Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including updates and news from your state government.
Election Worker Protections Pass House
I am proud to report that legislation to protect election officials from intimidation passed the House last week and is now headed to the Senate. House Bills 4129 and 4130 would make a first and second offense of intimidating election workers a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses could be prosecuted as a felony.
Elections can’t take place without poll workers, who do this poorly paid temporary work out of a sense of civic duty. Threats of violence against election workers have increased and have caused many to leave the work altogether. As legislators, we must provide a sense of security and protect the people who make elections run smoothly. These bills ensure that election workers can effectively carry out their duties while protecting voters’ constitutional rights. This is the second term I have sponsored this legislation.
Legislature Passes $640M in Additional Funding
Last week, the Legislature passed legislation that will spend $640 million on our children, roads and public safety. House Bill 4292 and Senate Bill 174 passed the House on party-line votes. These funding bills include the following investments:
- $40 million for child development and care public assistance.
- $35 million for school-based health centers.
- $50 million to purchase drinking water filtration devices in schools and child care centers.
- $114 million for school district emergency load debt relief.
- $234 million for state trunkline road and bridge construction.
- $16.3 million for community enhancement grants.
- $14.5 million for state veterans facilities.
- $3 million to the State Police for highway safety planning including for programs on distracted driving, Click it or Ticket and child safety seat awareness.
- $57 million cost increase for Michigan State University to pay for renovations and additions to its greenhouses and dairy facilities.
Locally, the city of Lansing will receive a $1 million grant for a new elections facility, and Lansing Public Schools has been authorized to use its previously awarded school aid money to fund facility improvements to its Career and Technical Education Center.
Reproductive Health Act Passes House
Last week, the House passed several bills in the Reproductive Health Act (House Bills 4949, 4951, 4953, 4954, 4955 and 4956, Senate Bills 474, 476 and 477), which remove medically unnecessary barriers to abortion in Michigan. The passage of Proposal 3 last November, which amended the Michigan Constitution to guarantee reproductive freedom, made it clear that voters overwhelmingly support access to abortion care in our state. The bills in this package will:
- Prohibit criminal punishment for stillbirths and miscarriages.
- Allow properly trained advanced practice clinicians to perform abortions.
- Allow private insurance companies to provide coverage for abortions and other pregnancy related health care.
My bill (HB 4951) would repeal the criminal penalties currently associated with abortion restrictions.
The bills to remove the 24-hour waiting period for an abortion and to allow Medicaid to cover abortions and other pregnancy related health care were not taken up for a vote.
November is American Diabetes Month
Did you know that nearly 1 in 2 Americans has diabetes or prediabetes? If you or someone you know is living with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association has a variety of resources that may be able to help. If you are worried about your risk of diabetes, take the ADA free 60-second risk test!
You can also call 1-800-DIABETES to speak with someone live and receive general information on diabetes or visit www.diabetes.org. This is a great way to learn more about diabetes — from symptoms and treatment to management and medication.
Saturday is Veterans Day
Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to those who have served in our military. Whether they are at home or abroad, our active-duty service members, veterans and their families made countless sacrifices to keep our nation safe.
Earlier this year, the Michigan Legislature passed House Bill 4199, which would allow eligible National Guard members to transfer their Michigan National Guard State Tuition Assistance Program benefits to an eligible spouse and/or dependent.
Before this bill passed, the National Guard Tuition Assistance Program helped only eligible members of the Michigan National Guard pay for vocational or technical training, a certificate, or their first associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree.
We also passed legislation to ensure the surviving spouses of disabled veterans receive their property tax exemption. Senate Bill 176 would extend the disabled veteran property tax exemption to surviving military spouses, regardless of whether the disabled veteran ever shared the property with that spouse.
And House Bill 4850 would allow service members and their spouses to claim an exemption from jury service while they are on active duty. Active-duty military members were previously exempt from federal jury duty but were not exempt from serving on state or local juries.
Additionally, the 2024 state budget includes:
- $5 million for National Guard tuition benefit expansion to spouses and children of Guard members.
- $2 million in grants to prevent veteran homelessness.
- $1.2 million to prevent veteran suicide.
While more needs to be done to help our state’s veterans, I am proud to have voted for legislation that supports the brave men and women who have served our country.
Rep. Hope to Host Community Violence Intervention Town Hall in November
I am hosting a town hall on Community violence intervention from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, 5509 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Lansing. Community violence intervention is an approach that seeks to reduce violence through evidence-based strategies and tailored community-centered initiatives. CVI focuses on individuals who are most at-risk of experiencing or continuing violence in our communities and takes into account the many social, economic and institutional factors that perpetuate violence.
We’ll hear from activists, experts and community leaders. Community members are welcome to share their questions and concerns during this event. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP here.
Rep. Hope and AG Nessel Host Senior Scam Event in November
Special Guest Attorney General Dana Nessel and I will host a senior scam event on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Sam Corey Senior Center, 2108 Cedar St. in Holt. The Michigan Department of Attorney General will provide helpful information to protect seniors who are often targeted by scam artists.