District 9 News & Updates

State Senator Paul Wojno

Dear Friends, 

July is coming to an end, which means it’s almost back-to-school time! As the nights start to get cooler, let’s make sure to enjoy the last weeks of Michigan’s warm, beautiful summer weather.  

Featured in this newsletter: 

  • Online nursing home complaint form established to protect vulnerable adults 
  • Governor signs executive directive to reduce crime, gun violence 
  • Propane customers urged to stock up now for home heating season 
  • #RecreateResponsibly with just a few simple steps 
  • New website launched to educate Michigan residents about monkeypox 
  • Public input sought for use of federal funds 

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


Warmest regards, 

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Paul Wojno
State Senator
District 9


Online Nursing Home Complaint Form Established to Protect Vulnerable Adults 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has launched a new, online complaint system to better protect vulnerable adults in nursing homes. If concerned staff knows, or has reason to believe, that someone is using a nursing home resident’s assets or benefits for purposes other than the care, needs, and wishes of the resident, a complaint may be filed online

The system creates a direct line of communication and enables nursing home administrators to provide information directly to the Department’s Health Care Fraud Division for follow-up and investigation. 

As always, members of the general public may make a complaint regarding nursing home abuse to the Attorney General’s hotline by calling 1-800-24-ABUSE. 


Governor Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime, Gun Violence 

On Tuesday, July 26, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive instructing Michigan state departments and law enforcement agencies to utilize federal resources from the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to reduce crime and gun violence. This action follows a roundtable discussion the governor held with members of the law enforcement community, parents, students, and faith leaders on how to stop violence and hold criminals accountable for committing violent crimes. 

Within 30 days, all departments and agencies must designate an individual to coordinate across state government. The Michigan State Police (MSP) must explore ways to improve Michigan’s process for reporting criminal, mental health, and juvenile records to national criminal databases. MSP must also establish the Community Violence Intervention Office which will coordinate state and federal grants related to community violence intervention programming. 


Propane Customers Urged to Shop Now, Lock in Supply for Home Heating Season 

Michiganders who rely on propane to heat their homes should explore locking in supplies now to ensure they’ll have the fuel they will need before winter’s cold sets in and demand increases. 

The MPSC (Michigan Public Service Commission) urges Michigan propane users to shop around today for the best deals before we’re back to winter weather and to research options, ask questions about contracts, and get terms in writing. It’s particularly important for consumers to know their costs in advance, as energy prices have risen sharply amid the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Here are things to know before you start shopping for propane: 

  • Propane providers offer budget plans as well as pre-buy and fixed-price plans that can save you money compared to market prices later in the season. Knowing the size of your propane tank and your average propane use can help you avoid not buying enough or buying too much. Be aware that prices may increase after the prepaid allotment is used up. 
  • Make sure you understand possible fees — including installation, service, pickup or disconnect, lease or equipment rental, and minimum usage requirements — and ask for details before you sign a contract. Additional fees may increase out-of-pocket costs. 
  • Determine whether it’s more economical to rent or lease a tank from a propane provider. Renting or leasing a tank means safety and maintenance is the responsibility of the provider. Owning a tank can save money but leaves you responsible for upkeep. 
  • Be sure to have answers to questions before you sign a contract. Important questions can include what service, budget and payment options are available, how prices are determined, what fees are possible, how often tanks will be refilled, and how much advance time is needed for delivery outside a normal schedule. 

Propane users also can help reduce their costs by using energy efficiently. Check out the MPSC’s Be Winterwise page for tips and information including ways to reduce energy use. The U.S. Department of Energy has additional energy saver tips

Did you know? 

Michigan uses more propane in the residential sector than any other state, and propane use is highest in rural areas. It is the primary heating fuel for 18% of Upper Peninsula residents and nearly 24% in some northern Lower Peninsula counties, and 8% overall statewide. 

Get help with energy costs 

If your household is struggling with energy costs, there are options for help. Consumers may contact Michigan 211 by calling 211 or going to www.mi211.org. Michigan 211 is a free, confidential service that connects Michiganders with a broad range of assistance programs and services and other resources, including help with food, housing, transportation, and home energy bills. More information on energy assistance is available through the MPSC’s tip sheet on applying for energy assistance


#RecreateResponsibly with Just a Few Simple Steps 

During the pandemic, people across the country ventured outdoors in record numbers, to destinations including Michigan state parks, trails, and waterways. In fact, visitation to state parks went up 30% over the past two years, with annual visitation jumping from approximately 28 million to 35 million people. 

While the outdoors is an important component of many people’s leisure activities and healthy lifestyles, it’s just as critical that we each do our part to take care of these outdoor spaces, so they are protected and here for future generations to enjoy and use. 

 A new “Recreate Responsibly” video series highlights guidelines and steps people can follow to protect Michigan’s woods, water, and wildlife, while also keeping themselves and other visitors safe. These tips include: 

  • Plan ahead. 
  • Build an inclusive outdoors. 
  • Leave no trace. 
  • Be a kind visitor. 
  • Play it safe. 

Visit Michigan.gov/RecreateResponsibly to check out the videos and learn more about getting involved. If you’d like to help promote the “Recreate Responsibly” principle and video series, consider sharing them on social media. You can also share your stewardship ideas by using the #RecreateResponsibly, #MiOutdoorIdea and #MiDNR hashtags. See you outside! 


New Website Launched to Educate Michigan Residents about Monkeypox 

To help keep Michiganders up to date on monkeypox (MPV) and the state’s response to the virus, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched a new website at Michigan.gov/mpv

 The site provides information about the signs and symptoms of MPV, number of cases in the state by county, information for health care providers about testing and coordinating with local health departments, treatment, and other resources for the public and providers. State case count information will be updated regularly. 


Public Input Sought on Use of Federal Funds 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is accepting public comment on its plan for spending Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding from the federal government. TANF is a federal program run by states that assists families who are unable to provide for their children’s basic needs, and MDHHS welcomes input from residents about its plans for spending these federal dollars in Michigan. 

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) State Plan, effective Jan. 1, 2023, can be viewed on the MDHHS website. The public can submit comments on the plan by email to MDHHS-TANF@michigan.gov through Sept. 5, 2022. 

The state plan describes programs and services paid for with TANF, including: 

  • The Family Independence Program, which provided cash assistance to more than 27,000 low-income people in June 
  • Childcare 
  • Services to support employment and self-sufficiency, including job search services and assistance with transportation 
  • Support for children in foster care and adoption assistance 
  • Hunger relief 
  • Services for school children at-risk of struggling with academics 
  • Buying diapers 

To be eligible for TANF, applicants must be low-income and have a child 18 or younger, or be pregnant, or be younger than 18 while also being the head of the household. 


 

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

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