Senator Winnie Brinks

Senator Winnie Brinks

As school districts develop their plans for the upcoming school year, I will do my best to keep you and your families up...
08/13/2020
Senator Winnie Brinks / Back to School in Senate District 29

As school districts develop their plans for the upcoming school year, I will do my best to keep you and your families updated regarding reopening plans in Senate District 29 as they become available. Please remember that each school district is different and has unique needs as they prepare for their students’ return to the classroom — whether that’s in-person, virtually, or a hybrid setting.

For a quick reference, I have prepared a resource on my webpage that gives you an idea on each school and district’s reopening plan. This information is subject to change; for more details and up-to-date information please click on your district or school’s webpage.

The legislature must do more to provide funding and certainty to administrators, educators, students, and families for the upcoming school year and it is my hope that I will have more to report on that soon. Assuming Kent County remains in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan, here is what we know at this time:

What our kids and parents can expect

Black women are paid 62 cents to every dollar white men are paid. Which makes today “Equal Pay Day” for Black women. Thi...
08/13/2020
Michigan League for Public Policy

Black women are paid 62 cents to every dollar white men are paid. Which makes today “Equal Pay Day” for Black women. This date symbolizes how far into the year Black women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Millions of women were already struggling every day to make ends meet and the COVID-19 pandemic has made race and gender gaps even more pronounced. We must do more to reconcile these disparities.

Today is Black Women's Equal Pay Day. For every dollar a White man is paid, a Black woman is paid only 62 cents. Eboni Taylor of Mothering Justice has a powerful piece in Lansing State Journal on the disparities and why Michigan needs expanded access to earned sick and family leave, safe child care options and post-COVID financial assistance.

"It is indisputable that menstrual products are medical necessities and are essential to women,” she said. “The fact tha...
08/12/2020
Michigan’s ‘tampon tax’ challenged in new lawsuit

"It is indisputable that menstrual products are medical necessities and are essential to women,” she said. “The fact that we don’t exempt medical necessities that are applicable solely to women … is discrimination on its face.”

Last year I, along with my colleague Senator Mallory McMorrow, introduced Senate Bills 123 and 124 to repeal these unfair taxes on feminine hygiene products. If we pass this legislation, Michigan could avoid having to spend valuable resources defending this case in court.

The litigation is part of a national movement toward exempting menstrual products from states' sales taxes.

We are launching our #WaterSafetyWednesday campaign in light of the recent increase of water related fatalities in Michi...
08/12/2020

We are launching our #WaterSafetyWednesday campaign in light of the recent increase of water related fatalities in Michigan. We are so lucky to have so many beautiful bodies of water surrounding Michigan, however that’s all the more reason #WaterSafety is so important for us!

Each week we will focus on how to prevent, react to and/or reduce water related incidents in both open bodies of waters and residential.

This week we wanted to share some of the statistics that motivated us initiate #WaterSafetyWednesday:

For more statistics on drownings and other water related accidents go to: https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

For statistics specific to Michigan go to: https://glsrp.org/statistics/

This is great news! This pilot program builds on the idea that we need to treat substance abuse disorders (SUD) and ment...
08/11/2020
Michigan picked for pilot project funding community mental health services

This is great news! This pilot program builds on the idea that we need to treat substance abuse disorders (SUD) and mental health care in community-based health systems. These programs are better suited to methods of funding existing within the health care system, rather than by grants awarded in a piecemeal fashion. This is incredibly important right now, since the pandemic has created increased need for mental health and SUD services.

SUD and mental health should be treated as public health issues, not criminal justice issues. In the first eight states that funded mental health and addiction services in community health clinics, a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found a 60% reduction in the number of people taken to jails and a 40% reduction in homelessness.

Thank you, Senator Debbie Stabenow, for bringing this critical resource to Michigan!

Michigan has been picked to partake in a federal pilot program that funds mental health and addiction services in community health clinics

On Friday, I was appointed by Gov. Whitmer to the Food Security Council. The Council is tasked with identifying and anal...
08/10/2020
Whitmer order creates council to tackle Michigan’s food insecurity problem

On Friday, I was appointed by Gov. Whitmer to the Food Security Council. The Council is tasked with identifying and analyzing the origins of and solutions for food insecurity in Michigan.

Our mission will be to identify and assess evidence-based policies to decrease food insecurity both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, analyze the return on investment to policies that decrease food insecurity, and review and make recommendations regarding how resources and efforts can be best coordinated, implemented, and effectively supplemented.

