District 9 News & Update

State Senator Paul Wojno

Friends, 

The holidays are right around the corner, and with that I wish you and your family a happy and healthy celebration. I hope your gatherings are merry and bright, and that you take the necessary time to rest and rejuvenate after this long year.  

Included in this newsletter is information about a supplemental bill passed by the Legislature this week that will provide the much-needed economic relief that Michigan families and small businesses deserve, as well as an economic incentive bill package that passed last week. Also, you’ll find an update regarding a new effort by the state to lower food costs for families, and resources for where you can get your safe and effective flu shots for the year. 

Should you need any help, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov

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Paul Wojno

State Senator
District 9


LEGISLATURE PASSES NEARLY $1 BILLION IN ECONOMIC RELIEF FOR MICHIGAN FAMILIES  

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Michigan Legislature passed a bipartisan supplemental funding bill that makes monumental investments in Michigan’s families, communities, and small businesses. For months, members of both parties, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, have been negotiating together in good faith, finding a collaborative way to effectively spend the federal dollars sent to Michigan by the American Rescue Plan.   

The legislation passed represents a big step forward in finding common ground and agreement on how to spend some of those federal resources, including resources to help kids stay safe and learning in school, protect seniors in nursing homes, and get vaccines out the door even faster.   

Investments made to improve the lives of all Michiganders include:  

  • $150 million for COVID school testing to keep kids safe and learning in-person.     
  • $140 million for rental assistance to help Michiganders stay in their homes.     
  • $36.3 million to help communities tackle lead, fund water distribution, inspections, blood testing, and more.     
  • $14.1 million for a Nursing Home Strike Teams grant to help older Michiganders stay safe in nursing homes.     
  • $10 million to support teacher recruitment, training, development, and retention.    
  • $6.9 million for Michigan State Police to help them continue protecting public safety.  


LEGISLATURE PASSES ECONOMIC INCENTIVE BILLS  

Last week, a series of bills looking to keep Michigan competitive for bids on multi-billion dollar projects passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.  

House Bills 5602-5604 and Senate Bills 769-771 create an economic incentive program that would provide funding through a Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund administered by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.   

Money in the fund would be used to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for eligible applicants to conduct activities for creating investment-ready sites to attract and promote investments in Michigan — such as electric vehicles and battery cell manufacturing projects — that would not only sustain existing jobs in the manufacturing sector, but also bring thousands of opportunities for new, well-paying ones as well. 


SERVICE TO ADDRESS HUNGER IN MICHIGAN, LOWER COSTS FOR FAMILIES 

On Monday, Dec. 6, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the launch of MI Benefits Center, an innovative approach to assist Michiganders in applying for much-needed food assistance, connecting families to benefits, and lowering the cost for Michigan families. 

The MI Benefits Center will have a team of highly trained benefits specialists provide personalized phone-based application assistance to remove barriers that prevent some Michiganders from accessing food support that is critical to their health and vitality. With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and philanthropic organizations, in the next year, the MI Benefits Center will invest up to $1.2 million to support Michiganders. 

Recently, the MI Benefits Center began mailing letters to older adults and others who are likely eligible for food assistance benefits but who are not enrolled in the program. The letters will direct individuals to call a toll-free phone number for free assistance or to apply directly at Michigan.gov/MIBridges. When people who receive the letter call into the MI Benefits Center, they will talk to a benefits outreach specialist who will screen them for benefits, offer to assist with the collection of required application documents, and submit applications on their behalf. This personalized attention may help relieve pressure for people who struggle with the application, streamline the process and increase the success rate of those applications.  


MICHIGANDERS REMINDED TO GET FLU VACCINE 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) are reminding Michiganders to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves and their communities from flu, especially while continuing to battle COVID-19. Getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of serious flu complications.  

Flu most commonly peaks in February and significant activity can continue into May, so there is still time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. This National Influenza Vaccination Week, which is observed Dec. 5-11, go to your doctor or local pharmacy to get your flu vaccine, encourage your loved ones to get their flu vaccine, and learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated against flu. 

DIFS also reminds Michiganders that flu shots are an essential health benefit under the Affordable Care Act and are covered with no out-of-pocket costs by most health plans in Michigan. Consumers with questions about their coverage should contact their insurance company, and if they cannot get the information they need or have additional questions, contact DIFS for assistance 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442 or Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance

Flu vaccines are widely available now at local health departments, physician offices and pharmacies around the state. Find a location near you using the Vaccine Finder. Visit Michigan.gov/flu for more information or visit IVaccinate.org to find answers to your vaccine questions. 

As an elected representative, I believe in being readily available and transparent because my office is your office.

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