Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.
Last week, I introduced House Bill 4513 to establish penalties for equal pay non-compliance. This bill was a part of a package of bills introduced by the Progressive Women’s Caucus aimed at ending pay inequality in our state. Policies that protect equal pay are important for everyone, but wage discrimination disproportionality impacts women in Michigan.
According to wage data released by the National Partnership for Women and Families, a typical Michigan woman earns 74 cents for every dollar earned by a typical Michigan man when both have a similar education and experience level. The difference equates to an annual earning deficit of about $13,000 for full-time working women. The gap between men’s and women’s earnings is even greater for African-American and Hispanic women, who earn 64 cents and 57 cents to each dollar earned by a man, respectively.
Lost income due to wage discrimination means less money for women and their families, less money to spend on goods and services, and less money to save and invest for the future. Pay equity matters not just to women, but to their families and our state’s economy as a whole.
I also co-sponsored several other pieces of legislation. Below are short summaries of each:
- A bill from Rep. Vaupel requiring that medical providers, upon receipt of a positive prenatal or postnatal test which indicates a probable diagnosis of spina bifida, to provide information on this birth defect to the mother. More information will be made available on the MI Department of Health & Human Services website.
- A bill from Rep. Sneller that would allow townships to establish a special assessment district for mosquito abatement. Currently, cities and counties are allowed under law to do a special assessment for mosquito spraying, but townships are not.
- A resolution from Rep. Sowerby that urges Congress to eliminate the cap on taxable wages for Social Security. By eliminating the cap on taxable wages we will be better funding a program that millions depend on and also reducing our federal deficit by at least $633 billion over a 10 year period.
The budget process is now coming into full swing as the full House and Senate vote on budgets that will go to conference committee where differences in the two plans will be worked out. I am not yet happy with this budget. I believe the cuts from the governor’s recommendation that exist in the House and Senate’s budgets threaten many Michiganders who are most in need of support. Among my top priorities for improvement are adequate funding for programs that aim to get more girls in Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs; increasing the per-pupil funding for our public schools; and protecting programs for seniors, like in-home healthcare and Meals on Wheels. I appreciate that many constituents took the time to contact me and share support for their personal priorities. I will continue to do my best throughout the remainder of the budget process to protect the programs that are most important to my district and our state.
MDOT Lifts All Spring Weight Restrictions
As of April 24, weight restrictions have been lifted on all state trunkline highways in the entire state of Michigan. State trunkline highways typically carry M, I, or US designations. For weight restriction information and updates, call 800-787-8960, or you can access this information on MDOT's website at www.michigan.gov/truckers, under "Restrictions." All-season routes are designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map, which is available online. You also may sign up to receive e-mail alerts.
DNR Advises Caution to Prevent Spread of Oak Wilt Disease
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is reminding residents they can help prevent the spread of oak wilt disease this spring. April 15 marks the beginning of the yearly window when oak wilt can be transmitted from diseased to healthy red oak trees. According to Roger Mech, Forest Health program specialist for the DNR Forest Resources Division, oak wilt is a serious disease of oak trees that mainly affects red oaks, including northern red oak, black oak and pin oak. Red oaks often die within a few weeks after becoming infected. White oaks are more resistant; therefore, the disease progresses more slowly. He said the spread of oak wilt occurs during this time of year as beetles move spores from fungal fruiting structures on the trees killed last year by oak wilt to wounds on healthy oaks. Unfortunately, he said, many people learn not to prune trees from mid-April to mid-July only after they lose their oaks to oak wilt.
For more information on the background, symptoms and prevention of oak wilt, visit www.michigan.gov/invasives or check out the USDA’s How to Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt brochure.
To report a suspected oak wilt site, email DNR-FRD-Forest-Health@michigan.gov or call (517) 284-5895.
To learn more about oak wilt and other forest health issues in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/foresthealth.
Anyone Can Hunt Wild Turkey During Michigan’s Spring Season
Michigan’s long-awaited guaranteed spring turkey hunt – Hunt 234 – began on May 1.
“The intent of the spring turkey season is to provide opportunity to all hunters while maintaining high-quality turkey hunting,” said Department of Natural Resources upland game bird biologist Al Stewart. “Hunt 234 is a great way for anyone to get out hunting this spring, with a month of hunting and the ability to buy your license over the counter without an application.”
