<![CDATA[Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wrights' Site Feed]]> http://092.housedems.com <![CDATA[Rep. Hovey-Wright Lauds Federal Funds to Fight Blight in Muskegon Heights]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/rep-hovey-wright-lauds-federal-funds-to-fight-blight-in-muskegon-heights <p>LANSING – State Representative Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) welcomed news Tuesday that Muskegon Heights will receive $1.8 million to address blight and prepare the community for revitalization.</p> <p>“Residents and community leaders of Muskegon Heights are working hard to revitalize their community, and they deserve help,” Hovey-Wright said. “I’m grateful the city will be getting these funds, which will help get rid of dilapidated structures and pave the way for new development. It’s time to turn Muskegon Heights around.”</p> <p>A dozen communities around the state are sharing $75 million through the federal Hardest Hit Fund, which is administered in Michigan through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. MSHDA chose recipient cities based on criteria that included housing vacancy rates. Funds must be spent by 2017.</p> <p>“The people of Muskegon Heights take pride in where they live and work, and they deserve a helping hand as they improve their community,” Hovey-Wright said. “I applaud the collaborative efforts between Muskegon Heights, County Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis and the Muskegon County Land Bank to make Muskegon Heights an even better community, and I stand ready to help them in any way I can.”</p> <h2>#</h2> <![CDATA[Dem Bills Would Protect Women After Rape, Incest and Medical Complications]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/dem-bills-would-protect-women-after-rape-incest-and-medical-complications <p>LANSING – State Representatives <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon), <strong>Gretchen Driskell</strong> (D-Saline) and <strong>Sarah Roberts</strong> (D-St. Clair Shores), have introduced legislation that will protect the health of women and make it easier for women who became pregnant after rape or incest to get critical medical services. The bills would amend Michigan’s unfair women’s health care rider law by eliminating the need to buy an extra insurance policy to cover abortion when one is needed to preserve a woman’s health due to a pregnancy complication or to end a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest. Currently, women in these situations have to purchase the extra insurance rider before a sexual assault or health-threatening pregnancy takes place in order to have health insurance cover the often-costly medical procedures.</p> <p>“There are serious cases when a women’s health is put at risk during complications in a pregnancy, and many of these are not covered under the law,” said Rep. Hovey-Wright, the sponsor of the bill to create an exemption for the health of the mother. “This discriminatory law is just another example of out-of-touch Lansing republicans making decisions for women when they have no idea of how a women’s health can be put at serious risk. My bill adds reasonable, common-sense protections to women across the state and the law should be amended immediately to protect women.”</p> <p>As the law currently stands, the extra women’s health care rider is needed in order to have insurance cover any abortion, unless it threatens a woman’s life. The law’s refusal to make exceptions for a woman’s health, rape or incest made the law so extreme that two Republican governors previously vetoed similar laws. The current law was passed when Republican legislators caved in and passed a veto-proof citizen’s initiative.</p> <p>The companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Driskell, would add an exemption from purchasing the extra rider for women who became pregnant following a rape or incest incident.</p> <p>“Women who have been raped or endured incest have already survived horrible events that most of us can’t even imagine. To tell a woman who became pregnant after those hideous acts that she must continue a pregnancy or pay thousands of dollars for medical care out of her own pocket is cruel and insensitive,” Rep. Driskell said. “We must do the right thing and protect women who are in such a painful and unimaginable situation. These bills bring compassion and justice to women who need it most, and I urge our colleagues to do the right thing and support these bills.</p> <p>“The new restrictions on women’s health care are so extreme that they make no exceptions for the health of a woman, or a woman who needs to end a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest,” said Rep. Roberts, who authored the bill to repeal the discriminatory women’s health rider law. “It was wrong to make a woman put her own health at risk to satisfy an extreme special interest, and it was wrong to punish a woman when she is at her must vulnerable, following a brutal attack. While repealing the unfair restrictions on women’s health care remains our goal, these bills at least make the existing law a little more humane.”</p> <![CDATA[Testimony Given on Hovey-Wright, Darany Bills Improving Foster Care]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/testimony-given-on-hovey-wright-darany-bills-improving-foster-care <p>LANSING &#8212; Testimony was taken Wednesday on a bipartisan package of three bills that would improve the care of foster children in the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee. The bills, House Bills 5849-5851, would create a Children&#8217;s Assurance of Quality Foster Care and require that children in foster care be informed of their rights in an age-appropriate manner.