Saturday, June 30, 2012

Road Advisory Board, Preventative Care and Contraception, Health Center Funding, Health Community Sessions, Campaign Update

Sorry for this blog being late again. As you can imagine, things are very busy right now...but I am still committed to getting out the information about the Board of Commissioners!

We had a full Board of Commissioners meeting this week. We first took up the resolution creating a road advisory board for the Ingham County Department of Transportation and Roads. Commissioner Holman explained that the resolution sets up an advisory board made up of the 16 township supervisors and/or their representatives from throughout the county. This advisory board will assist the managing director with strategic planning, reviewing data and projects for federal aid, reviewing and recommending on local construction, etc. Commissioner Bahar-Cook offered an amendment to tighten up procedure moving forward, which requires the advisory board to report back to the Board of Commissioners regarding any changes to the advisory board within 6 months, and to actually make changes within 18 months. The amendment passed unanimously, and resolution passed 15-1 (Commissioner DeLeon opposed it).

We then considered a resolution calling for access to preventative health care including contraception, with no co-pays or cost sharing. We have clinics at our health centers that deal with contraception, so this resolution does pertain to county business. The Lansing Area National Organization for Women asked us to consider this to express our support for access to preventative health care services for contraception for women and to strongly support insurance without co-pays or cost sharing for contraception. We had two amendments offered to this resolution. With the US Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act still in doubt at that time (we met on Tuesday), we passed an amendment offered by Commissioner Rebecca Baher-Cook (she was really busy this week!) to remove all language referencing that Act in our resolution. . We didn't want to pass a resolution based on that Act since it could be struck down. This amendment passed unanimously.

Commissioner Victor Celentino next offered an amendment. He said that there is good language in the resolution, but is concerned about the implications on religious institutions. He specifically was concerned that churches would have to offer contraception when they do not believe in that as part of their religions practice. His amendment would call for exempting religious institutions. There were questions, though, about what religious institutions would be exempt from having to provide coverage by those that have religious beliefs against these services. Would it be churches, or would it be hospital systems that are religious-based? Several indicated that religious liberties are important, as indicated by the president recently, but that this language goes too far. I asked if anyone had any clarification language since this was considered confusing in committee. I indicated that we should be consistent with federal law. Commissioner Celentino said that he things that this would just be for churches. Commissioners Tennis and Koenig indicated they thought that we solved this issue by removing references to the Affordable Care Act and instead just saying that we encourage protection for contraception without co-pays. The amendment failed on a 5-11 vote, and the resolution passed on an 11-5 vote.

Finally, we considered a resolution that increases monetary awards to continue Child and Adolescent Health Centers in Lansing. Commissioner Schafer indicated support, but stated that at one time there were clinics in Weberville, Leslie, and Stockbridge, and that there is no coverage to those parts of the county now. He implored the Commission to remember the southern part of the county, and and that there is no access in the southern part. needs across the county should be looked at.
Commissioner DeLeon responded saying that those people have the same access at any of the clinics, and that those clinics were closed for lack of use, Commissioner Grebner expanded on this, saying that when there were lots of migrant farm workers, there was usage a greater use of public clinics in these parts of the county. When those populations went away due to the mechanization of farming, though, the need was no longer there. He said we have cost-effective clinics, which the Republicans should love, and that money in clinics goes to where there is the population. The resolution passed unanimously.

Are you interested in improving the health of your community? The Ingham County Health Department (with the Eaton, Ingham, Clinton Health!CapitolCounties initiative) is holding community dialogue sessions to discuss our health issues, stories, and experiences! In Lansing, the session is at the Cooley Temple Conference Center (217 S. Capitol Avenue) on Tuesday, July 17th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. Those interested in registering or who want more information about this project can go to . There are also sessions in St Johns, Charlotte, Dansville, DeWitt, East Lansing, and Eaton Rapids. If you want information on those, or have other questions, please call (517) 887-4428 or email Registration is limited based on the size of the venue, so register early!

Campaign Update: The campaign continues to go exceptionally well. Absentee ballots are now available, and you can call the City Clerk for a ballot. We have hit many, many houses (announcement to come!) and have gained a few more big endorsements (announcement to come!). Last week, we announced that the Police Officers Association of Michigan and the Michigan Association of Police Organizations endorsed my campaign. We also announced the National Organization of Women supports me, which is critical as the Republicans continue to target women in their legislation. Fundraising has also continued to come in well, and we expect to be funded for our needs through the rest of the campaign. We have many people out knocking doors for me, and we hope to have many more throughout July and the first week of August. 20 days until election day! Please go to or email me at if you want to knock doors, need a yard sign, want to make a contribution, or want to help the campaign in any other way. Thanks everyone for all your help!!!

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