Fall is here in Michigan! I hope you all get a chance to enjoy the seasonal activities our great state has to offer. I know I’m looking forward to some delicious Michigan cider and donuts at one of our local cider mills.
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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 SenRBayer@senate.michigan.gov.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: FIGHTING FOR WOMEN’S RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE
This week, I took the opportunity to let my colleagues know that someone they love has had an abortion, because sometimes, that’s what it takes to change hearts and minds.
Many years ago, I had to end a much-wanted pregnancy due to a devastating diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy. I was glad to be in the hands of great, highly trained doctors and medical professionals. But with the loss of legal precedent in Roe v. Wade, I worry that other generations will not have the same support. Watch my full speech below:
TREASURY: DEADLINE IS FRIDAY FOR HOME HEATING CREDIT
The Michigan Department of Treasury is reminding qualified homeowners or renters that the deadline is rapidly approaching to apply for Michigan’s Home Heating Credit. All applications for the credit must be received on or before Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Low-income, deaf, disabled or blind persons, disabled veterans, and senior citizens may qualify for the credit to help pay their energy bills. Applicants do not need to file a Michigan income tax return to get the Home Heating Credit.
The state Treasury Department has been processing Home Heating Credit applications since late January 2022. To date, the average credit is $253, for a total of more than $52 million paid out through the end of August.
MDHHS URGES MICHIGAN RESIDENTS TO GET FLU VACCINE
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging Michiganders to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves and their communities from flu this season.
Getting a flu vaccine is critical because flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will likely be spreading simultaneously. Residents can get their COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as their flu vaccine. According to the CDC, those who are at higher risk for contracting flu are also at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19. Vaccinations for both COVID-19 and the flu are safe, effective strategies to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from illness.
During the 2021-2022 flu season, approximately 3.3 million people in Michigan received a flu vaccine as reported to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). The state has set a goal of vaccinating a total of 4 million Michiganders for the 2022-2023 flu season.
Flu vaccines are available now at local health departments, physician offices and pharmacies around the state. Find a location near you using the Vaccine Finder. Visit Michigan.gov/flu for more information or visit IVaccinate.org to find answers to your vaccine questions.
TREASURY: DON’T FORGET TO FILE INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RETURNS
Taxpayers who requested an extension to file their individual income tax returns have less than a month to file a complete and accurate return, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Individual income tax returns due under an extension must be received by Treasury on or before Oct. 17, 2022. Returns can be sent through the U.S. Postal Service or e-Filed. For the convenience of taxpayers, the extension deadline is the same as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Taxpayers who have yet to file their individual income tax return should consider:
Taxpayers with questions about their state income taxes are encouraged to use Treasury eServices. The online platform enables taxpayers to ask state income tax-related questions when convenient and avoids the extended wait times for calls this time of year. To get started with Treasury eServices, go to Michigan.gov/IncomeTax and click on “Access eServices.”
STATE PARTNERING WITH VA TO PROVIDE VOTER ASSISTANCE TO VETERANS
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a partnership with the State of Michigan to provide voter registration information and assistance to veterans and eligible dependents at select VA facilities across Michigan. Through this partnership, VA aims to make it easier for Michigan veterans to exercise the rights and freedoms that they fought to protect.
As part of this partnership, VA facilities in Michigan will implement and expand programs to help veterans and eligible dependents register to vote and participate in elections. The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) will provide up-to-date information on how to register, upcoming election details, and casting a ballot.
The partnership with Michigan and three other states is executed as part of Executive Order 14019, “Promoting Access to Voting,” to make voting more accessible to all Americans.
SENATE PASSES ‘FILTER FIRST’ WATER SAFETY BILLS
Last week, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bills 184 and 185 that, if signed into law by the governor, would require public and non-public schools, as well as childcare centers, to develop water safety plans by the end of the 2024-2025 academic year.
It would also require the filtered water faucets and bottle-filling stations to be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy would oversee the program and distribute a template for drinking water safety plans.
According to a national survey by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that took place from July to October 2017, 37% of the school districts had elevated lead levels in their water. When a child ingests lead, attention spans can be shortened, immune systems can be weakened, kidneys can be damaged, and developmental delays can occur.
The legislation would also establish a School and Child Care Center Clean Drinking Water Fund within the Michigan Department of Treasury to assist with the one-time acquisition and installation of filtered water faucets and bottle-filling stations, as well as maintenance, sampling, and testing expenses.
According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, the installation costs have been estimated to be about $58 million for schools and between $20 million and $30 million for all childcare centers.
The bills have been sent over to the Michigan House for consideration and a vote.
SEPTEMBER 15 THROUGH OCTOBER 15 IS HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Office of Global Michigan are encouraging Michiganders to join them in recognizing the contributions of Hispanics and Latinos in Michigan and the United States, proclaiming Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.
Michigan’s Hispanic and Latino residents are an essential part of our state’s unique social and cultural influences. Michigan is fortunate to count among its population many residents of Spanish and Latin American descent, who grow businesses, offer innovative ideas, strengthen our economy, create jobs, and contribute to our daily lives.
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