I’ve had a very busy week with community gatherings aplenty between committee meetings and events. One of the highlights was welcoming U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow on the House Floor.
We all know how important it is to stay involved and up to date on what’s happening in our government. You can visit the House website to view our weekly session meetings or any committee meetings you might be interested in. To keep up-to-date, you can also visit my website at Cherry.housedems.com or follow 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.
House Bill 4148: Fighting for Transparency
Our communities have the right to know how their government operates, how their tax dollars are spent and whether their elected officials are acting in their best interests. When I see you at my coffee hours and town halls, I am often told that you want to know more about what is happening in Lansing. That’s why I introduced House Bill 4148 to amend the “Open Meetings Act” to require state boards and commissions that make administrative rules to produce recordings of their public meetings. Those recordings would need to be made available to the public on the appropriate state website.
Administrative rules have the full force of the law. Just as the Legislature records its proceedings, boards that set administrative rules should have those proceedings recorded for the benefit of the public. As an elected official, I owe it to you to make sure you know what is happening in our government. HB 4148 is common-sense legislation, intended to increase transparency, help the public hold their government accountable and start to rebuild the institutional trust that is at an all-time low. On Thursday, I sat before the House Oversight Committee and spoke to my bill. Now, this bill is awaiting a vote in committee and I hope to see it brought to a full vote on the House floor soon.
Stopping Payroll Fraud
Many hardworking families in our community are struggling to pay their rent and put food on the table. They deserve to be paid for every hour they work, but that is not always the case. Despite working hard to try and get ahead, thousands every year fall victim to payroll fraud. Many Michigan laws to protect worker pay haven’t been updated in almost 40 years, allowing bad actors to take advantage of loopholes that cheat workers out of their hard-earned money. I’m fighting to ensure that hardworking people like you can keep your hard-earned money.
To stop bad behavior, we must hold bad actors accountable with tough penalties. I’m working with my colleagues to develop legislation that will levy harsher consequences if a business commits payroll fraud. First, a guilty company will be subject to a forensic audit at the violator’s expense. If they fail to pay taxes or fail to pay employees what they are owed in wages and overtime, then the employer must pay those retroactively – as well as paying the employee’s taxes on the amount they are owed.
In a case of misclassification, the worker will be paid all the back pay and benefits they are entitled to as an employee. If the company fails to pay Workers’ Compensation insurance and a worker is injured, the employer is responsible for the cost of all medical treatment and lost wages.
These policies are only the first step to protecting the rights of Michigan’s working families. I am committed to standing up for the Michiganders who are simply asking to receive the full amount of their paycheck. Only when working families are once again in the driver’s seat of Michigan’s economy can our state truly begin to move forward. Economic security means so much more than having money in the bank — it means peace of mind.
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.
● Friday, May 3, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Donna’s Donuts, 1135 W. Bristol Road in Flint.
● Monday, May 13, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Krapohl Senior Center, 5473 Bicentennial Drive in Mt. Morris.
● Monday, May 20, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Swartz Creek Senior Center, 8095 Civic Drive #2 in Swartz Creek.
● Tuesday, May 21, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Flushing Area Library, 120 N. Maple St. in Flushing.
Helpful Resources for the Folks in the 49th
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%. 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.
The Flint & Genesee Job & Resource Fair
The Job & Resource Fair is open to TeenQuest alumni, Career Edge series participants and general public job seekers. Please bring several copies of your resume and dress professionally.
Entry-level positions are available with up to 25 Flint and Genesee County employers on-site looking to hire. Additional free employment resources are available on-site as well.
Date: May 2
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Genesee Valley Center, 3341 S. Linden Road in Flint
Enter the mall through the Outdoor Village entrance in the JCPenney wing
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 .
Date: May 18
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Flint Farmers' Market, 300 E. First Street in Flint
I hope this information has been useful to you. As always, reach out if there is anything further I can do for you.