As always, it’s an honor serving as your state senator. Please feel free to reach out to my office if you have questions, comments, or ideas for ways we can make our community a better place to live. I always appreciate hearing from you.
Featured in this newsletter:
You are central to my goal as a legislator! If I can be of any assistance to you or your family, please call my office at (517) 373-2417, or email me at SenRBayer@senate.michigan.gov.
VOTERS SHOULD HAND-DELIVER ABSENTEE BALLOTS TO CLERK’S OFFICE
With less than two weeks until Election Day on Nov. 8, voters who already have an absentee ballot should hand-deliver it as soon as possible to their clerk’s office or ballot drop box to avoid postal delays.
Voters can find their clerk’s office and ballot drop box locations at Michigan.gov/Vote. At the same site, they can track their absentee ballot to ensure it was received. All absentee ballot return envelopes must be signed by the voter with a signature matching the signature the clerk has with their voter registration. Ballots must be received by clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
Eligible Michiganders who still need to register to vote must now do so in person at their clerk’s office, as online and mail registration is not permitted within 14 days of an election. Those registering in person may request, complete and submit an absentee ballot in the same visit to their clerk’s office.
Citizens can also vote in person at their polling place on Election Day, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Additional information about absentee and in-person voting in Michigan is available at Michigan.gov/Vote.
ONLINE APPLICATION FOR STUDENT DEBT RELIEF NOW OPEN
On Monday, Oct. 17, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that millions of working- and middle-class borrowers can apply for student debt relief right NOW at studentaid.gov/debtrelief/
The application takes less than 5 minutes. It’s available in English and Spanish on desktop and mobile devices. And you don’t need to log in with an FSA ID or to upload any documents to apply.
The Administration’s plan will provide up to $10,000 in relief to borrowers with federal student loans and up to $20,000 in relief to borrowers who were Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers who earned less than $125,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a household in 2020 or 2021 are eligible for relief.
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN DEBT FORGIVENESS PROGRAM
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding Michiganders to be on the lookout for scammers now that the U.S. Department of Education has made the application for student loan debt relief available.
Here are the highlights of the announced loan debt relief:
AG Nessel encourages residents to follow these tips to avoid scams seeking to take advantage of borrowers’ eagerness to obtain debt relief:
Those who wish to make a report about potential scams can do so with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.
FALL FIRE TIPS
Pull your boots and flannels out of the closet — it’s campfire season! Just be sure to brush up on burning tips from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources before lighting that brush pile in the backyard.
Whenever you burn, have a shovel and water source nearby, and never leave a fire unattended. Avoid burning on a windy day when hot embers can be whisked up by the wind into dry grasses or leaves.
Burning yard waste? Remember to check for a burn permit to see if conditions are safe for burning and know your local fire ordinances. Most wildfires are started by people burning yard clippings and leaves. You’ll need a burn permit any time the ground is not covered in snow.
Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula residents can view conditions at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or call 866-922-BURN for information. Southern Michigan residents should check with their local municipality or fire department.
Well-dried wood is the most efficient fuel for your wood stove or campfire, burning more cleanly and releasing less irritating smoke than poorly seasoned wood. Dry logs should feel light when lifted and produce a hollow sound when thumped together.
Burning trash, plastic and hazardous materials is never allowed, and can cause health issues. Safely recycle or responsibly dispose of these materials.
Burning isn’t always best
Many folks burn leaves and brush in the fall, but did you know you can repurpose fallen leaves? No fire required! Dead leaves are a great free mulch that will insulate perennial plants and keep garden soil from washing away in the rain. They can also be raked up into a bin or piled to turn into nutrient-rich compost. Learn how with composting tips from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
In addition to helping your garden, fallen leaves serve as winter habitat for wildlife. Turtles, toads, salamanders, moths and butterflies all spend the winter snuggled under leaves. An easy way to keep your area neat and provide habitat is to rake leaves under bushes and shrubs in your yard or provide a “wild area” where leaves can break down naturally.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be set to enjoy a fall season filled with campfires, hot cider and stargazing. Find more information on safe burning at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires.