State Senator Rosemary Bayer


I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful fall weather. As always, it’s my priority to serve you to the best of my ability in Lansing. Please feel free to reach out with comments, questions, or ideas. I’m always happy to connect and hear about the issues that matter most to you.

Featured in this newsletter:

  • Election Day is Nov. 8
  • Michigan achievement scholarship to lower cost of college
  • Governor and MDHHS working to expand access to free family planning services
  • Updates to election, military voting
  • New 24/7 domestic violence hotline
  • Michiganders will not have to pay state, federal taxes on forgiven student loans

You are central to my goal as a legislator! As always, if I can be of any assistance to you or your family, please call my office at (517) 373-2417, or email me at

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Rosemary Bayer
State Senator
12th District





Four weeks remain until Michigan’s Nov. 8 general election. All registered voters can vote by mail with an absentee ballot, vote early in person with an absentee ballot at their local clerk’s office, or at their polling place on Election Day. Michiganders who are eligible to register to vote but have not yet done so can register online through Oct. 24 or in person at their local clerk’s office through 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters can check the status of their absentee application or ballot online at or by calling their local city or township election clerk. Voters who already received an absentee ballot should sign the back of the envelope and mail it or drop it off at their local clerk’s office or drop box as soon as possible.

Voters can also vote in person at their polling place on Election Day, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Michiganders can find election information at, including a sample ballot, information about how to use voting equipment, where to find a local drop box, and how to contact their local clerk.



On Tuesday, Oct. 11, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation establishing the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which will lower the cost of college by thousands of dollars a year for many high school graduates. The legislation builds on the administration’s goal of having 60% of adults with a skill certificate or college degree by 2030.

Starting with the class of 2023, high school graduates will be eligible for more financial aid from the state, up to:

  • $2,750 if they attend a community college, per year
  • $5,500 if they attend a public university, per year
  • $4,000 if they attend a private college or university, per year

Students will be eligible if their family demonstrates financial need when they complete the FAFSA. The Michigan Achievement Scholarship will cover:

  • 94% of students attending community colleges
  • 76% of students attending a public university
  • 79% of students attending a private college or university

More information will be provided as it becomes available. The FAFSA application is available at



On Monday, Oct. 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced they are seeking approval for an initiative called “Plan First!” that would expand access to family planning services. The proposal would offer 25,000 Michiganders free contraception, cancer screenings, STI/STD testing, and more, saving them up to an estimated $2,000 a year.

Family planning is a public health service that allows women and couples to have healthier pregnancies, to help time and space births, and achieve desired family size.

Currently, women in Michigan can access low- or no-cost family planning services through Michigan’s Family Planning Program and through the Healthy Michigan Plan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program. However, approximately 25,000 Michiganders do not qualify under the income eligibility for Healthy Michigan or traditional Medicaid but have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $36,620 annually for a household of two.

MDHHS is seeking approval from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide family planning coverage to those 25,000 Michiganders by pursuing an amendment to its Medicaid State Plan. If approved, the program would offer:

  • Initial and annual physical exams relating to reproductive health and family planning options, including patient education and counseling.
  • Breast and cervical cancer screenings.
  • Sexually transmitted infections and HIV screening and testing.
  • Sterilization services.
  • Family-planning-related laboratory services.
  • Medical, diagnostic and treatment services that are determined to be necessary during a family planning visit, such as treatment for sexually transmitted infections or diseases or cervical cancer vaccinations.

 The new Plan First! Family Planning Policy, if approved, would take effect in spring 2023. Details will be provided at that time about how to apply.



On Friday, Oct. 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to further enhance Michigan’s election integrity by allowing local clerks to pre-process absentee ballots two days prior to Election Day and allow overseas military members to return their ballot electronically.


House Bill 4491 (Public Act 195 of 2022), helps Michigan catch up to other states that provide the right to vote absentee to all voters. While many clerks have already hired staff for the 2022 election and will not be able to utilize the new provisions, they will be able to take advantage of this law and speed up election results in future election cycles.

Military Voting

The governor also signed Senate Bill 8 (Public Act 196 of 2022) and Senate Bill 311 (Public Act 197 of 2022), which collectively make it easier for our service men and women to participate in elections by allowing military members to use their provided Common Access Card to serve as their verified electronic signature and setting up the procedure by which military members can use that Common Access Card, respectively.



As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is highlighting Michigan’s new, 24/7 hotline providing live, one-on-one crisis support for all victims, survivors, support people, and professionals who serve them.

The hotline number is available by calling 866-864-2338 or texting 877-861-0222. The number is free to call and provides local support that is tailored to each unique situation through trained advocates. Hotline services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year via phone, chat, text, or TTY, for those who are deaf or hard of hearing:

  • Call: 866-864-2338
  • Text: 877-861-0222 (standard text messaging rates apply)
  • Chat:
  • TTY: 517-898-5533

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate and impacts all races, genders, education, and economic statuses. Often, multiple forms of abuse are present. It is important to know behaviors to look for to seek support for self or others.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, Michigan’s Domestic Violence Hotline is a free, confidential, and anonymous resource available 24/7/365. Call 866-864-2338.



On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that student loan relief would not be treated as taxable income in Michigan. Approximately 1.4 million Michiganders eligible for relief will not owe any state taxes for receiving benefits of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program or other student loan forgiveness.

Typically, when debt is forgiven, the IRS treats it as taxable income. However, provisions of the American Rescue Plan have temporarily lifted this requirement. Any federal loans that are discharged between 2021 and 2025 will not be considered taxable income by the federal government. Because state tax law aligns with federal law, this temporary relief will be in effect in Michigan through 2025 as well.

As of July 2022, 7,000 Michiganders have had $406 million in loans forgiven under the PSLF. More than 147,000 additional Michiganders may be eligible due to the recent PSLF waiver.

Student Loan Forgiveness — Next Steps

As many of you know, President Joe Biden recently passed a three-part Student Loan Relief Plan. The plan will allow the U.S. Department of Education to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 in debt relief to those who are not a Pell Grant recipient. The following information contains the next steps you need to take to obtain loan forgiveness:

  • A simple application will open in early October. You can get notified when the application opens by visiting (scroll down to the FAQs section and click on the link titled ‘Department of Education subscription page’).
  • After your application is submitted and processing is completed, you can expect relief within 4-6 weeks.
  • Please note that borrowers should fill out an application before Nov. 15 to receive relief before the payment pause expires on Dec. 31, 2022.