Spring is right around the corner, which means National Reading Month is coming to an end. I hope everyone enjoyed taking the time to read with their child. As the weather continues to warm up, I encourage everyone to sit down outside and enjoy the sunshine with a good book.
As always, you can contact my staff and me at (517) 373-0828, by email at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov, or by visiting my website at RepLasinski.com, with any questions, thoughts or suggestions.
House Bill 5626
This week on the House Floor, House Bill 5626 passed 56-53. It eliminates the requirement for a ballot to disclose the list of schools that would benefit from an enhancement millage, going against the transparency standards I have fought to achieve. This bill attempts to hide the addition of for-profit charter and cyber schools as beneficiaries of millage tax dollars, despite the fact that they do not share the same responsibilities to disclose where their dollars are spent.
We need to create more transparent and honest laws. Everyone deserves to know exactly where our tax dollars are going, and who is benefiting from them. Michigan students deserve the best education. Together, we can build educational opportunity, so every student is prepared to succeed and live a full and productive life. Corporate profits should not influence the resources our students receive. I opposed House Bill 5626, and continue to fight to ensure equitable education for all.
Prescription Drug Prices
No one should ever be priced out of the medical care they need to stay healthy or have to worry about having their health care taken away. Yet in Michigan, our families face the fifth-highest prescription drug costs in the country, while prescription companies post record profits. High prescription drug prices hit seniors, people with pre-existing conditions and working families especially hard. We need real solutions that address prescription price gouging and make health care more affordable. Drug companies should be required to justify prescription price increases to Michigan consumers.
I co-sponsored the creation of a Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board to determine if drug price increases are justified and impose penalties if a drug company fails to provide justification or proper notice. Drug companies would be required to notify the new board 60 days before a price increase, and those increases above 12 percent in 24 months would be reviewed by the Board for price gouging. Any money that the attorney general recoups from legal action against prescription drug companies would be refunded to Michigan consumers.
I also support strengthening the Michigan Consumer Protection Act to require an investigation by the attorney general’s office of any drug manufacturer that is suspected of price gouging Michigan consumers. Transparency alone isn’t enough. We have to hold drug manufacturers accountable to the people they serve.
Upcoming Time with Donna
Manchester Area Senior Citizens Council Coffee Hour
Following a Manchester Area Senior Citizens Council lunch, I will be hosting a coffee hour that is open to the public. This coffee hour will focus on legislative updates involving broadband.
When: Thursday, March 29, 12:45-1:45 p.m.
Where: Fellowship Hall, Emanuel United Church of Christ, 324 W. Main St. in Manchester
Drafts with Donna in Dexter
Join me for the second Drafts with Donna event. I’ll answer your questions and discuss policies coming up in Lansing.
When: Thursday, April 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Null Taphouse, 2319 Bishop Cir E in Dexter
What To Do In HD 52
Depot Museum Open Hours
The Depot Museum is open every Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admittance is free! Come out and learn about the railroad that carried passengers and freight in the Saline area from 1870-1962. The buildings house a station agent’s room, freight room and livery barn. Fully furnished caboose sits on nearby tracks. The Saline Railroad Depot Museum includes a walking/jogging trail along the tracks.
Where: Saline Depot Museum, 402 N. Ann Arbor St.
When: Saturday, March 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free
Spring Fest at Saline Recreation Center
This Easter event features an egg scavenger hunt starting at 11:30 a.m. Children will be divided up into age groups to search for eggs. At noon, the kids will enjoy lunch with the Easter Bunny! Also at noon, the Hippity Hop Trail opens that features treats and visits with local business owners. At 1 p.m. the older kids will be invited to search for eggs in the pool at the Egg Dive.
When: Saturday March 31, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: Saline Recreation Center, 1866 Woodland Drive in Saline
Dexter Easter Extravaganza
The city of Dexter is hosting its 8th Annual Easter Extravaganza. The fun-filled day is full of family experiences including egg scrambles, pictures with the Easter Bunny, and face painting!
When: Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m.
Where: Community Park, 3575 Ryan Drive in Dexter
For more information, please contact Justin Breyer, assistant to the city manager/clerk at (734) 580-2234 or by e-mail at JBreyer@dextermi.gov.
Supported by the United Way, 2-1-1 is a free service linking people with information or agencies for help with energy assistance, high utility bills and other needs. The calls are confidential, and answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
OK2SAY: Confidential Reporting System
OK2SAY is a confidential reporting system designed to allow Michigan students, parents, school personnel, community health service programs and law enforcement to share and respond to safety threats. The purpose of OK2SAY is to stop harmful behavior before it occurs by encouraging anyone to report threatening behavior. Tips can be submitted 24 hours a day and seven days a week using email, mobile app, telephone, text message or the OK2SAY website.
OK2SAY’s confidential reporting mechanisms empower students and others to break the code of silence. In just a few years, OK2SAY has become Michigan’s most effective prevention based reporting mechanism. Since its launch in 2014, OK2SAY has logged nearly 12,000 tips. That’s 12,000 times someone reported threatening behavior.
Submit a tip by phone at (855) 565-2729 or on the OK2SAY website, http://www.michigan.gov/ok2say/.
Tax Season Assistance
I know that filing your taxes can often be difficult and confusing. This year, taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 17, to file both their federal and state income tax return for tax year 2017. Here are a few resources you might consider using to help you meet this deadline.
For qualifying residents, United Way of Washtenaw County provides a free tax preparation service to work one-on-one with you to provide basic tax return preparation and electronic filing. You can find sign up for assistance online here or by scheduling an appointment by calling (734) 677-7235.
There is also an IRS-sponsored program to help any taxpayer with an income of less than $54,000 prepare and file their federal, Michigan and city taxes for free! Any eligible taxpayer can have an IRS-trained, and certified tax volunteer prepare and e-file their federal, state and local income tax returns at no cost. There are also several do-it-yourself options that are free for taxpayers to use. More detailed information, including the availability of all the different services offered throughout the state, is available by visiting http://michiganfreetaxhelp.org or by dialing 2-1-1.
I hope you’ve found this information useful. As I’ve said before, please feel free to reach out to my office with any comments or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you!
State Representative Donna Lasinski
52nd House District