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Friends and Neighbors,

Serving the people of Livingston and Washtenaw Counties is very important to me, and I encourage you to contact me with any state issue you may have. You may email [email protected] or call (517) 373-2420. Also, please check out my Facebook page. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

Working for you,

Lana Theis
State Senator

Fall Photo Contest Launching Today

I am happy to announce that my popular fall photo contest is back this year for residents of the 22nd Senate District. The top two photos will be chosen as winners and will be put on display in my Lansing office.

This is an excellent opportunity to highlight the many wonderful places and scenes in our part of the state as fall sets in and the leaves begin to change color. I look forward to seeing all the great photos from our talented residents and showcasing the winning work in my Lansing office.

The contest is open from today through Nov. 30. Photos may be emailed to [email protected]. All submissions should include the name, address, and contact information of the participant, the date the photo was taken, and where the photo was taken within the district. All photos must be taken by the individual entering the contest.

Questions about the contest should be directed to the above email address or by phone at 517-373-2420.

Senate approves my plan to ‘Let Kids Learn’

The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would empower parents with Michigan Opportunity Scholarship Accounts that could be used by families for school-related expenses — both inside and outside the classroom — to help improve student achievement.

After a year unlike any other it is time we rethink education. The coronavirus pandemic, closed schools, and government mandates have led to over a year of lost learning, stress and anxiety, and have exposed many other educational challenges.

One lesson to be learned from all of this is: We need more parental control in our education system to prevent more kids from slipping through the cracks. We need bold, creative solutions to get parents more involved and students back on the path of educational success. That’s what our Let Kids Learn plan would do.

The Let Kids Learn plan would provide financial scholarships for at-risk K-12 students in Michigan to use for qualifying educational expenses. The plan prioritizes scholarships for children receiving free and reduced lunch, children in foster care and students with disabilities.

Additionally, any student in a household with an annual income between 100% and 200% of the free and reduced lunch program threshold would also qualify to a lesser extent.

Scholarships would be funded by the generous donations of Michigan residents, who would receive state tax credits for their giving. All proceeds would be provided to approved nonprofit scholarship granting organizations, which would deposit the money into families’ scholarship accounts.

The amount students would receive would be determined based on the student’s eligibility requirements and the type of school they attend, with a maximum totaling 90% of the minimum foundational allowance as determined in the state budget. The scholarship funds could then be used to pay for a whole host of school-related expenses, including tuition and fees for public, nonpublic or online K-12 schools, career and technical education programs, tutoring services, occupational and behavioral services, textbooks and learning materials, laptops and tablets, uniforms, athletics and more.
The funds would be strictly for school-related expenses, and any refunds, returns or rebates would be credited back to a student’s scholarship account for future educational use.

Annual reports would be required by the Department of Treasury to ensure proper use of scholarship funds by the scholarship granting organizations, and audits could be conducted if necessary.

If enacted, Michigan would join several other states that offer, with great success, similar education savings accounts and tax-credit scholarships.

Every child in Michigan, from the farthest reaches of the U.P. to the borders of Indiana and Ohio, deserves a fair and equal opportunity to learn and succeed academically. No matter a student’s background, we should be doing more to support parents, so they can have a more active and impactful role in their children’s education. That’s why I introduced this legislation, because Michigan Student Opportunity Scholarships will open new doors to better learning and brighter futures for our kids. That’s what it’s all about.

Senate Bills 687 and 688 now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.

New Legislation would repeal state’s pistol registry

Bills recently introduced in the state Senate by myself and colleague Sen. Tom Barrett would repeal Michigan’s pistol registry and require law enforcement to destroy all associated records.

Law-abiding Michigan residents have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The government has no right or need to know whether a law-abiding adult owns a pistol and legal gun owners should not have to register their firearms with the state. This legislation would help restore our natural rights as citizens of this country by repealing Michigan’s pistol registry and requiring law enforcement to destroy all records thereof.

