We hope everyone has been enjoying the beautiful weather so far this summer! All the sunshine has made it possible for my team to get out into the district and meet so many of you at the doors and at our first in-person coffee hour!
The Legislature is currently in the middle of our in-district working period. Although there is not much happening in Lansing for the next few weeks, our team is still working hard. If we can ever 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
- Legislative Update
- COVID-19 Update
- Unemployment Update
- What We’ve Been up To
UPCOMING TIME WITH RANJEEV
Unity in the Community: A Youth-Led Mental Health Awareness Event
Sunday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Heritage Park Amphitheater
Our Student Advisory Group (SAG) is working hard to plan a youth community event. The event is FREE and open to youth aged 12-18. The event is centered around strengthening unity among youth with a focus on mental health awareness and activities, such as instructor-led yoga and working with a graphic artist on a mural that will be displayed somewhere in the community after the event.
Our office and our SAG have partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan to make it a successful event. You can pre-register here.
In-Person Coffee Hour
Monday, Aug. 23, from noon – 1 p.m.
Belleville Library, 167 Fourth St., Belleville, MI 48111
Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget
On Thursday, June 30, the Michigan Legislature adjourned for our summer in-district work period. It is possible that we are brought back to Lansing for a day in August, but at this time, we are not scheduled to resume normal session days until September.
Before we adjourned on June 30, the Michigan Legislature passed a School Aid budget that makes a historic investment in our K-12 schools. The budget bill totaled $17.1 billion for education, including $4.4 billion in aid to the state’s K-12 schools from the federal government ($3.35 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act and $840.1 million from the CARES Act II, the latter of which had not been appropriated in an earlier supplemental).
On July 7, Gov. Whitmer signed this budget bill into law.
When we return to Lansing sometime in the coming months, ongoing negotiations are yet to be resolved, including the rest of the state’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget for departments, agencies, community colleges and public universities. It is my hope that we will continue to work across the aisle to pass a budget that reflects our priorities and meets the moment here in Michigan — our children, working families, small businesses and economy deserve nothing less.
Repeal of Governor Emergency Powers – Unlock Michigan
This past week, the Michigan House was called back to Lansing for a special session day. One of the bills that was passed removed the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. This law was used by Gov. Whitmer from May through early October 2020 to keep the state under an emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic. It allowed her to suspend laws and issue various orders related to the virus and associated restrictions.
Unlock Michigan worked on a petition initiative and collected all the signatures they needed to be on the 2022 ballot, but instead of sending it to the ballot for every citizen to vote on next year, the Republicans pulled it up early for a vote. The bill passed largely along party lines from the House floor — I voted NO. The Senate had already approved the measure, and under the Michigan Constitution, the new law could not be vetoed by the governor.
While Unlock Michigan collected enough valid signatures to put this initiative on the ballot, Michiganders had the opportunity to make their voices heard on this initiative at the polls taken from them by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The past year and a half have been difficult, to say the least, on our families, workers, schools, small businesses — the list goes on. Gov. Whitmer acted within her ability to guide our state through a global pandemic, without any help from the Republican-controlled Legislature — not because they weren’t invited to the table, but because they refused to help. It is unfortunate that the laws that allowed the governor to guide our state have mostly now been stripped for future use.
As of last Friday, Michigan reported more than 9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered, with 62.9% of residents 16 and older having received at least one dose while 57.7% of residents 16 and older are considered fully vaccinated.
We have rounded a major corner in this pandemic, but it is so important that we continue to remain vigilant. The highly contagious delta variant now accounts for more than 51% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to new estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is the vaccines being used in the U.S. all appear to be highly effective at protecting against serious disease, hospitalization and death. For those who have not yet been vaccinated, it is highly encouraged you do so.
Let’s continue to build back what this pandemic took from us, together!
MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes
A few weeks ago, Gov. Whitmer announced the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes, a lottery-style raffle that gives vaccinated Michiganders a chance to win more than $5 million in cash and college scholarships.
Michiganders can qualify to enter the sweepstakes by getting vaccinated for COVID-19 at Meijer or receiving their shot from their doctor, local health department, pharmacy, hospital, etc. The sweepstakes began on July 1, and ends on Aug. 3.
The sweepstakes are powered by Meijer in partnership with the Michigan Association of United Ways and state of Michigan — it is sponsored by different organizations across Michigan.
UIA Repayment Notice
The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is in the process of reviewing a waiver procedure to ensure that Michiganders who followed the rules are not required to repay benefits after the federal government clarified changes to its eligibility guidelines for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), requiring the UIA to issue letters to residents for recertification of benefits. To ensure that Michiganders could continue to qualify for the assistance that they need, the state of Michigan was required by the federal government to send letters requesting residents recertify their claims based on discontinued and new eligibility reasons. This was an important effort to keep our state in compliance with federal guidelines and also protect taxpayers against fraud.
If you find that you are in need of assistance with your unemployment claim, you can contact my office using this form.
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
This past week, my team got out in the community and knocked on almost 500 doors to talk to constituents about what I am working on in Lansing and listen to any concerns they may have. We want to give a special shout out to the interns in our Lansing office, and a few students from our Student Advisory Group, for braving the heatwave to join us to make this happen.
We look forward to meeting you at the door sometime this summer!
I joined thousands of community members and the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs locally to celebrate this morning. The rich diversity and vibrant culture of HD21 makes it an honor to serve everyday! I wish everyone a blessed and peaceful year.
July Coffee Hour
Our office just held our first in person coffee hour of the year! We covered a range of topics including state budget updates, infrastructure issues, COVID and vaccines, and much more. Hearing from our neighbors is one of the best parts of the job!
Our coffee hour took place right next door to the summer concert series in Canton. Afterward, we got an opportunity to listen to some music and run into some friends!
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 bi-weekly email updates or social media. With that said my office is always open — do not hesitate to reach out should you ever find yourself needing assistance.