Today and every day, it is an honor to serve as your State Senator in Lansing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns with me, and I look forward to seeing you around the community.
Featured in this newsletter:
Please do not hesitate to call my office at (517) 373-0990 or reply to this email if you have any questions or need assistance.
Working for you,
VOTERS SHOULD HAND-DELIVER ABSENTEE BALLOTS TO CLERK’S OFFICE
With less than two weeks until Election Day on Nov. 8, voters who already have an absentee ballot should hand-deliver it as soon as possible to their clerk’s office or ballot drop box to avoid postal delays.
Voters can find their clerk’s office and ballot drop box locations at Michigan.gov/Vote. At the same site, they can track their absentee ballot to ensure it was received. All absentee ballot return envelopes must be signed by the voter with a signature matching the signature the clerk has with their voter registration. Ballots must be received by clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
Eligible Michiganders who still need to register to vote must now do so in person at their clerk’s office, as online and mail registration is not permitted within 14 days of an election. Those registering in person may request, complete and submit an absentee ballot in the same visit to their clerk’s office.
Citizens can also vote in person at their polling place on Election Day, Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Additional information about absentee and in-person voting in Michigan is available at Michigan.gov/Vote.
MI PARENT SURVEY TO GIVE PARENTS GREATER SAY ON EDUCATION
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continued her work on the Michigan Parents’ Council by launching the state’s first MI Parent Survey. The survey is intended to continue the governor’s work to bring the parent perspective into education policy decisions and help Michigan kids learn in person as we get students back on track for long-term success.
All Michigan parents of pre-K through 12th grade students are invited to add their voice to the conversation around what is working well and what future investments may be needed in their schools. The survey takes approximately six minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.
The survey is part of the work of the Michigan Parents’ Council, which Governor Whitmer created to represent the parent perspective and ensure that parents have an empowered seat at the table in state budget and policymaking decisions. The Council has convened roundtables across Michigan to collect parent ideas and feedback, and the new survey is another opportunity for parents to make their voices heard. Following the completion of the roundtables and survey, the Council will host a virtual meeting on Thursday, November 3 open to parents statewide.
Parents may complete the survey online through Monday, Oct. 31.
NOW AVAILABLE: FELLOWSHIPS FOR FUTURE EDUCATORS, STIPENDS FOR STUDENT TEACHERS
On Thursday, Oct. 27, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that applications for $10,000 scholarships for up to 2,500 future Michigan educators and $9,600 payments for student teachers will open on October 31.
The scholarships were created and funded in the bipartisan education budget the governor signed earlier this year, which also included the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history and record investments in school infrastructure, mental health, and school safety.
MI Future Educator Fellowship
The MI Future Educator Fellowship offers aspiring teachers a scholarship to eliminate or lower the cost of tuition while they train to be educators. Awards cover the cost of tuition and fees up to $10,000 and are renewable for up to three years. Students that receive the award commit to teaching in Michigan classrooms for at least three years after graduation.
For full eligibility requirements and to apply starting Oct. 31, visit Michigan.gov/MIStudentAid. Scholarship funds are limited and will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.
MI Future Educator Stipend
The MI Future Educator Stipend provides compensation for full-time student teachers. Starting Fall 2022, student teachers can earn $9,600 while they complete their final semester(s) of teacher preparation.
To be eligible, student teachers must apply through the MiSSG Portal and:
For full eligibility requirements and to apply starting Oct. 31, visit Michigan.gov/MIStudentAid.
For more information or help applying for the Fellowship or Stipend, visit Michigan.gov/MIStudentAid or contact MI Student Aid at email@example.com, 1-888-447-2687 or @mistudentaid on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
ONLINE APPLICATION FOR STUDENT DEBT RELIEF NOW OPEN
On Monday, Oct. 17, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that millions of working- and middle-class borrowers can apply for student debt relief right NOW at studentaid.gov/debtrelief/apply.
The application takes less than 5 minutes. It’s available in English and Spanish on desktop and mobile devices. And you don’t need to log in with an FSA ID or to upload any documents to apply.
The Administration’s plan will provide up to $10,000 in relief to borrowers with federal student loans and up to $20,000 in relief to borrowers who were Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers who earned less than $125,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a household in 2020 or 2021 are eligible for relief.
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN DEBT FORGIVENESS PROGRAM
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding Michiganders to be on the lookout for scammers now that the U.S. Department of Education has made the application for student loan debt relief available.
Here are the highlights of the announced loan debt relief:
AG Nessel encourages residents to follow these tips to avoid scams seeking to take advantage of borrowers’ eagerness to obtain debt relief:
Those who wish to make a report about potential scams can do so with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388.
TREASURY: FRAUDSTERS USING FAKE LETTERS IN COLLECTIONS SCAM
Michigan taxpayers with past-due tax debts should be aware of an aggressive scam making the rounds through the U.S. Postal Service, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury).
In the scheme, taxpayers receive a letter about an overdue tax bill that requests individuals to immediately contact a toll-free number to resolve an outstanding state tax debt. The letter aggressively threatens to seize a taxpayer’s property — including bank accounts, wages, business assets, cars, real estate, refunds and cash — if the debt is not settled.
The piece of correspondence appears credible to the taxpayer because it uses specific personal facts pulled directly from publicly available information. The scammer’s letter attempts to lure the taxpayer into a situation where they could make a payment to a criminal.
The state Treasury Department corresponds with taxpayers through official letters that use state of Michigan letterhead that embody both the names of the governor and state treasurer. These official letters are sent through the U.S. Postal Service, provide several options to resolve an outstanding debt and outline taxpayer rights.
Taxpayers who receive a letter from a scammer or have questions about their state debts should callTreasury’s Collections Service Center at 517-636-5265. A customer service representative can log the scam, verify outstanding state debts and provide flexible payment options.