Welcome to my Capitol & Community Update e-newsletter! In addition to my other regular constituent outreach efforts, such as my bi-weekly Facebook Live coffee hours and weekend legislative walks in the district, I am happy to continue providing these email updates with the latest information, resources and opportunities relevant to our community members.
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
Join me to knock doors in the community! We’ll be talking with neighbors about the issues that matter to them, so voices from Troy and Clawson are heard in Lansing. We will meet outside the main entrance of the Troy Community Center for a quick training and to distribute materials at the start of each shift. New volunteers are welcome!
When: Every Saturday @ 10:30 a.m. and Sunday @ 2 p.m.
How: Register at https://tinyurl.com/KuppaWalks.
Virtual Coffee Hours
Mark your calendars! Every other Friday at 6 p.m., be sure to jump on my Facebook page (@mireppadmakuppa) and join me for a virtual coffee hour where I provide updates and answer your questions about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other issues facing our community. You don’t have to have a Facebook account to attend or watch and the video will be available for you to share with friends after the event. I hope to see you there!
When: Friday, May 21 @ 6 p.m.
How: Visit my Facebook page (@mireppadmakuppa).
When: Friday, June 4 @ 6 p.m.
How: Visit my Facebook page (@mireppadmakuppa).
Last week, the bicameral Drive SAFE legislative bill package was re-introduced with myself, Rep. Rachel Hood and Sens. Winnie Brinks and Stephanie Chang. The package would allow Michigan residents to obtain a driver’s license and/or state identification card regardless of their immigration status. Due to our state’s current laws, legal immigrants are often unable to obtain driver’s licenses or state identification cards, making it difficult or even impossible to do basic things like grocery shopping, going to work or getting their kids to school. With support from faith leaders, law enforcement and the agriculture sector, we have widespread agreement that it’s time we enact this legislation that has been adopted by 16 other states and stop holding Michigan’s residents and economy back. The House bills, HB 4835 (Kuppa) and HB 4836 (Hood), have been referred to the Committee on Rules and Competitiveness. To support these bills, you can join our ongoing Week of Action!
I recently re-introduced my bill in the bipartisan legislative bill package to expand electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in Michigan. The five-bill package would allow EV charging stations to also be installed in Michigan rest areas off of state and U.S. highways, and create the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Registration Act, to protect consumers and regulate the installation of these EV charging stations. My bill in the package this term is HB 4802. The entire bill package, HBs 4801-4805, was referred to the Committee on Energy for further consideration.
Justice for Allie
Last month my first bill, Justice for Allie, was voted out of the Families, Children and Seniors Committee and referred to the Judiciary Committee. This legislation, inspired by a courageous family of constituents, would close a loophole in the law to 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. Julie Calley (R-Portland) — and underscores our goal of bipartisanship. We are awaiting the next steps for the bill in the Judiciary Committee. Please help us advocate on behalf of this bill, feel free to share your support with the members of the Judiciary Committee.
MI Vacc To Normal Challenge
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has recently announced that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy.
The vaccination-based benchmarks laid out in the plan are as follows:
55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks — This requirement has been achieved. In-person work expected to resume on May 24.
60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks
65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks
70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Currently, all Michiganders who are at least 12 years of age are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are eligible can visit Oakland County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hub, Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine, or the CDC’s VaccineFinder to find local health departments and vaccine clinics that are ready to book appointments.
If you know a vaccine-eligible individual who doesn’t have access to the internet, or they need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance. If you need additional help navigating the vaccine scheduling process, call the COVID-19 hotline at (888) 535-6136 (press 1).Oakland County continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan, so we all must remain vigilant and do our part to limit the spread of this virus. This includes getting vaccinated if you are able and continuing to wear masks, physically distance and frequently washing our hands.
Unemployment Work Search Requirements
Unemployment insurance claimants are traditionally required to actively seek work and report their activities to the agency during certification for any week they receive benefits. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this requirement has been waived since March 2020. This requirement will be returning for claimants at the end of May.
The state Legislature expanded what qualifies as work search activity through legislation last year. Work search activities include applying for jobs online, participating in virtual job fairs or employment workshops or searching job listings at sites like Monster.com, LinkedIn or MITalent.org.
For more information on work search, please view this helpful fact sheet.
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.
Anyone struggling with their energy bills can apply for the Home and Heating Credit through the Michigan Department of Treasury. All applications must be received before September 30, 2021. You can file for the credit online here.
Family Support Program (not government run)
Families looking for assistance paying for childcare or summer care for children 0-14 can apply for scholarships through the Family Support Program.
State Emergency Relief assists with home repairs to correct unsafe conditions and restore essential services. Eligible home repairs may include repair or replacement of a non-functioning furnace, hot water heaters or septic systems.