Hunt 234 is a statewide hunting license valid for all open areas, except public lands in the southern Lower Peninsula (Hunt Unit ZZ). The Hunt 234 license can be purchased at any time throughout the May 1-May 31 season.
“Don’t forget, you can commemorate your 2017 spring turkey season with a wild turkey cooperator patch. You do not have to harvest a bird to receive this collector’s patch,” said Stewart. “With the help of the Michigan Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Foundation, this patch program has contributed dollars to turkey-related projects and management here in Michigan.”
Young hunters, 17 years old and younger, who have a valid wild turkey hunting license may receive a free patch. To receive a patch, please send name and complete address, along with a legible copy of the youth’s valid wild turkey hunting license, to National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 8, Orleans, MI, 48865. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. If you have questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may purchase the patch for $5, including postage and handling. Only the current-year patch is available for purchase. You do not have to harvest a turkey to purchase a patch. Send orders to the address above and make check or money order payable to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Every resident or nonresident who hunts in Michigan needs an annual base license. Once the base license is purchased, hunters can buy a spring turkey license. The DNR recommends purchasing a license in person at a DNR Customer Service Center, or anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold, in order to have the spring turkey license in time for the season. A turkey license includes a kill tag, which must be attached to the turkey immediately when harvested.
If you have questions, call (517) 284-WILD, or (517) 284-9453.
MI Student Aid Snapchat Contest
In an effort to increase engagement and interaction on their Snapchat account, MI Student Aid will have a monthly contest! Each month, a theme will be designated for our followers to use in their snaps. In accordance with College Decision Day, the theme for May will be “Rep Your School.” To enter, simply follow @mistudentaid on Snapchat, and send us a selfie in your college gear. Sending us a selfie automatically enters you into a drawing for a MI Student Aid Prize Pack, which contains a Bluetooth speaker, t-shirt, sunglasses, AC wall adapter, water bottle, and more!
Contest ends at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on Monday, May 8. Official rules and eligibility requirements can be found HERE.
Michigan Butterfly Network: Monitor Training (Part I and II)
Saturday, May 6, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum
Saturday, May 13, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Formar Nature Preserve, 2142 N. Genesee Road in Burton
Learn how you can be part of this statewide Citizen Science project to monitor and collect valuable information about Michigan Butterfly populations. Participants will be trained in butterfly identification, monitor protocol, implementation and data reporting. Part II is scheduled for Saturday, May 13, and you must attend both part I and part II to be part of the project. You’re still welcome if you can only attend one part, but you won’t be able to participate in the project. Free for all ages, suggested for children 12 and older, all abilities. Pre-registration is required; please call (810) 736-7100 to register and for more information.
Nature Mindfulness and Meditation
Saturday, May 7, from 1 to 2 p.m.
Formar Nature Preserve, 2142 N. Genesee Road in Burton
Join Todd Robinson, a mindfulness and meditation master with more than 30 years of experience, for weekly meditations on the grounds at For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum from. During each session you will have a chance to relax with nature while learning useful, every day, stress relieving techniques. We suggest participants bring something comfortable to sit on and dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, please call (810) 736-7100 for more information.
Avian Adventure: Warbler Walk
Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to noon
Formar Nature Preserve, 2142 N. Genesee Road in Burton
Genesee County Parks is known for having many species of warblers flying through as they move north and a few that even stay for the summer. Bring a pair of binoculars and our For-Mar Naturalist will lead you on a birding hike. For more information, please call (810) 736-7100.
Genesee County Recycle Day
Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Davison High School, 1250 N. Oak Road in Davison
Items that can be recycled are:
- Oil Based Paint and Solvents
- Corrosives (Acids/Bases)
- Automotive Fluids
- Mercury (Elemental)
- Fluorescent Bulbs
- Electronics – all kinds
- Old Prescriptions
- Fire Extinguishers
- Smoke Detectors
- Tires-up to 7 (on/off rim)
- Air Conditioners
- Propane Cylinders (up to 30 lbs each)
- Batteries-Household and Auto
Please visit www.gcmpc.org for more information
“It is impossible to look upon the present situation of Michigan and not be impressed. It is destined soon to emerge as a great, rich state… the future of Michigan appears to be certain, defined, full of promise and expansion.” Edward Tifflin, 1815
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