Dear Neighbors:

My first year in office has been an exciting challenge with so many opportunities to make our community better. We have been working hard in Lansing to ensure we fight for the things that matter to people in Oakland County. Every letter, email and call to our office has helped me to better represent you, and I hope to continue hearing from you as we enter the New Year!

Last year, we hosted four town halls and over 55 coffee hours and community conversations. I’m thankful to those of you who made it out, and I hope more of you can come speak with me and my staff in the future. Our state succeeds when everyone is involved.

If there’s anything I can do to help you, please let me know! You can reach me through email at or by phone at (517) 373-2417, or toll-free at (855) DIST012 (855-347-8012). I would love to hear from you!

Working for You in Lansing,

Rosemary Bayer
State Senator
Toll-free: (855) DIST012 or
(855) 347-8012 Website:

Prescription Drug Costs

Michigan families have been paying far too much for prescriptions that are necessary for a decent quality of life. Countless Michiganders are not taking their medications because they can’t afford it. Senate Bill 525, which I co-sponsored, would switch this trend by allowing Michigan to import prescription drugs from Canada at huge discounts. This would allow consumers to save money, while also protecting the quality of the medication.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services.

Home Heating Help

Food isn’t the only problem in the dead of winter — heating bills can be too. Many low-income families and seniors struggle just to keep their house warm, but fortunately, The Heat and Warmth (THAW) Fund can help during the cold months.

THAW has multiple utility assistance programs available, including affordable payment plans for customers of DTE Low-Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP), SEMCO Monthly Assistance Program (MAP), Consumers Energy Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE), and UPPCO Self-sufficiency & Education Program (EASE). They also offer resources for utility payment assistance and/or state emergency relief.

See which you may qualify for at or call (800) 866-THAW (8429).

In addition, here are some helpful phone numbers if you have questions about your heating bill:
DTE Energy
(800) 477-4747

SEMCO Energy
(800) 624-2019

Consumers Energy
(800) 477-5050

Michigan Gas Utilities
(800) 401-6402

Save the Date! 2nd Annual Senior Town Hall

Join me for coffee!
I always enjoy the opportunity to hear directly from residents like you on the issues you care about! My favorite way to do that is to host coffee hours throughout Oakland County. Check my website for upcoming dates and times, sign up for my e-newsletter, or call my office to learn about a future coffee hour near you!

I’ll be hosting a town hall in February just for seniors and you’re invited!

I always enjoy the opportunity to hear directly from residents like you on the issues you care about! My favorite way to do that is to host coffee hours throughout Oakland County. Check my website for upcoming dates and times, sign up for my e-newsletter, or call my office to learn about a future coffee hour near you!

Friday, Feb. 28, 2020
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909

Bowen Senior Citizens Center
52 Bagley St. Pontiac, MI 48342

We will have light refreshments and a panel of speakers who
will address issues important to seniors including elder abuse, services available to seniors, protecting yourself from identity theft, and how to avoid scams.

I hope to see you there!

Be Counted: U.S. CENSUS 2020

Every 10 years, the U.S. government is constitutionally required to count the people living in our country. It doesn’t matter if you’re a natural-born citizen, a Green Card holder or an immigrant — every person living in our country matters.

The 2020 Census questionnaire will contain a short set of questions asking about the people living in your household. It’s critical that you fill out these forms and return them.

You should make sure you respond to the 2020 Census questionnaire because the results of it:

  • Determine how much money our state and our community receive from the federal government;
  • Determine the number of Congressional seats Michigan receives;
  • Provide local government officials with data to ensure public safety, plan schools and build hospitals; and,
  • Provide data so businesses can find communities where they can create jobs.

BY APRIL 1, 2020, every home in Michigan should receive a census questionnaire. Thanks to upgrades in technology, you will be able to return your answers via MAIL, PHONE or ONLINE.

Earn extra income while helping your community

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count. These temporary positions include Census takers, Census field supervisors, recruiting assistants, clerks and office operations supervisors. Interested? Learn more and apply online at or call (855) JOB-2020 (562-2020).

How to avoid scams

Between March 12 and 20, most households will receive a postcard invitation to respond online to the 2020 census. Those who don’t answer will then receive the traditional paper form in the mail. If you don’t respond, the bureau will send a census taker to knock on your door to collect your household’s data.
Real census employees won’t ask for your full Social Security number, for money or donations, or for bank or credit card numbers.
Check to make sure that the person has a valid identification badge with his or her photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. If you still suspect fraud, call the Census Bureau at (800) 923-8282 to speak to a representative.

Are you ready for REAL ID?

On Oct. 1, 2020, the federally mandated REAL ID law will go into full effect and, if you travel by air, this law will impact you. If you haven’t been paying attention to this issue, it’s time to get informed.
REAL ID is the post-9/11 federal requirement setting higher security standards for identification. Once in effect, standard state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards will not be enough when boarding flights within the U.S. or entering certain federal facilities, such as military bases or nuclear power plants.
Some people already have a REAL ID document, such as a valid U.S. passport, a DHS Trusted Traveler Card or an enhanced driver’s license. A full list of acceptable REAL ID documents is available online at

To get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID card, visit a Secretary of State Office and bring the following documents with you:
• Your driver’s license or state ID card;
• Your certified birth certificate, with a raised seal or stamp issued by a governmental agency;
• Your valid, unexpired U.S. passport OR an approved citizenship or legal presence document (faxes and photocopies won’t be accepted); and,
• If your name differs from what is on your birth certificate, bring certified documents for every time your name has changed, such as marriage licenses or court orders.
There’s no additional fee to turn a license or state ID card into a standard REAL ID if it’s done during your normal renewal time. Otherwise, a duplicate card fee will be charged.

Snowbirds reminded to RENEW EARLY

Residents heading south for the winter are reminded to renew their driver’s licenses and license plates before leaving Michigan.

You can renew plates for individually owned or leased
cars, pickup trucks, vans and motorcycles up to six months before they expire. Renew early online at or at a Secretary of State office, even if you have not yet received your renewal information in the mail. License plate tabs will arrive by mail within two weeks.

Driver’s licenses (for drivers age 21 and older) and state ID cards may be renewed up to a year early. Motorists have the option of obtaining a REAL ID-compliant license or state ID card at no extra cost when renewing. Certain paperwork and a visit to a branch is required, so drivers are encouraged to check
or call the Department of State Information Center at (888) SOS-MICH (767-6424) for more details.

Visiting a branch office? Consider scheduling an appointment. Appointments are reserved online at and help ensure that visits are 30 minutes or less.

REAL ID goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020
For more information, visit

Protect Against
Elder Abuse and Fraud

More than 73,000 older adults in Michigan have been victims of elder abuse, and many more are targets of these abuses. Seniors are vulnerable to abuse, neglect or exploitation, and much of it is unreported or underreported.

Elder abuse can take the form of physical or emotional abuse, neglect or abandonment, and even financial exploitation. To combat this problem, our state’s attorney general has created the Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force to implement various initiatives to streamline reporting and reduce the risk of elder abuse.

If you or someone you know might be a victim of elder abuse, the attorney general’s office has recommended you should:
• Take photographs and written notes on what you observed, when you observed it, and who was present, along with any further helpful information;
• Immediately report incidents to the nursing home or health care facility administrator if applicable; and,
• Report the abuse to the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 242-2873 and to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Adult Protective Services at (855) 444-3911.

The Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force is also doing listening tours around Michigan, so be sure to attend if they come to our community. Learn more online at by clicking on “Initiatives” in the top menu, and then selecting “Elder Abuse” from the drop-down menu list of options.

Helpful Resources

Adult Home Help/Chore Services: (800) 292-2550
Adult Protective Services, for reports of suspected abuse and neglect: (855) 444-3911
Area Agency on Aging 3A: (269) 373-5173
Attorney General – Consumer Protection Division, for cases of identity theft: (877) 765-8388
Attorney General – Office of Elder Abuse: (800) 242-2873
Bridge Card (EBT) – Customer Service: (888) 678-8914
Disability Ombudsman: (800) 288-5923
Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc: (866) 400-9164
Elder Care Services for the elderly, for help with transportation, meals, etc. (800) 677-1116
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.: (866) 400-9164
Energy Assistance: (800) 292-5650
Food Assistance: (855) 275-6424
Fraud Reporting – Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, 24-hour hotline: (800) 222-8558
Home Heating Tax Credit Status: (517) 636-4486
Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department:
(269) 373-5200
Kalamazoo County Long Term Care Ombudsman: (269) 373-5173
Medicaid Customer Help: (800) 642-3195
Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) at the Area Agency on Aging 1B: (800) 803-7174
Medicare, includes Part D for pharmacy: (888) 633-4227
Medicare Savings Program: (800) 772-1213
MI Enrolls – Medicaid Managed Care: (888) 367-6557
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Medicaid Beneficiary Support: (800) 642-3195
Michigan Stroke Network: (866) 522-8676
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: (800) 642-4838
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NMI): (810) 232-6498
Nursing Home Complaints: (800) 882-6006
Relay Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 7-1-1
Senior Services of Southwest Michigan/Meals on Wheels: (269) 382-0515 Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention: (517) 372-6666
Social Security Administration: (800) 772-1213
State SSI Supplement: (800) 481-4774
Substance Abuse Hotline: (800) 662-4357
Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline: (800) 273-8255
TAX statements for Adult Home Help: (800) 292-2550
THAW – The Heat and Warmth Fund: (800) 552-1183
Volunteers of America: (248) 945-0101
Vulnerable Adult Services: (800) 996-6228