It’s been a busy week in Lansing. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bills for the Fiscal Year 2020-21 state budget, which includes money for: The Goodwill Flip the Script Program, Detroit-Area Pre-College Engineering Program, The Children’s Center for behavior health sciences and the Michigan Conservation Corps, among many other things in our district.
Be sure to watch my legislative update video below, in which I talk about several different topics, including bills I’ve had some recent movement on, my recent op-ed in The Detroit News, the importance of absentee voting and the Census, along with lots of other updates and news in our community.
OP-ED ON SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
My colleagues and I have introduced multiple pieces of legislation to help Michigan’s small businesses during this unprecedented health crisis.
WHERE: 12050 Woodward Ave., Highland Park, MI 48203
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 2, at 7:00 p.m.
Harper Woods Soup and Small Business Showcase
WHERE: Virtual (See above link for more information)
WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 4, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
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.
MAKE SURE YOU VOTE
Have you made your plan to return your completed ballot yet, or do you have a plan to vote? 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.
GOV. WHITMER REOPENS MOVIE THEATERS, STRENGTHENS MASK REQUIERMENTS IN SCHOOLS
On Friday, Sept. 25, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-183, which amends the MI Safe Start order to reopen movie theaters and performance venues and 2020-185, which requires face coverings for students in grades K-5.
Beginning October 9, several previously closed businesses are slated to reopen statewide, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more.
As part of the announcement the governor also changed capacity limits for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Instead of being limited to 10 people, non-residential indoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 20 people per 1,000 square feet, or 20% of fixed-seating capacity, with a maximum of 500 people in Michigan’s largest venues. Non-residential indoor venues must require a face covering. Instead of being limited to 100 people, non-residential outdoor gatherings and events now must limit attendance to 30 people per 1,000 square feet, or 30% of fixed-seating capacity, with a maximum of 1,000 people.
NEW LOCATION FOR DETROIT COVID-19 TESTING CENTER
Detroit’s regional COVID-19 testing facility has moved from the state fairgrounds to the Joseph Walker Williams Community Center. The facility was moved indoors for the fall and winter months. The fairgrounds facility provided more than 55,000 tests for region residents and, at its peak, was completing more than 1,200 tests daily.
>> NEW LOCATION: Joseph Walker Williams Community Center. 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit, MI 48206
Testing is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call center hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Detroit residents will still be able to take advantage of $2 round-trip rides through IntelliRide, but please note that riders can only be picked up and dropped off at a Detroit address.
FISCAL YEAR 2021 BUDGET BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Gov. Whitmer signed the bills authorizing the Fiscal Year 2021 budget that totals $62.7 billion in state funding. The budget delivers on many of her signature priorities, including the Michigan Reconnect program for a tuition-free pathway for adults, funding for the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to ensure women have the care they need for a healthy pregnancy, and expanding access to childcare for families.
The budget protects schools, colleges, universities, and local governments from any state funding reductions below their original 2020 funding levels. The budget also includes new education investments focused on providing students, teachers, and adults across Michigan with needed resources.
CARE AND RECOVERY CENTERS TO PROTECT RESIDENTS, STAFF IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
On Thursday, Sept. 30, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-191, which maintains the strong infection control protocols in nursing homes the governor put in place at the outset of this crisis and protects residents from eviction and employees from retaliatory action for staying home when exhibiting symptoms.
The order also takes into consideration recommendations from the governor’s Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force, which released its report August 31, including the establishment of Care and Recovery Centers to help patients requiring a skilled nursing level of care rehabilitate from COVID-19. These centers will be care units dedicated exclusively to caring for, and isolating, residents affected by COVID-19.
Executive Order 2020-191 also requires enhanced transparency and communications from nursing homes, expanding notification requirements for positive cases to include legal guardians, health proxies, prospective staff and residents.
FUTURE FOR FRONTLINERS PROGRAM TAKING APPLICATIONS THROUGH DEC. 31
With just over two weeks since the program launched, more than 60,000 Michiganders have already submitted applications for the new Futures for Frontliners program. The first in nation initiative provides a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who do not have a college degree, including those without a high school diploma.
All essential workers in Michigan without college degrees who:
Choose the path that’s right for you.
To see if you qualify and to learn more, visit Michigan.gov/Frontliners. The application window closes Dec. 31, 2020.
