Dear Neighbor, 

Happy Women’s History Month! Team Chang has been busy getting things done. In this newsletter you will find information about upcoming events, legislative updates, and community resources.  

Thank you for reading this update, and please contact my office if we can help. 

Working for you,

Stephanie Chang
State Senator
District 3 


Upcoming Events


Coffee and Conversation

WHEN: Friday, March 22 at 11 am 
WHERE: Kitab Café, 422 W Willis St, Detroit, MI 48201  

***Please note Detroit location and not Hamtramck location 


Legislative Updates 



In 2018, then-Representative Bellino and I passed legislation that prohibited the sale of small nitrous oxide containers, commonly known as whip-its to minors and instituted a fine for stores who failed to check for ID or who sold whip-its to minors. 

In the past few years, I have worked with law enforcement and community groups in Detroit, such as the Whippet Wipeout Coalition, and it has become clear that, instead of minors, adults are now abusing whip-its at higher rates. Because whip-its have a legitimate use in food preparation and baking, limiting their sale further is not a feasible or appropriate measure.  

“Whip-its” have become a popular recreational inhalant of choice, with over 12 million users in the U.S. who have tried it at least once, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Inhaling the compressed gas, either from the “whip-it” chargers, a whipped cream canister or a nitrous tank, is purported to result in a fleeting high, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. 

My bill, Senate Bill 57, and Sen. Bellino’s Senate Bill 58 will specifically prohibit the sale or offer of sale of “an object specifically designed for inhaling nitrous oxide for recreational purposes,” thereby prohibiting stores from selling these cracker paraphernalia. These bills are written in a way that will not interact with or affect any municipal ordinances in Michigan criminalizing paraphernalia possession. Our intent is not to criminalize those abusing whip-its or addicted to whip-its; it is instead to limit the access to whip-its and try to improve public health outcomes. Senate Bills 57 and 58 passed the Senate last year and recently passed the House with bipartisan support. The legislation has now been signed into law by Governor Whitmer as of March 12, 2024. 


Asbestos Legislation Update

A few weeks ago, the Senate passed House Bills 4185, 4186, 4188 and 4190, along with Senate Bills 225226. Taken together, the common-sense changes laid out in this legislation will help protect Michigan municipalities, residents and asbestos abatement workers from the health hazards that can occur when asbestos removal is handled improperly. 

Asbestos exposure, both short-term and long-term, can have significant detrimental effects on an individual’s health. These new laws will enhance transparency and accountability in asbestos abatement. 

In 2017, an Auditor General report revealed that Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Division’s Asbestos Program (now the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) was not able to properly monitor building demolitions and renovations in which asbestos could be released or reported violations. It also found that asbestos-accepting landfills were not being properly monitored. 

We developed a bipartisan bill package to require public agencies to do a background check to identify if an asbestos abatement contractor has committed multiple violations. If safety or environmental violations are found, the contractor in question can be prohibited from contracting with a public agency. 

Contractors bidding on public projects must disclose, via a signed affidavit, all environmental violations at the state or federal level that occurred within the last 5 years. Public agencies may withhold payment until the contractors have proven that they have taken remedial steps if a violation occurs on the project at hand. Additionally, EGLE will collect notification fees to fund asbestos abatement inspections and file an annual report on asbestos inspector staffing levels. 

My bill, Senate Bill 225, requires a local government or authority to perform a background check before contracting with an asbestos abatement contractor. Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Sen. Geiss would require EGLE to prepare and submit to the Legislature an annual report related to the EGLE’s asbestos program, the number of inspections and enforcement actions taken and more. 

Now the Legislature has taken another step closer to passage and finally changing our law. These bills will also assist the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy in addressing the lack of resources to conduct proper inspections to ensure safety by instituting a reasonable asbestos notification fee. 


Community Resources 


Residents Can File for Disaster Unemployment Assistance Benefits 

In August 2023, residents in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties were impacted by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. If you were affected, you may be eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) if you meet the qualifications. 

Residents whose employment or self-employment was interrupted by the disaster have until March 27, 2024, to file for jobless benefits. For more information, click here.  


IRS Extension of Income Tax Deadline for Those in Areas Affected by Federal Disaster Declaration 

In February, the IRS extended the deadline for income tax returns to June 17, 2024 for those in counties affected by storms, flooding and tornadoes in nine Michigan counties, including Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. Michigan is also extending its deadline to June 17, 2024, for residents in these counties to conform with the IRS deadline extension. 

Click here for more information


Homeowners Property Exemption (HOPE) 

Detroiters, if you cannot pay your taxes for financial reasons, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your current year’s property tax obligation with the Homeowners Property Exemption (HOPE). Residents who are approved for (HOPE) are eligible for Pay as You Stay (PAYS), which reduces delinquent property taxes owed to the Wayne County Treasurer. 

The Detroit Tax Relief Fund is a new assistance program that will completely eliminate delinquent property taxes owed to the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office for Detroit homeowners who have received the Homeowners Property Exemption (HOPE) and the Pay as You Stay (PAYS) program. Call (313) 244-0274 or visit the website to apply for financial assistance today! This program is made possible by the Gilbert Family Foundation in partnership with the City of Detroit, Wayne County and Wayne Metro.  


Oakland County Home Weatherization Program 

Oakland County is collaborating with Michigan Saves, the first nonprofit green bank in the United States, to make at least 1,000 Oakland County homes more energy efficient, reducing energy costs for working families. 

The $5 million program will have two tiers of grants: $4 million in total grants for income-qualified households and $1 million in total grants for any household. Some home improvements eligible for the grants include insulation, weather stripping, appliances, home heating and cooling, doors, windows and more. 

Applications for the Oakland SAVES grant program are OPEN.  

To apply you must:  

  • Familiarize yourself with the program guidelines. 
  • Obtain a quote from an authorized Michigan Saves contractor for the qualifying energy efficiency or renewable energy improvement you require. This is required information for the application. Use the “Find Your Contractor” tool at for assistance. 
  • Complete the Oakland SAVES Grant program application available at this link. 
  • Upon completion of the project by your contractor, sign the Michigan Saves certificate of completion that the project meets your satisfaction. Michigan Saves will directly compensate your contractor. 

For more information, visit the Michigan Saves website here.  


Property Tax Justice for Detroiters 

If you are a Detroit homeowner and have reason to believe that your property taxes are too high, we have exciting news for you! The Coalition for Property Tax Justice has launched the 2024 Property Tax Appeal Project (PTAP), which will check if the City of Detroit is overtaxing you. If so, PTAP can appeal your property tax assessment for FREE.  

All you have to do is fill out the application and the Coalition can take care of the rest. Apply for assistance today at this link: