I’m glad to say the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining — now let’s hope it stays that way for a bit! I spent some time this weekend enjoying the outdoors with my family as we celebrated my father’s birthday. We’re lucky to live in a state with such beautiful outdoor spaces.
If you want to stay involved and up to date on what’s happening in Lansing and the district, there are a few different options available to you. You can visit the House website to view our weekly session meetings or any committee meetings you might be interested in. You can also stay updated by visiting my website at Cherry.housedems.com or following me on Facebook @StateRepCherry.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I hope you will reach out to me. You can email me at any time at JohnCherry@house.mi.gov or call my office at (517) 373-7515.
100 Years of State Parks
100 years ago, the Michigan State Park Commission set the course for visitors to enjoy and explore four seasons of fun. On May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission, paving the way for Michigan's state parks system. So many people, places and events helped shape our state parks system into what it is today. These stories – everything from the auto industry’s impact on outdoor recreation, to tales of Babe Ruth getting caught doing some out-of-season fishing – just add to the lore and nostalgia surrounding state parks.
I celebrated by introducing a resolution to mark this event and honor the 100 years of Michigan’s wonderful 103 state parks.
Consider this your official invitation to join the centennial celebration! Share memories and photos, attend special events, explore new (or favorite) parks and learn more about our history. Visit michigan.gov/stateparks100 to see what’s in store or click here to read my resolution as it passed the House of Representatives.
Making Investment in Our Roads Count
When the opportunity arises to support our local economy while fixing our infrastructure, we must seize it. Last week I introduced House Bill 4573 to both ensure the funds used to fix our roads and bridges stay local and address the ‘talent gap’ Michigan faces regarding skilled trades jobs.
This bill will give preference when awarding contracts for infrastructure construction projects to contractors that employ a minimum of 75 percent of their construction mechanics residing within a 60-mile radius of the worksite, as well as contractors who offer construction mechanic apprenticeship programs certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Michigan taxpayers deserve quality work for the $2.5 billion needed to repair our roads and bridges, and nobody will exhibit more care and dedication to ensuring roads will last than those who will drive on them every day.
Dropping HB 4573 off with the Clerk’s office
Budget Update-Prevailing Wage
It is our responsibility as elected officials to protect the interests of taxpayers and ensure hardworking Michiganders have the freedom to build a secure future for their families. Prevailing wage does just that — ensures construction workers earn a fair wage, attracts young people to skilled trade professions, promotes the use of Michigan workers on construction projects and provides cost savings for taxpayers.
On Tuesday, I introduced an amendment to the 2019-20 fiscal year budget to restore Michigan’s prevailing wage. Though the amendment would once again ensure that workers on state projects are paid a fair wage after the long-standing prevailing wage law was repealed last year, my Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee uniformly rejected the measure. I was disappointed to see the committee waste an opportunity to provide our communities with better roads and better jobs, but it is important to remember that the budget has yet to be finalized. I will keep working to improve these budget bills, and I want you to know that I’m counting on you to help me.
Receiving feedback from our community is an important part of the budget process. As your state representative, I want to know what priorities you have for our state’s budget. Please, take a moment to fill out a brief survey on my website. If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding the budget you can also reach out to my office at (517) 373-7515 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week the Michigan House of Representatives had a 13-hour session in which an auto-insurance bill was drafted and passed around 2 a.m. Thursday morning. I was hopeful earlier in the session when the Speaker appointed a special committee to address auto-insurance in a bipartisan fashion. I was quite disappointed to see that when the committee was about ready to start drafting a bipartisan bill, the reigns were taken away and a partisan plan was drafted in a back room and dropped shortly before it was to be voted on, with no hearings, testimony or any of the committee process that allows the public to weigh in.
The Democrats offered a substitute bill that would have provided a 25 percent reduction and long-term rate control on everyone’s full car-insurance bill, protected existing benefits and ended price discrimination based on age, gender, zip code and other factors was offered. Despite support from myself and many of my colleagues, it was voted down. The Republicans then voted through a bill that, in my opinion, did not offer any of these things.
Unfortunately, this bill will harm thousands of Michiganders without delivering true, long-term rate relief. It does not address discrimination based on zip code and other factors. It removes protections for people injured in auto accidents and even allows insurance companies to review and deny treatment. This bill would reduce the ability of residents of Genesee County to have immediate access to emergency care. The residents of Genesee County will still face unreasonably expensive rates under this bill, while losing protection at the same time that insurance companies will gain excessive profit. The governor has indicated she will veto this bill because it does not meet her principles of reform that is reasonable, fair and provides strong consumer protections and immediate financial relief.
I hope that in the coming weeks we can return to the original promise that emerged at the beginning of the session that involves all sides sitting at the table talking to each other.
Coffee with Cherry
Join me for coffee and conversation. I’ll give a brief legislative update, then I’ll have time for any questions, comments or concerns you’d like to share. These events are family friendly and coffee will be provided.
● Monday, May 20, from 6 – 7 p.m. at the Swartz Creek Senior Center, 8095 Civic Drive #2 in Swartz Creek.
● Tuesday, May 21, from 6 – 7 p.m. at the Flushing Area Library, 120 N. Maple St. in Flushing.