The Council must prepare and submit a final report to the Governor in two stages, with the first stage due in 3 months and focused on short-term findings and recommendations related to food insecurity and COVID-19. The Council must issue its full, final report within 18 months, and will dissolve 90 days after doing so.

The council will be part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

My colleague, State Senator Jeff Irwin recently introduced legislation to prohibit the use PFAS in food packaging. This ...
08/09/2020
Proposal planned to ban PFAS in food packaging

My colleague, State Senator Jeff Irwin recently introduced legislation to prohibit the use PFAS in food packaging. This is important not only to help us all avoid consuming PFAS, but because these wrappers end up in our landfills, adding PFAS to our water.

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/proposal-planned-ban-pfas-food-packaging

Legislation soon will be introduced in Michigan to ban food packaging that contains toxic chemicals such as PFAS, bisphenols, or phthalates. Some

On Tuesday, August 3, the Trump Administration announced Census operations will end one month early on Sept. 30, includi...
08/07/2020
Census 2020

On Tuesday, August 3, the Trump Administration announced Census operations will end one month early on Sept. 30, including for online and phone responses.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that, over the next 7 weeks, every Michigander respond to the Census. It helps us secure federal funding for various programs and services, determines who represents us and how in Congress, helps fund our infrastructure, and more. During these tumultuous times, we need as much help as we can get, and we are competing with other states and territories to get it.

Please complete your census questionnaire immediately to ensure our communities receive the hard-earned resources they deserve. For more information, visit www.my2020Census.gov or call 844-330-2020 today.

As stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to us, we elected officials owe it to you to ensure responsible parties foot th...
08/06/2020

As stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to us, we elected officials owe it to you to ensure responsible parties foot the bill for the consequences of the pollution they cause. Too often, businesses have made millions while contaminating the air, soil, and water, leaving all of us to deal with tragic health conditions AND sticking us with the bill. The Board of Public Works took a positive step today toward ensuring that at least the cost of getting some contaminants out of our drinking water is borne by the responsible parties, not the average taxpayer.

Today, at the Board of Public Works meeting, I put forward a motion to pursue a legal strategy, including potential litigation, against Wolverine World Wide to recover past and projected future costs of addressing PFAS-contaminated waste dumped by Wolverine at the North Kent Landfill in the 1980s. It passed 7-0 and we will begin moving forward with our efforts to hold all polluters accountable for their actions.

The landfill had a short life, it was opened by the Department of Public Works in 1977 and closed in 1986. We have recently discovered high levels of PFAS in landfill leachate (rain water that lands on the landfill and drains or 'leaches' through the landfill picking up dissolved and suspended material along the way; in a lined landfill, it is collected and sent to a waste-water treatment plant) and in the groundwater at nearby test and household wells.

As we all now know, PFAS compounds have demonstrated adverse health effects. So, once we detected PFAS in our test wells the Board of Public Works and our director and staff moved rapidly and aggressively to deal with the issue support the nearby residents. We supplied bottled water systems and installed whole-house filtration systems immediately. Now, we are building a filtration station to filter out all PFAS from our leachate before discharging it to the North Kent Sewer System. The station will cost over $3 million to build and around $500,000 to operate annually. We believe this contamination can be traced directly to the tons of tannery sludge Wolverine dumped at the landfill and are seeking to recover past and future costs of PFAS mitigation from the company.

(Note the photo is from Washtenaw County's Huron River. Please, follow the recommendations posted at each particular site. There are lakes in Kent County where you should not swim because of PFAS contamination at multiple sites.)

08/03/2020
content.govdelivery.com

In recent weeks there have been 11 identified outbreaks in farms and food processing plants in Michigan. This has prompted Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon to issue an Emergency Order requiring COVID-19 testing for agricultural and food processing employees. This order makes us a leader in leader COVID-19 safety protections for agricultural and migrant workers.

The order requires migrant housing camp operators and certain employers of migrant or seasonal workers, meat, poultry and egg processing facilities and greenhouses with over 20 employees on-site at a time to provide COVID-19 testing. The workers in these locations are essential to our day-to-day lives and making sure they are healthy keeps our food supply chain moving. They are particularly at risk for COVID-19, and I agree with Director Gordon that they need and deserve our protection.

**PFAS Update**With the adoption of new standards aimed at protecting Michiganders from PFAS contamination in municipal ...
08/03/2020
News release: New state drinking water standards pave way for expansion of Michigan’s PFAS clean-up efforts

**PFAS Update**
With the adoption of new standards aimed at protecting Michiganders from PFAS contamination in municipal drinking water, we can now expand investigation and clean up efforts across the state.

