Rep. Jeff Irwin seeking feedback from Ann Arbor residents on issues facing Michigan
In his first month in the Michigan Legislature, state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, says he's already working on tackling a number of issues — ranging from absentee voting for any reason to a graduated income tax to energy efficiency financing.
Irwin, a former Washtenaw County commissioner, also has set his sights on funding for the I-94 rail corridor, second parent adoption, rules to encourage organ donation, refining the state's Freedom of Information Act, and changes to the Corridor Improvement Authority Act to better facilitate future redevelopment along Washtenaw Avenue from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti.
Irwin also is planning to propose a "right to farm wind" bill that would revise Michigan's Right to Farm Act to ease zoning restrictions and allow wind turbines on any agricultural land.
Irwin said bills on some of those issues already are being prepared for introduction. Being in the minority in Lansing, he said he wants to seek Republican buy-in.
Irwin has announced he will host monthly coffee hours for residents to get updates on state government and share their own ideas for Michigan’s future.
The state currently is facing a budget deficit of at least $1.8 billion for the next fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
"As I meet with residents, I regularly pick up great ideas and valuable insights on issues that are important to our community," Irwin said in a statement. "Maintaining that dialogue is one of the most important parts of my job."
The first coffee hour is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at CafÃ© Verde, 216 N. Fourth Ave., in the Kerrytown district in downtown Ann Arbor.
Residents can sign up for Irwin's e-newsletter for updates on future coffee hours and other legislative issues at www.jeffirwin.housedems.com.