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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Welcome to the final 2020 edition of my monthly e-newsletter. Thank you for allowing me to represent you in the Michigan Senate. I am grateful each and every day to work for the people of the 33rd Senate District.

This has been a year unlike any other. As I reflect back, I want to give you a brief review of what we’ve accomplished. Most of the Senate’s work this year was related to combatting COVID-19, protecting our communities, and providing the resources necessary for our frontline workers. However, I was also able to pass legislation and secure funding for causes brought to my attention by constituents.

From my family to yours, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Rick Outman
State Senator
33rd District


COVID-19 relief funding

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During a late, unusual Friday evening session, my colleagues and I worked to deliver a much-needed relief plan to Michigan families.

I was proud to support a COVID-19 relief funding package to help deliver dollars to workers and businesses struggling to stay afloat as a result of the governor’s repeated shutdowns.

Senate Bill 748 provides $465 million in state and federal funding for Michigan health care workers combating the virus, increases testing capacity, makes the investments necessary to ensure vaccine distribution, and extends unemployment benefits through April 1, 2021. If signed into law, it will bring the total approved by the Senate to combat the virus to nearly $4 billion.

The Senate Republican relief plan includes:
• $220 million to extend unemployment benefits until April 1, 2021;
• $79.1 million to expand virus testing and vaccine distribution, including funds to ramp up testing of teachers to ensure healthy school communities;
• $115.3 million to hospitals and nursing homes to address nursing shortages, including an extension of the pay increase for direct care workers;
• $45 million in Employee Assistance Grants to restaurant and other workers laid off or furloughed due to Gov. Whitmer’s shutdown orders; and
• $63.5 million in Small Business Survival Grants and other assistance to help small businesses shuttered by the governor’s orders avoid permanent closure.

Funding for vaccines will be used to ensure appropriate storage and distribution. The bill uses available state and federal dollars and includes a provision that federal funds will be utilized instead of state funds if Congress approves a relief bill that directs more dollars to the states.

The Senate passed this bill with bipartisan support, but we cannot do this alone. We look forward to the governor’s support and signature before the end of the year.


Outman urges Whitmer to reconsider extending COVID-19 restrictions through Jan. 15

Once again, the governor’s administration is unilaterally controlling the ability of Michigan residents to make a living.

While I am proud of the relief we worked on late into the evening many nights this week, folks simply want to get back to work and support themselves. This sentiment has been echoed from residents across the state but has been routinely ignored by the governor and her department leaders — yet every person in the administration has continued to receive a paycheck since the first shutdown nearly one year ago.

An example from my family, and from my community: The Riverdale Tavern. This establishment has been in my family since 1917. The restaurant was able to survive two world wars, the Great Depression, and heck, was even able to survive prohibition — sadly it does not look like it will survive the heavy-handed orders of Gov. Whitmer. Unfortunately, The Riverdale Tavern joins countless other Michigan businesses on the brink of closing their doors. Over 100 years of hard work and dedication to the community being wiped out single handedly by our governor.

It is cruel to continue to rip people’s livelihoods away and drag them along with false hope in the peak of the holiday season. This is America. We work hard for what we have, and it is not the job of the government to dictate whether people can make a living or not. This is an absolute afront to our values as Americans.


A year in review: My team is here for you

My team and I are dedicated to providing residents of the 33rd District the best possible service. Whether you are in need of assistance when dealing with a state department, have an idea for legislation, or want to share your thoughts and concerns with us about a particular bill, we are here for you.

This year my staff worked hard to find new ways to serve you while working from home, adapting to ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, and navigating a difficult and unprepared Unemployment Insurance Agency on your behalf.

We strive to answer each and every question that comes into the office as quickly and efficiently as possible.

From Jan. 1 – Dec. 15, my team and I:

• Responded to 8,371 emails and phone calls from the residents of the 33rd District who contacted the office — plus many more emails, phone calls and text messages from residents who contacted me directly;
• Have worked with and are continuing to assist over 600 people to help access their unemployment benefits;
• Held 19 in-district office hours;
• Wrote over 200 unique letters in response to your questions and concerns about pieces of legislation;
• Mailed over 20,000 legislative updates to keep you up-to-date on the latest news from Lansing;
• Wrote 271 special tributes honoring the accomplishments of the people of the 33rd District;
• Attended over 200 meetings; and
• Had a 100% voting record in Senate session.