</p> <p>&#8220;t any time, there are about 13,000 Michigan children in foster care, and these vulnerable kids deserve the absolute best we can give them,&#8221; Rep. <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon) said. &#8220;These bills create standards of care, and take steps to make sure that kids in foster care understand their rights and will know what to do if they aren&#8217;t receiving the care and services they deserve.&#8221;</p> <p>Rep. Hovey-Wright&#8217;s bill, HB 5849, lists the components to be included in a Childrens&#8217; Assurance of Quality Foster Care Policy. They include items such as requiring a child to be placed with relatives unless prohibited by the president judge; ongoing contact with parents, relatives and friends when permissible; access to medical, emotional, psychological, educational and other services; access to and participation in cultural or religious activities; and a permanency plan designed to facilitate children in a permanent placement or return them to their homes in a timely manner.</p> <p>House Bill 5850 (Rep. Cindy Denby) would require the policy to address a foster child&#8217;s access procedures and services such as regular contact with caseworkers, attorneys and advocates; attendance at hearings and ability to speak with a judge regarding his or her case; involvement in the development of his or her own case plan; the ability to review his or her own case records; and an assurance that the child&#8217;s privacy and confidentiality will be protected. These services will be offered to foster children in an age-appropriate basis.</p> <p>House Bill 5851 from Rep. <strong>George T. Darany</strong> (D-Dearborn) would require foster children to be explained these rights in an age-appropriate manner, and inform foster children about how to seek help if they believe the policy has been violated.</p> <p>&#8220;Children are placed into foster care after enduring abuse or neglect, and we owe it to them to make sure they get the love, care and services they need to move forward in their lives,&#8221; Darany said. &#8220;These bills create a standard and assurance of care, and let Michigan&#8217;s foster children know that they deserve the best from us. I am hopeful that this bipartisan package will see swift action in the Legislature, so that our foster kids can get the help they need as soon as possible.&#8221;</p> <p><img src="http://mihousedemsblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/hovey-wright-testimony-jpg.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p> <p>Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, center, gives testimony on her bill to improve foster care.</p> <![CDATA[West Michigan House Dems: Let’s Go Back to Lansing and Fix Our Roads]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/west-michigan-house-dems-let-s-go-back-to-lansing-and-fix-our-roads <p>LANSING – Three West Michigan House Democrats urged Republicans to cut their summer vacations short and return to the state Capitol to finish one of the state’s most pressing jobs: finding a way to fund long-overdue road repairs. House Republicans opted to leave the task undone last week and left Lansing to take a 12-week vacation, even though House Democrats objected and wanted to stay on the job until a solution was found.</p> <p>“It was unconscionable for House Republicans to walk off the job and take a three-month vacation instead of buckling down and finding a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges,” Rep. <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) said. “I hear from people every day who want our roads fixed now, and I’m sure my Republican counterparts hear the same. To tell the people of Michigan that their vacation was more important than the need to fix our roads is almost beyond belief, yet that’s what they’ve done.”</p> <p>It’s estimated that Michigan will require more than $1 billion a year to repair Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure. But despite holding the governor’s office, a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate, Republicans weren’t able to find a way to make the repairs. “Instead of staying on the job until a solution was found, legislative Republicans gave up,” Rep. <strong>Collene Lamonte</strong> (D-Montague) said. “That’s not leadership, and the hardworking Michiganders who navigate potholes and crumbling streets to make it to work each day deserve better.”</p> <p>The Legislature tried to find a road funding solution last week, but Republicans gave up when they couldn’t find a plan. Rather than quit and go home, House Democrats voted against adjourning for the summer, but Republicans in the majority voted to leave for vacation. House Democrats are ready to return to Lansing each day until a road funding solution is found, and are inviting Republicans back to Lansing to finish the job.</p> <p>“I am willing to drive over decaying roads and bridges in dire need of repair to get to Lansing each day in order to find a way to fix Michigan roads,” Rep. <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon) said. “We were elected by Michiganders to be their voice and to find solutions to the problems facing our state. That must come first, not summer vacation.”</p> <![CDATA[Hovey-Wright Slams Anti-Choice Bills as Insulting, Unconstitutional]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/hovey-wright-slams-anti-choice-bills-as-insulting-unconstitutional <p>LANSING &#8212; State Rep. <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon) condemned three of bills introduced to the state Legislature this week that would eliminate nearly all abortions in Michigan and require any women seeking an abortion to submit herself to demeaning and insulting medical procedures before obtaining one.