Happy August! I hope you are able to take advantage of the last few weeks of summer fun. As always, it is an honor to serve as your State Senator in Lansing, and I thank you for sharing thoughts and concerns with me.
Featured in this newsletter:
If you have any questions, want to comment on pending legislation, or resolve any issues in state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov.
Public Hearing Set for Aug. 22 in Detroit on DTE’s Proposed Rate Increase
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has announced that it will hold a public hearing on DTE Electric Co.’s pending request for an electric rate increase (Docket U-20836), on Monday, Aug. 22 from 6-8 p.m. The hearing will take place at the Detroit campus of Wayne County Community College (1001 W. Fort St., Detroit) in the Frank Hayden Community Room (room 236).
Members of the public are invited to attend and provide public comment regarding the pending rate request. No remote participation option is being offered for this hearing.
Individuals unable to attend but who wish to provide comments may do so in writing by clicking on the “Submit Comment” option on the Rate Case Docket Page. Comments may also be submitted by mail to Michigan Public Service Commission, 7109 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing, MI 48917. Comments should reference the docket number U-20836.
To learn more about the Rate Case process, check out the MPSC’s Rate Case Issue Brief.
New Efforts to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms
The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), and Agriculture and Rural Development are reminding Michiganders to be aware of the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs) in bodies of water.
To help the public know where HABs have been reported, a new Michigan Harmful Algal Bloom Reports map is now available online at Michigan.gov/HABsMap. The map, which will be updated weekly from June to November, shows bloom reports that have been verified by EGLE and the results of any cyanotoxin tests.
HABs form due to a rapid growth of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, which are naturally found in lakes, rivers, and ponds. Toxins found in cyanobacteria found in blooms can be harmful to people and animals.
HABs look like water that has algal scums or mats, which have the appearance of spilled paint or pea soup, or colored streaks on the surface. Visit the HAB Picture Guide for examples of HABs, as well as other algae and plants mistaken for HABs. HABs usually occur from May through October, with most occurring in August and September. HABs can last for days or weeks and change in size, location, and toxicity.
Before going in any water, MDHHS recommends that you always look for and keep away from visible HABs or scum, and that people and pets stay out of water in affected areas. Breathing in or swallowing water with HAB t oxins may cause illness, such as runny eyes or nose, asthma-like symptoms, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, numbness, headaches, or dizziness. Skin contact may cause rashes, blisters, or hives.
If you think you have found a HAB or have any suspicion of a HAB:
For more information on HABs and your health, call MDHHS at 800-648-6942.
Google Offering Free Job Training for Michiganders
On Friday, Aug. 5, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) in announcing a new partnership with Google to connect 500 local job seekers with no-cost access to Google Career Certificates training to help Michiganders land good-paying, high-demand jobs in growing fields.
The online program can be completed in three to six months of part-time study — with no degree or experience required. After finishing the program, graduates are connected with an employer consortium of more than 150 companies — including Deloitte, Ford, Verizon, Walmart, and Google — that consider them for relevant roles.
In partnership with Google, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) is providing access to these certificates through state workforce agencies such as LEO. Designed and taught by Google employees, each certificate includes 150+ practice and graded assessments, quizzes, or writing assignments to ensure rigor and proficiency.
More than 70,000 people have graduated from the program in the U.S., and 75% of them report a positive career impact — such as a new job, higher pay, or a promotion — within six months of completion, and 55% of graduates identify as Asian, Black, or Latino.
Those interested in learning more about the program or applying for a scholarship should contact their local Michigan Works! Service Center. Scholarship recipients need access to a computer, handheld device or smartphone, and the internet. If you do not have access to one or more of these tools, a Michigan Works! representative can help. Scholarship recipients must complete the certificate within six months.
To find the nearest Michigan Works! Service Center, visit MichiganWorks.org.
Available Housing Assistance Programs
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding consumers of options that may be available to support homeowners who are having difficulty making payments.
Foreclosure restrictions placed on mortgage servicers by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have expired, but there may be other options for consumers. It is important to:
Pay if you can: If you can pay your mortgage as agreed, you should continue to do so.
Don’t wait: If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, contact the company you make your payments to right away. You should find its contact information on the statements you receive on your mortgage loan.
It may not be too late: Even if you have missed one or more mortgage payments, and have not contacted your mortgage company, it may not be too late. Contact the company you make your payments to today to ask for assistance.
In addition, if you are concerned about your housing situation, these programs may be able to help:
You can also contact an MSHDA-approved agency for other free assistance. Consumers who have questions or disputes that cannot be directly resolved with their financial institutions can contact DIFS Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 877-999-6442 or file a complaint online at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
As an elected representative, I believe in being readily available and transparent because my office is your office.