Welcome to my September Legislative Update. As the school year gets underway and many other great fall activities fill our schedules, I am excited to be back in Lansing working for you. I was so glad to be able to spend extra time in the summer months attending events throughout our community and learning about what you need from state government. I am proud of the work done by the House thus far this year, but I know there is much more to be done. I look forward to continuing to be a strong advocate for the hardworking people of Southwest Michigan.
Updates you will find in this edition of my newsletter are:
Ø School Resumes with Record State Funding on Tap
Ø Rep. Griffin to Host Veterans Roundtable
Ø Bipartisan Mental Health Task Force Continues Work
Ø Rep. Griffin Hosts Local Law Enforcement
Ø Secretary of State Now Issuing Optional REAL ID Compliant Licenses
School Resumes with Record State Funding on Tap
As the school year begins, schools in our community will see a record amount of state funding in the school aid budget. School districts across Michigan will receive, at minimum, an additional $60 per student under the 2017-18 budget, with schools at the lower end of the funding spectrum receiving increases of $120 per student.
As a teacher, Rep. Griffin can attest to the fact that every dollar spent on education is stretched to its fullest to achieve as much as possible in the classroom. A majority of school districts in our community will receive a $120-per-student increase to help make up a funding gap that has existed between lower and higher funded school districts.
The budget for the coming fiscal year also includes an additional $25-per-pupil allocation for high school students on top of the base increase because of the extra costs associated with educating high school students. In addition, the funding formula includes an extra $25 for each at-risk student, helping to ensure that these students receive the additional support they may need. We are also investing more in career and technical education to give students more options after high school. As many of you know, there are a number of good-paying jobs available in the skilled trades, and they remain unfilled because we do not have enough people qualified for these jobs. Adding more skilled trades training opportunities for our students will make it possible for them to be better prepared to enter the workforce.
While we are making important and record breaking investments in educating Michigan’s students, Rep. Griffin knows that this work is not done. She looks forward to continuing to work with her colleagues in the Legislature and education leaders across Michigan to ensure our students receive the best education possible.
Rep. Griffin to Host Veterans Roundtable
On Monday, October 2nd, Rep. Griffin will be hosting a veterans roundtable from 9:00-10:00am at the Paw Paw American Legion Hall located at 115 N. Niles Street, Paw Paw. Director James Redford of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency will join Rep. Griffin. The discussion will focus on issues that veterans encounter when interacting with state government. Director Redford will give a brief presentation about the agency and what it can provide, as well as who Michigan veterans can contact to get more information specific to their situation. All veterans are encouraged to attend and to ask questions that they may have regarding veteran benefits.
Veterans who would like to attend are encouraged to RSVP via email to BethGriffin@house.mi.gov or by phone to 1-800-577-6212.
Bipartisan Mental Health Task Force Continues Work
The House C.A.R.E.S. Task Force (named for its commitment to community, access, resources, education, and safety) continues its work this month by traveling throughout the state to learn from officials who work with individuals with mental health challenges. The bipartisan group has heard from drug courts, homeless shelters, hospitals, law enforcement, and more. The overall goal of the task force is to gather information and craft legislation to allow the state’s most vulnerable individuals to live happier, healthier lives. If you have an idea you would like to share with the task force, please visit www.House.MI.gov/CARES.
Secretary of State Now Issuing Optional REAL ID Compliant Licenses
Michigan residents now have the option of applying for a driver license or ID card that will allow them to board flights and enter federal facilities in compliance with recent changes in federal law. These cards prevent illegal copying or altering and protect against fraud by requiring people to verify their identity, residency, Social Security number, and citizenship or legal presence when applying for a card.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will not allow Michigan residents carrying a driver’s license or ID card that does not comply with the federal REAL ID Act to board domestic flights, or enter federal buildings, nuclear plants or military bases unless they have another accepted identity document. Without a card accepted by the federal government, Michigan residents will face the inconvenience and extra expense of having to get a passport or another accepted document to fly or visit federal buildings.
Michigan enhanced driver licenses are already REAL ID-compliant so cardholders do not need to apply for a compliant card.
To learn more about REAL ID licenses and ID cards, click here.
Rep. Griffin Hosts Local Law Enforcement
Rep. Griffin hosted Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott and Van Buren County Undersheriff Chad Hunt as her guests for the Michigan House’s annual Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Capitol on Thursday, September 7th. The ceremony remembers first responders and members of the military from Michigan who died in the line of duty in the past year.
You can also get updates from Rep. Griffin’s Facebook page, which you can find at www.facebook.com/RepBethGriffin
*The Michigan House of Representatives is responsible only for content submitted with House resources and in accordance with the law and House policy. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
Monthly Coffee Hours
Fourth Monday of the Month
Greg’s Paw Paw Blend
804 S. Kalamazoo St, Paw Paw, MI 49079
561 Huron St., South Haven, MI 49090
Decatur Village Hall
114 N Phelps St, Decatur, MI 49045
Cooper Township Hall
1590 West D Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Michigan Legislature: www.legislature.mi.gov
Michigan House of Representatives: www.house.mi.gov
Michigan Senate: www.senate.mi.gov
Van Buren County: www.vbco.org
Kalamazoo County: www.kalcounty.com
Rep. Griffin’s Lansing Office
Physical Address: 124 N. Capitol Ave.
S-1085 House Office Building
Lansing, MI 48933
Mailing Address: S-1085 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Phone: (517) 373-0839
Toll Free: (800) 577-6212