While we wait out these last few weeks before spring, the work in the Michigan Legislature is picking up speed. I have been focused on bill introductions impacting small businesses and government transparency, as well as reviewing the governor’s budget proposal.
Gov. Whitmer has proposed a budget that will prioritize the needs of Michigan students and infrastructure, things I know the people in our community are passionate about. The current budget proposal addresses these issues head on and I will be watching closely as the House and Senate appropriation teams prepare their budget proposals. You can watch the full budget proposal speech on the governor’s website here.
If you have thoughts on the budget or any other issue, my office reachable by phone at (517) 373-0828, by email at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov or by coming to one of our district events. Upcoming coffee hours, celebrations, and town halls are listed below and I would love to see you there.
Michigan Jobs First
Recently, I introduced a bill package with Rep. Darrin Camilleri that would make Michigan small businesses more competitive. Along with Rep. Camilleri’s bill that requires state departments to share the wage information and number of jobs created under state contracts, my bill will provide Michigan small businesses an extra 30 days to re-submit bids during the contracting process if they are within the winning price and quality range. Together these bills provide greater opportunity for job creation in Michigan and generate more transparency in state contracts.
Protecting Our Classrooms
The Tax Policy Committee heard testimony on and eventually passed HB 4006, which would repeal the 2011 pension tax for seniors. While repealing this damaging tax is an important step in undoing the massive tax burden placed on working families in 2011, one of the unintended effects of this bill would be to deplete the School Aid Fund by as much as $75 million dollars. I believe that we do not have to make a choice in our budget between protecting seniors or funding students. This is why I proposed an amendment to the bill that would have clarified legislative intent not to touch the School Aid Fund. While this amendment was voted down 7-7 with one abstention, I will continue my commitment to ensure opportunity for all Michigan citizens.
Speaking for Transparent Government
The House Government Operations Committee heard testimony on a bipartisan bill package to bring more transparency and accountability to the Legislature. This package establishes the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA), which would enable Michigan citizens to request information from the Legislature and the Governor’s office. Knowing that Michigan currently ranks last out of all fifty states in government transparency, I am proud to sponsor HB 4009 in this package which would bring us more clarity in government. In committee last week, I stood behind my colleagues, Rep. Afendoulis and Rep. Guerra, as they testified for this bill package – both literally and figuratively!
International Women’s Day – March 8th 2019
Last Friday was International Women’s Day! Beginning in 1911, it is a day to recognize the accomplishments and potential that women offer our communities. Throughout history there have been many amazing women that have shaped our world today. For example, the offices for the House of Representatives are housed in the Anderson Building, named after Cora Reynolds Anderson, the first woman and Native American to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives in 1925. Drawing from inspiration like hers, I know we have a bright future ahead of us. You can watch my full speech introducing a resolution recognizing last Friday as International Women’s Day here.
Upcoming Time With Donna
Coffee Hour at Northfield Township Senior Center
When: Saturday, April 13 from 10-11 a.m.
Where: Northfield Township Senior Center
9101 Main St, Whitmore Lake
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Drafts with Donna at Chelsea Alehouse
When: Monday, April 29 from 6-7 p.m.
Where: Chelsea Alehouse
115 S Main St, Chelsea
Clean Water Town Hall Meeting
Last Thursday evening, I hosted a town hall with a group of talented panelists from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Health & Human Services, Washtenaw County Health Department, and the Huron River Watershed Council. Over 125 constituents turned out for a lively discussion on the importance of cleaning up our water.
We discussed how to keep our community safe and prevent the spreading of these pollutants further. I enjoyed answering questions by community members and found the testimonies moving. As we legislate on this issue, I will continue to advocate for clean drinking water.
What to Do in 52
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Town Hall – Information on Proposition 2
Join in on community discussion at Washtenaw Community college about Proposition 2 in Michigan, which would require a select panel to create voting districts in Michigan.
When: Thursday, March 14, 7:30-9 p.m.
Where: Washtenaw Community College
Crane Liberal Arts Building, Room 275
4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor
Saline Indoor Farmers Market
The Saline Farmers Market is indoors for the season but not to worry – all of the same great produce and artisan shops are still there for you to enjoy.
When: Saturday, March 9, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Where: Liberty School, 7265 Saline Ann Arbor Rd.
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Read to Chelsea Library dogs
Reading Education Assistance Dogs has been a Chelsea District Library program for over 10 years. Research has shown that children can improve their reading skills by reading aloud to non-judgmental listeners – and no one listens better than dogs. Sign up for a 10-minute slot today by calling 475-8732, ext. 4.
When: Friday, March 15, 2009, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Where: Chelsea District Library, 221 S Main St, Chelsea
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The Music of Ireland by Carol Kappus & Friends
Get ready for St. Patrick’s Day with an afternoon of Irish music. Come hear Carol Kappus, the Ann Arbor Celtic Harpers play a variety of beautiful Celtic harps and instruments. Experience traditional Irish music and join in for an afternoon of fun times and great music! Families are welcome. Registration is not required.
When: Saturday, March 16, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Dexter District Library, 3255 Alpine Street
Telephone scams driving you up the wall?
Learn what telephone scams sound like and how to avoid them by reading over the Federal Trade Commission’s article on avoiding fake calls. Even when they sound like official calls from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they probably aren’t real. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission directly.
If you want to be put on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List for telemarketers, go to donotcall.gov and register.
Questions about taxes?
With the April 15 deadline coming upon us, it is important to reach out with questions now. The Michigan State Treasury Department has call centers set up to assist you with questions you might have.
- If you are an individual with filing questions, call the MI Treasury at (517) 636-4486 during business hours.
- If you are a business with filing questions, call the MI Treasury at (517) 636-6925 during business hours.
You can also read over helpful materials and get more direction through their website: www.michigan.gov/taxes.
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I hope that this information has been helpful and that we will see you at future events.
State Representative Donna Lasinski