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Dear Friends,

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I hope you are all able to gather together with family and friends to celebrate the holiday and the dawn of a new year full of possibilities.

I am truly blessed to be able to celebrate with my family, and during the Christmas season, my thoughts are drawn to those who cannot be with their families, like the brave men and women of our armed forces. Please keep them in your thoughts, and if possible, consider sending them a letter or card, thanking them for their service and sacrifice.

Serving you in the Senate is an honor, and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call at 1-517-373-1636 or email [email protected]. 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.

All the best,
Sen. Ruth Johnson
District 14

Supporting mental health services for the Oxford community

The horrific acts at Oxford High School took the lives of four innocent teenagers and wounded an entire community — impacting hundreds of children, parents, educators and community members in ways difficult to comprehend.

I worked with Sen. Jim Runestad on securing $100,000 in supplemental funding to ensure the Oxford community has access to critical mental health services as they deal with the lasting and painful impact of this tragedy.

I have represented the families of Oxford Schools for many years and have seen their strength. These resources will further help our community to heal. I encourage anyone in our community who feels they need help to seek it.

House Bill 4398 includes $100,000 in funding for Common Ground to provide supportive mental health care to for students, teachers, parents, administrators and first responders in the Oxford High School community. Common Ground is a nonprofit organization and the largest provider of mental health crisis services in Oakland County, offering 24-hour crisis services to more than 80,000 people each year.

In addition, the Disaster Distress Helpline can provide immediate counseling to survivors, first responders, eyewitnesses, and anyone in our community who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects of this tragedy by calling or texting 1-800-985-5990.

School threat reporting bill introduced

I recently sponsored legislation to require mandatory reporting of threats in schools to law enforcement agencies.

All children deserve to feel safe and be safe at school. We had a horrific tragedy in Oakland County at Oxford High School. I have represented this area for many years and it breaks my heart. I’ve attended a few of the candlelight vigils, and the community support has been strong. In my role as a legislator, I am looking at what steps we can take to help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again — and this bill is one of those steps.

Senate Bill 789 would require schools in Michigan to make an immediate report to law enforcement whenever school personnel become aware of information that a reasonable person would believe constitutes an actual or implied threat of violence.

Schools would be required to implement appropriate policies and procedures to ensure any threats of violence are reported immediately to law enforcement and to provide training to all school personnel about their obligations and responsibilities to ensure the same.

Law enforcement has more expertise and experience in evaluating threats, and all threats should be taken seriously. Schools could still take additional steps to address threats, but this reform would ensure they are reported to authorities. My bill can be part of an effort to better protect our students and school employees. I also hope that it is also part of a collaborative discussion with schools and law enforcement on how to best keep our kids safe.

I am also working on additional funding for school safety grants for school districts to make security upgrades, like installing metal detectors, video cameras or special security locks for classroom doors — which were in place at Oxford and helped keep students who got to a classroom safe.

Click here to hear my interview on WWJ radio on this bill, and click here for my interview on WJR.

Snowmobile season is underway!

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Trail permits for the 2021-22 winter season are now available!

The snowmobile program is 100% funded with your trail permit dollars. A $52 snowmobile trail permit is valid for one year and covers the cost of trail grooming and signage; bridges, culverts and grading; trailhead maintenance and more.

State-designated trails are open Dec. 1 through March 31 and will be groomed as enough snow accumulates.

Permits can be purchased:

• Online through eLicense.
• Online with the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association.
• In-person at one of these DNR license agents and dealers.

Senate Republican no-fault reform leads to MCCA refunds

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) has announced a plan to refund Michigan drivers $400 per vehicle next year.

The refunds come as a direct result of landmark reforms passed by the Legislature in 2019 to reform Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system. As part of the 2019 reforms, the Legislature directed the MCCA to issue refunds to drivers every three years following an audit by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS); the first refunds were previously expected to be issued following a 2022 audit.

The MCCA levies assessments each year to cover claims for those catastrophically injured in car accidents. The association’s surplus has grown from $2.4 billion at the end of 2020 to $5 billion by June 30. The MCCA board voted on Nov. 3 in favor of issuing refund checks following an analysis that found about $3 billion of the surplus could be returned to policyholders. Refunds will be issued to every Michigan resident with an auto insurance policy in force as of 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31.

MCCA will turn over surplus funds to insurance companies by March 9, 2022, and the insurers will be responsible for issuing checks to eligible policyholders 60 days after the transfer of funds.

