The Senior Alliance's Monthly Advocacy Update
January 29, 2021
Volume 2.1
Welcome to The Senior Alliance's advocacy newsletter, COLLOQUY!
This monthly e-mail is a look at issues, legislation and policies impacting aging.
Governor Proposes Making $2 Direct Care Worker Premium Pay Permanent:
In her State of the State Address Governor Gretchen Whitmer called for making the $2 per hour premium pay for Direct Care Workers (DCW) permanent. During the COVID-19 pandemic the state has used federal stimulus funds for these payments, which are currently set to end on February 28th. The legislature and the governor will have to negotiate how to fund DCW premium pay going forward and who qualifies.

In October 2020 Michigan State University researchers released a report that found our state is currently in need of 36,000 more DCWs. The Senior Alliance will continue to advocate for policies that grow the direct worker workforce to meet the needs of older adults.
Start of the 117th Congress and the 101st State Legislature:
A new group of legislators has been sworn into the Michigan House of Representatives, kicking off the 101st Session of the Michigan Legislature. The 117th Congress has also sworn in its members and begun its work. This means the whole legislative process starts anew!

We anticipate some of the bills that died in the 100th state legislative session will be reintroduced during the 101st Session. The Senior Alliance will continue to monitor action in Lansing and Washington, D.C., advocating on behalf of older adults.
New Legislative Leaders & Committee Assignments:
The new state legislative session means new leadership and committee assignments. Here's a quick rundown of each chamber's leadership and committee chairs.

State Representative Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) has been elected Speaker of House for the 101st state legislative session. State Representative Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) is the Minority Leader.

In the State Senate, Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) will continue as Majority Leader. Continuing as Minority Leader will be State Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-East Lansing).

Committee's directly relevant to older adults issues will be led as follows:

State Senate Committee on Families, Seniors & Veterans
Chair, State Senator John Bizon (R-Battle Creek)
Vice-Chair, State Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte)
Minority Vice-Chair, State Senator Marshall Bullock II (D-Detroit)

State Senate Committee on Health Policy & Human Services
Chair, State Senator Curt Vanderwall (R-Ludington)
Vice-Chair, State Senator John Bizon (R-Battle Creek)
Minority Vice-Chair, State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids)

State Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services
Chair, State Senator Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes)
Vice-Chair, State Senator John Bizon (R-Battle Creek)
Minority Vice-Chair, State Senator Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit)

State House Committee on Families, Children & Seniors
Chair, State Representative Rodney Wakeman (R-Saginaw Twp.)
Vice-Chair, State Representative Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.)
Minority Vice-Chair, State Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia)

State House Committee on Health Policy
Chair, State Representative Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian)
Vice-Chair, State Representative Luke Meerman (R-Polkton Twp.)
Minority Vice-Chair, State Representative Angela Witwer (D-Delta Twp.)

State House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services
Chair, State Representative Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.)
Vice-Chair, State Representative Phil Green (R-Millington)
Minority Vice-Chair, State Representative Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn)
Listen to Our Podcast Series - "Inside The Senior Alliance":
Our new podcast series, "Inside The Senior Alliance," provides to-the-point information about our programs and services. Just search for "The Senior Alliance" to find it on Spotify, Apple, Stitcher and Google Podcasts. Each episode to-date is less than 12 minutes long.

Our first episode answers the question, "What is The Senior Alliance?" Other installments provide overviews of the MI Choice Waiver program, the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) and our Supports Coordination function. In early February we'll post an episode about our Information & Assistance service.

Click the button below to listen via our website.
Free Online Classes Available Through GetSetUp: is a digital education platform provided through the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services to address social isolation. Older adults can learn about a variety of topics through a live, interactive peer-to-peer teaching model. Everyday there are 10 hours of classes offered, so older adults can enjoy a class anytime they like from the comfort and safety of their home. Classes are available free to Michiganders age 60 and over for the next six months. Visit to learn more and sign up. 
Advocacy Questions: Please contact Jason Maciejewski, Chief Advocacy & Planning Officer, with any advocacy or public policy questions via e-mail at
If you've received our monthly advocacy update, COLLOQUY, from a friend or colleauge and would like to subscribe just click the button below or send an e-mail to:
The Senior Alliance, Area Agency on Aging 1C
5454 Venoy Road, Wayne, MI 48184