</p> <p>&#8220;The attacks on women&#8217;s health coming out of this Legislature have been unrelenting, and women won&#8217;t stand for it,&#8221; said Hovey-Wright, chairwoman of the Progressive Women&#8217;s Caucus. &#8220;One of the new bills is so extreme that similar bills have routinely been ruled unconstitutional when they have been passed in other states. The other insults women by second-guessing their ability to make reasoned and informed health care decisions on their own by pressuring them to listen to a fetal heartbeat before having a medical procedure. Women don&#8217;t want the government interfering with their health care decisions, and this must stop.&#8221;</p> <p>House Bill 5643 would require doctors to determine whether a fetal heartbeat is detectable before performing an abortion, and also requires a doctor to ask a woman if she wants to hear it and inform her of other options besides abortion. HB 5644 prohibits abortions when a fetal heartbeat is present, which occurs around five weeks after conception. This is often earlier than many women even realize that they are pregnant, meaning a woman&#8217;s opportunity to have an abortion would close before she would be able to have one. HB 5645 makes violating that law punishable by up to four years in prison.</p> <p>&#8220;Republicans like to say they are the party of small government, but they can&#8217;t seem to take their hands off women and their medical choices,&#8221; Hovey-Wright said. &#8220;While I have no doubt that these laws would be overturned by legal challenges, it&#8217;s foolish to pass laws we already know have been ruled unconstitutional elsewhere and that will require a costly legal battle. Worse, it is insulting to all the women of Michigan to insinuate that women aren&#8217;t intelligent and competent enough to make their own medical decisions without the state&#8217;s interference. These are horrible bills, and they must be defeated.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Hovey-Wright Bill Supporting Michigan Microbreweries Clears Committee]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/hovey-wright-bill-supporting-michigan-microbreweries-clears-committee <p>LANSING &#8212; State Rep. <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon) is pleased that her bill allowing beer tastings and the retail sale of growlers from qualified microbrewers at farmers markets cleared the House Regulatory Reform Committee this week with a nearly unanimous vote. Rep. Hovey-Wright proposed the bill to support Michigan’s microbreweries and to give Michigan agri-tourists another reason to visit the state’s many farmers markets.</p> <p>“With the opening of two new breweries in downtown Muskegon and the opening of the new downtown Muskegon Farmers Market, this is a great opportunity for both brewers and farmers markets to grow by promoting Michigan microbrews to a wider audience,” Hovey-Wright said. “When passed, this bill will help create jobs in our local economy. I look forward to a successful bipartisan vote on the House floor soon so we can keep this legislation moving forward.”</p> <p>Hovey-Wright’s bill is part of a two-bill package. HB 5426 (Hovey-Wright) and HB 5427, offered by Rep. <strong>Andy Schor</strong> (D-Lansing), would allow small microbrewers who produce less than 6,000 barrels per year to provide up to three 3-ounce servings of beer to farmers market customers during a 24-hour period. This legislation mimics a bill passed last year that allows wine tastings and sales at farmers markets across the state. It also allows the sale of two growlers per person per day. Like last years’ wine tasting bill, this legislation requires a $25 per farmers market permit fee to be paid by the microbrewer and the approval of both the market and the local police department.</p> <p>“I especially would like to thank Michael Brower at Pigeon Hill Brewery for the suggestion for this bill and his work with my office to draft this idea into legislation,” Hovey-Wright said. “This proposal will allow local brewers to provide their product at a farmers market to both new and loyal customers, and create an immediate economic benefit for our state.”</p> <![CDATA[Women’s Democratic Caucus Delivers Gift to Michigan Moms on Mother’s Day]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/women-s-democratic-caucus-delivers-gift-to-michigan-moms-on-mother-s-day <p>LANSING – The Women’s Democratic Caucus is celebrating Mother’s Day and Michigan moms by fighting for legislation that would make quality child care more affordable, improve access to women’s health care and ensure that paid sick time is available to hardworking Michigan men and women.</p> <p>“Women across the state are working harder than ever to provide their kids with a quality education, put food on the table and turn their dreams into reality,” said Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon), chairwoman of the Women’s Democratic Caucus. “They deserve elected leaders who work just as hard to help Michigan moms create economic stability for their families and reach for a better life.”