Dear Friend,

Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.

Committee Assignments Announced for 2017-18 Legislative Session

I am proud to announce my appointment to the House Appropriations Committee for the 2017-18 legislative session. This will be my third term serving on the Appropriations Committee, and I look forward to being a voice for Genesee County residents as we make decisions regarding Michigan’s financial future. I am honored to serve as the Democratic vice chairwoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Medicaid Subcommittees, in addition to being a member of the School Aid and Department of Education Subcommittee. It is no secret that DHHS and Education are the two largest portions of the state’s budget, and I am excited at the prospect of effecting positive change through these subcommittees.

Legislative Update

I recently co-sponsored several pieces of legislation. Below are short summaries of each:

  • A resolution from Rep. Julie Alexander to recognize Feb. 1, 2017, as “Blue Star Mother’s Day.” Blue Star Mothers is a national organization of mothers whose sons and daughters serve honorably in the nation’s armed forces. Blue Star Mothers was founded in Flint in 1942.
  • A resolution from Rep. Tim Sneller that declares Feb. 11, 2017, as White Shirt Day in the state of Michigan. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) famous Flint Sit-Down Strike that ended in 1937, resulting in the first contract with General Motors. The Flint Sit-Down Strike was one of the most important strikes in American history that paved the way for higher pay and improved benefits, creating a positive atmosphere for all of America’s working men and women. The shirts represent the equal respect and treatment of workers and the unity and strength of UAW members.
  • A resolution to allow for ALL 100 percent disabled veterans to apply for the disabled veteran’s property tax exemption for the tax year in which the Department of Veterans Affairs rated them 100 percent disabled as a result of a service-connected disability for that specific time period, regardless of whether they are rated permanently disabled or not.
  • A package of bills to establish criteria for the water testing method and action level for both child day care and schools. Additionally, it will increase transparency by requiring water providers to submit an annual report to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding water rates and how they were determined, along with information about water shut-offs in the previous year broken down by geographic area and type of customer (residential, commercial, senior citizens, etc.).

MLK National Day of Service a Success

Thousands of Michigan residents volunteered on the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and made a significant impact in communities across the state. The Michigan Community Service Commission, along with other nonprofit organizations, supported 22 volunteer projects across Michigan. The projects engaged nearly 3,000 volunteers in more than 5,000 volunteer hours, benefitting more than 50,000 Michigan residents. “We are proud to support volunteer projects for National Days of Service,” said Michigan Community Service Commission Executive Director Ginna Holmes. “What Michiganders accomplished on Martin Luther King Jr. Day is truly inspiring.”

Read more about MLK Day highlights on the Michigan Community Service Commission website.

MCSC Offering Awards for 2017 Global Youth Service Day Projects

The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) is offering awards to Michigan organizations who wish to host volunteer service projects engaging youth as part of the 2017 Global Youth Service Day, from April 21-23.

These awards are intended to encourage volunteer projects that address education, health, clean energy/environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, disaster preparedness, supporting veterans and military families, public safety, or hunger and homelessness. Priority will be given to projects that include youth in the project planning process and incorporate youth voice.  Read the full guidelines on the Michigan Community Service Commission website.

Eligibility for Lifeline Telephone Discount Program Expanded

Now includes Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits Program participants

The Michigan Public Service Commission announced that eligibility for the Lifeline telephone discount program has been expanded to include participants in the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits Program. Lifeline makes basic local telephone or broadband service more affordable on a monthly basis for income-eligible families throughout Michigan. Qualified participants receive a monthly discount for telephone or broadband service. Lifeline discounts range from $9.25 per month for those under the age of 65 to $12.35 per month for those aged 65 or older (for telephone service only). Customers, depending on eligibility and service criteria, may apply the Lifeline discount toward Lifeline broadband services instead of Lifeline voice service.

To apply for the Lifeline program, contact your local landline telephone company.

Michigan celebrates 180th birthday with Statehood Day

Join the Michigan History Center in Lansing on Saturday, Jan. 28, to celebrate 180 years of rich and diverse Michigan history. Special guests and staff will commemorate the people who created our state, including First peoples, statesmen and eager citizens. Admission to the Michigan History Museum is free for the day, courtesy of the Michigan History Foundation. The Michigan History Center’s special celebration, starting at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m., will include opportunities to:

  • Enjoy a slice of birthday cake.
  • Try out bookmaking and ink penmanship with special guests from the Library of Michigan.
  • Learn about Native culture and traditions past and present with Nokomis Learning Center.
  • Practice surveying with the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors Reenactment Group.
  • Participate in historic craft and trade demonstrations – make a corn husk doll, learn how wool becomes clothing and churn some butter.
  • View statehood documents, including Michigan’s first constitution, a letter from President Andrew Jackson and a rare manumission document.

For those who can’t make it to Lansing, some of these statehood documents are available to view online. For more information, please visit:

Groundhog Day Fun!

Visit For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum on Sunday, Jan. 29, from 1-3 p.m. to find out if Punxsutawney For-Mar sees his shadow. There will be crafts, activities and ground hog “tunnels and dens” to play in. For more information, please visit the Genesee County Parks website.

“If you would seek a beautiful peninsula, look around you.” -Anonymous

I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.


State Representative Pam Faris

48th House District