Download graphics to view this image

Friends and Neighbors,

Last year, I focused on helping residents throughout the district with their unemployment claims, business closer and loans, education issues, and the budget issues facing our state as a result of the COVID pandemic. When I am not in Lansing, I am engaged back home in Livingston and Washtenaw counties, meeting with residents, local elected officials and business leaders, and ensuring that I remain accessible to you.

Here are a few highlights from Lansing to help keep you in the loop. For a more detailed day-to-day update, please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or my website at

You can also meet with me “face to face”, by joining me for one of my monthly “Coffee and Conversations” events. As always, if you have any questions about the contents of this newsletter, or any other legislative matter, you can contact my office at [email protected] or by calling (517) 373-2420.


Download images to view this photo

Lana Theis
State Senator

2020 Year in Review

It has been my pleasure to serve as your state senator over the past year. Throughout the year, my team and I were hard at work for the residents of Livingston and Washtenaw counties. In summary, my staff and I:

• Sent over 50,000 letters to the Governor and Secretary of State on behalf of residents.
• Held 12 “Coffee and Conversation” events along with Tele-Townhalls.
• Had six bills signed into law (PA 22 of 2020, PA 228 of 2020, PA 254 of 2020, PA 306 of 2020, PA 316 of 2020, PA 328 of 2020)
• Assisted over 2,400 individuals with their Unemployment cases.
• Responded to over 60,000 constituent letters.
• Maintained a 100% voting record, which I have maintained since taking office in 2015.

Forthcoming hearings on impact of COVID-19 in education, public input sought with new survey

This week, I announced the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee will begin a series of hearings in the coming weeks to access the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s education system.

COVID-19, and the state’s response to the virus, have disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives, not the least of which being the education of our children. We are now nearly a year into this disruption, and we need to get a better sense of how the changes to our educational system are affecting our students and parents. As Chair of the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee, gathering their first-hand accounts, feedback and recommendations will help lawmakers evaluate where we are one year on and help identify what we might need to improve or adjust to ensure Michigan’s children are receiving the quality education they deserve.

To coincide with the hearing, I announced this week a new survey on my website, seeking input and feedback from Michigan parents, teachers, and student that will help inform and guide the committee’s work. The survey seeks to ascertain how school districts have responded to the coronavirus in terms of in-person versus remote learning; how effective remote learning has been or not been in student development; and how informed and involved parents have been in school districts’ decision-making, among other questions.

I encouraged all parents of pre-K through 12th grade students, teachers and students in Michigan to complete the survey at

Protecting veterans’ privacy rights

Government demands a lot from our veterans, both when they served the country in uniform and when they return to civilian life. A few weeks ago, I introduced Senate Bill 10, which would exempt military veterans from the Open Meeting Act (OMA) requirements in certain circumstances.

Currently, when a veteran applies to receive certain benefits they have earned through their military service at a county veterans services office, the local veterans services board often has to interview the applicant during an official open meeting. Unfortunately for veterans, the line of questioning they are subject to may reveal personal and sensitive financial, medical, and other health information.

I introduced this bill because veterans, as civilians, should have the same expectations to privacy that ordinary citizens have. There is, frankly, certain personal information that the public doesn’t need to know, and that is especially true for veterans.

Senate Bill 10, would amend the existing law to exempt veterans from this OMA in such instances and protect their privacy rights. The bill was referred to the Senate Families, Seniors, and Veterans Committee and will be taken up for testimony on Wednesday, January 27th.

Senate Bill 1: Requiring legislative approval of DHHS emergency orders beyond 28 days

On January 13th, I introduced Senate Bill 1 to limit emergency orders issued by the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to 28 days and require that any extension of such orders receive legislative approval before taking effect.

Unelected and unaccountable DHHS bureaucrats continue to implement freedom-restricting emergency orders that disrupt and threaten the livelihoods of hardworking Michiganders. The state Supreme Court made it clear that even after declaring an emergency, Gov. Whitmer does not have the right to extend such orders without legislative approval, and a state employee certainly shouldn’t be able to either. Senate Bill 1 will ensure the people have a say in the matter.

Senate Bill 1 would reform the state health code to clarify that DHHS emergency health orders would only be valid for no more than 28 days unless a request from the department director to extend an order for a specified period is approved by resolution of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The bill is retroactive to Nov. 15, 2020.

