Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are some important legislative and COVID-19 updates, along with a few resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1788 or email at KyraBolden@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 35th House District
Following the passage of the Clean Slate Initiative in 2020, I am pleased to announce that residents of the 35th House District will be able to pre-register for an expungement fair taking place in November. Please keep an eye out starting Oct. 4 for a link for possible pre-registration if you believe you may be eligible for expungement of a felony/misdemeanor adult conviction or misdemeanor marijuana conviction.
To be eligible for pre-registration, individuals must reside within the 35th House District (Southfield, Lathrup Village, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms or Franklin) while having a conviction in either the 6th Circuit Court or 46th District Court, or both.
Pre-registration for this event does not determine that an individual will be eligible for an expungement under state law; however, pre-registration will determine if an individual is ineligible for expungement based on residency, conviction(s) in courts other than the 46th District and 6th Circuit, among other factors. If selected, an individual will have the opportunity to consult with an attorney who can assist with completing the Application to Set Aside Convictions form and confirming eligibility. Individuals selected to participate in this event will also have the opportunity to have their application notarized (if applicable), get fingerprinted (if applicable) and review a roadmap for next steps. Individuals selected to participate in this event who attend will not leave the event with the conviction expunged from their record.
Pre-registration will be open from Oct. 4-11 on the Michigan Attorney General’s website. There will be limited spots available and walk-ins will not be assisted for this event.
All pertinent information, such as date, time, location and further steps will be provided to applicants selected in pre-registration.
Please save the date for our next Coffee Hour with special guest, state Sen. Jeremy Moss on Monday, Oct. 18, at 5:30 p.m. Further details to follow!
FY 2022 Appropriations
On Sept. 22, the House approved critical funding for the fiscal year 2022 state budget that will support local infrastructure, public safety, community health, and parks and recreation projects. I am pleased to announce that I was able to secure $200,000 for infrastructure grants for the City of Lathrup Village and $200,000 for sewer repairs in the Village of Franklin.
House Bill 4856 Testimony
On Sept. 21, I gave testimony before the House Committee on Judiciary on HB 4856, which would allow the identity of a survivor of sexual misconduct who files a civil action to remain anonymous, no matter the verdict. This bipartisan legislation contributes to common-sense policy changes that ensure survivors in our state are protected and are able to have their unique and individual needs met.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
COVID-19 Vaccine Help
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet and they’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance.
State Resources Available to Help Jobless Find Work
There are numerous free resources and programs available to support individuals in taking the next steps in their careers. Whether they want to conduct a job search, explore new career pathways or discover educational or training programs, there are many opportunities they can pursue.
UIA Virtual Appointments Offer More Accessibility for Michiganders
Closed Caption Option Available for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Customers
The Unemployment Insurance Agency has added a virtual appointment option for customers needing assistance with their claims, including a dedicated link for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing utilizing voice-to-text closed captioning.
In addition to phone and in-person appointments, customers can now also schedule virtual appointments. Virtual appointments provide personal contact with a customer service agent with the convenience of a remote connection.
The 20-minute virtual appointments can be scheduled online up to one week in advance at Michigan.gov/uia. Click on “Schedule an Appointment.” The UIA expects to schedule up to 340 virtual appointments per day.
Once the virtual appointment is scheduled, customers will receive an email with a link to join the appointment via Google Meet at the appointed day and time. Customers will need to have a Gmail account to join from a mobile device. They do not need to have a Gmail account to join from a computer.
Hours of operation for virtual appointments are:
In addition to scheduling a virtual appointment, Customers may contact UIA by:
Customers in need of other special accommodations to participate in a virtual meeting should request the accommodation when initially scheduling their appointment.
So far, the Agency has held more than 12,000 virtual appointments, including 212 which utilized the closed captioning feature.
Federal Unemployment Programs Ended Sept. 4
A number of federal unemployment programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) ended, effective Sept. 4. Even if you have unused weeks remaining on a PUA or PEUC claim, weeks after Sept. 4 will not be paid.
Weeks prior to Sept. 4 that are pending review, protest, non-monetary issues etc. can still be paid once those issues are resolved. The ending of these programs will not affect claimants on a regular state unemployment claim.
For more information on these federal unemployment programs, please visit Michigan.gov/uia.
Eligible Unemployment Claimants Granted Overpayment Waivers
The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has begun to notify claimants who are no longer eligible to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits that overpayments will be waived.
In June, claimants were asked to requalify for PUA by providing the agency with the necessary information to remain eligible for the federal program. Four PUA COVID-19 eligibility reasons that were included at the beginning of the pandemic no longer qualify. Under federal law, UIA had to re-evaluate PUA eligibility for individuals who selected one of the non-qualifying reasons.
Of the roughly 690,000 claimants that were asked to requalify, about 241,000 responded to the UIA’s request. Waivers will be granted to the initial group of approximately 350,000 non-responses, many of whom may no longer be collecting benefits.
Claimants will be notified through their MiWAM account or via U.S. mail.
Rental Assistance is Available to Help Renters and Landlords
If you’re a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities or other housing costs, or if you’re a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation, help may be available. State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic.
Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Rental Assistance Finder to find out what this means for you and what you can do. The CFPB’s site also includes resources to help renters and landlords understand other resources to help navigate various financial hardships related to the pandemic.
National Hunger Action Month
September is National Hunger Action Month. While hunger impacts every community, the past year caused even more families to struggle to put food on their tables. If you know someone struggling with hunger, we have a great homegrown program in Michigan called Double Up Food Bucks. Double Up helps families in need bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables. And by promoting farmers markets and locally grown produce, Double Up is also a win for Michigan farmers. Double Up is in more than 250 farmers markets and grocery stores across our state. Learn how it works and find a participating location near you at DoubleUpFoodBucks.org/action.