It looks like it will be a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is a great day to enjoy time with friends and family, but the holiday has a deeper meaning. It is a time to commemorate those who lost their lives while serving in the American armed forces. I hope that everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend while honoring those lost.
As the state prepares to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on July 1, our team is working to plan in-person coffee hours and meet-ups starting in July! We are excited to be with you all again in person soon.
If we can assist in any way, please do not hesitate to contact our office! My office is reachable by phone at (517) 373-2575 and by email at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
State Representative, 21st District
Proudly serving Belleville, Canton and Van Buren Township
In this Edition:
UPCOMING TIME WITH RANJEEV
Virtual Coffee Hour
Monday, June 14, 12-1 p.m.
Live Streamed via YouTube and social media. You can visit our social media accounts and watch recordings of previous coffee hours. Please submit any questions by contacting our office.
As mentioned above, we are hoping to start monthly in-person coffee hours starting in July! We will have more info on this in the June e-newsletter. Stay tuned!
May Coffee Hour
Couldn’t make it? You can watch the archive of the coffee hour here.
Fixing Auto No-Fault Fee Schedule
On May 27, House Democrats held a press conference to call for a fix to the auto insurance fee schedule for health care providers set to take effect July 1, which could lead to people losing care they need.
July 1 is only five weeks away. Up to 6,000 Michiganders are at risk of losing coverage, and letters are already going out, notifying them that they need to find alternative care. When the original acts around auto no-fault reform passed in the previous legislative term, the fee schedule inadvertently rewarded folks charging high rates by cutting these rates by 55 percent. But if you were setting a reasonable rate, to begin with, you took that same cut. And these providers acting in good faith can now no longer provide care under the schedule that’s coming July 1.
Bipartisan legislation was introduced that would allow brain injury clinics to be paid the average amount received by a clinic in January 2019 for certain services (HB 4486), and another bill would do the same for rehabilitation clinics (SB 314).
As a reminder, the Legislature overhauled the state’s auto no-fault law in 2019 quite literally in the middle of the night, holding Legislators until 3 a.m. to make changes to the law while the residents of Michigan were home sleeping. There are many issues with the new law passed, and we have a lot of work to do in the Legislature to fix them. Addressing the fee schedule is a top priority.
Recent updates on Michigan’s revenues for the 2020-2021 fiscal year have put it upwards of $12 billion, much higher than expected. Some of this revenue comes from federal stimulus spending due to the American Rescue Plan earmarked for things such as K-12 public schools. Nevertheless, this news means that Michigan is in a good position to invest in our future like never before on the things that matter: our schools, good jobs, clean water, and finally, fix our crumbling infrastructure.
The fiscal year 2021-2022 budget negotiations are ongoing. As this continues, I am committed to support appropriation bills that address the issues that have been proliferated due to COVID-19 and maintain the best interests of Michigan’s families. Now is not the time for petty partisan games and inaction with the budget.
Surplus Money for Public Education Investment
On May 27, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her funding priorities for K-12 education as the state readies for major investments in our schools and teachers. Due to the American Rescue Plan and the recently announced state revenue increases mentioned above, a surplus in funding now exists to make unprecedented investments in our schools, with enough funding to eliminate the funding gap that has existed between schools for many years.
The framework announced today by Gov. Whitmer puts hundreds of millions of dollars toward student academic recovery and mental health, with funding to attract and retain talented teachers, school psychologists, counselors, social workers and nurses. It also delivers on a decades-old goal of equitable funding so that every district receives the same per-pupil amount to ensure equality regardless of what school a student happens to attend.
The plan utilizes the surplus to propose over $1.7 billion in one-time funding. It allocates over $900 million for ongoing investments, representing Michigan’s most significant investment in public education to date.
This plan is great news for Michigan’s children — for decades now, Michigan has not ensured equitable and adequate school funding, placing our students at a competitive disadvantage. I hope to see this plan incorporated in the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget bills being worked on in the Legislature. Investing in public education and our children is long overdue.
For more info, you can click here.
“MI Vacc to Normal”
As of May 27, Michigan has administered 8,197,340 vaccines. Currently, 58.1% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with 41.06% of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated*, moving the state closer to its goal of equitably vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible.
As you likely recall, last month, Governor Whitmer announced the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan. The plan uses four vaccination-based milestones – using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose – to guide future steps required to get back to normal. As Michiganders have stepped up to get vaccinated and the CDC released new guidance on masks, the administration went “vacc to the drawing board” to adapt the MI Vacc to Normal challenge to keep up.
On May 20, the Governor announced that all outdoor limits will end June 1 and that all indoor venues will move to 50 percent capacity on that same date. Virtually all limits are set to end July 1.
At this time, vaccines are available for those over the age of 12. Getting our children vaccinated is an essential step in reaching Michigan’s 70 percent goal, safely re-opening our schools and getting our kids back into the classroom.
We all need to do our part to get things back to normal — get vaccinated and encourage your friends and family to do the same! To find a COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
For statewide vaccine distribution information, visit the State of Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine website.
MIOSHA: Masks at Work
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration updated its emergency and permanent workplace rules governing employer and employee requirements for in-person work following the announcement from the Governor and the MDHHS last week.
These changes are as follows:
Congratulations, Class of 2021!
I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to all of our young people who have completed such an accomplishment! This year has been so difficult, and the perseverance of this graduating class inspires us all. I know this was not the senior year you all had envisioned, but I know that our future is in good hands with such an engaged, passionate and resilient group of graduates like you.
21st House District Commencement ceremonies:
New Federal Programs to Expand Internet Access for Michiganders
We know that many families here in Michigan still do not have access to reliable, high-speed internet. This makes learning and working in the 21st century increasingly difficult. As we have all had to rely on virtual tools to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to bridge the digital divide and equip Michiganders with the tools they need to succeed. These exciting federal programs will be instrumental in expanding access to crucial broadband services.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
This is a program that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month off a qualifying household’s internet bill (and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands). In addition, some internet service providers are also providing discounts on the purchase of internet-capable devices, like laptop computers.
More than 1 million Americans enrolled in this program during its first week. Some of the most common ways that families qualify are:
Visit here to learn more and enroll; call 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week; or sign up directly with your internet service provider.
Broadband Infrastructure Grants Available through NTIA
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released the rules for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant program created under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This program will provide a total of $288 million in grants to public-private partnerships established to expand broadband service.
Emergency Connectivity Fund Grants Soon to Be Available through FCC
The Federal Communications Commission has released a Report and Order providing details about the Emergency Connectivity Fund created under the American Rescue Plan. The plan will provide $7.1 billion in grants to support schools and libraries in providing connectivity to students, school staff and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and high-speed internet service sufficient for remote learning.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
During this challenging time, it is more important than ever to stay in touch. I want to hear from you. What do you need? How can we help you? My office is here to assist you or answer any questions you may have. Please, reach out to me at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov.
Communications from my office will be available via biweekly email updates or social media. My office would like to flag that for July and August, our e-news updates will be monthly instead of biweekly while we observe an in-district working period. However, my office will always be open. You can feel free to reach out to our office directly, and do not hesitate to reach out for assistance.
I hope that this information has been helpful and that we can be together again soon in person.