Dear Friends,

Hello and welcome to the March edition of my e-newsletter! Spring is in the air, and your 100th legislature has been hard at work. The past month has been filled with community events and meetings with Allegan County residents. I’ve been able to take your concerns directly to Lansing, and I am excited to continue to do so. I’m committed to maintaining an open line of communication and I encourage all residents to contact our office and share your thoughts and concerns so that I can best represent you.

In this edition of my E-Newsletter you will find:

  • An update on my legislation and work as Chair of the DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • Our 2019-2020 Republican Action Plan
  • Your opportunity to submit ideas for auto insurance reform

If you ever have any questions or concerns about state government, or pending legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at (517) 373-0836 or by email marywhiteford@house.mi.gov. You are my priority and it is an honor to serve you.

Sincerely,

Mary Whiteford
State Representative
80th District

Monthly Coffee Hours
I will hold my next set of office hours on Monday, April 22, 2019, No appointment is necessary. Residents who are unable to meet during my scheduled office hours may contact my Lansing office at (855)-737-0080 or by e-mailing me at marywhiteford@house.mi.gov. Please stop by and say hello!

Chairing the DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee
It is a great honor to have been appointed Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). At more than 25 billion dollars, the department budget is nearly half of the entire State of Michigan budget. MDHHS is responsible for overseeing important programs such as the state’s Medicaid program, foster care and adoption services, food assistance, public health crisis programs, and many more.

Since the beginning of the term I have heard from department employees and stakeholders about different areas of the budget. At the beginning of March the Governor delivered her Executive Recommendation for the entire State of Michigan budget, and the department director provided an overview of the recommendation for DHHS. I am examining each area closely and am working towards a consensus budget that serves the people of Michigan, and uses tax dollars wisely.

Developing a Mental Health Hotline
On March 14 my plan for a statewide mental health hotline was voted out of the House Health Policy Committee. House Bill 4051 creates a telephone referral hotline system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that will connect individuals experiencing a mental health crisis to a local provider. The hotline will be able to screen and refer individuals who need mental health services, substance use disorder treatment and rehabilitation services to the appropriate level of care so that those people get the help they need. This could help prevent issues from escalating into a crisis, or prevent those in crisis from hurting themselves or others.

It is important to look for innovative ways to bring people the help they need. I will continue to work on this important hotline to ensure access to critical mental health care is available for all of Michigan’s residents. HB 4051 is now before the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.

Nurse Licensure Compact
I reintroduced my legislation to have Michigan join the National Nurse Licensure Compact. House Bill 4042 would allow a Michigan registered nurse, or a practical or vocational nurse to apply for an additional license that allows them to practice in other compact states. It would also allow registered or practical nurses in other compact states who meet certain criteria to practice in Michigan. Currently 31 states have joined the Nurse Licensure Compact.

This commonsense legislation removes unnecessary complications for nurses to practice. It makes it more straightforward for nurses who live on state borders to practice in the neighboring state. It also allows hospitals to fill open nursing positions more easily by increasing the pool of eligible nurses, and allows nurses to quickly and easily respond to provide services during disasters in other compact states.

HB 4042 has been referred to the House Committee on Health Policy for consideration. We are expecting to have a hearing soon!

Leading the Way: Our 2019-2020 Action Plan
I joined my Republican colleagues this month in unveiling our action plan called “Leading the Way for an Even Better Michigan.” This plan includes our priorities that will guide us over the next two years.

Some of the priorities include:

  • Lower car insurance rates
  • Investments to improve schools and job prep programs
  • Road and water improvements
  • More accessible mental health support services

The plan is available to the public on the Michigan House Republican website.

We want to hear YOUR ideas for auto insurance
The House has launched a special website designed to keep people informed about the House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates and to give YOU the chance to have your voice heard.

Michigan drivers currently pay the highest car insurance rates in the country. The committee was established to help lower rates and give people relief.

The website allows anyone to easily offer input that they believe could help shape future legislation. This is a great opportunity for Allegan County residents to tell their personal stories and ideas for lowering car insurance rates. Together we can find a solution.

March is Reading Month!
As part of March is Reading Month, I have been visiting schools throughout Allegan County to read aloud to students.

Reading is a critical part of education and this special month gives me the opportunity to show kids how much fun it can be!



I had a great time reading to Fennville Elementary students for March is Reading Month!

Constituent Connections


A special congratulations to Evie Lyzenga on your retirement, and thank you for your many years of service to the Allegan District Library!


I was glad to join Luke and James to help celebrate earning their Arrow of Light award!


Senator Aric Nesbitt and I presented a tribute to Nathan Hill to honor him at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor


I love meeting with our farmers! Senator Aric Nesbitt and I got to meet with Brad Lubbers and Lisa Russcher from the Allegan County Farm Bureau


What a privilege it was to meet with these students from the YMCA Youth in Government program!


I love school visits! These students from North Shore Elementary asked excellent questions about state government!


I was honored to be named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Pharmacists Association. I am joined here by Larry Wagonknect and Dep Sopo from the MPA.


Darryl Waggoner and Shannon Everett came to the capitol to advocate for early childhood education. Thank you for the work that you do!


Congratulations to Debbie Kaylor for opening On the Grid. My mom and I loved our lunch!


I was glad for the chance to meet with Craig Atwood when the County Road Association came for their annual meeting in Lansing


These Future Farmers of America students came to my testimony hearing! Thanks for your great questions, and your interest in state government!

Visiting Lansing?
My priority is always you! If you plan to visit Lansing for a conference or meeting, please contact my office in advance so I can make every effort to meet with you while you are in town.

Celebrating a Special Occasion?
My office is happy to offer legislative tributes in honor of a number of noteworthy events such as retirement, anniversaries of businesses in our community, awards and public recognitions.

STATE GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

 

State Government Links

The Official State, County and City Government Website Locator: www.statelocalgov.net/state-mi.cfm

Michigan Senate website: www.senate.michigan.gov

Michigan House of Representatives website: www.house.michigan.gov

Michigan Legislative Website: www.legislature.mi.gov

Unemployment Issues: If you are having issues connecting with the state unemployment office or receiving your unemployment benefits, please feel free to contact me by calling 517-373-0836. You may also find additional helpful information at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency website: http://www.michigan.gov/uia/0,1607,7-118-26831—,00.html