This month’s Coffee with Christine will be held at the Portage Community Senior Center 203 E Centre Ave, Portage, MI 49002, on Oct. 27 at 10:30 a.m. I always look forward to meeting constituents face to face, answering questions and hearing your concerns directly.
This month I had the pleasure of testifying on House Bill 4213 in front of the House Committee on Health Policy. My bill would codify current practice by the Department of Health and Human Services that allows Medicaid to cover telemedicine services for mental health. During the pandemic, we saw how important telemedicine services can be to improve access to health care around our state. This legislation, along with several other bills from my colleagues, are a step in the right direction to continue to support telemedicine and the providers that administer the care. It is my goal for this legislation to be passed out of the House and Senate before the end of the year.
Listening Tour Updates:
As mentioned in some of my previous newsletters, my office has been working on scheduling a multi-stop listening tour on community violence intervention. We have completed two stops so far with three more scheduled before the end of the year. Our first stop was in Detroit with my colleague, state Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit), and the most recent one was right here in House District 40. It has been educational for me, and I look forward to applying what I have learned as we prepare to move into the next budget cycle. After completing all the stops, I will share a more in-depth update with some important highlights from each community that we visited.
School Bus Safety:
Oct. 16-20 marks School Bus Safety Week. With the sun rising later and setting earlier, visibility at bus stops has started to decline. This is an important time for some friendly reminders for us all to exercise caution around buses. Below are some tips for drivers and parents to keep in mind.
- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. You should slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. You must stop your car and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn and the bus begins moving, before you can start driving again.
- Illegal school bus passing poses a significant threat to children and others on the road. It is illegal for you to pass a school bus while the stop-arm is extended and the red lights are flashing.
- Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus arrives. They should wait for the bus at least 10 feet away from the curb.
- When the school bus arrives, your child should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens and the driver says it’s okay to get on or off. Your child should use the handrails to avoid falling.
- Your child should never walk behind a school bus. If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, tell them to walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street to a place at least 10 feet in front of the bus before crossing. Your child should also make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see that they’re crossing to avoid the danger zone.
Student Loan Repayments:
Federal student loan payments will be due starting this month as the pause on federal student loan payments is ending.
You should know that at least 21 days before your first payment will be due, your loan servicer(s) will send you a billing statement or other notice that will include your payment due date, upcoming interest and payment amount. That information should also be available on your loan servicer’s website.
To make sure you receive your notice before your payments resume, update your contact information in your profile on your loan servicer’s website and in your StudentAid.gov profile. If you don’t know who your servicer is, visit your StudentAid.gov account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.
If you are concerned you won’t be able to make your payments, you may apply for an income-driven repayment plan, which can lower your payments, depending on your income and family size.
The State of Michigan is here to help you as student loan payments resume. If you have questions or need assistance navigating the process, visit Michigan.gov/StudentLoanRestart.
For information or assistance from the federal government, visit StudentAid.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243.
The Michigan Fitness Association is making $8.5 million in grant monies from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) available to Michigan fitness businesses! All Michigan-based fitness facilities, boutique gyms or studios, are eligible to apply for and receive funds from the Michigan Fitness Association Health and Wellness Enhancement Grant. This grant is exclusively available to Michigan fitness industry businesses for the purpose of helping those businesses grow and enhance the health and wellness of their communities. Learn more about the Michigan Fitness Association Health and Wellness Enhancement Grant by visiting mfafit.org.
Thank you all for staying connected with my updates. As always, please feel free to reach out to my office at any time should you have questions or concerns about any legislative or local issues. My office can be reached at ChristineMorse@house.mi.gov or (517)373-8670 and any friends or neighbors who wish to join my mailing list can do so here.