Thank you so much for subscribing to my E-newsletter. My office is working hard every day to connect with constituents around the district and help answer questions. If we can assist in any way, please do not hesitate to contact our office! We have some exciting updates to share, including some events and other opportunities to stay in touch with all of you during this time of virtual interaction. Keep on the lookout both in future E-newsletters and on social media for upcoming plans.
My office is reachable by phone at (517) 373-2575, and by email at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
In this Edition:
House Democratic Caucus Assistant Whip
I am honored to have been appointed as Assistant Whip for the Michigan House Democrats. I will be supporting Rep. Matt Koleszar, House Democratic Whip, and working with colleagues to fight for our priorities on key legislation.
Thank you all for entrusting me with the honor of serving as your state representative. l will continue to work hard to represent our values and fight every day for our priorities!
COVID-19 Supplemental Appropriations Bill
On Thursday evening, the Michigan House voted along party lines to pass a supplemental appropriations bill that fails to fully provide available funds to Michigan schools, families, and small businesses. I voted NO on all four bills.
The federal government worked hard to pass supplemental appropriations in recent months which included an appropriation of around $5 billion to Michigan for COVID-19 relief. To be able to use this money, the Michigan Legislature must approve it. This money is ‘use it’ or ‘lose it,’ meaning if we don’t approve it, it will be sent to other states.
Earlier this week, Michigan House Democrats introduced a supplemental bill that would immediately unleash these $5 billion in federal funds to start helping Michigan workers, small businesses, families and schools most impacted by COVID-19 right away.
The GOP bills which passed Thursday only appropriate $3 billion of the $5 billion allocated to us from the federal government. This means that $2 billion is being left on the table and essentially sent to other states. This is Michigan taxpayer money potentially going to other states. I urge you to consider whether $5 billion or $3 billion is a better option for Michigan’s schools and small businesses.
The graphic below is a comparison of the Michigan Democrats COVID-19 proposed legislation versus the House GOP version passed Thursday:
In addition to what is shown above, the House Democrats’ proposed version included:
We need a plan that will get stimulus dollars into the hands of Michigan residents, a plan that provides relief for our families and schools–it is clear that the legislation that passed out of the House this week will not do that.
STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
Gov. Whitmer gave her annual State of the State address on Jan. 27 and left us with an encouraging message of unity, strength and compassion.
In her speech, the governor announced Michigan Back to Work: her plan to help us grow our economy and get Michiganders back on their feet. This plan includes several initiatives and projects that will be enacted within the next two years. These initiatives will vary from tech mobility and manufacturing growth, to clean energy and road construction.
It has been a long, incredibly difficult year for our families, our workers, and our small businesses. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel–and it starts with getting every single Michigander vaccinated. We need to get 70 percent of our population aged 16 and older vaccinated as soon as possible, and the governor announced their goal to get 50,000 shots in arms each day as soon as the state has the supply we need.
As our state works to rebuild what this pandemic has taken from us, I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides to pass policies that benefit every Michigander—I am ready to get to work putting the Governor’s plans into action. These plans include:
We have a long road ahead, but Michiganders are resilient. Let’s beat this virus, rebuild our economy, and take care of all fellow Michiganders leaving no one behind.
MDHHS Epidemic Orders
Good news! As of Feb. 1, indoor dining resumed across Michigan (meaning you can enjoy your favorite restaurant in person again), allowing restaurants to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. Outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules. Bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m. Additionally, contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.
The updated order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is scheduled to remain in place until Feb. 21, also allowing concessions at casinos, movie theatres and stadiums. Also, stadiums that seat more than 10,000 may allow up to 500 people, while those with under a capacity of 10,000 are limited to 20 percent capacity or 250 people.
As many of you have likely heard by now, MDHHS announced this week that contact sports will be allowed to resume, starting Feb. 8, with restrictions and guidelines in place.
Many students, parents, and coaches reached out to our office to express their thoughts on prohibiting contact sports, I greatly appreciate having heard from all of you on this issue.
For more information on the most recent orders, , you can visit here.
As many of you know, the COVID-19 vaccine is allocated to the states by the federal government. State and local health departments are tasked with distributing the vaccine. In Michigan, our local health departments remain responsible at this time for handling and scheduling getting shots in arms while MDHHS determines the quantities and the delivery schedules for all supplies. The best place to find information on the COVID-19 vaccine at this time is to check with our local health department. Our state was off to a rough start, but as a whole, Michigan recently passed over 1 million total vaccinations administered. This ranks seventh amongst all states.
The Wayne County Health Department COVID-19 webpage provides comprehensive details around vaccine information, registration and immunization sites. They have also created a Frequently Asked Questions Document and a Vaccine Info Packet which may be particularly helpful.
On Mon. Jan. 11, MDHHS moved into a new phase of vaccine distribution, as shown in the image below.
This week, Wayne County put out additional guidance for senior citizens indicating that seniors will get vaccine shots from their hospital systems. Your system may notify you directly on how to schedule your shot.
Hospital Systems in Wayne County
Seniors who do not belong to a hospital system can pre-schedule with Meijer. Only online appointments accepted. No “walk ups”. Register for Meijer here.
The graph below from MDHHS illustrates the preliminary COVID-19 vaccine eligibility timeline based on the number of vaccines currently received by the state from the federal government. To state it simply, there are not yet enough vaccines to meet the high demand from eligible groups.
Michigan COVID-19 vaccination timeline as of Jan. 15, 2021
I personally have not received my vaccination and will continue to exercise all social distancing Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations until guidance is updated. Please be patient. It will take time to get shots to all. While you wait, stay safe.
For statewide vaccine distribution information, visit the State of Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine website.
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has completed system updates for the recently extended federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs. All remaining Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claimants whose claims ended when CARES Act programs were interrupted in December can now either reopen, certify or apply for benefits available under the Continued Assistance Act (CAA).
If you find that you are in need of assistance with your unemployment claim, you can contact my office using this form.
UPCOMING TIME WITH REPRESENTATIVE RANJEEV PURI
As noted in my last newsletter, due to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, we will be meeting virtually for the time being. My office will be exploring options for future meet-ups and town halls, including outdoor, socially distanced options once weather permits in the Spring. Most importantly though, we will continue to follow all guidance from the CDC and MDHHS and will be excited to meet again in person when it is safe to do so. Please let us know what times work for you!
Virtual Coffee Hour, Mar. 1, 6-7 p.m.
Live Streamed via YouTube and social media
Any questions or comments during the coffee hour can be put in the chat feature and will be addressed during the live stream. If you would like to pre-submit any questions, please email RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
You may view my website for the most up-to-date events, and should continue to watch future E-newsletters and social media posts for information on the future of any coffee hour or in-district time we may have together.
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
February Coffee Hour
Thank you to everyone who joined my first coffee hour as your State Representative on Feb. 1. I was able to give a legislative update and answer questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, safety in our state capitol, and reopening our schools safely.
Couldn’t make it? You can find an archive of the video on social media, or by visiting here to view it on my YouTube page.
The Michigan Reconnect Grant Program went into effect this week. This bipartisan legislation signed by Gov. Whitmer in April provides funding for Michiganders to receive post-secondary degrees and certifications to gain employability in various job sectors. This will help our community and communities across Michigan. For more information about how to apply, see here.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
During this challenging time, it is more important than ever to stay in touch. I want to hear from you. What do you need? How can we help you? My office is here to assist you or answer any questions you may have. Please, reach out to me at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
Communications from my office will be available via bi-weekly email updates or social media. Otherwise, please feel free to reach out to our office directly and do not hesitate to reach out for assistance.
I hope that this information has been helpful and that we can be together again soon in person.