In this newsletter, I’ll cover:
– Legislative Updates
– News and Resources
– Good News From the District
The House Passes 2021-2022 Fiscal Year Budget
I am pleased to share that the Michigan House of Representatives passed a budget that includes historic investments in health care, child care and infrastructure. It also provides $1 million to make repairs to Battle Creek City Hall’s facade.
The Battle Creek City Hall has needed improvements and repairs for years, but the city has been unable to make them due to limited funds available to the local government. I am proud that this year’s state budget has provided us with the funds we need to keep visitors safe and restore the city hall to its original glory. I would like to thank the House caucus leadership and budget chairman for their work on a budget that invests in the people of our great state. I look forward to continued discussion on how we can put the remaining federal relief funds to use so we can get Michigan’s economy back on track as quickly as possible.
High-Speed Internet Expansion Package Introduced
Alongside several of my House colleagues, I recently introduced a package that would expand high-speed internet access.
As a package, these bills would:
- Give $400 million to the Connecting Michigan Communities grant program to expand and improve high-speed internet services.
- Allow eligible individuals to receive financial assistance for their high-speed internet expenses.
- Create a $25 million grant program for schools to purchase mobile hotspots to lend to students.
- Require the state government to provide digital literacy and cyber safety curricula and resources on their website.
- Allow special assessment districts to be formed to provide high-speed internet.
- Create a state high-speed internet office.
- Appropriate $35 million for statewide high-speed internet mapping and community internet surveys.
News and Resources
Open Enrollment Starts in October
The opportunity to change Medicare Part D plans begins next month. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Financial assistance is available for low-income seniors to help them afford prescription drugs.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible families and households struggling to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying families on tribal lands can receive a discount of up to $75 per month for service. Eligible families, like those who qualify for SNAP or Medicaid, can also receive a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers. For more info, click here.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)
Having trouble paying or receiving rent? The state housing department has funds available to help tenants avoid eviction and help landlords recoup owed rent through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority administers CERA through its statewide network of local nonprofit agencies. We encourage everyone eligible to apply today and take advantage of a program that can help restore housing stability.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits Have Ended
Unemployment benefits were expanded as part of the federal legislation, the American Rescue Plan Act. This legislation gave unemployed individuals an extra $300 a month. It expanded the program to people who are self-employed or lost their jobs due to COVID-19. These programs have expired, there is currently no legislation to re-enact them and no new claims will be paid out. However, if you are due funds for the weeks you certified for before Sept. 4, you may still be due back pay. If you’re currently working with the Unemployment Insurance Agency, consider signing up for an in-person appointment in Kalamazoo or Lansing.
News From the District
New Facility Propels Western’s College of Aviation Into the Future
A new $20 million Aviation Education Center expanded educational opportunities and doubled the number of students the aviation program can accommodate. There was a dedication ceremony on Sept. 17 where several of my colleagues and I presented a tribute commemorating this fine addition to Battle Creek.
Help Support Expanded Broadband in Calhoun County
As you well know, access to high-speed internet in Calhoun County is a necessity that we need to thrive. Help support Calhoun County’s broadband expansion efforts by sharing the survey at MichiganMoonshot.org/Calhoun.
Reminders for Coffee Hours with Me
In-person coffee hours will be held regularly on the first Saturday of each month from 9-11 a.m. at Mr. Don’s and 1-2:30 p.m. at Stirling Books and Brew. Please come to discuss state legislation orissues you’re having with the state government.Or simply join me for some good conversation. I enjoy meeting and catching up with constituents.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out. You can email me at any time at JimHaadsma@house.mi.gov or call my office at (517) 373-0555.
House District 62