The weather is cooling down and fall is around the corner. While I’m sure I’ll miss the hot summer days, it is good to be back in Lansing serving our community.
Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives held our annual Sept. 11 ceremony to commemorate those Michigan first responders lost in the line of duty during the past year, to honor those lost in the 9/11 terror attacks and to recognize first responders serving in Michigan communities today.
Too often, we may forget that the freedoms and opportunities available to us are in large part thanks to the sacrifices our first responders make day in and day out.
As the legislative season continues, I look forward to hearing your priorities and to keeping you updated on the work being done in Lansing.
During this time, my staff and I will not be in our Lansing office regularly. We will be in the 52nd District working to assist you and to advocate for our community’s needs. To reach out, please email me at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov.
COVID-19 Michigan Statistics
At this time, Michigan ranks 6th in total COVID-19 tests administered, 19th in the nation for the number of positive COVID-19 cases, and has moved down to 9th in COVID-19 deaths. You can see our state’s COVID-19 statistics and data here.
State Total Confirmed Cases: 124,969
State Total Deaths: 6,932
State Total Tests: 3,491,937
Washtenaw County Total Confirmed Cases: 3,222
Washtenaw County Total Deaths: 115
Information is changing rapidly. We are working hard to share updates and information as quickly as possible on social media. Please take a moment to like and follow me on Facebook, as this is where information will first be shared.
Senate Bill 757 – Help for Our Local Clerks
This week, our state Senate passed Senate Bill 757, which will allow local clerks to start processing, not counting, absentee ballots.
Our local clerks have been stressing that they need to be able to prepare for the record 2.1 million requested absentee ballots early, so they can deliver accurate and timely election day results.
This is a small step forward and I am looking forward to voting on SB 757 in the House.
Futures for Frontliners
Last week, Governor Whitmer, in partnership with our state Legislature, announced the Futures for Frontliners.
It is a tuition-free community college opportunity for front line workers without college degrees. It will also offer essential workers who do not have a high school diploma access to tuition-free programs that prepare students to complete a high school degree or equivalent and to job training to fill jobs in demand.
About 625,000 essential workers will be eligible for this program.
These essential workers put their health and their lives on the line in hospitals, nursing homes, grocery stores, food processes, police and fire, and a myriad of other positions that enabled the rest of us to stay safe.
You can learn more here: https://www.michigan.gov/frontliners.
Reopening Gyms and Fitness Centers
Last week, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-176, allowing gyms and pools to reopen across the state.
I had the opportunity to tour Planet Rock, an indoor climbing facility in Scio Township. Many employees of Planet Rock and members of our community who have frequented the facility before this pandemic, have reached out to me about reopening.
I hear you and I am advocating for you. My staff and I are taking Planet Rock’s safety plan into discussions we have with the Governor’s team.
Virtual Town Halls
Out of an abundance of caution, all previously scheduled coffee hours and in-district meetings are cancelled.
2020 Census – The Time is Now
There are just 14 days to complete your 2020 Census, otherwise you will not be counted.
The 2020 Census has huge implications for our state. Federal funding for our roads, schools, hospitals, police departments, social services, number of Congressional seats, and state llLegislature redistricting are determined by the census.
If you haven’t completed the 2020 Census, you still have time to do so online, by phone or by mail, if you still have the mailed form.
Complete the Census Online, find out how here.
Complete the Census by Phone, find out how here.
Complete the Census by Mail, find out how here.
Suicide Prevention Week
Last week was Suicide Prevention Week. This pandemic ended semesters and extra-curricular activities early, which was certainly not easy on our children and students. They are juggling learning, maintaining friends, work, sports and trying their best to stay safe. As in-person and virtual learning continues, we cannot forget how important it is to recognize the signs of mental health struggles.
If your child is struggling or you think they may be having a difficult time, please talk to them and seek help. Here are some local resources that can help:
- Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (CMH): 24/7 phone line: (734) 544-3050
- Washtenaw Community College’s Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- U-M Center for the Child and Family: (734) 764-9466
- U-M Depression Center: (734) 936-4400
Eviction Diversion Program (EDP)
The Eviction Diversion Program (EDP) is designed to keep Michigan residents who fell behind on their rent during COVID-19 in their homes. The program utilizes a special court process to get fast rental assistance for renters who have been impacted.
Rental assistance in the amount of $50 million is available in the form of lump sum payments to landlords in exchange for allowing tenants to remain in their homes, forgiving late fees and up to 10% of the amount due.
If you need help affording rent, visit here.
Step Forward Program – Help Affording You Home
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s Step Forward Program provides assistance to Michigan homeowners struggling with their mortgage, condo association fees, and property taxes to retain ownership of their primary residence. Learn more here.
One of the ways that we can make sure we contain COVID-19 is by remaining vigilant and making sure that we get tested if we go indoors with groups of other people, especially as we start to reopen more of our state.
You can find a testing site here.
I Want to Hear from You
During this challenging time, I want to hear from you. What do you need? How can we help you? Please, reach out to me at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov.
Health Care Coverage
If you have lost your employer-provided health care due to layoffs, reduced hours, or a change in income during the COVID-19 crisis, please remember that you have up to 60 days to enroll in new coverage.
If you have questions, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services can help. Contact DIFS toll free at (877) 999-6442 if you need assistance.
Find if you are eligible for the special enrollment period here.
Apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace here.
Small Business Assistance
As businesses reopen, there are going to be questions about how they can acquire PPE to protect their employees and customers.
The MEDC’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program has created webpage specifically to connect businesses needing access to PPE – including face masks, face shields, gloves, goggles and other materials — with Michigan businesses that supply PPE.
The webpage can be accessed here.
The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) has released a comprehensive set of resources, guides and tips for small businesses preparing to reopen and operate safely as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This site also has a comprehensive list of sources for small businesses to obtain safety equipment and personal protection equipment. Visit the site here.
This is an extremely difficult time for those with mental health issues.
If you need someone to talk to, the state has launched a statewide, peer-run warmline for Michiganders living with persistent mental health conditions during this pandemic.
The warmline will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753).
Individuals in crisis, including those considering suicide, are urged to contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 at (800) 985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at (800) 273-8255.
If you have yet to apply, please click here to watch informational videos on how to apply or access your federal benefits application.
Click here for the MiWAM toolkit to help you navigate the MiWAM website and properly set up your account.
If you have questions as you apply, or are unsure of what you will need to apply here for the UIA’s Unemployment Benefits FAQ.
For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits, visit Michigan.gov/UIA or call (866) 500-0017.
Faith in Action is still proudly serving the families of Western Washtenaw County. If you need food assistance, or you know someone who might need help, Faith in Action is still operating and delivering food.
They can be contacted by calling (734) 475-3305.
Their hours of operation are:
M/W: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tu/Th: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Governor Whitmer acted to protect workers from retaliation by their employers, if they stay home because one of their close contacts has tested positive for COVID-19: Click here for post and further information.
The Attorney General’s office has created a website to help you “know your rights” as an employee if you are still required to work during this time. Click here
You can receive continual updates from the MI Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) by clicking here.
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State Representative Donna Lasinski