PEG 6th Congressional District Newsletter 318

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Sheriff pushback on red flag gun laws may not matter

Unlike with other gun-related laws, an extreme risk protection order comes from a judge. For failing to comply with a granted red flag order, officers could be held in contempt of court, meaning fines or even jail time.  The orders are meant to temporarily remove firearms for as long as a year, depending on the circumstances, from Michiganders at risk of harming themselves. – MLive

This interview will make you angry and want to do something

Last Sunday night, Chuck Newman conducted an interview with Michael Thompson, who had spent 25 years in prison for the sale of 3 pounds of marijuana. Additionally, Nancy Seaman, who is currently serving a life sentence for defending herself against her abusive husband, shared her story. These cases are sadly not uncommon in Michigan, where the staggering costs of imprisoning individuals who have been unjustly sentenced and the multitude of lives affected are deeply concerning. To gain insight into the efforts being made to reform Michigan’s misguided and harsh sentencing system, we encourage you to watch the interview by clicking here. By doing so, you can learn about the progress being made to address this issue and bring about a more just and compassionate approach to sentencing in our state.


Monday, May 29. Memorial Day

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Shown (left) is a picture of the memorial dedicated on “Decoration Day” on May 30, 1922. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials of soldiers that have passed away, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Friday, June 2. End Gun Violence! Come Paint the Rock Orange

Every year on the first Friday in June, members of the Everytown for Gun Safety community throughout the country come together to honor survivors of gun violence and demand a future free from this crisis. Wear orange throughout the June 2 -4 weekend to show support. Everytown and Moms Demand Action invite you to wear orange and paint the rock orange. Let the planners know you are coming by clicking here. 11 am

Saturday, June 3, Highway to 2024: Pick your path to Victory

Go to Lansing for the day to meet with Indivisible members from across Michigan and participate in discussions on topics that affect us all. It will be a day full of resources to help you, and your group if you have one, develop your best plan of action moving into 2024. You do not need to belong to an Indivisible group to join in the fun. This is the first statewide member conference since 2019 so don’t miss it. Click here for event registration and the full agenda. 9 am–4 pm.

Three Hot Topic Panels:

* Challenges in Public Education.

* Implementing Prop 2 election changes.

* Preventing gun violence.

Visit the PEG Events Page for all upcoming events at!

(More) Things to do

Michigan lawmakers reintroduce Drive Safe BillThe Michigan legislature recently reintroduced a bill package called Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom and Economy), Senate Bills 265, 266, and 267 and House Bills 4410, 4411, and 4412, that would allow all Michigan residents, regardless of immigration status, to obtain a driver’s license or identification card.
This legislation would remove barriers for immigrant communities imposed under the federal Real ID Act, which went into effect in 2008 as well as a 2007 opinion issued by former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, which declared if a person is not a “lawful resident of the United States” they cannot obtain a driver’s license in the state. Cox’s opinion reversed a 1995 opinion from former Attorney General Frank Kelley, a Democrat. The laws would also forbid the secretary of state from sharing any of applicants’ information with immigration enforcement.
Immigrant rights and advocacy groups say that these laws would allow immigrants and others without legal documentation to travel safely to work or the grocery store or take their kids to school without fear of being unnecessarily detained or deported. Similar legislation has been passed in nineteen states and Washington, D.C.ActionJoin Michigan United and Drive Michigan Forward Coalition and sign up to build power and help pass Drive Safe through Deep Canvassing on Tuesdays and Thursdays evenings from May 16th through June 20th. Your voice matters! 

Michigan voters have shown their support for secure and accessible elections by passing Prop 22-2Now, it is crucial for the Michigan legislature to fully fund this constitutional mandate. Take action by calling your legislator today and urging them to prioritize funding for our elections. Implementing the measures outlined in Prop 22-2 requires significant resources. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has requested a budget of $177,559,923 for 2023 and 2024, which will support every aspect of Prop 22-2 implementation and address historical disinvestment in the Bureau of Elections and local clerks. While Voters Not Politicians supports this funding plan, the Michigan Legislature needs to fully fund it.
The proposed budgets from the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives fall short of the necessary funding to securely administer elections across the state. To ensure our elections meet the challenges confronting our democracy, we must invest in Michigan’s election services now and in the future.
ActionCall your state senator and state representative before the upcoming budget meeting. Voice your support for increasing funding for Michigan’s Bureau of Elections and the implementation of voter-mandated Prop 2 to ensure secure and accessible elections. After your call, document your calls and responses on the provided form to help assess support and plan further actions.Thank you for taking action on behalf of all Michigan voters. For any questions, contact

Things to read, watch, and listen to

Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month By proclamation, President Joe Biden declared May to be Jewish American Heritage Month. Similar to prior years, Biden elaborated on wide-ranging contributions Jewish Americans have made to the nation for centuries. Unlike previous celebrations, however, he emphasized “the dark side to the celebrated history of the Jewish people – a history marked by genocide, pogrom, and persecution – with a through line that continues in the record rise of antisemitism today….These acts are unconscionable and despicable…Let’s be clear, silence is complicity.” He identified steps he has taken, including appointing Deborah Lipstadt as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, and taking steps now to develop a national strategy to combat antisemitism. Late last year, Biden established an inter-agency group to better coordinate US Government efforts to counter antisemitism, Islamaphobia and related forms of bias and discrimination. (-JTA) (-WAPO) In a similar effort, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing Jewish Heritage American Month. The resolution, introduced by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Rick Scott (R-FL), and cosponsored by 33 Senators, celebrates the many contributions of Jewish Americans to the United States and calls on elected officials, faith leaders, and civil society leaders to condemn and combat any and all acts of antisemitism. 