Nominations open for public safety officer, frontline worker, and veteran of the year awards

Earlier this month, I announced contests to honor the service of the 22nd Senate District’s public safety officers, frontline workers, and veterans. Livingston and Washtenaw counties are blessed with dedicated public safety officers, frontline workers, and veterans who serve or have served our communities with professionalism and dedication to their fellow Michiganders. I am looking forward to giving these brave men and women the recognition they deserve.

The awards, open now through February 15th, will recognize people from each of the following categories:

Public Safety Officer Awards
     o Police Officer
     o Deputy
     o Firefighter
     o EMS Person
     o Dispatcher
     o Jail Officer/Correction Officer
Frontline Worker Awards
     o Physicians
     o Nurses
     o Pharmacists
     o Grocery Employee
     o Truck/Delivery Drivers
     o Other Workers on the Front Lines
Veterans of the Year Award
     o Any veteran from any era of service of any branch of the armed forces.

Nominations should be submitted online by filling out a form at the following websites:

Public Safety:

Frontline Workers:

Veteran of the Year:

District residents wishing to submit a nomination should include their name and contact information, the nominee’s name and position, and a description of why the nominee deserves an award.

Nominations may also be submitted via email at [email protected] or by phone at 517-373-2420.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

With the announcement of the COVID-19 vaccine, many Michigan residents are anxious to receive their first dose. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are working to move through phased priorities for residents.

Currently, the following individuals are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine:

• Healthcare workers
• Residents 65 years of age and older
          o The COVID-19 vaccine for seniors is coordinated and scheduled through your local county health department. You can find your local health department for your county using this map. Not all county health departments have begun scheduling vaccinations. Appointments are being added daily.
• Frontline essential workers, child care and Pre-K -high school staff
          o Eligible frontline essential workers will be notified by their employers about vaccine clinic dates and locations. These workers include school and child care staff, frontline responders and corrections staff.

Theis supports adoption of resolution to “Let Them Play”

The Michigan Senate on Thursday adopted a resolution urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on winter high school contact sports and allow play to resume immediately.

Senate Resolution 7 was adopted earlier in the day by the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee, which I chair.

As has been the case for much of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders in response to the coronavirus, the science doesn’t back up her actions to cancel youth and prep sports. Almost all athletes in our state who have been tested for the virus were negative and they have been abiding by all the rules that MDHHS and the governor have imposed on them, yet they still have not been allowed to play. Meanwhile, the evidence is gathering that athletes are suffering from mental health issues, including anxiety, stress, and feelings of isolation — a terrible and avoidable outcome.

The resolution cites the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, who indicated over 30,000 rapid COVID-19 tests conducted on athletes over the last three months for fall sports was 99.8%. Also cited are data from a national survey of high school and college students, which indicated 87% reported stress and anxiety, while 57% reported that their mental health had worsened because of the coronavirus.

Virtually every aspect of athletics benefits those who participate, from physical exercise, to social interaction, and the development of leadership skills. Beyond that, the teamwork and the healthy competition taught by sports are components of a well-rounded childhood education. What is not beneficial is this governor’s seemingly political, rather than science-based, decisions, resulting in the theft of thousands of student athletes’ opportunity to compete. Just let them play.

Senate Oversight Continues Election Hearings

This week, the Michigan Senate Committee on Oversight, which I am a member of, continued its hearings related to elections in Michigan. On Tuesday, the committee heard testimony from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), and on Thursday the committee hearing testimony from two individuals who serve as canvass members on local county canvassing boards.

Senate rejects series of appointments made by Governor Whitmer

This week, I joined with my Senate colleagues to reject a series of Governor Whitmer's nominees as her administration continues to reject the orders issued by the Michigan Supreme Court, ignores the impact of these restrictions, and continues to go it alone. Governor Whitmer must learn to respect the separation of powers, respect the Michigan Supreme Court, and respect the will of Michigan's people.

She must work with the Michigan legislature to address the challenges facing the people of our state. Instead, she and her officials have unilaterally shut down businesses, issued mandates, and arbitrarily picked winners and losers which has cost many small businesses their entire livelihoods. The people of Michigan's 22nd State Senate District elected a voice to participate in this governing process, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that voice is heard.

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.

Download images to view this photo

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

Visit my website at: