Welcome to my e-newsletter! I’m honored and humbled to serve as our community’s voice at the Capitol in Lansing. 2020 was a year unlike any other; as we continue into the new year and new term, rest assured the challenges families in our community and state are facing are at the top of my legislative priorities.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0152 or email at AmosONeal@house.mi.gov if we can help.
State Representative, 95th House District
In this issue:
- Community Conversation on Health Equity – with special guests pic
- Unemployment Work Search Requirements pic
- ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ Plan pic
- COVID Federal Relief Supplemental Update
- Budget Bills
Upcoming Community Conversation
Please join in on our community conversation on May 20, starting at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live. I will give a brief legislative update, and then we will have a conversation about ways we can remove barriers to better health. We will have a presentation from special guests with the Great Lakes Bay Health Centers, including Omar Jones, Antione Martin, and Angelia Williams.
We hope to save some time for Q&A, so come with questions for our guests. You can join us on Facebook Live by clicking here or searching @StateRepAmosONeal.
I hope to see you there!
Unemployment Work Search Requirement
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.
The state Legislature expanded what qualifies as work search activity through legislation last year. Work search activities include applying for jobs online, participating in virtual job fairs or employment workshops, or searching job listings at sites like Monster.com, Linked In or MITalent.org.
‘MI Vacc to Normal’ Plan
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has recently announced that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy.
The vaccination-based benchmarks laid out in the plan are as follows:
55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks
- Allows in-person work for all sectors of business.
60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks
- Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%.
- Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25%.
- Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%.
- Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.
65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks
- Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties.
- Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.
70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks
- Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order
COVID Federal Relief Supplemental Update
This week the House passed House Bill 4419 and 4421 that would provide an additional $4.8 Billion for our schools. Democrats fought to gain more support for childcare needs by offering amendments to HB 4419 for additional funding. Unfortunately, those did not pass, but HB 4421 did have one Democratic amendment approved.
This would create a tiered approach, having school districts offer in person instruction at least 25 hours a school week, retroactive April 12 to June 4, 2021 to receive 100% of available funds, or $1,093 per pupil. This is an amazing improvement from the previous $450 per pupil allotment.
However, we still cannot ignore the fact that schools will still need this necessary funding if our COVID numbers increase and schools cannot meet the 25 hour a week requirement. We cannot continue to deprive our students with the resources they need now more than ever.
This week the House also passed budget bills that will be now sent to the Senate. Many of these Departments saw less funding available due to a Republican quarterly budget approach. Democrats offered many amendments to try and restore the full funding immediately. My amendment specifically would have increased the minimum foundational allowance by $510 per student. This is not a matter of politics, but one of safety and providing for hardworking Michiganders as we work to navigate this persistent public health crisis.