Saturday marks the first day of Spring! I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and longer days. As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility is expanding and the supply of doses is increasing, be sure to “Save Your Spot” through the Oakland County Vaccine Hub to set up a vaccination appointment.
In the legislative world, my office has a number of exciting updates to share. This week marked the third year in a row that my World Water Day resolution was adopted by the Michigan House of Representatives. I’m also happy to report that on Tuesday, March 16, I gave testimony on my first bill — known as Justice for Allie — before the Families, Children and Seniors Committee. Additionally, I introduced House Bill 4507 last week to remove unnecessary hurdles to receiving unemployment benefits.
Don’t forget to tune into our next Virtual Coffee Hour on Friday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m. via Facebook Live! If you missed the last Coffee Hour, you can view it on my Facebook page.
As always, you can reach my office by voicemail at (517) 373-1783 or by email at PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov for any thoughts or questions about state-level issues. Be sure to also check out the latest on my website at kuppa.housedems.com and on my social media platforms — @PadmaKuppaMI41 (Twitter) and @MIRepPadmaKuppa (Facebook)!
House District 41
Expanding Unemployment Insurance
Last week, I introduced House Bill 4507, which is part of a larger bill package focused on expanding unemployment insurance benefits and removing unnecessary hurdles, particularly those established in 2013 that are now crippling Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). This bill would strike the provision regarding absences without notice of an employee who involuntarily leaves employment. HB 4507 has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations.
Justice for Allie
My first bill, Justice for Allie, had a committee hearing on Tuesday, March 16. This legislation, inspired by a courageous constituent, would close a loophole in the law and protect vulnerable adults from being sexually exploited online. Justice for Allie was also my first bill introduced last term. This session, Justice for Allie is a 2-bill package: HB 4159 and HB 4160. The latter bill was introduced by Rep. Calley — and underscores our goal of bipartisanship. Thank you to everyone who delivered powerful, expert testimony in support of these bills at the Families, Children and Seniors Committee hearing — as well as the over 180 of you who submitted cards of support! We are awaiting the next steps, and if/when the committee will vote to move it forward.
World Water Day
This week, I introduced a resolution to declare March 22, 2021, as Michigan Water Day and World Water Day in the state of Michigan. Since 1993, the United Nations has designated March 22 as World Water Day. The theme of World Water Day in 2021 is “valuing water” – as water is widely recognized for being economically, culturally, and environmentally valuable. Especially now, water is also valued for its hygienic properties. Recognizing the need to protect the waters of the Great Lakes State and ensuring equal access to clean, safe water will help promote the overall wellbeing of our state and its residents. HR 57 was adopted by the Michigan House of Representatives on March 18.
Beginning March 22, everyone over 50 and any residents 16 years or older with disabilities or medical conditions that put them at higher risk of serious cases of COVID-19 will be eligible to receive the vaccine. On April 5, all Michiganders over 16 will be eligible. Those who are eligible can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine to find local health departments and other local vaccine clinics near them that are ready to book appointments. Currently, Oakland County has started a “Save Your Spot” sign-up for the vaccine. Follow these steps to reserve your spot.
Signing up to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine when it is your turn will help Oakland County gauge interest for the vaccine and distribute doses as efficiently as possible.
Vaccination locations and appointments can also be found on VaccineFinder, through the CDC. Enter your zip code into VaccineFinder and it will show you the closest vaccination locations near you. It will also tell you if the location has vaccines in stock and direct you to their website to schedule an appointment.
Recognizing HD 41 Alumni
Congratulations to our House District 41 Oscar nominees! Dan Scanlon, who was born and raised in Clawson, is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for directing and writing the film Onward. Steven Yeun, who grew up in Troy and attended Troy High School, is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film Minari. He is the first Asian-American to be nominated for the award. Best of luck to our talented HD 41 alumni!
Virtual Coffee Hours
Mark your calendars! Every other Friday at 6 p.m., be sure to grab a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice, jump on my Facebook page (@mireppadmakuppa) and come chat with me from the comfort and safety of your own home! Join me for a virtual office hour where I will be providing updates and answering your questions about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other issues facing our community. I hope to see you there!
When: Friday, March 26, beginning at 6 p.m.
How: Visit my Facebook page (@mireppadmakuppa)
When: Friday, April 9, beginning at 6 p.m.
How: Visit my Facebook page (@mireppadmakuppa)
APIA VOTE-MI Panel Discussion
A community space to reflect on the recent uprising of Anti-Asian racism and to discuss the Asian American experience.
When: Monday, March 22, beginning at 6 p.m.
How: Register at http://bit.ly/AAPITALK
Women’s History Month: HERStory in the Making
All are welcome to attend this free event from the American Business Women’s Foundation to celebrate Women’s History Month and honor women in our communities who have been a first or a changemaker!
When: Saturday, March 27, beginning at 2 p.m.
How: Register here
VNP Redistricting Town Hall
Save the date for my upcoming town hall on our state’s ongoing redistricting process, presented by Voters Not Politicians (VNP)! A non-partisan organization, VNP will present information about the Redistricting Commission and how constituents can use mapping tools to describe and map their communities of interest.
When: Friday, April 30, beginning at 4 p.m.
Michigan WorkShare Program
Michigan’s Work Share program allows employers to restart their business and bring employees back from unemployment. Employers can bring employees back with reduced hours – while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Click here for additional information.
Michigan Reconnect Program
The Michigan Reconnect program ensures that Michiganders who are 25 or older and do not have a college degree will have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate at their in-district community college. Click here for additional information.
Clear to Go! Health Screening Software
Oakland County is providing free user-friendly screening software to local restaurants and public schools in the county to help enhance safety protocols and streamline the process of screening and tracking for COVID-19. The contract runs through June. Click here for additional information.
MI Classroom Heroes COVID-19 Grants
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks announced the expansion of the MI Classroom Heroes COVID-19 Grants to include a new grant program for Great Start Readiness Program (GRSP), Head Start, adult education and young adult (ages 18-26) special education teachers. For more information about MI Classroom Heroes COVID-19 Grants, go to www.Michigan.gov/MIClassroomHeroes.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) Program
Throughout March, renters and landlords are able to apply for the new COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program by contacting their local housing providers. Renters in the eviction process will be prioritized because of the approaching moratorium expiration. Learn more at: michigan.gov/CERA.