It is an honor to continue to serve as your representative during such a pivotal moment in history. I am eager to continue to work to enact policies that will help us defeat COVID-19, rebuild our economy and deliver the necessary support for our public schools to provide a world-class education to every child.
If you need additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my staff. You can visit my website at stone.housedems.com for many more resources and recent efforts in Lansing. Also, on this website, you can locate current events with Zoom links to participate virtually and in person. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1772 or email at LoriStone@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 28th House District
In this issue:
- Upcoming Community Conversations
- American Rescue Plan
- Treasury Updates
- Unemployment Updates
- Education Workforce Virtual Job Fairs
- Gatherings and Face Mask Order
- Current Sponsored Bills
- Warren Consolidated Schools Middle School Visual and Performing Arts Program (MSVPA)
- Detroit Arsenal Electrical Substation Groundbreaking Ceremony
Upcoming Community Conversations
As your state legislator, I cherish your input and ideas on how to make our community and our state better. That’s why I am looking forward to my community conversations coming up. Feel free to share these links with anyone in the 28th District that may be interested in attending.
- Saturday, May 22 at 11 a.m. You can join Zoom by clicking – here
- Saturday, June 24 at 11 a.m. You can join Zoom by clicking – here
You can also find more information and a link to join on my Facebook Page.
American Rescue Plan
The American Rescue Plan is a historic achievement on par with President Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Johnson’s Great Society regarding how many Americans it will immediately and directly benefit. This bill will send us $5.6 billion to help us build our economy back better from the pandemic and boost our rollout of the three safe, effective vaccines. I’d like to share some updates for the American Rescue Plan:
- Treasury launched a new website; please check it regularly for updates
- Treasury’s Small Business Programs page
- Restaurant Relief Fund
- Shuttered Venue Operator Grants
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, taxpayers who filed their individual income tax returns and collected unemployment benefits in 2020 should consider filing an amended return if they haven’t yet received their entitled tax relief.
The federal American Rescue Plan Act excludes unemployment benefits up to $10,200 from income for tax year 2020 for those within certain income brackets, ensuring both federal and state income taxes are equitably distributed. Taxpayers who may have anticipated owing taxes may now be entitled to a refund or a lesser payment.
Some E-Filer Providers Will Not Charge a Fee for Amended Returns.
Resources to Help Certify Unemployment Claims
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has developed new resources to help Michigan workers certify their unemployment claims. I have included the resources to assist you in certification if needed.
- Steps to Reopening Your Claim
- Online video tutorial on certifying claims
- Infographic on the certifying process
Work Search Requirement Returning
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. To learn more: Work Search Requirement.
Education Workforce Virtual Job Fairs
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce additional dates for its 2021 Education Workforce Virtual Job Fairs, presented in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).
The 2021 virtual job fairs are open to employers of educators and educational support staff, as well as all individuals seeking to work in the education field. Increasing the number of certified teachers in areas of shortage is one of Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan goals. Dates in June and August have been added to the schedule.
The education workforce virtual job fairs will take place on the following dates: June 16-17 and August 4-5. Registration for the June fairs is now open. To register and find more information, job seekers and employers can visit: http://bit.ly/MIEDUCATION_JOBFAIRS.
Emergency Broadband Benefit program
Michiganders who meet income eligibility requirements or have been financially impacted by COVID-19 will be able to receive financial help to pay for home broadband connections and internet-enabled devices as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rolls out the Emergency Broadband Benefit program recently approved by Congress.
According to the FCC, a household is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program if a member of the household meets one of these criteria:
- Has an income at or below 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines or participates in assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program or did so in the 2019-2020 school year.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
There are three ways to apply for the benefit:
- Contact your participating broadband provider directly to learn about the application process.
- Go to www.GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and find participating.
- Call (833) 511-0311 for a mail-in application and return it along with proof of eligibility to:
Emergency Broadband Support Center P.O. Box 7081 London, KY 40742
More information regarding the broadband benefit program and eligibility is available through the Universal Service Administrative Company and the FCC. The FCC also has list of Michigan providers participating in the EBB Program.
Gatherings and Face Mask Order
This order expires on May 31. I continue to encourage individuals in the 28th District and around the state to get vaccinated with any of the three safe and effective vaccines, which are widely available throughout the state. MDHHS continues to urge Michiganders to follow CDC guidance. The highlights of the order include:
- Masks no longer required outdoors unless the gathering has more than 100 people
- Those that are fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms are not required to wear a mask at residential gathering, including indoors
- Routine COVID-19 testing no longer required for fully vaccinated participants in organized sports as long as they are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Masks continue to be required for contact sports but no longer required for active practice or competition for non-contact sports
- Large outdoor events (festivals, fairs, golf tournaments) will be able to exceed the 1,000-person limit, as long as they have a safety plan and do not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet
- Outdoor stadiums that have enhanced protocols in place will continue to be able to hold 20 percent of their fixed seating capacity
- All other stadiums will be able to increase capacity – for venues with fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or greater will be able to now hold 1,000 patrons (was previously 750) and for venues with fixed seating exceeding 10,000 – they will be able to hold up to 1,500 patrons.
Outdoor residential gatherings are allowed up to 50 people or where density does not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet up to 300 persons
Current Sponsored Bills
I introduced a new bill in the Michigan Legislature designed to make public restrooms more accessible, hygienic and dignified for members of the disabled community. Known as Liam’s Law, House Bill 4720, the bill addresses the lack of public restroom accessibility for the disabled community. This proposed law will modernize restroom accommodations for individuals with disabilities by requiring the installation of at least one universally accessible height adjustable adult-sized changing table in venues. HB 4720 is named Liam’s Law after the son of activist Jessica Gomez. Liam’s Law will create a more modern standard handicap-accessible restrooms in Michigan, promoting inclusion, access and equity for all individuals.
House Democrats introduced a second round of legislation as a continuation of the caucus’ Hardworking Michiganders Recovery Plan, a plan that, among other things, would extend benefits from 20 to 26 weeks. This package is not a cure-all, but between the legislation introduced, we have a solid foundation for rebuilding an unemployment structure that truly helps families get back on their feet. There are many issues left to address, but this would be a great jumping-off point. The new round of legislation consists of nine bills that I am co-sponsoring, including one bill that I introduced and testified in the Workforce, Trades, and Talent Committee, House Bill 4434, which requires the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) to utilize plain and simple language in communicating with claimants. HB 4434 would require the UIA to use plain language that is clear, concise and avoids complex vocabulary.
Warren Consolidated Schools Middle School
Visual and Performing Arts Program (MSVPA)
I am pleased to congratulate Warren Consolidated Schools Middle School Visual and Performing Arts Program (MSVPA) for being awarded $4,000 from the Anton Art Center through the MCAA for an education program with Eisenhower Dance. This funding will support an in-school residency with the Eisenhower Dance this school year. The 8th-grade dance class will work with the company and have the opportunity to create their own choreography. The 7th-grade dance students benefit from masterclasses.
Detroit Arsenal Electrical Substation
I, along with and Michigan state Sen. Paul Wojno, presented a special tribute to Maj. Gen. Darren Werner for the electrical substation, located in Warren, MI.
Maj. Gen. Darren Werner is commander of the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and senior commander of Detroit Arsenal, along with Detroit Arsenal Garrison Manager Carrie Mead (far right), in turning a ceremonial shovel-full of dirt during an electrical substation groundbreaking ceremony held on Detroit Arsenal May 10.