</p> <p>The Womens’ Democratic Caucus is working to pass legislation that would:</p> <p>• Create child care tax credit (HB 4005 – Rep. Dian Slavens)</p> <p>• Require most employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees (HB 4706 – Rep. Rudy Hobbs)</p> <p>• Prohibit discrimination against mothers who nurse in public (SB 674, which is similar to HB 4733 – Rep. Rashida Tlaib)</p> <p>• Provide women with detailed information on dense breast tissue in order to combat breast cancer (HB 4260 – Rep. Winnie Brinks)</p> <p>• Prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of reproductive health care decisions (House Bill 5416 – Hovey-Wright)</p> <p>“More women are the primary breadwinners in their families than ever before, and many of them are struggling to find higher-paying jobs so they can better support their families,” Rep. Dian Slavens (D-Canton) said. “The high cost of child care is a significant hurdle to many women who want to fully participate in the workplace. My legislation would create a crucial tax credit that will make child care more affordable and help more women re-enter the workplace or advance their careers.”</p> <p>Several of the bills supported by the Women’s Democratic Caucus acknowledge the pressure working moms feel as they struggle to balance workplace demands against family needs. HB 4706 would require most businesses around the state to allow workers to take paid sick leave either to care for themselves or a sick family member, such as a child or parent.</p> <p>“A healthy workforce leads to a healthy community and a healthy economy.” Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield) said. “Mothers and fathers want to be able to care for a sick child who needs their help, and companies want workers who can give their all on the job. Having just a few earned sick days a year can provide working mothers much-needed economic security and the flexibility to properly care for themselves and their children.”</p> <p>Other bills backed by the Women’s Democratic Caucus aim to improve the health of Michigan women. The breast density bill would require health care providers to notify women when a mammogram determines they have dense breast tissue, which is more likely to develop tumors and also makes tumors harder to detect. The breastfeeding bills would establish breastfeeding as a civil right and protect moms who nurse in public.</p> <p>“Michigan’s dedicated and loving moms deserve more than a card and flowers this Mother’s Day,” Hovey-Wright said. “Saying that moms are loved and appreciated is one thing, but creating policies that support them and help them care for their families demonstrates true respect for motherhood. I urge all Michigan legislators to vote for policies that would help not only their own mothers, but all moms across our state.”</p> <![CDATA[House Democrats Call for Action on Pay Equity Package]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/house-democrats-call-for-action-on-pay-equity-package <p>LANSING — House Democrats demanded today that Rep. Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township), the chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, hold a hearing on a package of legislation that would address the wage gap between men and women in Michigan. Introduced more than a year ago, the legislation has yet to receive any testimony before the committee.</p> <p>“Making sure that people with the same experience, skills and qualifications get the same pay for the same work is a matter of fairness and simple common sense,” House Democratic Leader <strong>Tim Greimel</strong> (D-Auburn Hills) said. “But rather than support economic security for Michigan families, House Republicans stalled these bills. Michigan women and their families deserve better than this.”</p> <p>The legislation takes aim at a persistent pay gap that exists between men and women in Michigan. Michigan ranked 43rd in the nation in pay equity in 2013, according to National Partnership for Women and Families. The average full-time working woman makes about $36,772, while the average man makes about $49,897. The pay gap for women of color is even greater, with African-American women earning an average of 64 cents to a dollar earned by men, while Latinas earn an average of 54 cents on the dollar.</p> <p>“Women can’t afford to take a pay cut simply because they are women,” said Rep. <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon), who heads the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “The gap in pay makes it harder to feed children, pay utility bills and save up for a college education. Michigan families need pay equity.”</p> <p>The House Democrats’ pay equity package includes legislation to:</p> <p>• Prohibit an employer from failing to provide equal compensation for work of comparable value for several reasons, including sex (House Bill 4518 - Rep. Gretchen Driskell)<br /> • Create penalties for employers who pay different wages to men and women who are &#8220;similarly situated&#8221; – employees with similar qualifications, experience, etc. (HB 4519 - Hovey-Wright)<br /> • Create a state commission on pay equity (HB 4517 – Rep. Dian Slavens)<br /> • Require an employer to provide, at an employee&#8217;s request, wage information for “similarly situated employees” (HB 4516 – Rep. Collene Lamonte)</p> <p>“These bills simply assure women that they will get an equal deal in the workplace,” Rep. <strong>Gretchen Driskell</strong> (D-Saline) said. “Making sure our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters get equal pay for their hard work shouldn’t be a partisan issue. No one wants to see the people they love treated unfairly.”</p> <p>House Republicans have already joined with Democrats to declare April 8, 2014 Pay Equity Day in the state of Michigan through House Resolution 337, sponsored by Rep. <strong>Theresa Abed</strong> (D-Grand Ledge). Abed hopes House Republicans will now take further action to make pay equity a reality in Michigan. “I urge my colleagues across the aisle to give their support to these bills and urge Rep. Lund to hold a hearing on them,” Abed said. “Ensuring everyone in Michigan gets a fair shake in the workplace is something everyone can get behind. It’s time for pay equity in Michigan.”