<![CDATA[Rep. Winnie Brinkss' Site Feed]]> http://076.housedems.com <![CDATA[Bosnia and Herzegovina Refugees Recognized in Rep. Brinks Resolution]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/bosnia-and-herzegovina-refugees-recognized-in-rep-brinks-resolution <p>GRAND RAPIDS – State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has introduced House Resolution 391 marking July 11 as Srebrenica Remembrance Day and July 11-17 as Bosnia and Herzegovina Tribute Week in Michigan. Michigan became home to thousands of Bosniaks following the war that raged from 1992 to 1995 in the region of the former Yugoslavia. July 11, 1995 is the date of the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 8,300 Bosniaks – many of them civilians – were slaughtered. About 145,000 Bosniaks found refuge in the United States during and after the war, and approximately 8,000 were settled in the greater Grand Rapids area.</p> <p>&#8220;Our country became a safe haven for families whose lives were torn apart by the worst war in Europe since World War II, and I’m grateful that so many of them chose to make Grand Rapids their home,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;A strong community of Bosniaks has grown in West Michigan, and now about 16,000 Bosniaks live, work and own businesses in the Grand Rapids area. We are fortunate to be their neighbors, and I’m proud to have introduced a resolution to commemorate their struggle and triumph.&#8221;</p> <p>The war in the former Yugoslavia started shortly after Bosnia and Herzegovina achieved independence in 1992. The conflict with neighboring Serbia displaced more than 2.2 million people from their homes, according to the United Nations. Thousands of them came to Michigan as refugees, settling in greater Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Muskegon, Detroit, Flint, Hamtramck, Battle Creek, Big Rapids and Traverse City. The Bosniak community in Grand Rapids is the second-largest in the U.S., second only to the community in St. Louis, Mo.</p> <p>&#8220;I celebrate the spirit and hard work of our Bosniak community,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;They arrived in Michigan after suffering devastating losses during the war, and they worked hard to build a thriving community here. I’m glad to count Bosniaks among my friends and neighbors, and they contribute to the vibrancy and strength of our state.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Brinks: Coffee Hour Location *Changed* After Tornado Damage]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/rep-brinks-coffee-hour-location-changed-after-tornado-damage <p>GRAND RAPIDS – State Representative <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) has changed the location of her upcoming coffee hour to be held on <strong><u>Friday, July 11 from 1:30-3 p.m.</u></strong> The <strong>NEW</strong> location of the coffee hour is Schnitz Deli, located at <strong><u>1315 Fulton St. SE in Grand Rapids</u></strong>. The original site of the coffee hour, Schnitz South Deli, located at 1529 Langley St. SE in Grand Rapids, was heavily damaged in a tornado Sunday night.</p> <p>“I was devastated to learn that such a thriving local business was so hard-hit by the recent storm,” Brinks said. “I am determined to support Schnitz Deli and its employees while the South location is rebuilt, and I hope residents will join me in supporting this small business in our community. I also welcome anyone who has a question about pending bills or newly passed laws, or who wants to have a conversation about the issues facing our government, to join me at Schnitz Deli.”</p> <p>The coffee hour will be held:</p> <p>• <strong><u>Friday, July 11, from 1:30-3 p.m. at Schnitz Deli, 1315 Fulton St. SE in Grand Rapids.</u></strong></p> <p>Residents of Rep. Brinks&#8217; district in Grand Rapids are encouraged to contact her toll-free at (855) 747-4946 (4WIN) or by email at winniebrinks@house.mi.gov. 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 RepBrinks.com.</p> <![CDATA[Reps. Brinks, Dillon Help Bring Road Repairs to Grand Rapids]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/reps-brinks-dillon-help-bring-road-repairs-to-grand-rapids <p>GRAND RAPIDS - A supplemental budget bill supported by state Representatives <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) and <strong>Brandon Dillon</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) has resulted in emergency road repairs to some of Grand Rapids&#8217; most crumbling roads. While the fixes are a good start, the representatives point out that Michigan still needs a comprehensive road funding plan to pay for approximately $1 billion in road and bridge repairs annually.</p> <p>&#8220;Wherever I go in Grand Rapids, people are upset with the state of the roads they drive to work, to the store or to take their kids to the park,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;I&#8217;m grateful that some of our most dangerous roads are about to get fixed, but there are still many roads that need attention. Emergency roads must only be the start. We need to get to work on a real road funding plan.&#8221;</p> <p>The supplemental budget bill that both Brinks and Dillon voted for in March set aside $215 million for emergency road repairs, including $100 million for potholes and winter-related road damage and $115 million for construction projects. Included among the projects are $1.1 million to repair Bridge Street from Lake Michigan Drive NW to Mount Mercy Drive NW, and almost $1 million to fix Michigan Street NE from Barclay Avenue NE to Lafayette Avenue NE.</p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s great that two stretches of road in Grand Rapids are about to get some overdue repairs,&#8221; Dillon said. &#8220;However, that barely scratches the surface. What we really need is a comprehensive road plan that will address all of the shoddy roads and crumbling bridges across the state. Despite our best efforts to stay in Lansing and find a way to fund those projects, we don&#8217;t yet have that plan.