Monday, February 18, 2013

Fundraiser, Regulatory Reform and Competitiveness Committees, House Session, Coffee/Tea Hours, Dem Listening Tour, Community Events/Updates

Happy President’s Day! I hope everyone had a great weekend.

First, before diving into the issues, I wanted to announce my first FUNDRAISER of the year! While the campaign just ended last year, campaigning never really ends. I have already heard of a Democratic primary opponent for my re-election next year (that’s right…just a month in the job and this person wants to challenge me already!). Additionally, I continue to talk to constituents and residents, and many times that must be done through campaign resources. So, I hope you will be able to join me at my first fundraiser of the year. Or, if you are not in the Lansing area, I hope you will be willing to contribute to my re-election effort.

If you are in the area, you can come to the Michigan Municipal League office (208 N Capitol Ave, 1st Floor) on February 28th for breakfast from 8 – 9:30 am. Should be a great time! Please RSVP to or call me at 517-618-1666.

If you are not in the area and are willing to contribute, or if you cannot make it that day, please go to and click on the donate button. Or you can mail a check to PO Box 13073, Lansing, MI 48901.

Now, for the legislative stuff…

I had two committees meet last week. The first was the Regulator Reform committee. As you may recall, this committee deals with all regulated industries. We first heard a presentation from the Office of Regulator Reform. Regulatory Reform. They discussed administrative rules, and how the office is trying to reduce the number of rules. There are about 20,000 regulatory rules, and the office is trying to remove those rules that don't make sense or make Michigan anti-competitive. The Regulator Reform committee will be reviewing legislation dealing with these rules which are recommendations from the several "administrative rules committees" that met last year. Some I will agree with, and some I will not. Personally, I want to reduce unnecessary and redundant rules and help Michigan's competitiveness and economic development, but I don't want to lessen safety and public health for residents.

After the presentation, we heard testimony on bills that would create new regulations for the new sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The irony was not lost on committee members that after hearing of the reduction in regulation, we were considering bills that would create new regulations! These bills, sponsored by Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) are a reintroduction of bills that passed the House last year when sponsored by Rep. Dave Agema (R-74th District). These bills would create new regulations for amateur mixed martial arts competitions and would create licensing, regulations, violations, an advisory committee, and a fund. They also create penalties for violations of the act. There are no standards now for this sport and its promoters, and we heard some real horror stories. There have been many mismatches of fighters, and fighters of different skills required to fight, which have led to serious injuries of the fighters. There is no medical availability for wound treatment, very limited requirements for insurance, and very real dangers for the fighters. Several of the fighters testified and gave examples of the dangerous situations. While they realized that they choose to fight, they pointed out that there should still be precautions just like other sports. There were questions from committee members about age of fighters and substance abuse. Both will be addressed in the bills. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs testified neutral. They asked to require an ambulance presence during the event, a doctor ringside, an age limit of 18,and prevention of a fighter fighting multiple times in a day (possibly only if there was injury). They also asked to have professionals and amateurs regulated in the same act. There was no testimony in opposition to the bills, and we expect to pass this legislation out of committee tomorrow.

My second committee that met was the Competitiveness Committee. This was an organizational meeting, where we found out that the committee would be broken up into three workgroups to review areas of competition in Michigan. The Democrats expressed opposition to the fact that these workgroups would be meeting privately without public comment. The Republican Vice Chair of the committee said that this was a way for members to express their opinions and work on issues that can be recommended to the entire committee then discussed in public. These workgroups will be meeting until early April then, presumably, will be coming back to the full committee for discussion. I was assigned to the workgroup to discuss "what Michigan must do to become a top jobs provider and
magnet for retaining/attracting business and talent." According to the Chair's document, this includes: regional jobs hub, attracting jobs providers to Michigan, relocation consultants, creating positive
economic environment, cost of energy, getting people to come back to Michigan, why are people leaving, competition vs. collaboration, border issues with Indiana and Canada, impact of regional tax variances, German model for skilled trades, workforce development, money following students, importance of internships, cross-cultural talent magnet, talent retention, vocational issues, and importance of education. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas (legislative or otherwise) regarding the above issues, please send them my way. I plan to bring to the table placemaking and talent attraction/retention.

