Senate District 1 Update

October 11, 2021

Friends,  

I am writing to share legislative updates, resources from several agencies, and announce two upcoming events. I have a virtual coffee hour on October 15 and a criminal justice forum on October 22 in Detroit. In addition, I hope you will read an important update about Riverside Park. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 

State Budget 

Two weeks ago, I voted for the bipartisan state budget which includes critically needed boosts for childcare, higher education, high water infrastructure, assistance with water bills, homeowner assistance, bridge repairs, and much more.  

I advocated for the inclusion of $36.2 million for the low-income household water assistance program and $5 million for the community crisis/jail diversion fund. 

I am proud of our work to secure $250,000 for outreach regarding discrimination/hate incidents, $150,000 for the National De-escalation Training Center at WSU, $200,000 for a mentorship program for young women. I also supported efforts to secure $2 million for the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative, $1.5 million for Wayne Metro’s home repair programs, and other critical grants. 

The budget also includes funding to reduce health disparities, set up the reformed expungement system, provide a $2/hr. wage increase for direct-care workers, extend Medicaid coverage for new moms, increase local revenue sharing, pilot a program to help families get their homes repaired/eligible for weatherization programs, increase the fund to compensate our exonerees who were wrongfully imprisoned, set up a teacher recruitment program, support rapid remediation of high risk sites, address PFAS sites, and so much more. 

Click here to read more details about the state budget on the Senate Fiscal Agency’s website.

Senate Bills 678-679 

This week, I was proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with Senator Schmidt, Representative Rendon, and Representative O’Neal to help protect survivors of domestic violence from future abuse. It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the right time to take action to help survivors. 

These new bills will bring Michigan law into partial alignment with current federal protections, allowing state and local prosecutors to enforce misdemeanor domestic crime prohibitions. They will also ensure firearms stay out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers. 

Survivors of domestic violence endure unimaginable pain and betrayal. These bills will help ensure they are protected from further harm perpetrated by their abusers. 

Convicted abusers should not have access to deadly weapons given what we know about domestic violence and how things can escalate. This legislation is a common-sense, bipartisan solution to protecting survivors in our state.  

Click here to read the press release about this legislation on my website

Bills Restricting Your Freedom to Vote 

This week, the Republican-controlled Senate passed Senate Bills 303 and 304, which will create additional barriers to voting in Michigan.  

I voted NO on these bills because we already have strong voter ID laws in Michigan. Adding additional hurdles will make it more difficult for our seniors, disabled persons, students, immigrants, and anyone who doesn’t drive to vote. In addition, the bills make voting more burdensome for others as well. If someone who might not have an ID gets to the front of the line on Election Day, that could lead to disagreement about whether their vote will count. This would mean longer lines in communities around the state.  

Our legislature should instead be focused on guaranteeing equitable access to the polls. When people in one community have to wait four hours to vote, and people in another can walk in and out in 10 minutes, that is not equitable access. We should be fixing this, not making it worse.  

It is particularly important we continue to protect and expand fundamental voting rights so seniors, people with disabilities, and lower-income residents can have the access they deserve — without unnecessary barriers — to the ballot box for every single election. To that end, please be assured that I will continue to fight back against efforts to restrict the freedom to vote in Michigan. On Wednesday, I helped delay these bills by moving to adjourn the Senate. We will use whatever tools we have to fight back. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: our elections are secure. We must uphold our democracy. 

UPCOMING EVENTS 

October 15: Virtual Coffee Hour 
10:30 to 11:30 a.m. 
Join me for a virtual chat about legislative updates and what Team Chang has been working on in Senate District 1. 
Visit my Facebook page to learn more about how to participate.  

October 22: Criminal Justice Forum 
5 to 8 p.m. at Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, 1211 Trumbull, Detroit 
Join me for a Criminal Justice Forum for a discussion on expungement, juvenile fines, solitary confinement, bail reform, and more. Our featured speaker is Attorney General Dana Nessel. Panelists will include the ACLU, Michigan Center for Youth Justice, and Citizens for Prison Reform. Expungement assistance will be available from 5 to 6 p.m. with Project Clean Slate. The forum will begin at 6 p.m.  

Save the Date!  
October 28: Grosse Ile Bridge Town Hall 
6 to 7 p.m. 
We are planning a town hall to share updates on the Grosse Ile Bridge with Representative Darrin Camilleri. The event will be held virtually. Stay tuned for more details! 

RIVERSIDE PARK ISSUE AT CITY COUNCIL 

Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-López will host a virtual information session on Wednesday, October 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. about the Riverside Park land deal that City Council is considering. The land is proposed to be transferred to the Morouns, who intend to use it to build a new span of the Ambassador Bridge. This bridge has approval documents from the U.S. and Canada that have clear, giant differences, such as whether the span is a replacement or twin span. In addition, the Southwest Detroit community has received no assurances or written agreements regarding community benefits related to this. The community deserves real answers and community benefits prior to any council vote on this issue. To participate in the Zoom meeting on October 13 at 6:30 p.m., go to bit.ly/d6land-transfer or call 301-715-8592.

NEW HOME REPAIR PROGRAM: RENEW DETROIT  

Renew Detroit + HOPE Drive-Thru Events 

The City of Detroit has launched a new $30 million home repair program for low-income seniors. This is a two-phase home repair program funded by the American Recovery Plan Act and administered by the City of Detroit. In the first phase of the program, roofs will be replaced for 1,000 selected applicants.

The application period for phase 1 will extend from Oct. 1-31, 2021. Phase 2 will provide a to-be-determined major repair to 500 selected applicants, launching in 2022. 

Who can apply? 

To be eligible, 3 criteria must be verified: 

How are applicants selected? 

Eligible applicants will be assigned a home repair score based on the following criteria. The 1,000 highest scoring applications will be selected for Phase 1. 

If necessary, roof condition based on an assessment will be used as a tiebreaker. 

*Note that waitlisted seniors are encouraged to apply to Renew Detroit. If selected, they will get to choose which program they participate in. 

For more information, please visit detroitmi.gov/HOPE or detroitmi.gov/renewdetroit

CITY OF DETROIT EVICTION DIVERSION PROGRAM 

The City of Detroit announced some updates to their eviction diversion program. They will: 

Start the process at detroitevictionhelp.com or call (866) 313-2520. 

Program Eligibility 

Landlord Assistance Available 

For more information, please read more here on detroitmi.gov.

SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE LAUNCHES MOBILE OFFICES 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has launched a mobile office to serve Michiganders with limited access to Secretary of State offices and the internet, including senior centers, homeless shelters, foster care facilities and other community organizations. 

The new Secretary of State Mobile Office will travel to, and operate out of, the lobbies and gathering places of partner organizations to offer the vast majority of Secretary of State services, including processing driver’s license and state ID applications, corrections and renewals; disability parking placard applications, renewals and replacements; and, vehicle title and registration transactions. 

The mobile office is based in Southeast Michigan, where the population is greatest, but funds have been requested from the state legislature for additional mobile offices to serve residents in other urban and rural regions of the state. 

Community organizations that would like to host the mobile office can get more information and apply at Michigan.gov/SOSMobile

FEMA ASSISTANCE  

Registration Deadline for FEMA Assistance Now Extended to November 12 

The deadline for those impacted by the June 25-26 severe storms and flooding to register with FEMA for individual disaster assistance has been extended to Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. Individuals can register with FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov or through the mobile app. If you wish to register by phone, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) or to find the closest in-person location closest to you, visit FEMA’s DRC locator webpage

Thank you for reading this update! Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or ideas. 

Stephanie Chang
State Senator
District 1


More news:

Sen. Chang Stands with Lafayette Towers Residents, Calls for Increased Fire Safety Implementations Sen. Chang on Second Revere Copper Site Collapse in Two Years Senate District 1 Update

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