&#8221;</p> <p>In June, Michigan House Democrats loudly objected by a voice vote to a Republican motion to adjourn for a three-month summer break without finding a road funding plan. House Democrats have since invited House Republicans to return to Lansing and finish the job, but Republicans have so far been silent on the matter.</p> <p>&#8220;I&#8217;m glad that our vote for emergency road funding in March is making a difference in Grand Rapids, but we won&#8217;t find a real solution to our road funding problem until we go back to the Capitol and get back to work,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;It&#8217;s time to end the vacation, roll up our sleeves and find a solution that will fix our crumbling roads.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[West Michigan House Dems: Let’s Go Back to Lansing and Fix Our Roads]]> http://076.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[Brinks Backs Bill Protecting Women Against Breast Cancer]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/brinks-backs-bill-protecting-women-against-breast-cancer <p>LANSING – State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) offered testimony today before the Senate Health Policy Committee to support Senate Bill 879, which would provide women with better information about dense breast tissue in order to combat breast cancer. The bill is similar to House Bill 4260, which Brinks introduced last year, but has stalled in the House Health Policy Committee.</p> <p>&#8220;This proposal gives women the information they need to get accurate breast cancer screenings and fight against this deadly disease,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;I am committed to helping women stay healthy, and that is why I introduced this proposal a year ago. I’m glad to put my support behind the Senate version of this plan, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.&#8221;</p> <p>Similar to Brinks’ bill, SB 879 would require health care providers to notify women when their mammogram determines they have dense breast tissue. This kind of tissue isn’t rare, but it is more likely to both develop tumors and make those tumors more difficult to detect on a mammogram. If a woman is found to have dense breast tissue, the bill would require a health care provider to give the patient information about dense breast tissue and encourage her to consult with her doctor about other, more effective cancer screening options.</p> <p>&#8220;This is an important bill that will give women another weapon in the war against breast cancer,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;Too many Michigan wives, mothers, sisters and daughters have fallen to this disease. I’m committed to equipping women with the information they need to make good healthcare decisions so they can catch cancer early, when it can most effectively be treated.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Brinks Sponsors Bill in Michigan Insurance Industry Reform Package]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/brinks-sponsors-bill-in-michigan-insurance-industry-reform-package <p>LANSING &#8212; Members of the House Democratic Caucus held a press conference today to announce a series of bills intended to improve insurance dealings between providers and policy holders in Michigan. The 14-bill package will help keep rates low while increasing punishments for companies that use unfair or deceptive practices.</p> <p>&#8220;Michiganders need insurance reforms that will save them money - not reforms that are designed to fatten the wallets of insurance company CEOs,&#8221; said state Representative <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids), who sponsored one of the bills in the package. &#8220;Instead of weakening consumer protections, we need to hold insurance companies accountable and make sure they pay the price if they attempt to treat their customers unfairly.&#8221;</p> <p>Brinks&#8217; bill, House Bill 5519, would require property and casualty insurance companies to deal in good faith with a policy holder when a claim for benefits is made. Other bills would impose administrative fines for second violations made by insurance companies, create a right for an individual to pursue legal damages against an insurance company for denials made in bad faith and prohibit insurance companies from using an accident to justify rate increases on a policy holder if the policy holder was not at fault in the accident.</p> <p>&#8220;Hardworking Michiganders are spending their hard-earned money to buy insurance policies that will protect them in the event of an accident, disease or disaster,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;Insurance companies must do the right thing when a customer files a claim. If they fail to live up to their agreement with their policy holders, they must be held accountable.&#8221;</p> <p>The package of legislation also addresses Michigan&#8217;s automotive no-fault insurance system. Legislative Republicans have introduced proposals that would severely limit benefits to drivers and passengers involved in serious accidents, while delivering no long-term savings to insurance customers. Reforms introduced by House Democrats, on the other hand, are designed to protect customers and reduce insurance costs.</p> <p>&#8220;The House Democrats&#8217; plan to reform Michigan&#8217;s insurance industry extends protections to policy holders and lowers the cost of insurance for consumers across the state,â? Brinks said. &#8220;People want these kinds of reforms, not legislation that will make insurance companies more profitable at our expense. I urge my colleagues to work with us to bring real insurance reform to the state of Michigan.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[House Democrats Call for Action on Pay Equity Package]]> http://076.housedems.com/multimedia/videos/house-democrats-call-for-action-on-pay-equity-package <p>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>