With the Polar Vortex behind us, Lansing is defrosting and moving forward at a fast pace once again. I have been working through the cold to stay on top of new policy coming down the line, including a new set of bills providing a tax credit to small businesses that provided child care support for their employees and Gov. Whitmer’s proposed restructuring of the Department of Environmental Quality.
This week also marked the beginning of House Committee Meetings. While it is typical for representatives to only sit on two or three committees, I have been selected to take on the four committees which I believe will have a great impact in our daily lives. These are the House Committees for Insurance and Tax Policy, as well as serving as the Democratic vice chair for both the House Energy Committee and the Special Committee for Auto Insurance Reform. These leadership positions in particular will provide a strong platform from which to advocate for your interests. I look forward to using these roles to ensure that your voice is heard in Lansing. You can follow along by signing up for House Committee Notifications through the Michigan Legislature website here.
I welcome your thoughts and comments on these committees or any other issue that arises. My office reachable by phone at (517-373-0828), by email (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.
The First Energy Committee
The first meeting of the House Energy Committee was held this past Wednesday morning. Through the icy drive that morning, I was considering what it means to be the vice chair on such an important committee. My opening statement captures my hope for the committee:
“One of the exciting things about being a vice chair for this committee is that there is a good mix of returning and new members. This means that we will have a lot of different perspectives to develop a fresh look at energy across the state. At its heart, energy is an issue that is important to every single Michigan citizen. We have a chance to work on both sides of the aisle to make energy affordable, sustainable, and secure for everyone. Together we can get energy policy right.”
With two executive orders and one executive directive issued earlier this week, Gov. Whitmer took strides to protect the drinking water, lakes, and fish in Michigan. The proposed restructuring of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) into the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) would mean that oversight is taken away from corporate interests and placed back into the hands of Michigan citizens. The PFAS Action Response Team established in 2017 by Gov. Snyder would also be strengthened under these executive orders to better control for contaminants in our water. One way in which this would happen is by creating the Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate. In addition, the executive directive will ensure that Michigan adheres to sustainable goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement that ensure our natural resources can be enjoyed for years to come.
In an unexpected turn of events, a motion was put to the Legislature this past Wednesday to terminate the executive directives and impede environmental protections for Michigan. It has been over forty years since the Michigan House of Representatives opposed a Governor’s executive directive. When this vote came forward, I voted NO, and stood in favor of defending our natural resources from pollutants. The next step in this process will be deliberation on action in the Senate. For more information, I would encourage you to follow along on the Michigan Senate Website, senate.michigan.gov.
Committed to Educational Improvements
Great schools and strong communities go hand in hand. When our public schools fall behind, so do our families, and the state economy loses out on great talent. This is why I have been committed to strengthening our public school system since serving in my very first elected position as the treasurer of the Ann Arbor School Board. I was disappointed to see the recent report from Michigan State University that found that Michigan’s funding for public schools dropped by 30 percent from 2002-2015, which is one of the largest funding discrepancies in the nation. Education needs to be a top priority. While representing you in Lansing, I remain committed to increasing school funding, decreasing classroom sizes, and bringing the latest technology to our classrooms.
Upcoming Time with Donna
Scio Township Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, March 7, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Scio Township Hall
827 N. Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor
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Coffee Hour in Northfield Township
Saturday, April 13, from 10-11 a.m.
Northfield Township Senior Center
9101 Main St. in Whitmore Lake
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As always, you can follow along with Donna on her Instagram (DonnaLasinski), Twitter (@DonnaLasinski) and Facebook (State Representative Donna Lasinski).*
Despite the thick fog on Thursday night, there was a great turn out for Drafts with Donna at the Dexter Beer Grotto. It was wonderful to hear about everything from animal protection to PFAS in the river, and many more issues that impact District 52. Thanks again for making it out there and I hope to see you at the next one.
What to Do in HD 52
Ice Skating with Manchester Men’s Club
Join the Manchester Men’s Club for a relaxed afternoon of ice skating and camaraderie. All welcome for the event – and the possibility of hot cocoa after.
Saturday, Feb. 9, from 2-4 p.m.
Wurster Park, 215 W. Main St. in Manchester
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The Connectors Club
The mission of the Connectors Club is to help you reach your goals by introducing you to the people and resources that will help get you there. Join the conversation and other like minded-goal oriented people to make your project a reality.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 8-9 a.m.
Grand Traverse Pie Company
291 N. Zeeb Road in Ann Arbor
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Saline Book Discussion
Everyone is welcome to join the Saline Public Library for a book discussion and light refreshments. This month the Saline Library Book Club is reading Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. Grab a copy and come discuss with fellow book lovers.
Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 7-8 p.m.
Saline District Library, 555 N. Maple Road in Saline
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Computer Q&A at the Saline District Library
Do you have questions about backing up files? Want to learn simple tricks for computer security? Or basic computer maintenance tips? Mateen from Jafferson Computer will be here to answer your basic computer questions. Feel free to bring in your laptop or tablet for questions, but not repairs.
Monday, Feb. 25, from 7-8 p.m.
Saline District Library, 555 N. Maple Road in Saline
Understanding Auto No-Fault
Michigan citizens pay some of the highest premiums in the nation for auto insurance. As the Vice Chair for the Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates, I will be keeping you up to date with developing policies and resources throughout the year. If you have any comments or questions about our no-fault system, feel free to reach out to my office.
Filling Empty Plates
After the longest federal government shutdown in American history, many of Michigan’s most vulnerable families lost access to SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits that provided necessary meals. Those that received February SNAP benefits early will now have to wait until mid-March for another installment. Because of this extra strain on SNAP distribution, many people will be needed supplemental help to fill their plates. This might be the most important time to donate to your local food pantry.
If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, Michigan 2-1-1 provides emergency food assistance or connects individuals with local food-giveaway centers. You can reach Michigan 2-1-1 by calling 2-1-1, texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or via their website, www.mi211.org.
I hope that this information has been helpful and that we will see you at future events.
State Representative Donna Lasinski