September 16, 2021
I hope the start of your school year has been safe, and that you and your families remain healthy. As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, I urge you to get vaccinated, if you haven’t already done so.
Included in this newsletter are important updates regarding renters insurance, the timeline of peak fall colors across the state, and MDHHS quarantine requirements for school-aged children, among other great information and resources.
As always, if my office can be of assistance to you or your family, please call me at
517-373-2417 or email me at SenRBayer@senate.michigan.gov.
IMPORTANCE OF RENTERS INSURANCE HIGHLIGHTED DURING NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH
September is National Preparedness Month, and the Michigan Department of Insurance & Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding college students and other renters about the importance of purchasing a renters insurance policy to protect their belongings in the event of storm damage, fire, or theft.
Many Michiganders who rent an apartment, house, or dorm room are unaware that their personal belongings are not covered by their landlord’s property insurance. Typically, the landlord’s policy only covers structural damage to the landlord’s property and does not extend to the renter’s personal belongings. This means that if a fire, severe storm, or theft occurs and a renter’s personal belongings are damaged or stolen, the renter is personally responsible for replacing or repairing their items unless they purchased a renters insurance policy before the damage occurred.
Renters insurance will provide coverage for a person’s belongings if they are damaged by events such as a tornado or a fire. In addition, renters’ insurance will help covered individuals find alternative living accommodation if their rented apartment or home is damaged in a storm, fire or other covered peril. Renters insurance can also help protect a renter if someone sues them for damages or injuries, they or a family member cause on the rented property.
Most renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so renters should consider adding a flood insurance policy to cover their belongings in the event of a flood. More information about flood insurance is available at FloodSmart.gov.
For questions about renters insurance or other types of insurance, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or call 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Consumers may file a complaint online by visiting Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
COMING SOON: FALL COLORS IN MICHIGAN
Fall foliage maps for the year are out, and while they’re not 100% accurate, they give a good range of when peak color can be found in various regions of the Mitten State. According to the National Weather Service, predictions for September through November include higher temperatures than in previous years. As a result, the expected warmer weather might delay the changing of the leaves in some parts of the state.
MDHHS LAUNCHES ONLINE ACCESS TO IMMUNIZATION RECORDS FOR MICHIGANDERS AGES 18+
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched the Michigan Immunization Portal to help Michiganders ages 18 and older more easily access their immunization records. Michigan adults with immunization records posted in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR), including COVID-19 vaccination, will be able to locate their own record online and download, save or print this information.
To ensure privacy and that individuals are only able to access their own immunization records, Michiganders must create a MILogin account at Michigan.gov/MiImmsportal and upload a valid government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport. There is no cost to access the portal.
Immunizations provided in another state or country may not be included in an individual’s record in the portal. If an individual’s immunization record can’t be found, records can still be requested from a physician’s office or local health department. As the portal is only available for those 18 years or older, parents won’t be able to download their child’s immunization records. Parents may instead contact their child’s physician’s office or local health department to get a copy of their immunization records.
MDHHS ISSUES QUARANTINE GUIDANCE FOR ASYMPTOMATIC STUDENTS
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued updated quarantine guidance to help ensure Michigan students and educators are as safe as possible in the classroom and keep students in school for in-person learning.
MDHHS recommends local health departments and schools work together to quickly isolate COVID-19 cases among students and staff, identify close contacts of those cases and adopt quarantine policies that reduce the risk of transmission in schools while allowing in-person learning. When evidence-based prevention measures, including universal masking, are in place, modifications may be made to the 10- to 14-day at-home quarantine.
School quarantine guidance for asymptomatic students who were exposed to a student infected with COVID-19 varies depending on a variety of circumstances. In all cases, the student who has tested positive for COVID-19 should isolate and follow directions from their local health department. Any individual that displays COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should be tested and isolate as directed.
AG NESSEL SECURES RATE INCREASE REDUCTION WITH MICHIGAN GAS UTILITY COMPANY
Intervention by Attorney General Dana Nessel in a rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) resulted in a settlement roughly 40% lower than the requested rate increase submitted by Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation (MGUC). The agreement also includes important assistance programs that will benefit consumers.
The MPSC approved the $9.25 million settlement last week, $6 million less than MGUC’s original request of $15.1 million. The rate increase for customers is around 4.9% for residential customers compared to the requested 8.2% increase.
The approved settlement also includes:
MGUC filed its application for a natural gas rate increase before the MPSC in March. The company provides natural gas service to about 181,000 customers across areas of the southern and western Lower Peninsula. The utility’s last rate increase was in 2015, meaning much of the increase is based on inflation and increases in labor force costs.
This settlement is Nessel’s latest advocacy before the MPSC, which regulates the state’s utility companies.
USDA ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF FREE LUNCH PROGRAM THROUGH 2021-2022 ACADEMIC YEAR
The USDA announced in April that free lunches would be provided to students attending public schools throughout the 2021-22 academic year. The continuation of the program is an extension of adjustments the department made at the start of the pandemic to feed students across the country who were taking part in remote learning and will now include meals eaten during school and to-go meals when applicable.
A projected 42 million people in the U.S. will experience food insecurity this year due to the pandemic’s economic impact, according to food bank network Feeding America’s latest estimate in March 2021. That’s a 20% increase from the 35 million people who didn’t always have access to food in 2019.
Ensuring student success begins with a healthy diet, which is why providing free and accessible lunches to students is a top priority, especially during this pandemic. If you are a student or parent of a student attending a public school this year, please be aware that this program is automatically open and available to you (no applications or forms necessary to participate!).
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