I’ve been away from the district more than my fair share this week during our lame duck session. Some of it was rewarding – like speaking with South Meadows Elementary School students and recognizing them on the House Floor. Some of it was disheartening – like watching legislation aimed at hurting our communities pass, despite my firm opposition, after a gut-wrenching seventeen hours of session.
Lame duck refers to the time between election results and the end of the legislative term. It’s a hectic time, with a lot of policy flying around and a busy schedule. I urge you to stay updated and to share your views with me as I work to finish out the year by reading about the bills I’ve highlighted below and following news from the Legislature. Lame duck ends when session adjourns for the last day of the year.
If you want to follow my activities in Lansing and around the district, please look on my Facebook page for more legislative updates and information on resources and events around the district. With all of the lame duck voting, I am going to be putting out multiple ‘How I Voted’ posts a week on Facebook, just to keep you updated. Want faster and more frequent updates? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @DonnaLasinski.
As always, you can contact 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. I am here to help and serve you. I look forward to hearing from you, or to seeing you out and about in the wonderful House District 52.
HB 4205: No Stricter Than Federal Standards-Banning Better Policy
On Dec. 11, despite public opposition and many speeches by members, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 4205 which would prohibit the state from setting rules and regulations that are stricter than federal law. In Scio Township, we have struggled to contain and clean up a plume of toxic 1,4 dioxane plaguing our watershed because of a lack of strict safety standards for the chemical. This bill effectively bans the enactment of better, stronger policies, taking power away from local Michigan government. I voted NO on HB 4205. Please listen to my floor speech urging my colleagues in the Legislature to join me in opposition to this bill by following the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72Ub9-ByYH4*
After initial passage, we then had to void our votes less than 24 hours later because the bill had an incorrect date in it for enforcement. This is the danger of rushing legislation – we are not doing our best work on behalf of our communities.
House Bill 5526: Punitive School Standings with no Solutions
On Wednesday afternoon, I addressed a classroom of students from a school in my district, right outside the House floor. We talked about how important it was to have good teachers, a good education, and how much the Legislature valued our schools and students. At 3:30 a.m. that morning, House Bill 5526 passed the House floor, punishing the schools again.
House Bill 5526 would establish a school ranking system to label Michigan schools as failing without proposing resources or solutions to address school improvement. The rankings would be determined on testing that we already know does not reflect school performance and has changed three times in the last five years, making it not only an unreliable indicator, but also with no trend data.
We already know our schools are struggling, what we need are the right resources to meet the needs of our students. Yet, once again, we are spending time and money to craft labels instead of focusing on the needs of our students. And this legislation, as implemented in other states, has resulted in more declines in education performance, not fewer. Focusing on punishment and not solutions does not help our state.
Upcoming Time with Donna
I’m all finished up with my in district coffee hours and town halls for 2018, but please keep an eye out around the district — I’ll be participating in holiday celebrations, and supporting our small businesses as I plan my celebrations with family and friends.
What To Do In HD 52
Jingle Jam Christmas Extravaganza
If you are looking for something fun to do with the whole family this holiday season, check out Jungle Jam Extravaganza! This event will be hosted at the Chelsea Free Methodist Church and will include live music, skits, games, cookies and cocoa, and a photo booth.
When: Sunday, Dec. 16, from 10-11:30 a.m.
Where: the Auditorium on the Washington St. Education Center Campus, 500 E. Washington St. in Chelsea
Visit Santa on the Alber Mill Porch!
Come see Santa on the Mill Porch, and tell him what you would like for Christmas!
When: Saturday, Dec. 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: The Shoppes of Alber Mill, 201 E. Main St. in Manchester
Varsity Blues Presents Charles Dickens Scrooge
Varsity Blues is presenting Charles Dickens Scrooge at the Saline Middle School on Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Advanced tickets are available at Saline Community Education and Busch’s Saline.
When: Saturday, Dec. 15, from 7-10 p.m.
Where: Saline Middle School, 7190 North Maple Road in Saline
Christmas at Rentschler Farm
Christmas at Rentschler Farms is being held this weekend at the farm. This is a family friendly event with a visit from Santa, cookies and cider, crafts, demonstrations, and a tour of an old fashioned 1930’s Christmas farmhouse.
When: Saturday, Dec. 15, from 1-4 p.m.
Where: Rentschler Farm, 1265 E. Michigan Ave. in Saline
December 22nd Mac’s Annual Ugly Sweater Party
Sport your “Ugly” Holiday Sweaters and Join the Holiday Fun at Mac’s!
When: Saturday, Dec. 22, from 4-10 p.m.
Where: Mac’s Acadian Seafood Shack, 104 E Michigan Ave. in Saline
Need to Report a Road Issue?
Running into potholes and bumps in Washtenaw County? You can use Washtenaw County Road Commission’s “Fix It” to report non-emergency road issues. For emergencies, please call WCRC at (734) 761-1500. Want to see what WCRC is currently working on? The Washtenaw County Road Commission’s scheduled construction projects can be found here.* Just keep in mind that the Washtenaw County Road Commission is responsible for roadways outside of city and village limits while the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for the construction and resurfacing of state highways. To learn more about projects in specific municipalities, please visit the municipality’s website.
Prepare for Winter Storms
If you want to be prepared for possible winter storms but are not sure how take a look at this info published by the Michigan State Police which aims to help you prepare: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/FEMA_MSP_Winter_Weather_Hazards_Packet_637153_7.pdf *
Find Some Fun at Your Local Winter Fishing Hole
Fishing doesn’t stop when the snow starts to fly! Almost every fish that’s available to anglers in the summer can be caught through the ice – some are even caught more frequently in the winter. Interested in ice fishing, but not sure how to do it? Attend an ice fishing class offered this winter at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac. Keep your 2019 calendars marked for the Winter Free Fishing Weekend, when all fishing license fees will be waived for two days. A Recreation Passport won’t be required for entry into state parks and recreation areas during the weekend with special events will be held around the state.
Remember to stay safe by following these tips, and have fun. Here are some important rules to follow when ice fishing:
- Steer clear of dark spots or places where the snow looks discolored.
- Never fish alone.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Always test the ice.
- Take the appropriate emergency items, such as a lifejacket and ice picks.
- Take a cell phone with you in case you need to call for help.
- Dress in your warmest winter clothes; fill a thermos with hot coffee, chocolate or tea; and bring an empty bucket or old lawn chair to sit on.
Chelsea Area Senior Resource Directory
Sometimes, it’s not easy to find the help you need. The Chelsea Area Senior Resource directory is here to fix that. You can look at the image below, or follow this link to locate the services* you need.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-0828.
State Representative Donna Lasinski