Welcome to our October e-newsletter!
Included in this edition are some important legislative updates, unemployment assistance updates and other resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1792 or email at FeliciaBrabec@house.mi.gov for questions about these or any other state-level issues.
State Representative, 55th House District
Upcoming Coffee Hour
Please join me for our Coffee Hour! This is an opportunity to chat, ask me questions and share how I can best represent you in Lansing. I will be hosting my Coffee Hour virtually this Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10-11 a.m. It will be streamed via Zoom and on my Facebook page. We hope to see you there!
Voting NO on Voter Suppression Bills
The Legislature recently voted on Senate Bills 303 and 304, and House Bill 5007. I voted NO because these bills would create barriers to voting under the guise of election reform. Michigan already has a voter ID law that works. Under current law, every Michigan voter must present picture identification at the polls or sign an affidavit attesting to their identity. This legislation eliminates the option for voters to sign the affidavit, instead casting a ballot that cannot be counted unless they return to their clerk’s office with their ID. We know these changes will disproportionately impact those going through financial hardship, senior citizens and people of color, who are both less likely to have a driver’s license or other forms of government identification. Michiganders deserve better.
Introduction of I.D. to Parolees Legislation
This month, I joined Reps. Abraham Aiyash, Tommy Brann and Doug Wozniack in introducing legislation that would help formerly incarcerated Michiganders reintegrate into their communities by providing them with a driver’s license or state ID upon their parole. This bill will ensure prisoners have access to state identification when they are released from incarceration by requiring the Secretary of State to issue an official state personal identification card to the prisoner when eligible. It will be delivered to the Michigan Department of Corrections if the prisoner has not yet been released or to the address listed on the identification card if the prisoner is already released on parole.
Successful reentry into society would also reduce taxpayer burden and help prevent homelessness among formerly incarcerated people, who are ten times more likely to be homeless. State IDs are necessary for individuals on parole to survive. This bill helps those who are previously incarcerated find housing and employment, open bank accounts, and access public benefits that are crucial to reentering into society. I am looking forward to continuing to advocate for this legislation!
Upcoming Mental Health Listing Tour Dates
I also want to remind you all that we are still making stops throughout the next few months for our Mental Health Listening Tour! We want to hear from interested community members on their thoughts surrounding our community mental health system. We’ve already gotten some great feedback from our first few stops. Throughout the next month, we will continue to learn more about the current state of our mental health system in Michigan, existing barriers and ideas for improvement. Check out my website to stay up to date with the date, time and location of the tours.
Bills to Repeal Michigan’s ‘Tampon Tax’
I was very excited to vote in favor of legislation that would exempt feminine hygiene products from Michigan’s sales and use tax. Currently, tampons, sanitary napkins and similar feminine hygiene products are subject to Michigan’s 6% sales and use tax despite these products being essential. There is no reason someone should pay extra for medical necessities because they menstruate. Eliminating the sales and use tax on these essential products is a big step toward ensuring people can afford them and ending period poverty. I am hopeful these bills will pass both chambers and be enacted into law.
Washtenaw County Free Mask Program
MORE MASKS HAVE ARRIVED! We know that KN95 masks offer increased protection against the spread of COVID-19 (including the delta variant). The overall goal is to increase access and make sure every person living or working in Washtenaw County can receive a free mask.
KN95 masks are being provided to community partner organizations, small businesses and mutual aid groups, and individuals for distribution to community members. If you or your organization would like to request masks, please complete this questionnaire. A confirmation email will be sent within 24-hours.
Washtenaw County Health Department to Offer Drive-Through Vaccine Clinics in October
Expanded October drive-through clinics continue at 555 Towner St. in Ypsilanti.
For Pfizer booster shots, please bring your vaccination card and identification, if possible. The National Guard will assist with these vaccination clinics as they did with prior mass vaccination clinics. Everyone is still required to wait 15 minutes after vaccination.
October Drive-Through Clinic Days and Times:
The Health Department also continues to offer a regular walk-in vaccine clinic and pop-up clinics. See website for details.
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can ever be of any assistance.
Felicia A. Brabec
House District 55