Spring is in the air — and the pleasant weather is welcomed news. I hope this e-newsletter finds all of you safe and well.
As always, our team is working hard every day to connect with constituents around the district and help answer questions. It is always nice to communicate with our residents to hear about what is happening in the community. If we can assist in any way, please do not hesitate to contact our office! My office is reachable by phone at (517) 373-2575, and by email at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
State Representative, 21st District
Proudly serving Belleville, Canton, and Van Buren Township
In this Edition:
- Legislative Update
- COVID-19 Update
- Unemployment Update
- District Spotlight
- What We’ve Been Up To
COVID-19 Supplemental Bills
This week, the House voted to pass COVID-19 supplemental appropriations that will provide funding for schools, COVID-19 vaccines and testing, , food assistance, emergency rental assistance and other needs. While these bills appropriate more money than the previous versions passed by the Senate, I voted NO on all three because they still fail to appropriate every dollar that has already been made available to us by the Federal government. Why would we leave over $2 billion on the table when we could vote to use it all?
Additionally, some of the funding in these bills is contingent on limiting the authority of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Money we have at our fingertips for our families, children and small businesses shouldn’t have strings attached. There is absolutely no reason to be leaving a single dollar on the table when our communities desperately need the funds.
One point is absolutely clear – we should never play politics with our children’s future and well being. I will always fight for our community and will work hard to bring every dollar home.
These bills are far from perfect, but in the end, I know that our residents, businesses and schools need relief now. I am eager to make progress on helping the state move forward. So while I am glad the legislature has made some progress with the passing of these bills to get money in the hands of Michiganders, my NO vote on these bills will serve as a reminder for every dollar that is being left on the table. I will not stop working to ensure all of our tax dollars make it home to our communities who need it so desperately.
MDHHS Epidemic Orders
On March 2, Director Hertel of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services signed two epidemic orders updating the current restrictions on gathering limits and nursing home visitation. These orders will take effect today, March 5th, and run until April 19th. Details for each order can be found below.
Gatherings and Face Mask Order
- Increases indoor residential gatherings to 15 persons, 3 households while outdoor residential gatherings can include up to 50 people
- Restaurants and bars are allowed to be at 50% capacity up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. There is now an 11 p.m. curfew.
- Indoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 25 people, allowing public meetings and other small indoor gatherings to resume.
- Outdoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 300, allowing larger outdoor events to resume.
- Indoor entertainment venues are allowed to be at 50% capacity, up to 300 people.
- Exercise facilities are allowed to be at 30% capacity with restrictions on distancing and mask requirements.
- Retail is allowed to be at 50% capacity.
For more information on this epidemic order, you can visit here for a full list of social gathering guidance updates.
- Allows for visitation at facilities regardless of county risk level
- Visitation may continue as long as the facility has not had a COVID case in the last 14 days (please note that this is a CMS requirement and a facility could be cited for non-compliance)
- Limited to two visitor per residents
- Rapid tests will be required for visitors 13 & over, subject to masking, and social distancing
- Opening up communal dining and group activities with appropriate precautions in place.
If you would like additional information, MDHHS has also provided Visitation Order Special Guidance and a Visitation Order Fact Sheet.
We are staying safe because of each and every one of you who continues to social distance and mask up–thank you for doing your part. Let’s continue to follow these safety precautions so our state can move forward!
It has been a BIG week for the vaccination process! On March 3, Governor Whitmer announced that starting March 8, those 50 and older with medical conditions or disabilities and caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs can receive the vaccine. Starting March 22, all residents 50 and older will be eligible.
At this time, the best place to find information on the COVID-19 vaccine at this time is still with our local health department. The Wayne County Health Department COVID-19 webpage provides comprehensive details around vaccine information, registration and immunization sites.
We know that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has been slow, but our state is making progress in getting shots in arms. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that 45% of people aged 65-74 have at least one dose, with 49% of those 75 or older have at least one dose. Only 13% of people 50 to 64 have received at least one dose.
As many of you have likely heard, The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recently approved, and just days ago President Biden announced they will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May. Just a few short weeks ago this timeline was the end of July. As weekly supplies to our state increase and we vaccinate more Michiganders, eligibility will also expand. Please be patient, it will take time to get these vaccines in arms.
This past week, Michigan received approximately 500,000 vaccinations, roughly 410,000 Pfizer and Moderna, and roughly 85,000 Johnson & Johnson. Our state is continuing to make tremendous strides in receiving and administering vaccinations. We are in continual conversations advocating for more doses to Western Wayne County.
As I have said before, 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.
- Please wear a face mask or double mask when necessary
- Practice safe distance.
- Avoid large crowds.
For statewide vaccine distribution information, visit the State of Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine website.
A new program through UIA has begun allowing eligible Michiganders who earned a combination of traditional and self-employment income to begin applying for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program.
MEUC provides an additional $100 per week in supplemental benefits (in addition to the $300 PUC payments) to individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits who received at least $5,000 of self-employment income in the most recent taxable year prior to the UI application. Individuals who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are ineligible for MEUC benefits.
If you find that you are in need of assistance with your unemployment claim, you can contact my office using this form.
March is Reading Month
To celebrate March is Reading Month, I am inviting all students in grades K-4 to participate in a Book Cover Drawing Contest!
Submissions can be made in person at:
- Belleville Area District Library
- Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea Canton
Please note you may also submit digitally via email, but if you’re comfortable dropping off in person, we would LOVE to have original copies to hang in our Lansing office! To submit digitally, email RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov including all details outlined in flyer below.
Nominate an Exceptional Educator
We all know that educators have been giving their all for our children and they deserve special recognition for the tremendous work they do to serve our communities and our state. If you know an Exceptional Educator that has truly gone above and beyond for their students, please help us recognize them!
Our office plans to present an official State of Michigan Tribute to these exceptional individuals for their dedication and work during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Today is the last day to nominate an educator. You can do so using this form.
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
March Coffee Hour
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our monthly coffee hour earlier this week. Virtual meet-ups provide flexibility and the opportunity to reach more people across different platforms, but I miss being able to see you all face to face and engage in discussion. As vaccines continue to ramp up, and the weather outside gets nicer, we will be exploring possible opportunities for socially distanced, masked in-person events in the coming months.
Couldn’t make it? You can watch the archive of the coffee hour here.
District 21 Student Advisory Group
For those who may have missed it, our office recently announced the creation of the District 21 Student Advisory Group (SAG). This group will provide a forum for high schoolers to meet with me and my team to hear updates on what is happening in Lansing, ask questions, and share their own thoughts, ideas, or concerns. SAG will allow students to network, learn more about state government and how it affects you, as well as provide opportunities to its members to engage in special projects.
Details are below:
To apply, fill out this form.
*Please note that all students will be required to submit a signed permission slip from a parent or legal guardian once accepted to participate.
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.
State Representative Ranjeev Puri