Welcome back to my e-newsletter. As your state representative, I’m here to help you and our community. Please contact my office toll-free at (888) 347-8048 if we can be of assistance to you.
Please note that Michigan House of Representatives’ offices will be closed on Friday, April 14, from 1-5 p.m. in observance of Good Friday.
I recently co-sponsored several pieces of legislation. Below are short summaries of each:
- A bill from state Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) to amend the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, requiring companies who provide telecommunication or video services to notify consumers when their current promotional billing rate will expire. This legislation would require the end date of the promotion be published on the two billing statements before the promotional rates expire so that the consumer is not surprised by unanticipated fees, and can seek opportunities for another discounted rate or other affordable services.
- A resolution from state Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) to recognize April 4, 2017, as Equal Pay Day in the state of Michigan. Equal Pay Day is the day marked each year when a women’s earnings catch up to what a man earned in the previous year. Basic workplace fairness, economic security for families and a stronger state economy will be better for Michigan as a whole. When we create a thriving economic climate where everyone earns a fair wage, we attract talent and encourage businesses to invest in Michigan.
- A resolution from state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) to increase awareness for Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is a bipartisan effort to encourage our young women to pursue academic and professional careers to increase the presence of women in vital roles in developing technology, clean energy, life-saving cures, and discovery for environmental, infrastructure challenges and more.
Nestlé Water Informational Session and Public Hearing
Several constituents have voiced their concerns to me regarding Nestlé’s application to increase its pumping capacity from 250 to 400 gallons per minute. The Department of Environmental Quality has announced that a public informational session will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, at the University Center on the Ferris State University campus in Big Rapids. Following that session, there will be a public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m. at that same location.
The public comment period for Nestlé’s request to increase its groundwater pumping in Michigan has also been extended until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 21. Written comments must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to MDEQ, Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division, Environmental Health Section, P.O. Box 30421, Lansing, MI 48909-7741.
State Income Tax Returns Due in Less Than a Month
Michigan taxpayers are reminded that state individual income tax returns are due in less than a month, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury. State income tax returns must be submitted electronically or postmarked through the U.S. mail by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18. Individuals are encouraged to e-file for greater return accuracy, enabling the Department of Treasury to process refunds faster. After filing a Michigan return, taxpayers can check the status of their refund online by going to www.michigan.gov/wheresmyrefund. Limited quantities of printed tax forms have been distributed to public libraries, U.S. Post Offices in Northern Michigan, Department of Health and Human Services county offices and Treasury Field Offices. For the convenience of taxpayers, both federal and state returns are due on Tuesday, April 18.
Also available is the 2017 Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide, a resource that may assist you in filling out your state income tax form. It contains information on Michigan property taxes, homestead property tax credits, individual income taxes, farmland and open space tax relief, and the home heating credit program. If you live in the 48th House District, please contact our office and we will gladly mail you a copy for free.
NRC Youth Conservation Council Now Accepting Applications for New Members
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications from young people ages 14 to 18 who are interested in a position on the Natural Resources Commission Youth Conservation Council. The council provides an academy-like structure offering youth an opportunity to gain leadership experience, explore outdoor recreation issues and participate in activities under the guidance of the DNR.
Applications will be accepted through Friday, April 28. Members will also have the opportunity to meet with local DNR staff to enhance their learning experience. During the meetings, members participate in discussions, conduct research and brainstorm ideas about ways to protect, promote, and enhance outdoor recreation and the use of Michigan's natural resources.
In addition, members will be expected to:
- Attend a Natural Resources Commission meeting.
- Write and submit three articles on outdoor activities for the Youth Conservation Council blog.
- Help develop and participate in local events to encourage kids to get outdoors.
Applications are available on the DNR website, along with a roster of frequently asked questions offering more detail about the Youth Conservation Council. Visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnreducation and find the NRC Youth Conservation Council under Youth Programs.
Completed applications must be postmarked by April 28, 2017, and mailed to:
NRC Youth Conservation Council
ATTN: Raymond Rustem
P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909
DNR Offers Advice for Those Who Find a Feathered Visitor Nesting in Their Yard This Spring
Michigan residents may get a surprise this spring in their gardens, flower boxes or even in the landscaping by their office buildings. Bird nests can be found in some unusual locations. Ducks nests, particularly mallard nests, seem to appear just about everywhere in the spring. Female mallards often build nests in landscaping, gardens or other locations that people may consider inappropriate. While finding a duck’s nest in an unexpected location may be a surprise, there is no need for concern.
Those fortunate enough to have a bird’s nest built in their yard, in a tree or on the ground, may have noticed that the baby birds are starting to outgrow their nests. If this is the case, please do not touch them. Their parents will continue to take care of them, even when they are on the ground. Touching a baby bird will not cause the adults to abandon it; however, if you move a baby bird, the parents may be unable to find and care for it. It is better to leave the baby bird alone to be raised by its parents.
Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including birds, in Michigan. Rehabilitators must adhere to the law, must have gone through training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals, and will work to return the animal to the wild, where it will have the best chance for survival. A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting www.mi.gov/wildlife or by calling a local DNR office.
Make Your Own Bookmarks
Join the Montrose-Jennings Library on Saturday, April 8, from 1-2 p.m. to color and laminate a unique bookmark using your own design or one of their printed ones. Card stock paper, colored pencils and a laminator will be provided. Please visit the Genesee District Library website to register.
Join the Davison Library on Saturday, April 8, from 2-3 p.m. to decorate an Easter egg. Kids of all ages are welcome. Please visit the Genesee District Library website to register.
Citizen Scientist: Watershed Monitor Training Day
Join the Flint River Watershed Coalition team on Thursday, April 13, from 6-8 p.m. at For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum and learn what it takes to become a Water Monitor.
Some call them Benthic Macroinvertebrates, others call them River Critters, but one thing is certain; they tell us how healthy our rivers, lakes and streams are – and it is a lot of fun catching and counting them. Pre-registration is required; contact Jaimie Welch at email@example.com or (810) 767-7140 to register.
Thetford Township Treasures and Craft Show
Thetford Township’s annual rummage sale is scheduled for Thursday, April 20, and Friday, April 21, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day at the Thetford Township Hall. NEW THIS YEAR: craft show at the Senior Center. For more information, please contact the Thetford Township Senior Center at (810) 686-5200.
“[Michigan] is one of the prettiest places in the world.” – Henry Ford, 1920.
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.