Water Justice

Q: What Can We Do About Water Shut-offs? 

A: Get Hearings for House Bills 4393 and 4389/4390!

In 2017, DJJ is focusing our work on the fight for access to clean and affordable water in Michigan. In the current stage of our campaign work, Detroit Jews for Justice is working with our partners in People’s Water Board to get a hearing on bills 4393 and 4389/4390 in the Michigan House of Representatives, which are related to the thousands of water shut-offs in Detroit.

Here's what you can do:

  • Are you connected to any of the House Local Government committee members listed below? Are you or someone you know a constituent in one of their districts? Sign up to help support here. Find instructions for contacting your legislator here.
  • Not a constituent of the committee? You can still contact your legislators, voice your support for the bills listed below, and ask them to co-sponsor. Click here for instructionsAfter you've contacted them, click here to help us track progress.
  • Reach out to let us know that you're excited about supporting the fight for water justice. Send an email to our Water Campaign Chairs: Community Organizer Eleanor at eleanor@detroitjewsforjustice and DJJ Leader Aaron at aaronppehrc@gmail.com.


The Bills:

Shut-off Protections - House Bill 4393 (Chang)

Institutes water shut-off protections for seniors, families with minor children, and those who are disabled. Provides for clearer notices for households at risk of being shut-off. Creates a low-income water assistance fund (similar to Michigan’s statute to protect households from utility shut-offs).

Decriminalization - House Bill 4389/4390 (Chang/Garrett)

Decriminalizes individuals who reconnect their water service after being shut-off for an inability to pay. Currently the recommended sentence for re-connecting service is a five-year felony. The bills would change sentencing to a civil infraction for first or second offense and a misdemeanor for third offense.

These bills have been referred to the House Committee on Local Government. The committee is:

  • Chair: State Rep. James Lower, 70th District (R) - Montcalm County and Gratiot County
  • Julie Alexander, 64th District (R) - Jackson County
  • Roger Hauck, 99th District (R) - Isabella County and Midland County.
  • Ben Frederick, 85th District (R) - Shiawassee County and Saginaw County.
  • Gary Howell, 82th District (R) - Lapeer County
  • Jim Runestad, 44th District (R) - Highland, White Lake, Springfield, Milford, Waterford
  • Kathy Crawford, 38th District (R) - Lyon, Northville, Novi, South Lyon, Walled Lake
  • Sara Cambensy, 109th District (D) - Alger, Luce, Schoolcraft, Marquette (Upper Peninsula)
  • Jim Ellison, 26th District (D) - Royal Oak and Madison Heights
  • Patrick Green, 28th District (D) - Center Line and city of Warren
  • Jeremy Moss, 35th District (D) - Southfield, Lathrup Village, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin.



  • Download this 1-pager to share at your synagogue and in conversations with friends and family.
  • Our talking points kit for having conversations about this critical issue and the legislation.
  • Visit wethepeopleofdetroit.com for in-depth community-based research on the shutoff crisis, conducted by our incredible partners at We the People of Detroit.
  • Watch a recording of our October panel on the public health impact of the regional water crisis at Temple Kol Ami, featuring advocates and experts Monica Lewis-Patrick, Dr. Paul Von Oeyen, Nicole Hill, and State Rep. Stephanie Chang.
  • Read Rabbi Alana's 2016 High Holiday sermon about water justice.


Stay tuned for more developments about our work in support of People's Water Board by signing up for our email list at www.detroitjewsforjustice.org/stay_connected!

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