I am writing to you today to invite you to my upcoming coffee hour, Friday, Sept. 24, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. These events provide you with an excellent opportunity to receive updates on my work at the Capitol and discuss any other questions or concerns you might have.
This month’s in-person Coffee with Christine will be held at the Oshtemo Township Clerk Office located at 7275 W. Main St. in Kalamazoo.
This month, I will also host, “Mingle with Morse.” I hold this virtual happy hour once a month on Wednesday evenings for those who are unable to join my Friday coffee hours. This month, we will meet via Zoom and Facebook live on Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 6-7 p.m.
To sign up for this event, click here.
Honoring Our Heroes
The Michigan House of Representatives honored the memory of the nearly 3,000 individuals killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I was honored to have as my guest Sheriff Rick Fuller as we honored first responders across Michigan. The ceremony was especially poignant since we are mourning the recent loss of Kalamazoo County Deputy Ryan J. Proxmire, who was killed in the line of duty. The family of Deputy Proxmire graciously attended the Sept. 11 ceremony. The Kalamazoo County legislators, along with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, presented the Proxmire family with American and Michigan flags as a tribute to the sacrifice Deputy Proxmire made protecting our community.
Water Management Town Hall Highlights
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, I hosted a Water Management Town Hall at the Portage Senior Center. We were joined by a panel of experts from the Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Environmental Council, Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; the City of Kalamazoo and an attorney from Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes.
I was excited to share legislation I will be introducing to create a water management and infrastructure fund. This fund would support local governments looking to build or repair infrastructure to mitigate flooding, invest in clean drinking water and protect our natural resources. We also discussed current legislation I have co-sponsored that works to clean and protect Michigan’s drinking water and hold polluters accountable.
If you were unable to join us in-person or on Facebook Live, please view the recording to learn more about what the Legislature and our state and local departments are doing for our water and our community.
New Senior Home Visit
I had the privilege to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Vineyard Assisted Living’s new facility in Kalamazoo. It was great to meet with residents and dedicated staff of this exciting new addition to our community.
Capitol and Community Updates
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Help Remove Invasive Species and Restore Natural Areas at State Parks
Several state parks in southern Michigan have volunteer stewardship workdays coming up throughout the remainder of the month. Volunteers are needed to help remove invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in the parks.
Please note that registration is required for all volunteer workdays.
Workdays will take place:
More details about each workday and how to register can be found at the DNR volunteer events calendar.
Deadline for Mortgage Assistance Approaching Sept. 30
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michigan consumers with federally backed mortgages who are worried about falling behind on payments, that assistance is available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but they must act before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Under the CARES Act, borrowers with federally backed loans could ask for a pause to or reduction of their payments, also known as a forbearance, of up to 180 days, with an extension of 180 days if additional relief is needed. The Biden Administration has extended the forbearance enrollment window through Sept. 30.
Individuals with federally backed mortgages have until the deadline to request an initial forbearance. Individuals with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac do not currently have a deadline for requesting an initial forbearance.
The MiMortgage Relief Partnership is also available to assist impacted homeowners in Michigan until Dec. 31. Through this partnership, more than 230 of Michigan’s financial institutions have agreed to provide mortgage relief to borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Individuals unsure of who owns their mortgage can visit the Federal Housing Finance Agency website.
For more information on COVID-19 related mortgage relief, call DIFS, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (877) 999-6442.
Unemployment Insurance: Federal Unemployment Programs Ended Sept. 4
A number of federal unemployment programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) are ending on Sept. 4. Even if you have unused weeks remaining on a PUA or PEUC claim, weeks after Sept. 4 will not be paid.
These programs were set to end on March 14, 2021, but were extended to September 4 by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Weeks prior to Sept. 4 that are pending review, protest, non-monetary issues etc. can still be paid once those issues are resolved. These programs ending will not affect claimants on a regular state unemployment claim.
For more information on these federal unemployment programs, please visit Michigan.gov/uia.
Funding for Michigan’s Law Enforcement
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed the allotment of $75 million in federal funds to help train and support our police officers around the state. The plan includes:
We are dedicated to supporting our law enforcement officers in ensuring their safety as they work to protect our communities. Senate Democrats and Republicans are working together on a 13-bill package to keep our officers and community members safe. This legislative package includes:
Volunteer with Team Morse!
My staff and I are knocking on doors and making phone calls to check in on the House District 61 community and learn about our neighbors’ concerns and top priorities. If you are interested in volunteering with my office to help us connect with constituents, sign up here.
We’d love for you to join us!
State Representative, 61st House District