The new groundwater standards for PFAS resulted in 38 new sites being added into the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team’s (MPART) portfolio of ongoing PFAS investigations. Most of these sites are landfills or former manufacturing facilities already the subject of ongoing state investigations into other forms of contamination, but they can now be treated for PFAS contamination as well. MPART has been investigating PFAS contamination and protecting Michiganders’ drinking water for several years now, so they already have some data and a proven process for addressing these new sites.

To learn more about PFAS, visit the MPART website: Michigan.gov/PFASResponse.

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) today announced an expansion of PFAS investigations and clean-up efforts across the state in response to the state’s adoption of new standards aimed at protecting Michiganders from PFAS contamination in municipal drinking water.

Did you know that the Drive SAFE bill package benefits several groups of Michiganders? Yes, these bills would allow undo...
07/31/2020

Did you know that the Drive SAFE bill package benefits several groups of Michiganders? Yes, these bills would allow undocumented members of our community to apply for a driver’s license or state ID, but the bills would also help:

• The elderly population — particularly those of rural origins, whose births may not have been recorded or whose birth records were lost
• U.S. citizens born abroad to American citizens, but did not secure proper documentation of citizenship status
• Some foreign adoptees
• Farmworkers, who labor in our fields, but cannot drive themselves to church
• Returning citizens, many of whom can’t get back to work, rent an apartment or cash checks without an ID

All Michiganders deserve to live their lives with dignity. Providing everyone with the opportunity to apply for a driver’s license or photo identity card would do just that.

Note that the State of Michigan cannot bestow immigration status to people through driver’s licenses and IDs (or any other way) – only the federal government has the power to do that.

ALL Michigan residents should have access to a driver’s license. #DriversLicensesForAll #LicenciasParaTodos #DriveMichiganForward #DriveSAFE

Happy 30th Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)! Did you know that the ADA National Network is a fre...
07/26/2020
Learn About the National Network | ADA National Network

Happy 30th Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)! Did you know that the ADA National Network is a free resource that provides information and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act? Learn more about the resources you can access here: https://adata.org/national-network #ADA30 #ThanksToTheADA

[Version en Español] The ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on how to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to support the mission of the ADA to “assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficie...

Last fall, I joined three colleagues to introduce the Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom, and Economy) bill package. Th...
07/24/2020

Last fall, I joined three colleagues to introduce the Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom, and Economy) bill package. These bills would give undocumented Michiganders a chance to apply for driver’s licenses and state ID cards - which they were able to do before 2008. This is just a common sense way to improve public health and safety for everyone, especially during the pandemic. It’s not right that folks can’t (or have to go through unnecessary barriers to) get tested for COVID-19 simply because they don’t have a driver’s license or state ID. Thanks to Drive Michigan Forward for its illustration of this issue. As we’ve seen in many other areas in social policy, COVID-19 has exposed many problematic issues that are unable to be ignored. This legislation is one of those things and I will continue to share information on Facebook regarding the Drive SAFE bill package because now, more than ever, is a good time to fix these laws.

07/23/2020
Senator Brinks Introduces Legislation to Expand Postpartum Insurance Coverage

Medicaid enrollees are at a higher risk of postpartum disruptions in insurance because pregnancy-related Medicaid eligibility ends sixty days after delivery. That’s why today I introduced SB 1033, which would expand the pregnancy-related Medicaid program from 60 days, to one year post-partum, ensuring that new mothers will not weigh cost when making post-partum health care decisions.

Pregnancy-related Medicaid is usually only open to individuals whose income levels are just over the limit for Healthy Michigan Medicaid, but not at a level where they can afford a private health insurance plan.

Gaps in insurance coverage should not be included in the long list of reasons women do not seek medical treatment for postpartum complications, and no child should lose a parent because of cost of care.

More than half of maternal deaths are deemed preventable. With the US currently ranked 55th in maternal mortality among ...
07/21/2020
Nearly Dying In Childbirth: Why Preventable Complications Are Growing In U.S.

More than half of maternal deaths are deemed preventable. With the US currently ranked 55th in maternal mortality among developed nations (just behind Russia), there’s a need for improvement in the quality and duration of prenatal and postpartum health care women receive.

The current budget crisis makes it more important than ever that we spend every healthcare dollar in a smarter, more preventative way. There is strong evidence that pregnancy-related public health spending improves maternal health outcomes and narrows Black-white outcome disparities. We should be doing more.