</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Hovey-Wright to Host Coffee Hours in April]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/rep-hovey-wright-to-host-coffee-hours-in-april <p>MUSKEGON - State Representative <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon) invites residents to join her at her April coffee hours to enjoy a cup of coffee and share ideas and concerns about state government, including the upcoming state budget process.</p> <p>The coffee hours will take place:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong><u>Tuesday, April 15, from 9-10 a.m. at the Laketon Township Hall, 2735 West Giles Road, Muskegon</u></strong></p></li> <li><p><strong><u>Tuesday, April 15, from 11 a.m.-noon at the Fruitland Township Hall, 4545 Nestrom Road, Whitehall</u></strong></p></li> <li><p><strong><u>Tuesday, April 15, from 1-2 p.m. at the Whitehall Township Hall, 4644 Durham Road, Whitehall</u></strong></p></li> <li><p><strong><u>Tuesday, April 15, from 3-4 p.m. at the Muskegon Township Hall, 1990 Apple Ave, Muskegon</u></strong></p></li> </ul> <p>Residents of Rep. Hovey-Wright&#8217;s district - which includes Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and North Muskegon as well as Fruitland, Laketon, Muskegon and Whitehall townships - are encouraged to contact her toll-free at (877) 411-3684 or by email at <strong>marciahoveywright@house.mi.gov</strong>. Those interested in keeping up to date on her work at the Capitol are also encouraged to sign up for her e-newsletter by visiting <strong><u>hoveywright.housedems.com</u></strong>.</p> <![CDATA[House Dems: Women’s Health Rider Law a Step Backward for Michigan]]> http://092.housedems.com/news/article/house-dems-women-s-health-rider-law-a-step-backward-for-michigan <p>LANSING – An extremely controversial law that mandates women – and only women – buy extra health insurance in order to have full health care coverage takes effect today, setting back women throughout Michigan and hampering Michigan’s comeback efforts. The law, based on a Michigan Right to Life citizen’s initiative, demands that women buy extra insurance to cover medical procedures that would preserve a woman’s health during a miscarriage or end a pregnancy that is the result of a rape or incest. The law not only places a burden on women, but also on small businesses that want to offer employees full health care coverage by increasing their costs. At the same time, it discourages talented workers from locating or remaining in Michigan.</p> <p>“This law unfairly punishes women simply for being women,” said Rep. <strong>Marcia Hovey-Wright</strong> (D-Muskegon), chairwoman of the Women’s Democratic Caucus. “Women deserve the same access to full health care as men receive, but only women are told they must buy extra insurance to get it. This law is an attack on women’s health and their economic security, and it is an embarrassment to the state of Michigan.”</p> <p>The law was passed by the state Legislature in December, after Republicans caved in to pressure from Michigan Right to Life. Had Republicans not capitulated to special interest demands to pass the law, the proposal would have been put to a vote of the people in the November election. Instead of giving all voters in Michigan the ability to decide, the controversial law was instead decided by Republican legislators and the 3 percent of Michigan’s population who signed the Right to Life petition. According to polling, the majority of Michiganders asked disapproved of the law, which was so extreme it was previously vetoed by two Republican governors – John Engler and Rick Snyder – and goes so far as to punish women who need a medical procedure to preserve their health when a wanted pregnancy ends in a miscarriage.</p> <p>“Women’s health is a critical issue, not a political football to be tossed around by special interest groups and politicians. Now, there will be no peace of mind for women who become pregnant by rape or incest and are further victimized by this new law that will require them to pay out-of-pocket if they decide they don’t want to continue a pregnancy that resulted from such a violent act,” Rep. <strong>Sarah Roberts</strong> (D-St. Clair Shores) said. “And, unfortunately, many women who are prone to high-risk pregnancies will have no peace of mind knowing that their desire to have a baby may have to be balanced against incurring tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills if their insurance company does not provide a rider or they did not purchase a rider prior to their pregnancy.”</p> <p>With the law now in effect, small businesses that want to offer full health care coverage are also paying the price. Making the health care riders available to employees adds to the health care costs of a small business and women. Additionally, not every health care insurer in Michigan offers these women’s health riders. This puts companies that offer full health care coverage as a recruiting tool at a disadvantage when talented workers compare job opportunities in Michigan to those in other states, and can force uncomfortable conversations between employers and employees.</p> <p>“A law that disrespects women and discourages skilled and talented workers from calling Michigan home is wrong for our state. At a time when we should be doing everything we can to return opportunity and economic growth to Michigan, we are being held back by this punitive and archaic law that oppresses women and hurts small businesses,” Rep. <strong>Pam Faris</strong> (D-Clio) said. “When the Republicans imposed this law on the people of Michigan, they did so at the expense of women and our state economy.”</p>