Legislation Proposed to Update Michigan’s Outdated Hate Crime ActDemocrats have proposed a four-bill package to strengthen the Michigan Hate Crime Act and the Institutional Desecration Act (HB 4474, 4475, 4476 and  4477).

According to the Michigan Advance, the Hate Crime Act would “expand hate crimes to include several categories missing from the current law, e.g. sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical or mental disability, ethnicity and age. It also contains a restorative justice approach to hate crimes, with alternatives to incarceration being offered in certain circumstances. With the Institutional Desecration Act, Michigan would join 35 other states with laws that similarly prohibit the defacement, destruction and vandalism of institutions and communal property. These would include houses of worship, community centers, business and nonprofit headquarters and digital or online property.” These pieces of legislation would update Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act, which has not been amended once since its passage in 1988.

In announcing this package of bills, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Rep Noah Arbit (D-W Bloomfield) are seeking bipartisan support. “The conversations [with Republican members] are ongoing,” Arbit said, “ … I welcome bipartisan support and we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure that that happens.”

Book challenge analysis from across the nation shows majority filed by just 11 people

The most recent high-profile ban is of the poem “The Hill We Climb” which was written and performed by Amanda Gorman at Biden’s 2022 Inauguration. However, the ease of banning books in libraries, schools, counties, and even state-wide is astonishing. The challenges filed over the 2021-22 school year in 153 school districts that received a formal request to remove books found that a small group of people were responsible for the vast majority of all book banning attempts. Eleven people who filed 10 or more requests to challenge books were responsible for two-thirds of the challenges, with one person filing 92 challenges. Just 6 percent of book challengers were responsible for 60 percent of the filings to ban books. Most of the requests were attempts to get books with LGBTQ content banned, with 68 percent of the challenges happening over LGBTQ content. Often they don’t even have a connection with the school: Only one in five challengers even identified as parents. Hannah Natanson, The Washington Post (pay wall)

The American Teacher Act aims to address low morale, wages, and widespread shortages

Representative Frederica Wilson, a former school teacher and sponsor of the bill, passionately advocated for the crucial role of teachers in our society. She highlighted that one in five teachers currently work a second job to make ends meet, and over 9,000 districts pay teachers less than $40,000 annually. Wilson praised teachers’ dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they adapted to online teaching and even went door-to-door to reach students without technology access. She emphasized that this period revealed what many had long known: teachers are heroes who deserve a livable and competitive salary that reflects their importance.

The bill, known as the American Teacher Act, would authorize the federal government to provide four-year grants to states, enforcing a minimum salary requirement of $60,000 or more for school teachers starting in fiscal 2024. However, its passage is likely to face opposition from the Republican-controlled chamber.

In the 2020-2021 school year, the average public school teacher earned $61,600 while working an average of 52 hours per week. Nevertheless, there is significant variation in teacher salaries between states, with Mississippi paying an average of $46,862, while in New York, the average salary reached $90,222.

Wilson expressed concern over the teacher shortage, describing it as one of the most pressing threats to education access. She stressed the urgency of addressing this issue, as it jeopardizes classrooms, children, and the future of the country. Wilson’s determination to improve teachers’ circumstances and ensure a quality education for all remains unwavering. – Michigan Advance

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This May marks 180 years since the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States and 154 years since the transcontinental railroad has been in existence. In President Biden’s 2023 Proclamation, he noted that we have some historic firsts under his administration including Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Vice President of South Asian descent; Ambassador Katherine Tai, the first Asian American United States Trade Representative; and Dr. Arati Prabhakar, who is the first South Asian American to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Additionally, Biden has authorized an Amache National Historic Site Act, which establishes a memorial to the 10,000 Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated at Amache during World War II. 

Good News

US quarter featuring beloved Hawaii icon Edith Kanaka‘ole released into circulationThis recently released coin shows a wisdom portrait of Kanaka’ole with her hair and lei po’o (or head lei) morphing into elements of Hawaii’s landscape — symbolizing her lifelong dedication to preserving Hawaiian land and culture. On the bottom of the coin reads, “E ho mai ka ‘ike,” which translates to “granting the wisdom.”

New York Library is giving American teens access to banned books. In the wake of book bannings, Brooklyn Public Library is offering any American teen unlimited digital and audio access to banned and challenged books. Visit for more information.

Write us at if you would like help create our weekly newsletter OR if you would like to be a guest contributor! It’s fun and no ongoing commitment is required. 


A special thanks to our newsletter contributors: Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Bette Cotzin, Bernie Banet, Linda Bennett, Kayla Conrad, Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Mieko Preston, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. Special nod to Chat GPT for its editing assistance.

PEG is a (somewhat) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs.  To subscribe to this free weekly newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.

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