In House session, we passed our first two bills. The first bill was non-controversial and dealt with regulations of security alarm companies. Our second bill was a tax bill that needed a date change to become effective now instead of April 1st. We also started working up a bill dealing with ensuring that sex offenders are on the public list (SB 44). I expect that this bill will come up this week, and will report more on it after debate and a vote.

My first Coffee and Tea with Andy was held on Saturday at The Avenue (formerly Gone Wired CafĂ©). It went very well! We had about 20 people there and had great conversations about upcoming legislation coming in the House of Representatives. We also discussed some of my first bills introduced. Great comments and great questions! The next Coffee and Tea with Andy will be Monday, April 8 at the Gier Community Center (2400 Hall Street, Lansing). But before that, there will be a House Democratic Caucus Listening Tour event (called “The Real State of the State”) at the Delta Township Library (5130 Davenport Drive) on March 7th from 6-7 pm. It will be hosted by Rep. Theresa Abed, Rep. Sam Singh, and me. I hope everyone will try to be there to share what you think the priorities should be for our state!

As many of you know, I do an e-newsletter from my State Representative office. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to share community events in that official newsletter (which I think is ridiculous). But those are the House rules as set by the majority party. I do my best to list many of these community events on facebook daily ( and I hope everyone has subscribed (“liked”) my facebook page. I will also list them below.

As always, you can email my office at or call at 517-373-0826!


Community Update/Events

Volunteer Nominations for the 2013 Governor's Service Award
The Michigan Community Service Commission is currently accepting nominations for the 2013
Governor's Service Award. To nominate an outstanding individual, organization, or business committed
to service and volunteerism, call 517.335.4295 or visit Eight awards
will be presented by the Michigan Community Service Commission in various categories reflecting the
diversity of volunteers in our state at this summer's Governor's Service Awards celebration. Note that
the deadline for nominations is Friday, March 1st.

Annual Backpack Drive
Lansing Community College's Sign Language/Interpreter Program is currently accepting gently used
backpack and large duffle bag donations to help meet basic school needs of deaf children in third world
countries. Donations can be dropped off at Lansing Community College's Gannon Building, located at
500 N. Grand Avenue, through Friday, March 1st. For more information, call 517.483.1546 or e-mail is-

Westside Neighborhood Association Scholarships
The Westside Neighborhood Association is currently seeking applications for two $1,000 scholarships
scheduled to be awarded in the 2013/2014 academic year. For more information about how to apply,
visit: Note that
applications are due for submission no later than Friday, March 1st.

Military Officers Association Scholarships
The Capital Area Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America's expanded scholarship program
is currently offering a number of scholarship grants in blocks of $1,000 to $1,250 and book allowances of
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Lansing Alumnae Chapter Scholarship
The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Lansing Alumnae Chapter is currently accepting applications for
its annual scholarship, which it awards to deserving Lansing-area high school seniors. For information
about submitting an application for the scholarship, visit All
applications are due on April 15th.

Capitol Area District Library Mid-Day Movies
Every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., the Downtown Lansing Branch of the Capital Area District Library (located
at 401 S. Capitol Avenue), hosts a free movie viewing in its auditorium. To find out each week's film
selection or for more information, call 517.367.6363.
Free Tax Assistance from AARP

This year, the AARP is once again providing free tax assistance and preparation for taxpayers with low to
moderate incomes through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. In 2012, 1,067 AARP Foundation
Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 75,000 Michigan residents file their federal, state, and local tax

Volunteers Needed for American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is currently seeking Cancer Resource Center volunteers in our area.
Volunteers will be asked to commit to work a minimum of eight hours per month at Sparrow Regional
Cancer center in Lansing. Interested individuals should contact Julie Renner for more information or to
sign up to volunteer. She can be reached at 517.664.1361.

Flu Season is Here
As most of you know, we're in the midst of a touch flu season. If you have the flu, stay home and follow
your doctor's recommendations to help prevent the spread of the flu. If you don't have the flu, the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services recommends that everyone six months of age and older gets
a flu shot. To find a location offering flu vaccines near you, visit

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