Legislative Successes in 2020

Despite the unprecedented nature of this year, I was proud of the legislative priorities I was able to push for on behalf of the people of the 33rd District. Here are some highlights:

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Outman legislation updating funeral director guidelines signed into law
In July, the governor signed my bill that will update guidelines and requirements for funeral directors in Michigan.

The idea for the legislation was brought to my attention by an individual from my district who was having some issues with the way state law addressed this particular issue. Small towns and rural communities often struggle with everyday issues because of their size and location. These same issues are forcing rural funeral homes into difficult positions — some even risk closing their doors.

Senate Bill 696, now Public Act 138 of 2020, will allow an individual who manages one funeral home to apply for a waiver to manage a second home in certain circumstances.

This is a commonsense reform that eliminates several burdensome requirements and assists funeral homes across Michigan, while ensuring folks have access to the services they provide.

Extending the maturity rate of bonds to help local communities manage costs
n the fall, the governor signed Senate Bill 1080, now Public Act 221, which will amend Part 307 (Inland Lakes) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to extend, from 10 years to 40 years, the maximum maturity date of bonds or notes issued by a special assessment district for certain lake level control projects. This change would allow the cost of those projects to be spread out over a longer period of time and make that cost more manageable for the communities that need or benefit from the projects.

Honoring Blue Star Mothers
This year, I again offered the resolution to commemorate Feb. 1 as “Blue Star Mother’s Day.” Blue Star Mothers are mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. While we can never truly display our gratitude for their children’s bravery and sacrifices, we can certainly honor the organization’s mission and raise awareness about the work they do.

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Resolution urging the governor to allow infrastructure workers to return to work
In April, I offered Senate Resolution 112. This resolution was adopted by the Senate and asked the governor to do one simple thing: adopt federal guidelines so more of our citizens could return to work, SAFELY.

I wanted those who work in construction to be able to get back on the job. Construction work is often done outside or in large open spaces. Additionally, these workers are used to wearing specialized protective equipment to keep themselves safe on the job site.

Governors in other states, at that point in time, had adopted these federal guidelines so that the construction industry could keep working. I’m glad Gov. Whitmer listened to my recommendation and changed the guidelines.

Since then, construction industry workers have demonstrated that they can return to work, SAFELY and support their families.

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Certificate of need bill to reduce administrative red-tape, increase access
Senate Bill 1160 would revise the certificate of need (CON) application requirements for the Extended Care Services Program. This bill would remove the annual patient day limitation for approved hospitals and modify the data reporting requirements for approved hospitals that are participating in the Extended Care Services Program.

The bill would remove administrative red-tape existing within the Extended Care Services Program, which is needed especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program would provide flexibility and choice for rural patients to determine their best course of care post-hospitalization and offers an option that limits facility-to-facility transfers.

Substitution adopted to address school staffing shortages
I offered a substitution to House Bill 4694, which was adopted, to help Michigan schools that are struggling to fill substitute teaching jobs and other positions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I listened to the concerns of teachers from the district and made sure the Michigan Legislature put forward the best plan to help our schools who are facing teacher shortages.


Michigan Learning Channel moving forward with January 2021 launch

The Michigan Learning Channel, a statewide public television partnership offering instructional content to support the education of students and provide alternative resources for families and teachers, is moving forward on plans for its January 2021 launch.

When the channel launches, it will provide instructional programming in early literacy, social and emotional learning, and math for students from kindergarten through third grade. The team is also working with literacy experts and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators to finalize the January and February programming for reading and plans to produce early math content featuring Michigan teachers for airing in January.

A sampler of content similar to what will appear on the Michigan Learning Channel can be viewed at, and school leaders are encouraged to send feedback to the learning channel team by email to [email protected].

This will be a great resource for teachers, students and parents as we continue to navigate the challenges of remote learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Keeping your family safe online

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Are your children safe while online? Michigan families, especially minor family members, are becoming inundated with advertisements from alcohol, tobacco, pornography, illegal drug and gambling marketers while online. Texting their advertisements is the newest marketing effort many of these companies are using. Thankfully, the Michigan Secretary of State office offers a free program to stop adult advertisements from reaching your child or teen on their phone, tablet or other electronic devices.

The ProtectMiChild Registry is a free do-not-contact service for Michigan families. As a strong supporter of this program, I encourage you to register your entire family and to share this information with your friends and colleagues. It’s free, simple and only takes a few minutes to register. Visit and keep your family safe while online.


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:
• 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.


Our District

The 33rd state Senate District includes Clare, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, and Montcalm Counties.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 33rd Senate District of Michigan. 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 33rd District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Rick Outman
4400 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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