Yesterday, Sept. 24, early voting began across Michigan. While Election Day isn’t until Nov. 3, you have a constitutional right to vote early in Michigan. You can do this by requesting either a mail-in ballot, early ballot, or absentee voting application from your local clerk and delivering it back before polls close on Election Day at 8 p.m. Returning your absentee ballot can be done via mail or by dropping it off at the correct early voting drop box.
Given the expectations on turnout this year, here’s a recommended timeline for voting early:
You can find your voter information, register to vote, find absentee voting information and so much more at Michigan.gov/Vote.
Yesterday, I gave a floor statement about the murder of Breonna Taylor, and the subsequent investigation and sentencing of the officers involved in her death.
In short, I am heartbroken. I’m also committed to fixing our laws so Black people don’t have to live in fear. Our laws need a lot of work if we are to achieve a truly just system. I challenged my 37 colleagues in the Senate to work with me on getting there, too, because the current system we have is broken and has ruined far too many lives.
EASIER ABSENTEE VOTING FOR MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY AND THEIR SPOUSE
Yesterday, my bill, Senate Bill 117, passed both chambers of the Legislature. The bill makes it easier for people in the military and their spouses to vote in Michigan elections by allowing them to submit their ballots electronically.
This will be a major help for our folks in uniform and their families. Both have answered the call to defend our nation, sacrificing themselves or any sense of familial routine. They deserve to know we have their back for that, and that we’ll defend their constitutional rights just as much as they do ours.
STATE BUDGET UPDATE
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on state revenues and working families’ wallets. On Wednesday, the Legislature passed a budget, negotiated with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2021. This budget will fund shared priorities such as education, economic development, public health, public safety, and the environment.
Among some budget highlights for our district:
This budget is proof that when we work together, we can deliver results for Michigan students and their families.
MICHIGAN RENAMES BUILDING TO HONOR CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER
After signing Executive Order 2020-139 to rename the state-owned Lewis Cass Building in downtown Lansing to the “Elliott-Larsen Building” this past June, Gov. Whitmer unveiled the building’s new sign on Monday, Sept. 21. The new name honors Republican former state Rep. Melvin Larsen and Democratic former state Rep. Daisy Elliott – from Detroit – who came together to create Michigan’s landmark civil rights act in 1976. This change also marks the first time in Michigan history that a state building is named after an African American woman.
PLUMBING PROGRAM FOR WAYNE COUNTY RESIDENTS
Wayne County has announced a new Emergency Plumbing Repair Program to help every eligible home have access to hot and cold water, and at least one functioning toilet, bathroom faucet, shower/bath, kitchen faucet and laundry tub. Before you apply, make sure you have three things with you:
After completing the online application, a member of their team will contact you. You can also call (313) 388-9799 with any application questions. Submit an application here.
LEAD HAZARD REDUCTION PROGRAM
The City of Detroit runs a Lead Hazard Reduction Program for residents outside of the Southwest area. The program utilizes a site-specific lead inspection and risk assessment program to determine:
The Lead Hazard Reduction Program remediates lead hazards in eligible single-family homes (one to four units) throughout the City of Detroit. To apply for the LHR grant, residents can email email@example.com call (313) 224-6380.
NO CHARGES FOR COVID-19 TESTS, TREATMENTS THIS YEAR
On Monday, Sept. 21, Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced the state has secured agreements from nearly all of the state’s health insurers to waive all out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and treatments through the end of 2020, including copays, deductibles, and co-insurance. These agreements cover more than 92% of the commercial health insurance market in Michigan.
CONTACT TRACING CALLS HELP SLOW THE SPERAD OF COVID-19
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily among people. To break the chain of infection, anyone who has been exposed will get a call. If you receive a call from 866-806-3447, MI COVID HELP, or your local health department, please answer it. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ContainCOVID.
SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICES HAVE SPECIAL HOURS FOR LICENSES, IDs EXPIRING SOON
Secretary of State offices are continuing to offer special appointments every business day from 4 to 7 p.m. for people whose driver’s licenses or state IDs have expiration dates of between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2020. Due to the pandemic, the state Legislature extended the expiration of secretary of state credentials through Sept. 30.
After Sept. 30, late fees will again be charged for late renewals and police will no longer be asked to use discretion when enforcing expirations. More information is available here and appointments can be made at Michigan.gov/SOS.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO RESPOND TO THE 2020 CENSUS
You can still complete the Census questionnaire online at 2020census.gov, by calling 844-330-2020, or returning the paper form you received in the mail. Respond using the address where you were living on April 1, 2020 and include anyone who was living with you at the time.
Your response matters — as does that of your friends, family, and neighbors. The results of the 2020 Census determine how many seats our state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs how billions of dollars in federal funding will be allocated every year to communities like ours across the country.
PRINTABLE MASK REQUIREMENT SIGNS FOR BUSINESSES
Gov. Whitmer has made it abundantly clear that masks need to be worn in nearly all circumstances, especially when inside a business, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the rules are cut-and-dry, there are still exceptions. My office has produced a sign for businesses in our district to share the mask mandate, but also the possible exceptions allowed under the law.
Free Vaccine Fair
WHERE: Wayne Pediatrics, 400 Mack Ave., Suite 1 East, Detroit, MI 48201
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 10, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
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.
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