Senate Bills 646-648 would eliminate the pistol registry from state law. It would also require the state police and sheriffs and heads of police from each county, township, city and village throughout Michigan to destroy, within six months of the bills’ enactment, all records held by or under the control of those departments that were received, compiled, or retained under the pistol registry law.

The legislation would not apply to a record or copy of a record that is being held as evidence in a criminal prosecution or civil proceeding that was initiated and pending before the bills are enacted. However, such records would be required to be destroyed within 30 days after they are no longer being held for such purposes.

Additionally, every police department would be required to produce a report for the Senate and House of Representatives that it has complied with the legislation’s requirements within 30 days of the six-month window to destroy records. Reports must also be produced each year by Jan. 1 verifying the number of records and copies of records retained by or destroyed by a department related to the aforementioned criminal investigations and legal proceedings during that year, until all of those records and copies of records are destroyed.

SBs 646-648 were referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.
Theis previously introduced legislation that would make Michigan a constitutional carry state by repealing the current requirement that law-abiding adults obtain a concealed pistol license.

Senate votes to improve voter ID verification

The state Senate recently approved legislation that would improve the process of verifying voters’ identities in Michigan.

Michiganders, no matter their background or beliefs, are accustomed to showing their IDs to prove who they are, whether it’s to get married, buy a house, receive health care or social services, and much, much more. It only makes sense that we should have to show our IDs to participate in one of the most important and influential things we can do as citizens — voting. We must ensure every legal vote is counted, while making our elections less susceptible to cheating. This legislation will help accomplish that.

Senate Bill 303 would require voters to show proper identification when voting in person. It would also require anyone applying for an absentee ballot with the secretary of state or a local clerk to provide either an official Michigan driver’s license number or personal identification card number, the last four digits of a social security number, a photocopy of such identification, or present proper identification to a clerk in person in order to verify their identity and receive an absentee voter ballot.

If a voter is unable to provide the required information, a provisional ballot would be issued, and the person would have up to six days after an election to prove their identity for the ballot to officially be tabulated. The bill would also provide clerks greater access to the secretary of state’s database to confirm the voter information provided, stop the secretary of state from mass-mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications, not allow any ballots received after 8 p.m. on election day to be tabulated, and keep nonpublic money out of election-related activities.

SB 304 was also approved and would allow an in-person voter without proper identification to cast a provisional ballot and return to their local clerk within six days after the election to verify their identity so their vote can be counted.

House Bill 5007 would make it free for a Michigan resident to receive an official state identification card and require secretary of state branches to be open for walk-in services.

Proudly welcoming an Olympic medalist to the Capitol

I was proud to join with Representative Ann Bollin last month to welcome Olympic Bronze Medalist Myles Amine, of Brighton, to the state Capitol.

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Amine, who is originally from Dearborn and competed at the University of Michigan, earned the nation of San Marino its first Olympic medal in freestyle wrestling at the recent Tokyo games. He is also the first Michigan Wolverine to earn an Olympic medal in freestyle wrestling.

Marino, who was presented a special tribute for his accomplishments, is pictured with me (left), his mother, Marcy, and Bollin (right).

Pure Michigan fall color map

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Fall in Michigan is magical. The temperatures drop, local farms and orchards display their bounty and the trees begin to change color. Across the state the leaves transform from green to red, orange and yellow - first slowly and quietly then suddenly in a final explosion of color.

To help you plan your color tour through the state, check out the Pure Michigan fall color map. This interactive tool gives fall color seekers information to find the best locations for fall foliage throughout the state!

Michigan's 22nd Senate District

The 22nd State Senate District includes all of Livingston County and western Washtenaw County, including Ann Arbor (part), Bridgewater Twp., Chelsea, Dexter city, Dexter Twp., Freedom Twp., Lima Twp., Lodi Twp. (part), Lyndon Twp., Manchester Twp., Northfield Twp., Saline Twp. (part), Scio Twp. (part), Sharon Twp., Sylvan Twp., and Webster Twp.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 22nd District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Lana Theis
Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building, Suite #7400
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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