This year, an incredibly important election will take place and I want you to have the information you need to be prepared. We don’t know what the future holds or how this election will look as we continue to navigate our way through challenging times in which the novel coronavirus has changed so much.
Fortunately, having an election is something we can all still count on, and thanks to changes in Michigan’s election law, you can vote from almost anywhere. Now more than ever, we need leadership at all levels of government to help us navigate what’s next and find ways we can all come together for the best interests of our state and nation.
Included in this newsletter are local and state resources on voting, as well as a legislative update on what I’m working on in Lansing.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Working for you,
Senator Stephanie Chang Minority Floor Leader
Senate District 1
Toll-free: (855) 347-8001
Michigan COVID-19 Hotline
1-888-535-6136 | Michigan.gov/Coronavirus
Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
1-866-500-0017 | Michigan.gov/UIA
Pure Michigan Talent Connect
1-888-522-0103 | MITalent.org
Michigan Works! Association
1-800-285-9675 | MichiganWorks.org
Michigan COVID-19 Mental Health Hotline
1-888-733-7753 | Michigan.gov/StayWell
Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA)
1-800-866-4674 | Michigan.gov/MIOSHA
Since the beginning of COVID-19, my office and I have worked with partners to distribute more than 35,000 surgical masks and helped arrange a donation from Taiwan of 100,000 masks for the State of Michigan procurement center. I partnered with the Michigan Chinese American Coalition (MCAC) and Detroit legislators to donate 12,000 surgical masks to community health clinics, nursing homes, senior buildings, police precincts, and more.
Founded in January when the coronavirus outbreak first started, MCAC is a volunteer-based coalition of more than 50 local Chinese American nonprofits with the shared common goal of assisting health care workers in combatting COVID-19.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, converting your driver’s license or state identification card to a REAL ID — as was originally set to be enforced by October 2020 — has been delayed another year.
That means that, beginning October 1, 2021, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.
The REAL ID Act is a national mandate for all states. It establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards to better ensure the safety and security of all air travelers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Those without a REAL
ID, enhanced driver’s license, or other acceptable forms of identification will not be permitted to board any flight, international or domestic.
REAL ID goes into effect Oct. 1, 2021
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/RealID.
Below are some of the bills I have introduced:
Senate Bill 583 — Asbestos
Requires public contracts for asbestos abatement projects to, under certain circumstances, undergo a background investigation and publicly post certain information, as well as hold public hearings on the contracts. This is part of a bipartisan bill package to improve transparency and accountability in asbestos abatement contracting.
Senate Bill 763 — Renewable energy
Amends the Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act of 2008 to ensure Michigan operates using 100% renewable energy sources by 2050.
Senate Bill 767 — Corporate tax break transparency
Requires the Michigan Strategic Fund board to post draft contract agreements, as well as any briefing memoranda and term sheets, on its website 10 business days before it can approve a grant, award, tax credit, loan, or other assistance.
Senate Bill 797 — Textbook tax relief
Allows Pell Grant-eligible students pursuing a college degree or career in technical education to receive an income tax credit equal to the amount of taxes they pay on purchased, or rented, textbooks required for class.
Senate Bill 916 — Tax foreclosure deadline extension
Allows foreclosing governmental units to extend the tax foreclosure deadlines during a state of disaster or emergency.
Senate Bill 929 — Worker safety
Part of a workers’ rights bill package, this bill increases MIOSHA fines for employers who do not comply with worker health and safety laws and regulations. Other bills in the package presume essential workers who test positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus during employment and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, protect employees from adverse action if they report unsafe work conditions or are unable to come into work for a number of reasons related to COVID-19, and require employers to post a list of testing sites for their employees to see.
Senate Bill 948 — Dock collapse risk assessment
Requires the state to undertake a risk assessment for environmental contamination of any waterfront property that had previously been used for either industrial or commercial purposes, as well as take high-water levels and history of inspections into consideration. Properties would be classified as high, medium, or low risk.
As it currently exists, Michigan law states the following as deadlines for this year’s November general election:
Last day to register in any manner, other than in-person, with the local clerk for the November general election.
October 20 through 8:00 p.m. November 3
In-person registration, with proof of residency, at the local clerk’s office.
Statewide general election.
Who is on the Ballot?
While the specific names of individuals — especially in the state House and local elections — vary by district, the following offices are up for election in 2020:
Many of us have seen the pictures of our fellow Americans heading to the polls during this pandemic, and, unfortunately, exposing themselves to the possibility of contracting COVID-19 while doing so. Here in Michigan, we continue to plan our next steps in ensuring we fulfill our constitutional right without putting ourselves — and others — at risk.
Fortunately, recent changes to Michigan’s election law mean you don’t even have to leave your home to vote, and if you do, poll workers will be wearing personal protective equipment and engaging in proper health protocols.
On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that all registered voters in Michigan will receive an application to vote by mail in the August and November elections.
Once a voter signs their application, they can mail or email a photo of it to their local clerk, whose contact information is included on the application. The application is also available for download at Michigan.gov/Vote, where voters can register and join the permanent absent voter list, so they always have the option to vote from home.
By visiting Michigan.gov/Vote, you can ensure you are informed and prepared to cast your ballot from the safety of your own home by learning the following information:
• Check your voter registration status.
All eligible and registered voters in Michigan may now request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason.
• Request an absent voter ballot application.
Your request for an absent voter ballot must be in writing and can be submitted to your city or township clerk.
• Return your application.
Fill out and return your absent voter ballot application to your local clerk’s office.
Not sure where your polling location is or who your city or county clerk are? Michigan.gov/Vote can help you find that answer. Some jurisdictions provide a sample ballot so you can know who — and what — you’re voting on before you head to the polls or complete your absentee ballot.
*As the website also indicates, while it is strongly encouraged, you are not required to have identification when you go to the polls so long as you are prepared to sign a legally binding affidavit attesting to your identity.
To date, of the 7.7 million registered voters in the state, about 1.3 million are on the permanent absent voter list.
Every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, district lines for all political offices must be redrawn in states across the country to accurately reflect their population. In Michigan, a randomly selected commission of residents will be responsible for drawing U.S. Congressional and Michigan House and Senate district lines.
Voters amended the state Constitution in November 2018 to give Michigan residents — not legislators or special interest groups — the responsibility to redraw district lines, called “redistricting.” This commission will be composed of 13 randomly selected Michigan registered voters: four affiliated with the Democratic Party, four affiliated with the Republican Party, and five who do not affiliate with either major political party.
This year is also a Census year, and it has never been easier to participate.
By returning your completed Census form, you are helping Michigan to be represented in Congress and determining how much funding we get for Head Start, health care, schools, roads, and our local communities.
Visit My2020Census.gov to complete your questionnaire. Your login information is a 12-digit number located on the packet sent to you earlier this year. If you do not have a number or cannot locate those materials, the website also has a link
to redirect you. If you want to complete your Census form via phone, call 1-844-330-2020.
Important note: Census workers will never ask for any personally identifiable information, such as your bank account or social security numbers.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed the dates of when certain phases of the Census will take place, but all you need to do is remember to fill out and return your form.
|Data gathering begins||January 2020||January 2020|
|Data gathering ends||July 31, 2020||October 31, 2020*|
|Data for congressional reappointment due||December 31, 2020||April 30, 2021**|
|Data for redistricting by the states due||March 31, 2021||July 31, 2021**|
*Date change made by the Census Bureau **Changes the bureau requested from Congress
Please visit the website above for more information on the Census, the questions it asks, and who it counts per household.
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