District 9 News & Updates

July 2, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Earlier this week the Senate passed with bipartisan support the school aid budget. A critical aspect of the bill was to close the funding gap between school districts, so all our children receive the same foundation allowance for each student. School funding has been a challenging issue in Michigan for far too long, and this proposal provides additional support in our classrooms. In addition, I supported an amendment on the Senate floor ensuring additional revenue for Macomb County special education programs.  

This funding was made possible by a combination of federal COVID-19 relief funds from Congress and state revenues. On Wednesday, June 30, the House concurred in the changes we made (read more below), and the bill was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature. This allows school districts to better understand the amount of funding they will be able to work with for the upcoming school year. 

As Southeast Michigan continues to struggle with flood damage after heavy storms last weekend, I wanted to provide information on state aid available for certain flood-affected residents in this e-newsletter, as well as information on my webpage. 

In the meantime, should you need any help with additional resources — flood-related or not — please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov. We are happy to serve you.

Warmest regards,

Paul Wojno
State Senator
9th District

SENATE PASSES HISTORIC SCHOOL FUNDING FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR 

On Wednesday, June 30, the Senate passed a K-12 budget containing $17.1 billion — a combination of state and federal funds that will surely help our students and their districts who’ve struggled dearly through the pandemic. The Senate kept a per-pupil minimum foundation allowance of $8,700 passed by the House, bringing all districts to the same basic per pupil foundation grant for the first time in decades. 

Our students and teachers have suffered for far too long under an unequitable funding formula. This legislation finally places the much-needed emphasis on funding education the way it always should have been. I look forward to continuing our work to once again make Michigan a top state in the nation for its dedicated dollars toward education. 

STATE EMERGENCY RELIEF FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR FLOOD-INDUCED HOME REPAIRS  

Low-income residents affected by recent flooding in Michigan may be eligible for emergency relief assistance through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The State Emergency Relief Program provides immediate help to families and individuals facing conditions of extreme hardship or for emergencies that threaten health and safety. It is available to eligible residents that need help with home repairs necessary to correct unsafe conditions and restore essential services

To qualify, applicants must be the owner or purchaser of the home and meet other eligibility requirements, including income limits. The lifetime maximum amount of funds available for non-energy related home repairs is $1,500 per household. State Emergency Relief Program assistance is available for repairs not covered by homeowner’s insurance for the basic house structure, hot water heater, septic/waste disposal system, doors/windows, extermination services, electrical, plumbing, roofs, and wells. 

To apply for State Emergency Relief, visit Michigan.gov/MIBridges. Anyone who does not have internet access or needs assistance applying can contact their local MDHHS office or call 2-1-1 to be referred to other community resources. 

INSURANCE TIPS TO RESIDENTS FOLLOWING SEVERE WEATHER 

Following heavy rain, widespread flooding, and tornadoes across the state this past week, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is providing tips to assist residents when working with insurance companies to file claims and repair damages.    

Michiganders impacted by flood waters or other storm damage should:  

DIFS encourages consumers to first attempt to resolve any claim disputes directly with their insurance company. If a resolution cannot be reached, DIFS will help try to resolve disputes. To learn more and file a complaint, visit Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints. Anyone with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage is asked to call the DIFS toll-free hotline 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442.

AG NESSEL WARNS RESIDENTS ABOUT PRICE-GOUGING, CONTRACTOR SCAMS AND WATER-DAMAGED VEHICLES 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michigan residents to beware of scam artists and price-gougers who will try to take advantage of desperate home and vehicle owners in the next several days and weeks. Of particular concern are reports of price-gouging by towing companies that have towed cars out of flooded roadways and impounded them — as well as fly-by-night contractors offering to help homeowners clean up after the weekend storms.   

Drivers have the right to challenge whether your vehicle was properly towed and the reasonableness of towing and storage fees, but you must do so in a timely manner and in an appropriate district court. The process requires you to file a petition within 20 days from the date on the notice that your vehicle was towed as abandoned in the district court with jurisdiction over the location from which your car was towed. You will be responsible for applicable court filing fees.  

The petition and instructions for how to fill it out are included with the mailed notice, or available on the Secretary of State’s webpage (Petition Regarding Impoundment of Motor Vehicle (DC90) form). If you request a hearing, you can also get your vehicle back while you are awaiting the hearing outcome, but you will have to either:   

  1. post a towing and storage bond, (which will include the accrued towing and storage fees) with the court; or 
  2. pay the abandoned vehicle fees and the accrued towing and storage fees to the custodian of your vehicle.  

If the court finds the vehicle was improperly towed, you will be reimbursed for the towing and storage fees, and the abandoned vehicle fee will be returned. 

Nessel is also reminding people to research contractors if home repairs are needed before paying for a project and alerting drivers to beware of water-damaged vehicles being sold on the used car market.  

To file a complaint with the Attorney General, or get additional information, contact:  

Consumer Protection Division  
P.O. Box 30213  
Lansing, MI 48909  
517-335-7599  
Fax: 517-241-3771  
Toll free: 877-765-8388  
Online complaint form  

TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE DURING FLOOD EVENTS 

Following the issue of a state of emergency in Wayne County by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in response to flooding and flood warnings, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is providing guidance to Michiganders on how to stay safe and healthy during flood events. 

During floods 

After floodwaters recede 

For more information, contact MDHHS at 800-648-6942 or your local health department. 

STOP UTILITY FRAUD: DON’T GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION 

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is urging Michiganders to be cautious about giving out personal information or information about your utility account after four of the agency’s staff received misleading phone calls on their home or personal phones in recent weeks.  

One MPSC staff member received a phone call from a caller claiming to be from the State of Michigan and asked repeatedly for information about her gas bill. Another staff member received a call in which the caller implied he was from Consumers Energy Co. and asked repeatedly for her account information.  

Neither the State of Michigan nor energy utilities such as Consumers Energy or DTE Energy Co. make unsolicited phone calls or come to your door asking to see your utility bill or for your utility account number. Utility customers should call the MPSC’s Customer Assistance Division at 1-800-292-9555 if they receive high-pressure calls asking for personal utility account information, which can be used to switch utility service without permission. 


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