As 2022 winds down and my fourth year serving as a state representative comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on how grateful I am for the privilege to serve. I am so thankful for the people who put their trust in me to be their voice in state government and make sure their interests are represented at the Capitol.
My goal is always to deliver positive results that make our communities a better place to live, work and retire. During the 2021-22 legislative term, I’m proud to report that I have had nine bills signed into law. This wouldn’t have been possible without a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to get things done. With the help of our legislative staff and interns, our office was able to help thousands of residents who reached out for help navigating issues involving state government, including a tremendous number of people who had problems receiving their unemployment insurance claims during the pandemic.
Here are some of the highlights from my legislative work in 2022:
Encouraging economic investment
Mid-Michigan has received some major investments in 2022 that were facilitated by a new economic development tool created by the Legislature called the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund. In September, we utilized the SOAR fund to secure a $375 million investment from Hemlock Semiconductor that will create 170 new jobs. We also used the SOAR program to land a $2.6 billion GM battery cell manufacturing plant that will create 1,700 new jobs in the Lansing area. Both projects were massive wins for our local economies.
Planning for Michigan’s future energy needs
As more coal-fired power generation plants are shuttered, it’s critical that we have a serious conversation about the baseload we’re losing and how we can make sure Michiganders are still able to access reliable energy they can afford. Nuclear energy should be part of that conversation. That’s why I spearheaded House Bill 6019 (now Public Act 218 of 2022) to commission an independent study weighing the advantages and disadvantages of generating additional nuclear energy in Michigan. It will examine the economic and environmental impact, as well as potential new sites and safety criteria.
Improving the criminal justice system
As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, improving the criminal justice system is one of my priorities. This year, that included working on legislation to strengthen the rights of crime victims, fix a problem causing a backlog in criminal background checks, and protect vulnerable adults in the state’s guardianship system.
In June, I led the House in approving a plan to make the justice system work better for survivors of crime. The bills would have established the use of face blurring technology for victims who testify when hearings are posted online, ensured victim impact statements could be be provided remotely, broadened the list of crimes addressed by the Crime Victim’s Rights Act to ensure victims of those crimes are afforded the rights they are due, and increased access to victims’ services and shelters. Unfortunately, these bills got hung up in the Senate and never made it into law. This is something I will continue fighting for next year.
After a rule was changed by the State Court Administrative Office, courts throughout Michigan began redacting dates of birth for criminal defendants from paperwork. Which this may seem like a mundane change, it ended up causing a major problem for businesses that perform background checks. Suddenly, a routine background check became much more difficult to perform. I introduced House Bill 5368 to restore access to this information, so background check providers can continue reporting criminal records to employers, property managers, and other agencies.
I also helped sponsor a historic plan to improve the state’s guardianship and conservatorship systems, the process used after a court decides an individual is not capable of making their own legal, medical or financial decisions. The bipartisan plan fixed issues identified by the state’s Elder Abuse Task Force by providing safeguards for the appointment of guardians, requiring guardians to take special precautions to protect people’s property and increasing transparency about the way a ward’s property is used. I will continue working on this issue next year.
While I am one of just a few state representatives whose House district number will not change next year due to redistricting, the 93rd House District will include some new communities. For the past four years, I have served Clinton County and a portion of Gratiot County. Beginning in 2023, the 93rd House District will include portions of Clinton and Gratiot counties, as well as portions of Montcalm, Ionia, and Saginaw counties. I have spoken with many of you already, and I look forward to getting to know the people in these new communities even better in the coming months.
If I can be of any assistance, or if you’d like to share an idea or concern with me, please don’t hesitate to contact my office by calling (517) 373-1778 or emailing [email protected].
State Rep. Graham Filler’s plan to update Michigan’s laws regarding estates, trusts and wills was signed by the governor today. The bipartisan legislation recognized the need to modernize end-of-life planning laws, which hadn’t been updated in decades and did not reflect the current cost of living. “The weight of end-of-life decisions is heavy enough without […]
State should make reasonable adjustments to support anaerobic digesters State Rep. Graham Filler today called upon the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to rethink a permitting change it is imposing on a Fremont area business and make reasonable accommodations to allow it and other anaerobic digesters to operate in Michigan. Anaerobic […]
State Rep. Graham Filler today introduced a plan to recognize the service and commitment of the men and women who volunteer as firefighters and emergency medical responders throughout Michigan. Filler’s plan would offer a tax credit to Michiganders who serve their communities with volunteer or paid on-call fire departments and life support agencies. “Volunteer firefighters […]
As we bid farewell to 2023, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the strides made in the Legislature and the work I am doing to address the pressing needs of the people I serve. Throughout the year, I championed bills aimed at empowering survivors, improving access to health care, and protecting […]