children with the characteristics of dyslexia, but early intervention is key.
My bill, HB 5935, will establish an advisory committee to employ expert knowledge in guiding Michigan’s Department of Education. In tandem, House Bills 5934–5937 ensure that any teacher licensed in Michigan will understand dyslexia and how it affects students’ learning. Giving our teachers the training needed to help our students succeed is essential to bridging that gap and preparing our children for success.
I Want to Hear from You!
During this challenging time, it is more important than ever to stay in touch. Please look out for my team and I on the streets! We are going door-to-door for check-ins, resources, and to hear straight from HD10 about our community’s needs.
In addition, please don’t hesitate to reach me via email at MaryCavanagh@house.mi.gov. I want to hear from you! My office is here to assist you or answer any questions you may have.
I hope you found this information useful and look out for the next newsletter coming out next month! Again, feel free to contact my office if we can ever be of any assistance. You can also stay up to date about what’s going on in Lansing and find community events by following me on social media. You can ‘like’ my Facebook page here.
From my family to yours,
Rep. Mary Cavanagh