The school year is about to start, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered about it. After my colleague, Sen. Tom Barrett, tested positive for COVID-19, session had to be delayed so everyone could be tested. To ensure there is a plan for schools to start up in the next couple of weeks, we are convening in Lansing for session this Saturday. Hopefully, the legislation we pass will answer all the questions that parents, students, teachers and administrators have been asking about the upcoming school year, so stay tuned.
AUGUST IS CHILD SUPPORT MONTH IN MICHIGAN
The Michigan Child Support Program strives to help families support each other both financially and emotionally. In recognition of tireless efforts to support Michigan children and families by child support workers, employers, state and county departments, hospitals and community partners, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared August as Child Support Month in Michigan.
The program provides professional, non-judgmental services to help mothers, fathers, grandparents or guardians get the financial resources they need for their children. It also provides parents of all income levels with assistance in obtaining financial support and medical insurance coverage for their children, helps locate parents, establishes paternity and opens and manages child support cases and collects and disburses support payments.
County and state child support offices in Michigan provide services for more than 839,000 children and their families. In 2019, more than $1.17 billion was distributed to Michigan families. Additional information about Michigan’s Child Support Program is available on this fact sheet.
Child support information for parents, employers, hospitals and schools can be also be found at Michigan.gov/ChildSupport.
BLACK WOMEN’S EQUAL PAY DAY
Thursday, Aug. 13 was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. This day was created to raise awareness of the gender and racial pay gaps in our society. Aug. 13, 2020 is the day that a Black woman, based on 2019 U.S. Census data, would reach the same income as a white man would have made in 2019 alone, a full eight and a half months later. That means it takes a Black woman 20 months to earn what a white man makes in just 12.
My colleague Sen. Erika Geiss has been fighting incredibly hard in Michigan for Black women pay equality. I’d like to take a second to highlight the work she does in the Legislature and on social media to push for gender and racial pay equality.
BLACK LEADERSHIP ADVISORY COUNCIL APPLICATIONS DUE AUGUST 19
Last week, Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced Michigan’s first Black Leadership Advisory Council. The council is tasked with developing, reviewing, and recommending policies and actions to the governor designed to eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity in Michigan. Applications are due Aug. 19.
>> To apply to the Black Leadership Advisory Council, follow these steps:
ADDITIONAL FOOD ASSISTANCE EXTENDED THROUGH AUGUST
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that approximately 350,000 Michigan families will continue to have access to additional food assistance benefits during August as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Aug. 30, with payments beginning for some households on Thursday, Aug. 20. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance provided earlier in the month.
Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. If you receive food assistance, you can check your benefits balance on your Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. You can also ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing your caseworker.
STATE LAUNCHES COLLEGE TOWN COVID-19 WORKPLACE SAFETY PROGRAM
In an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as students return to Michigan college and university communities, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will host a series of webinars for retail, bars, restaurants and other businesses in seven Michigan college towns.
The information presented in the webinars will help businesses serving college students — like retail, restaurants, bars and gyms — understand the most up-to-date rules and protocols they need to protect their patrons, employees and communities this fall.
Detroit-area businesses are encouraged to join on:
GOVERNOR CREATES FOOD SECURITY COUNCIL
On Friday, Aug. 7, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-167 creating the Food Security Council within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The Council is tasked with identifying and analyzing the origins of and solutions for food insecurity in Michigan, and helping the governor ensure all Michiganders, regardless of their socioeconomic status, can put food on the table for themselves and their families.
GOVERNOR TAKES ACTION TO PROTECT MICHIGAN WORKERS
On Friday, Aug. 7, Gov. Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-166 to reinstate protections for Michigan workers as the state continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor signed this order after the federal government allowed federal pandemic unemployment assistance for Americans who have lost work as a result of this virus to lapse at the end of July, putting pressure on more people to return to work, even if they’re sick.
Under the Executive Order, the governor prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who make the responsible choice to stay home when they or their close contacts are sick.
DTE HAS RESUMED UTILITY SHUTOFFS
DTE has resumed shutting off utilities despite the ongoing pandemic, but they are offering service protection plans. Depending on your circumstances, there may be resources available to ensure your utilities stay on during these trying times. DTE set up a page for their COVID-19 response, which you can visit below to ensure your utilities aren’t shut off. You can also call DTE at (800) 477-4747.
>> Get help here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: MY CHAT WITH WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY
Kym L. Worthy has been the Wayne County Prosecutor since 2004, when she became the first African American female to hold the position. In this episode of my latest podcast, Prosecutor Worthy talks about serving the largest prosecutor’s office in the state and her initiatives to make Wayne County a better, safer place for all of us. These initiatives include police transparency and accountability, processing rape kits, and what the process will be to reopen the courts to jury trials.
>> Give it a listen.
Next week, I will have another podcast with Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health and Human Services. She’s been leading Michigan through the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m glad I’ll be able to chat with her.
Every Michigander Counts. Be sure to complete your Census 2020 form!
Take less than 10 minutes to provide 10 years of benefits to our communities. Learn more at Michigan.gov/Census2020.
Sign up to be the first to know what I'm doing to build a thriving community and fight for you.
First Name is required
Last Name is required
Email Address is required
Zip Code is required
We take your privacy seriously.