The rate of life-threatening complications for new mothers in the U.S. has more than doubled in two decades as a result of pre-existing conditions, medical errors and unequal access to care.

Great news – Michigan is still ranked 3rd highest for Census response rates in the country (now at 68.3%)! Responding to...
07/17/2020

Great news – Michigan is still ranked 3rd highest for Census response rates in the country (now at 68.3%)! Responding to the Census brings $18,000 per person over the next 10 years to our district. We can’t afford not to count everyone, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Complete your Census today by going to my2020census.gov, call 844-330-2020 or mail it in. The Census is offered in 13 languages and help guides are translated into 59 more. #ShapeYourFuture #2020Census

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P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI
48909

Telephone

+15173731801

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Senator, what the hell are you thinking to vote yes on House bill # 5672. This is unconstitutional invasion of our bodies, this will not be tolerated. This is assault and battery, this is a crime. If you don't know what punitive and statue damages are you should not be voting on this. Shame on you!!! REALLY!!! THIS BILL HAS TO BE KILLED BEFORE THIS GETS TO THE FLOOR.Are you willing to get a device planted in you so you can work?? you took a oath to protect the constitution. STAND UP TO IT!
Can you give us a call at Visiting Angels of West Michigan at 616 243 7080
I just witnessed a Spectrum Front Line Worker get denied entry into Marthas Vineyard on ,200 Union Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 because he worked for the hospital & had his uniform on! He had his mask on & everything. I couldn't believe it! He had to stand outside the store, while someone else had to shop for him. 😔 #woodtv8 #fox17 #wzzm13 #frontlineworkers #mlive
You do plan on being a leader and tell her NO, right? We live in America and I am having a harder and harder time finding food! We are going to starve to death on top of all the people committing suicide all because you and the legislature are being spineless. Tell her no - tell her she is not allowed to extend on her own accord - it is called a showdown. We are done with sitting idly while you in Lansing destroy the state and put all of us at risk of death to prevent a very small handful from dying. It is called cutting off your head to spite your face.
Michigan needs to open and get back to work. Business owners are responsible enough to make their workplace safe. Please open up rural Michigan!
Good morning, I'm writing you today personally, as you are my state senator. I thank you for hearing my voice. Our Governor, has abused her emergency authority by placing capricious and arbitrary restrictions on how we can live our own lives, and we the people are not happy with it. This citizen of the state of Michigan, implores you, my legislator, to vote against extending the current declaration of emergency, and to allow it to expire on April 30, 2020. We are free individuals and slaves to no one. I am against politicians from any side, from using the current state of fear as a means for grabbing up power over us and liberty away from us. Another extension of this emergency declaration would indeed be misconstrued as consent for her tyrannical actions thus far. I urge you, to let the authorization expire and let citizens forge ahead together, using the free and open marketplace, common sense solutions, and regular legislation. A constituent, David Cook
State of Michigan Employees- I made a delivery of masks to one of our local nursing homes yesterday. And there was a state of MIchigan car in the parking lot. And I thought "I'll bet they are having a survey done by the state." As I drove to the door where a staff member took the masks - there was a State Survey in progress sign on the door!!! I am so angry! I have not been able to see my mom since March 12!!! but the state continues to survey nursing homes when they are in the most difficult care conditions in history. I know state surveys because I have been involved in them in previous jobs,
Please consider advising the governor to make landscapers essential. Many elderly use our service and can't do it themselves. Tick season is here and the over growth will be a health concern. And many places will also have vermin problems. Landscaping is not just about making your lawn look pretty. It is about safety longer grass, mosquitoes get worse. How many more illnesses are we going to cause by saying landscaping is not essential? Lyme disease, zika?? What do rats carry? This is a problem. And many landscaping businesses have only one person. You can put restrictions on how many people per vehicle. Please help, most people that hire landscapers are people that can't do it themselves. And So many other States have landscaping as essential.
To my state legislators, Sen. Brinks and Rep. LaGrande, it is time (pun intended) to eliminate daylight saving time.
https://www.hcn.org/articles/pollution-new-mexico-grapples-with-pfas-pollution Please Senator, it's everywhere, we need stronger legislation 💔
Enjoyed the Coffee with Brinks this morning. Some good information was received and appreciated that she took time to answer questions. I encourage everyone to attend a future Coffee or Drinks with Brinks
As a constituent, I'm curious how you stand on Senate Bill 431?