● Friday, May 31, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., Elisabeth Ann Johnson High School, 8041 Neff Road in Mt. Morris.
Helpful Resources for the Folks in the 49th
May is Mental Health Month – Be Healthy
It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious now and then. But it’s time to ask for help if emotional issues interfere with your life, your job or your personal relationships.
If you see a marked change in personality, mood or your eating or sleeping habits, that can be a sign something is going on.
Other warning signs include:
● Feeling unable to cope with your day-to-day problems, work assignments or usual household activities.
● Being overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness, hopelessness or helplessness.
● Having extreme mood swings — from high or hyper to down in the dumps.
● Abusing alcohol or drugs.
● Getting very angry or acting violently.
● Having thoughts about suicide or hurting someone else.
● Having a plan of how you would commit suicide.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s better to get treatment sooner than later. Get help right away any time you believe you might hurt yourself or someone else. Call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or your local crisis center. Your family or primary-care physician can also help you, or you can reach out to the community mental health centers. These organizations provide counseling and other services on a sliding-fee scale, based on your income.
To contact the Genesee County Community Mental Health services you can give them a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the following numbers:
● (810) 257-3740
● TTY (810) 232-6310
● Toll-free (877) 346-3648
They know that we all sometimes need a little extra assistance – and that’s okay! Genesee Health System has trained, professional staff available to assist individuals and families with understanding their treatment options, and to help during a mental health, substance abuse or family crisis. Staff can also help by making referrals to other community agencies and resources, and by arranging emergency services such as hospitalization. GHS also works with the Crisis Texting Line. Text FLINT to 741741 24-hours a day and someone will reply right away. Learn more by clicking here.
Free Smoke Alarms
The American Red Cross will install smoke alarms for free in the homes of people who need them. Having a connected smoke alarm in your home decreases the risk of death during a house fire by 50 percent. Most people who decide not to get a smoke alarm do so because of cost. To counteract this, the Red Cross will install a smoke alarm in your home free of charge. You can contact the Red Cross to schedule a smoke alarm installation.
If you already have smoke alarms set up in your home but are looking for a way to give back, this program provides a fantastic opportunity to volunteer — you may just save a life! The American Red Cross is seeking 100,000 volunteers nationwide to install smoke alarms for families in need. You can contact the Red Cross to register as a volunteer.
Library Books for the Homebound
The Talking Book Center provides talking books through the mail, postage-free to those who are unable to read standard print due to visual or physical impairment. The Genesee District Library also offers Homebound Services, where patrons who are temporarily or permanently homebound can receive books from their collection via mail, postage-free. For more information, you can call the Talking Book Center at (810) 732-1120 or visit their website.
The Genesee County Action Resource Department (CARD)
The Genesee County Action Resource Department (CARD) is a great resource for folks in the 49th. CARD can help you with everything from finding decent housing that works for your budget to finding gainful employment. They can be a fantastic resource for people trying to get back on track. Whether it’s a place to stay or job training, they can provide the resources you need to reach your goals! For more information call (810) 232-2185 or visit their website.
Keep Our Community Clean
Want to keep your neighborhood clean and help our environment thrive? Check out these events to do your part:
Free tire disposal from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Environmental Rubber Recycling, 6515 N. Dort Highway. Auto and light truck tires will be accepted. No commercial vehicles are allowed to return tires. Residents can get $1 per tire, up to $25, or $25 per load of 25 tires or more.
Keep Genesee County Beautiful is providing free yard waste bags, cotton gloves and litter grabbers to groups or individuals taking part in cleanup activities in public areas such as a park, school, library grounds, traffic medians or right-of-ways. Anyone interested in the free items is asked to contact Keep Genesee County Beautiful at (810) 767-9696 at least 10 days in advance of needing the supplies.
A free Recycle Day is scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at Flint East – Water Service Center, 3310 E. Court St., as well as Fenton High School, 3200 W. Shiawassee Ave. in Fenton.
Adult Coloring Club at Swartz Creek Library
Meet new people, relax and create something lovely. A great way to calm down and express your creativity.
When: Wednesday, May 15, from 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Swartz Creek-Perkins Library, 8095 Civic Drive in Swartz Creek
Story Time with Miss Rita at Mt. Morris Library
Bring the kids and join the ever-animated Miss Rita for stories, songs and dance at Mount Morris Library. No registration necessary.
When: Friday, May 17, from 10-11 a.m.
Where: Mt. Morris Library, 685 Van Buren Ave. in Mount Morris
A Patriotic Festival of Music 2019
Come and enjoy A Festival of Patriotic Music on Armed Forces Day! Admission is free with a ticket. To secure your ticket, please call (810) 407-5823 extension 509. Seating is limited.
When: Saturday, May 18, from 4–6 p.m.
Where: Flushing Presbyterian Church, 5010 N. McKinley Road in Flushing
Flower Daze at the Flint Farmers' Market
Have fun admiring and purchasing annuals and perennials, varieties of trees and shrubs, hanging plants, yard art and more during this annual springtime event. Master Gardeners will also be available for questions along with live music. For more information click here .
When: Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Flint Farmers' Market, 300 E. First St. in Flint
Rep. Cherry speaking at an in-district meeting
I hope this information has been useful to you. As always, reach out if there is anything further I can do for you.