I hope this issue finds you and yours safe and well. The Legislature is back in full gear after summer district days and getting the budget done in late September. I am proud to have voted on a budget with unprecedented investments in children. In this issue, you will learn more about the budget, the latest happenings in the district and legislation I’m working on. As always, I’m just a phone call or email away. We are stronger together!
District 8 Community Conversations 2021
Historic Budget Enacted by House and Senate
The Michigan House of Representatives passed a budget last month, less than two weeks before the required Oct. 1 deadline. It includes historic investments in health care, child care and infrastructure. In keeping with my commitment to children, I fought for and secured $250,000 for the Detroit Children’s Center, $250,000 for Detroit Horse Power and $150,000 for Development Centers Inc.
The $70 billion budget also includes help for working families and vulnerable citizens. It includes an expanded $1.4 billion child care program, a permanent $2.35-an-hour raise for eligible direct care workers, $6.9 million to fund a $3-an-hour increase in adoption per diem rates, $6.7 million to assist in the treatment of adults suffering with sickle cell disease and $5 million for before- and after-school programs for K-9.
First Responders Mark 9/11
UIA Bill Puts PUA Waiver Into Law
Many people received letters saying they needed to pay back their federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Assistance (PUA) benefits. The good news is that the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) announced that it will waive repayment of PUA benefits after a change in federal guidelines for the program.
To put that waiver into law, I introduced House Bill 5316 that would require UIA to waive overpayments for PUA benefits unless the applicant committed fraud. When Congress passed the Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act in December of 2020, they changed eligibility requirements for PUA assistance retroactively back to the beginning of the pandemic.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the reality is that residents had no idea if they qualified for PUA. Residents applied to determine if they were eligible for this new program. Many residents qualified for PUA before the federal law changed in December and now no longer qualify.
The changes in federal law are now being implemented and unless we amend state law, many residents will have to pay back tens of thousands in benefits they had qualified for prior to Congress retroactively changing eligibility. Some constituents have reported receiving overpayment notices for over $40,000 in PUA benefits due to this retroactive change at the federal level. Very few families can afford to do this.
The only way these overpayments can be waived under current law is if the resident meets the hardship waiver. Many of these families do not qualify for the hardship waiver in state law as their income and assets in the six months prior to the pandemic were well above the 150% poverty guideline threshold.
The federal law does allow states to waive the overpayments. My bill is drafted to ensure overpayments are still pursued in cases where fraud was committed. The bill was referred to the House Oversight Committee, which I am a member of.
Champion for Children Honored
I was honored to present a Legislative Tribute to Peter Lisiecki for his more than 40 years of excellence in professional youth development. In 1991, Peter came to Brightmoor, serving at the Brightmoor Community Center as director of child and family services where he had a tremendous impact on those he worked with. Since 2014, Peter has worked full-time for Wellspring as its youth development specialist. Congratulations, Pete!
Bills Will Help Women in the Workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a substantial impact on our nation’s economy, and the workforce that supports it. Among the job losses over the past two years, women have been disproportionately impacted. Even though women make up less than half of the U.S. workforce, they accounted for the majority of the decrease in employment.
As we continue to recover from the ongoing effects of this public health crisis, I introduced a bill in a nine-bill package that aims to address the barriers that women in particular face when reentering the workforce, by requiring employers to provide paid parental leave to certain employees.
This bill package also seeks to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for tipped employees, provide paid medical leave to employees and partners and spouses who experience a miscarriage, require employers to disclose family leave policies to current and prospective employees, and require employers to provide paid break periods to employees based on a specified amount of hours worked. Bills in the package would also create the Reproductive Health Coverage Information Act that would require employers to inform prospective employees of reproductive health coverage information, amend Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit an employer from paying protected classes less for substantially similar work and provide paid leave for adoptive parents.
Join Team Young for a Legislative Walk
Team Young spent the summer in the community meeting our neighbors, letting them know how to contact us and find out what issues are important to them. We will be in the neighborhoods canvassing one last time before the snow begins to fall, and we need your help. Join us at the Motor City Java House, 17336 Lahser Road, at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct 28. We will train volunteers for the last legislative walk of the year.
Please make sure to dress comfortably for walking outside, including comfortable walking shoes. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP at email@example.com. Don’t miss this chance to connect with your neighbors, and by all means, bring a friend!
Out and About in the Community
One of the best parts of the job is connecting with residents in our community. I have participated in several community activities, including the grand opening of the Obama Building in Old Redford, treating seniors to a soul food lunch at their buildings in partnership with Sistas on a Roll Food Truck Catering, acknowledging new small businesses in the District, attending the prevailing of a new art installation in Eliza Howell Park and celebrating the good work of the CLASS Agency. It’s important that I not just represent in Lansing, but I represent at home as well. If you are having an event you’d like me to stop by or participate in, please contact my office!
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, 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.
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