Well water resources included in $3.3B water investment plan

I recently voted for the Protect MI Water legislation to invest $3.34 billion in dam infrastructure, wastewater systems, groundwater protection and safe drinking water.

A quarter of Michigan families rely on private wells for their drinking water, so it is critically important that this plan includes $50 million to help provide testing of private wells to ensure families know if their well water is safe and provide options if it is contaminated. In addition to helping ensure quality water from private wells, this plan would make improvements to our aging infrastructure to ensure all our families have access to clean drinking water.

Senate Bill 565 would use $2.37 billion in federal funding, $680 million in state resources and $290 million in repurposed state bond funds to improve Michigan’s dam infrastructure, wastewater systems and groundwater protection and provide clean drinking water.

The bill features $1 billion to replace lead pipes throughout the state, $700 million to upgrade local drinking water and wastewater facilities, $680 million for dam infrastructure, $100 million in grants to remove PFAS chemicals from “orphaned” sites, and $85 million to ensure students have access to safe water at school.

Under the plan, $50 million would be dedicated for private well water users, including grants to help them connect to a community water system or increase the depth of their well if their water was contaminated or their well failed after a disaster or install a whole-house or point-of-use filtration system as the result of contamination.

I rely on a private well for drinking water and have created a Water Resources page on my state website to help constituents learn more about water safety. Click here to find information on available state, county and federal resources — including details on how to test for and, if necessary, safely remove various contaminants from their water.

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Senate approves ballot drop box security bills

One of the most important steps to ensuring the integrity of our elections is to protect the security of every ballot. With that in mind, the Michigan Senate has approved my legislation to strengthen security requirements for absentee ballot drop boxes in Michigan. This commonsense reform would put in place clear, uniform standards for absentee ballot drop boxes across our state.

In 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a previous bill of mine listing several requirements that must be in place for absentee voter ballot drop boxes. Senate Bill 273 would now update and increase the drop box requirements. The bill would require that the security of ballot drop boxes be approved by both the Michigan secretary of state and a community’s local county board of canvassers.

My measure would use an existing and effective process to ensure people’s votes are secure. Under the reform, ballot drop boxes would be approved by the bipartisan county boards of canvassers, who already approve other containers used by clerks to secure ballots during an election.

SB 273 would also require continuous video monitoring of all ballot drop boxes and require a disclaimer on drop boxes reminding voters it is a felony under Michigan law for someone other than a voter, their immediate family, or a member of their household to return an absentee ballot. SB 278 would establish a chain of custody for absentee voter ballots picked up from drop boxes and require all ballots to be transported in an approved ballot container.

Winter driving safety

Over the holidays, many Michigan families will travel to celebrate with loved ones. A happy holiday season is a safe one — which starts with being safe while on the roads.

During the 2016 to 2020 winter seasons, there were 202,232 crashes reported in Michigan on icy, snowy, or slushy roads, resulting in 370 fatalities and 2,530 suspected serious injuries. While it’s easy to blame the weather, every driver can improve winter driving safety. Click here to read some simple tips from the state police on how you can make the roads safer for everyone this winter.

Please drive safely, allow extra room between vehicles, brake softly, turn carefully, turn off the cruise control and check out roads conditions before heading out. It is also wise to check your tires, make sure your wipers work and keep an emergency kit in the car.

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Michigan Christmas trees

Did you know that Michigan produces more varieties of Christmas trees than any other state?

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COVID-19 resources

Below is a list of resources available to you if you need any type of assistance. Additionally, you can contact my office at any time for more information.

• General information, resources, testing locations and more:
• Up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
• Coronavirus hotline for health-related questions: 1-888-535-6136 daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1-800-232-4636 or
• Michigan PEER Warmline for mental health support and substance abuse challenges: 1-888-733-7753 every day from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
• National suicide prevention lifeline available 24/7: Call 1-800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit
• Small business resources: or 1-888-522-0103.


Michigan's 14th Senate District

In Genesee County, the 14th Senate District includes the cities of Davison, Fenton and Grand Blanc as well as Atlas, Davison, Grand Blanc and Mundy townships.

In Oakland County, the district includes the cities of Fenton and Lake Angelus as well as Brandon, Groveland, Highland, Holly, Rose, Springfield and Waterford townships.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. 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 14th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ruth Johnson
7300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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