LANSING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RALLY RECAP
On Thursday, Oct. 1, I spoke at the Statewide Rally Against Domestic Violence. I was joined by families who have lost loved ones to domestic abuse, along with survivors, advocates, and other elected officials. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very difficult for women and men living with violent partners — sadly, there have been huge spikes in calls to domestic violence hotlines, sometimes doubling and tripling the typical number of requests for help.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have experienced, or fear experiencing, domestic or sexual violence, there is national help available. Either call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
>> Additional resource: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ page on domestic and sexual violence.
MICHIGAN SMALL BUSINESS RESTART GRANT PROGRAM
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced this week that COVID-19 recovery efforts have been effective at keeping Michigan businesses open. Michigan businesses have received $69 million in grants, and nearly 73,000 jobs have been retained for Michigan workers. Of the businesses to receive an award to-date, more than 3,000 reported as minority-owned, more than 4,300 reported as woman-owned, and 550 reported as veteran-owned, with some businesses selecting multiple categories.
HEALTHY MICHIGAN PLAN TOPS 800,000 ENROLLEES FOR FIRST TIME
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, Gov. Whitmer announced that the Healthy Michigan Plan is now providing health care coverage to more than 800,000 low-income residents for the first time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the finances and health of so many Michiganders that the number of Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries jumped from just under 682,000 in late March to 800,794 six months later. Michigan instituted policies to help families access affordable health care coverage such as deciding to avoid terminating Healthy Michigan Plan coverage and freezing premiums for as long as the COVID-19 public health emergency exists. The state was able to qualify for additional Medicaid funding from the federal government through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Healthy Michigan Plan coverage is available to Michiganders ages 19-64 years old who have an income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level — or $16,971 annually for a single person — and who meet other eligibility requirements, such as not qualifying for other Medicaid programs.
You can apply for the Healthy Michigan Plan at Michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling the Michigan HealthCare Helpline at 855-789-5610.
MICHIGAN ANNOUNCES $80 MILLION FOR OPIODS CRISIS RESPONSE
On Monday, Sept. 28, Gov. Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and the Michigan Opioids Task Force announced $80 million in federal funding to respond to the ongoing opioids crisis. The funds will support prevention, treatment and harm reduction services, with a focus on evidence-based practices that save lives.
The funding includes $36.4 million from the new State Opioid Response II grant and $43.1 million from an extension of the current State Opioid Response I grant. Over the last five years, opioid overdoses have killed 8,000 Michiganders. In 2018, five people died on average every day from opioid overdoses. The crisis has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic; calls to emergency medical services for opioid overdose were 22% higher from April to July 2020 than during the same period in 2019.
Many prevention and treatment programs are implemented by region in Michigan. Organizations interested in participating in these programs – including treatment providers, hospitals, community organizations, law enforcement agencies and others – are encouraged to reach out to regional representatives.
>> Inquiries about statewide strategy can be directed via email to MDHHS-OpioidsTaskForce@michigan.gov.
OCTOBER IS FIRE PREVENTION MONTH
On Thursday, Oct. 1, Gov. Whitmer proclaimed October as Fire Prevention Month to help spread the message of fire safety, protect Michigan residents, and save lives.
Based on fatal fire data collected, most of Michigan’s fire deaths happen overnight, with 50% of fire deaths resulting from fires that started in the living room, 17% of fires that started in the kitchen, and 16% of fires that started in bedrooms.
Michiganders should regularly check their smoke alarms and be cautious while smoking, as 51% of the fire deaths in Michigan since 2017 have involved careless smoking.
This year’s National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” It is imperative to never leave cooking unattended, and to keep the stove and burners clean and free of grease to avoid the potential for a small kitchen fire that can get out of hand quickly.
>> For more information about preventing fires and staying safe, go to the NFPA official Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org.
HAMTRAMCK OLD VILLAGE HALL
Built somewhere around 1914 on a portion of the lot on Jos. Campeau Ave. between Alice and Grayling streets, Hamtramck’s Village Hall housed the police and fire departments, village council chambers and some village offices. In 2018, Wayne State University students began exploring the site as part of an archaeological dig. Although it was a beautiful building, Village Hall turned out to be far too small to serve the rapidly growing community so, as a result, offices were relocated to various sites through the years. Almost all were brought back together in the St. Francis Hospital building when it closed in 1969.
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