March 19, 2021
This week, I introduced a resolution calling on Congress to pass, and President Joe Biden to sign, legislation that would work toward ending police brutality. Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — named after George Floyd who was tragically killed by police in Minnesota — that would ban chokeholds and alter qualified immunity for law enforcement to better pursue claims of police misconduct.
>>> Watch and listen to what I had to say on the Senate floor regarding Senate Resolution 28.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also announced some exciting news regarding COVID-19 vaccines, enabling all Michiganders aged 16+ to be able to sign up for a vaccine beginning April 5. Read more in the COVID-19 Vaccine Updates section below!
Please remember, while vaccinations are ongoing, Michiganders are still encouraged to practice preventative measures including wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent handwashing. Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine should visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.
On Friday, March 12, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials announced the state is expanding vaccination eligibility for Michiganders ages 16 and older with disabilities or medical conditions that put them at high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome beginning Monday, March 22.
The state also announced that, beginning Monday, April 5, all Michiganders aged 16 and up, who were not previously eligible, will be eligible to receive a vaccine. Here is the updated timeline:
With the expanded vaccine eligibility, providers are still encouraged to schedule appointments and allocate vaccinations to residents based on highest risk, including older residents, essential workers, and frontline workers. The most recent vaccine prioritization guidelines can be found online at Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.
Medical conditions that place individuals at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 are eligible for vaccination and include:
The following medical conditions might place an individual at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, and are therefore also eligible for vaccination:
Those eligible to receive a vaccine should:
Please note that while supplies are increasing, there remains a limited amount of vaccine available, so there may be a waitlist for available appointments. As more vaccine becomes available, the state will continue to move more quickly through the priority groups.
Residents of Southeast Michigan can now begin registering for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Ford Field in Detroit. The community vaccination site is set to officially open on March 24.
After the registration process is completed, people who have registered will receive an invitation either by email, call, or text when it’s their turn to schedule the appointment. Vaccine appointments will be scheduled a few days in advance.
Hours of operation
The Ford Field site will operate from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week, for eight weeks under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program. The facility will be managed by the State of Michigan with support from FEMA, Wayne County, the City of Detroit, Ford Field, Meijer, Henry Ford Health System, and the Detroit Lions.
All COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Sign-up is available through these three options:
Residents who don’t have access to the internet or need assistance navigating through the registration process can use the MDHHS COVID-19 Hotline to register. Call Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is expected that the call center will have long wait times, so calling is recommended only people who cannot register online or by text.
No Cost & Free Parking, Ride Shares Available
The vaccine will be offered at no cost, and insurance is not required, nor will it be requested at the vaccination center. Any Michigan resident who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) vaccine prioritization guidance will be able to register for an appointment.
Free parking will also be available at the vaccination site. For those who indicate during the registration process that they need assistance obtaining transportation to and from the vaccination site, the state is working to provide free of charge ride share options.
State officials and leaders from the Michigan Bankers Association, Community Bankers of Michigan, the Michigan Credit Union League, and the National Business League are urging Michigan’s minority-owned and other underserved businesses to apply for forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) before the current March 31, 2021 deadline.
Participating banks, credit unions, and Community Development Financial Institutions are available to support new and existing small business customers as they navigate through the PPP process.
While loans can be obtained through any participating banks and credit unions, small business owners may wish to pursue a PPP loan through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) which provides access to financial products and services for residents and businesses in low-income communities to expand economic opportunity. CDFIs offer specialized customer service to underserved communities, including those customers with limited or no credit history or those that require additional support.
To find a participating lender, small businesses should visit the SBA’s Lender Match or search for a participating lender in their area. Consumers are encouraged to call or check the website of the lender before visiting to learn about additional steps being taken to protect consumer and employee safety during the pandemic, including offering services by appointment or online.
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding drivers who excluded or opted out of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage for themselves or a family member that changes to, or loss of health insurance coverage in their household, can also affect their auto insurance coverage.
Under the new law, if a person who has opted out of or is excluded from PIP medical coverage loses qualified health coverage, and does not do one of the following in 30 days, they may find themselves with no medical coverage if they are injured in an auto accident:
Anyone who needs health coverage may purchase a plan and take advantage of subsidies to lower their costs during the current special enrollment period on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs from Feb. 15 through May 15. Coverage begins on the first day of the month after you enroll.
To review coverage options and enroll, consumers can visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
>> Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or visit Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance.
Michigan students in college, career and technical education (CTE) programs are now eligible to receive food assistance under certain requirements. Students must be enrolled at least half-time in an occupational program that leads to employment under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the Twenty-First Century Act of 2018, known as Perkins V.
Additionally, CTE college students who enroll in SNAP can take advantage of an additional payment provided each month until June, which amounts to an extra 15% to help recipients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
>> Students interested in applying for food assistance can go to Michigan.gov/MIBridges.
MARCH RECOGNIZED AS BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed March as Brain Injury Awareness Month to promote awareness of brain injuries. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) are the leading causes of injury-related death and disability in the United States, and 155 people die every day on average.
Falls are the leading cause of TBI (40%) in the United States and cause more than half of all TBIs in children ages 0 to 14 years. Falls cause 81% of TBIs among adults aged 65 and older. Other leading and preventable causes of TBI include being struck by an object or person, motor vehicle crashes and substance abuse.
Prevention strategies reduce the risk for TBI and death and include:
Observable signs of traumatic brain injury may include appearing dazed or stunned, forgetting an instruction, moving clumsily, answering questions slowly, losing consciousness, showing mood, behavior or personality changes, and being unable to recall events prior to and/or after a hit or fall.
>> For more information, visit the CDC website on Traumatic Brain Injury.
>> For more tips to keep your home safe, visit CPSC.gov and SafeKids.org.
>> More information about sports concussions is available at Michigan.gov/SportsConcussion.
Michiganders who need help with their winter energy bills can now apply for the Home Heating Credit, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury. Low-income, deaf, disabled or blind persons, disabled veterans, and senior citizens may qualify, and applicants are not required to file a Michigan individual income tax return to receive the credit. During 2020, the state Treasury Department processed more than 270,400 Home Heating Credit claims, totaling more than $58.3 million. The average credit was $216.
Individuals can apply for the Home Heating Credit electronically through the e-File system and all applications must be received by Sept. 30, 2021.
Forms and instructional materials are available on the internet at Michigan.gov/IncomeTax or by calling 517-636-4486. Forms are also available at many libraries, Northern Michigan post offices, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) offices across the state.
>> Additional information can be found on the Home Heating Credit website. For more information about the resources available for heating assistance, go to Michigan.gov/HeatingAssistance.
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