Upcoming Coffee Hours, Legislative Update, and Resources

Senator Chang


Happy Fall! I hope you are enjoying the beauty of the season and are staying healthy! I’m writing to share some updates and announcements that I hope you find helpful.

In this edition:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Legislative Update
  • Student Loan Forgiveness – Next Steps


UPCOMING EVENTS

Pedestrian Bridge Safety – Update & Community Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 4-5:30 PM
WHERE: McShane’s Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar, 1460 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216

This past spring, a man fell through a gap in the Spruce Street pedestrian bridge, and we learned that there are many pedestrian bridges in Detroit that are not in good condition. This is a safety and quality of life concern, and I have been communicating with the Michigan Department of Transportation to explore ideas. Join me, Detroit City Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero, and the Michigan Department of Transportation for an update and presentation on pedestrian bridges, including the Spruce Street walkover. Learn about the status of our pedestrian bridges, inspection process and timeline, and more.

Coffee Hour

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 14 from 9-10 AM
WHERE: Mexicantown Bakery, 4300 Vernor Hwy., Detroit, MI 48209

Join me and my team for coffee at Mexicantown Bakery to talk about what is happening in the district and latest news out of the legislature.

Coffee Hour

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 28 from 9:30-10:30 AM
WHERE: Bacon Memorial Library, 45 Vinewood St., Wyandotte, MI 48192

Join me and my team for a morning of coffee and discussion about the latest news in the district and legislature. Come share your questions and opinions at the library.

EGLE Informational Session and Public Hearing: Air Quality Enforcement Action: FCA US (Stellantis) – Detroit Assembly Complex Mack

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct.19, 2022 at 6 PM via Zoom
WHERE: Register for the virtual event here.

Over the past year, the Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex has received five air quality violations. I have been working with community organizations and residents to uplift their public health and quality of life concerns and needs. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is holding an information session and public hearing on a proposed enforcement action. The facility is undergoing escalated enforcement with a proposed consent order that includes a compliance plan, monetary penalty, penalties for future similar violations and two supplemental environmental projects.

This informational session will provide details on what the proposed content order contains and what Stellantis would have to do and will be followed by a hearing to take official comments on the record. Please consider joining this public hearing to learn more and provide your opinion on whether this proposed consent order adequately addresses community concerns.


LEGISLATURE PASSES BUDGET BILL TO INVEST IN SCHOOLS, SCHOLARSHIPS 

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Michigan House and Senate passed a supplemental budget bill that makes key investments in Michigan’s schools and students. 

Senate Bill 842 amends the state School Aid Act and routes $12.2 million of General Fund money into the School Aid Fund, with $12 million targeted to providing literacy tutoring services and enrichment programs, with a pilot program in three geographically diverse districts. It also invests $200,000 into Square One to host robotics programs and competitions for K-12 students, and creates two new scholarship programs: 

  • $250 million would be invested in the Michigan Achievement Scholarship for Michigan high school graduates whose expected family contribution through FAFSA was $25,000 or less beginning in Fiscal Year 2023, which begins Oct. 1. Providing a minimum of $1,000 per student, the scholarship would be available for five years, with no more than three of those years spent at a community or tribal college, and provide:  
    • Up to $2,750 to community college students; 
    • Up to $5,500 to public university students; and, 
    • Up to $4,000 to private university students.   
  • $10 million of the above $250 million would be set aside for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship Training Program that would make $2,000 grants available for students enrolled in occupational training programs.  
The two new scholarship programs would begin in the 2023-2024 academic year. 

STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS – NEXT STEPS

As many of you know, President Joe Biden recently passed a three-part Student Loan Relief Plan. The plan will allow the U.S. Department of Education to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 in debt relief to those who are not a Pell Grant recipient. I realize this is extremely important to many of you, so I wanted to share the next steps that you can take to earn this loan forgiveness.

  • A simple application will open in early October. You can get notified when the application opens by visiting StudentAid.gov/DebtRelief (scroll down to the FAQs section and click on the link titled ‘Department of Education subscription page’).
  • After your application is submitted and processing is completed, you can expect relief within 4-6 weeks.
  • Please note that borrowers should fill out an application before Nov. 15 to receive relief before the payment pause expires on Dec. 31, 2022. 
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that student loan relief would not be treated as taxable income in Michigan. Approximately 1.4 million Michiganders eligible for relief will not owe any state taxes for receiving benefits of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program or other student loan forgiveness.

Typically, when debt is forgiven, the IRS treats it as taxable income. However, provisions of the American Rescue Plan have temporarily lifted this requirement. Any federal loans that are discharged between 2021 and 2025 will not be considered taxable income by the federal government. Because state tax law aligns with federal law, this temporary relief will be in effect in Michigan through 2025 as well.

As of July 2022, 7,000 Michiganders have had $406 million in loans forgiven under the PSLF. More than 147,000 additional Michiganders may be eligible due to the recent PSLF waiver.

New temporary changes to the PSLF program make it easier than ever to have your debt forgiven. Some changes include allowing borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. However, these temporary changes end on Oct. 31, 2022. Public servants should apply online at StudentAid.gov/PSLF.

Thank you for reading this update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (517) 373-7346 if we can assist you in any way. I hope to see you soon!   
   
Take care,     

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Stephanie Chang
State Senator
District 1


More news:

Coffee Hour Chang on Senate Passage of Bills Aimed to Protect Survivors, Prevent Sexual Assault Sen. Chang Expresses Opposition to Riverview Landfill Expansion at Hearing

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