Rep. Levin Introduces Landmark Child Welfare Legislation

Jun 15, 2016

Special Note:  The Orlando tragedy cast a terrible shadow over this week’s work.  On Sunday, Mr. Levin wrote on his Facebook page, “As we awoke to the news of the devastating tragedy in Orlando, our nation's heart broke. Our prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives, and we hope for a speedy recovery for the injured. In these moments, we must not let hate win - we must stand united in our compassion for the families who today are suffering.  There have been classified briefings this week, and efforts by Democrats to urge consideration of common-sense gun reform.  Mr. Levin has re-iterated that we should at the very least be able to agree the people on the terrorist watch list, or the no-fly list, should not be able to buy guns.  As we learn more about this tragedy we will continue to report in the Connector.

Bi-partisan Child Welfare Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate
This week, Rep. Levin introduced a bipartisan, bicameral child welfare bill, the Families First Prevention Act.  The legislation would create a new federal funding stream for prevention services that help keep children out of foster care. Those services include substance abuse treatment, mental health care, and parenting skills interventions, so long as the interventions are evidenced-based.  This is a significant change as under current law, states receive funds for the cost of providing out-of-home foster care to low-income children, but federal funding for prevention services is limited to a small portion of child welfare spending.

The Children’s Defense Fund, a national child welfare organization, has called this new prevention funding stream in this legislation “historic and long overdue.” This legislation is scheduled for markup by the Ways and Means this week and is supported by 25 national child welfare organizations and 19 state and regional groups.

Regional Transit Authority Reveals New Master Plan
At the end of May, the Regional Transit Authority revealed their new master plan. This plan is built around the idea that southeast Michigan needs a rapid, reliable, and regional transit system to serve the area. At the master plan reveal, they highlighted the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which will be a fast and low-cost means of travelling Woodward and Gratiot from Pontiac and Mt. Clemens all the way to the Detroit Riverfront. The BRT system will be complemented by cross-county connector lines running west and east on most mile roads. The RTA will be holding public forums to show off their plan and give the community a chance to comment. The upcoming meetings in the 9th District will be held in Eastpointe on June 21, Berkley on June 22, and in Warren on June 29. I encourage everyone to participate and chime in on the RTA plans. You can find more information and the meeting schedule at: https://www.rtamichigan.org/masterplan/

On the Floor of the U.S. House this week:  This week the House considers a bill that is cleverly named but would prohibit the IRS from collecting information on substantial donors to tax-exempt organizations, including organizations that engage in political activity, making it easier for foreign entities to anonymously funnel money in support of political candidates.  The House also continues with FY 2017 appropriations bills, taking up the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 5293).