April was a busy month! I appreciate you taking the time to read this month’s e-newsletter and hope you find the recap informative. Keeping residents informed and engaged is at the core of my service as a State Representative. Communication is a two-way street, so please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have concerns, questions or bill suggestions. We are in this together!
APRIL 2021 Highlights
District 8 ‘Community Conversations’ 2021
Hosting my bi-monthly Community Conversations is a highlight of my work as your state representative. I love engaging residents, business owners and other stakeholders from the District – sharing resources and hearing your voices on the steps state government should take to improve our overall quality of life. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I was pleased to host two great conversations on banking, financial education and empowerment and payday loans during Financial Literacy Month.
In May, our conversations will focus on second chances. The Legislature passed a package of bills that will help thousands of Michiganders get a fresh start. It expands Michigan’s expungement law and allows more Michiganders to remove misdemeanors, non-assaultive felonies and certain marijuana offenses from their records. The law went into effect on April 11, and we will have presenters share with us how the law works and how residents can take advantage and get a clean slate.
Please save the dates for the upcoming virtual Clean Slate Community Conversations:
Join me on Zoom
Mon, May 10 10 – 11 a.m.
Fri, May 28 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Corrections FOIA Bill Gets Hearing
I testified before the House Oversight Committee in support of my bill, House Bill 4617, which would allow an incarcerated person access to their own personal information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Michigan is only one of about nine states that does not allow incarcerated people access to FOIA. I was joined by Darrell Siggers, who was recently exonerated after serving 34 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. If he’d had access to FOIA while incarcerated, he could have obtained information that ultimately helped clear his name himself – likely shaving years, possibly decades, off the time he served.
I am working on possible changes stakeholders and advocacy groups may have before the bill moves on. I expect the committee to vote on the bill soon, and it will then go to the House floor for a vote by the entire House.
Large Turnout to Oppose Voter Suppression
A large crowd gathered on the Capitol steps to stand up for voter rights in light of a 39-bill package sponsored solely by Senate Republicans to suppress the vote. The rally was hosted by the Detroit branch of the NAACP, and it included Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
The bills are making their way through the Senate Elections Committee.
Here’s an example of what’s so alarming:
- Require those requesting an absentee ballot to present identification to their local clerk or attach a copy of their ID to their application. This makes it harder for people with mobility and transportation challenges to request an absentee ballot.
- Prohibit voters from using a drop box after 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. This reduces voter access.
- Prohibit clerks from providing prepaid postage for absentee ballot return envelopes and prohibit the Secretary of State from providing funding for prepaid postage. Adds unnecessary burdens on voters.
- Reduce early on-site voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday before any election. Clerks would need to post where and when early voting sites would be open. This limits access to early voting.
Please check out this link for additional information on this package.
‘Fab 5’ Celebrates First 100 Days
It’s hard to believe I reached my first 100 days in the Michigan House of Representatives. To mark the occasion, my colleague state Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D4) asked me and the other Detroit Freshmen, Reps. Helena Scott (D7), Mary Cavanagh (D10), Shri Thanedar (D3), to be his special guests at a community event. We did a live broadcast and shared what we have been working on since arriving at the Capitol and our priorities moving forward.
We also announced a new COVID Relief bill package we introduced to address the concerns and pleas for assistance from residents and small businesses. The package includes a frontline worker tax credit, small business PPE tax credit, a work-share program and unemployment insurance assistance. My bill places a moratorium on storage unit auctions. As residents struggle to navigate this crisis, they should not have the added fear of their personal belongings being auctioned off because they had to choose between their mortgage or rent and their monthly storage bill. Caring for the overall welfare of Michiganders is at the heart of who we are and what we do!
Serving the People
In early April, the Legislature took a two-week pause on voting for an in-district work period. I used the opportunity to do community service and reconnect with the people who sent me to the Legislature to represent them.
At the invitation of Michigan Legislative Black Caucus Chair, Sen. Marshall Bullock,
I joined several of my colleagues for a “Love Only-Day of Service” at the TV Lounge next to Cass Tech High School on Grand River. It was a blessing rolling my sleeves up and preparing food for those in need.
Educator Honored and Recognized
I had the wonderful opportunity to surprise ChaVonne McGowan, owner and director of Seeds of Knowledge Creative Learning Center, with a legislative tribute for her dedication to educating our babies.
ChaVonne not only cares about her students excelling academically, but she also cares about their physical and mental health as well. Her students participate in a weekly yoga program, and they love it! Her former student, District 8 resident, Harrison Shelby, told me Ms. McGwan is an inspirational and fantastic teacher. I was grateful he was able to join me for the surprise visit and presentation.
Centenarian Honored with Special Party
I had the distinct pleasure and honor to meet a centenarian at the age of 105! Not many people get that great honor. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Councilmember James Tate, Police Commissioners Darryl Brown, Annie Mae Holt and I were all happy to do just that.
Luneata Hite celebrated 105 years in grand fashion with a neighborhood parade led by the Detroit Fire Department and supported by several Detroit Police Department vehicles. It was an honor that I will not soon forget.
Featured in the Michigan Municipal League Review
I am honored to be recognized by the Michigan Municipal League in their official magazine, the Review. I was featured with my colleagues in the freshman class who have municipal experience.
I am also a member of the newly formed Municipal Caucus that plans to work on issues facing Michigan’s cities. My experience from working in four mayoral administrations will be put to good use.
Tax Filing Deadline Extended
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, State of Michigan individual income tax annual returns are now due on May 17, 2021.
The new filing deadline comes after the Internal Revenue Service extended its deadline to the same date. For the benefit and convenience of taxpayers, both the beginning and end of income tax filing season are the same as the IRS. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request an extension to Oct. 15, 2021. Taxpayers requesting additional time to file should estimate their tax liability and pay any taxes owed by May 17, 2021, to avoid other interest and penalties.
We all know there are individuals and organizations that deserve special recognition for the tremendous work they do to serve the people of our communities and our state. If you know of an individual or organization that has truly gone above and beyond for their neighbors, you may fill out the form on this page to request an official state tribute so that we may all show our full appreciation for their efforts. You can do that at the link below:
If you should have any comments or questions, please feel free to call me at (517) 373-3815 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEPHANIE A. YOUNG