Welcome to my Capitol & Community Update e-newsletter! As our regular session schedule starts back up, I am excited to take the input that I have received this summer from knocking doors, hosting events, such as Monday’s Small Business Roundtable, and other regular constituent outreach efforts and apply it to our legislative efforts and votes in Lansing. I am also happy to continue providing these email updates with the latest information, resources and opportunities relevant to our community members.
Please encourage neighbors and friends in House District 41 to also signup to receive these updates at kuppa.housedems.com and let us know if you have any feedback on the newsletter or concerns about any state-level issues.
As always, you can reach my office at (517) 373-1783 or by email at PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov. Be sure to also check out the latest on my social media platforms — @PadmaKuppaMI41 (Twitter) and @MIRepPadmaKuppa (Facebook)!
House District 41
We have a few more opportunities scheduled! I welcome you to join me to knock on doors in the district. We’ll speak with neighbors to learn about the issues that matter to them so we can update our legislative agenda in Lansing. New volunteers are welcome; email us if you want to get training!
When: Saturdays (10/30 and 11/6) at 10:30 a.m.
How: Register at https://tinyurl.com/KuppaWalks
Facebook Live Coffee Hour
Please join me on Facebook Live for a virtual office hour where I will be giving a legislative update and taking your questions about the issues facing our state and our community.
When: Friday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.
Where: My Facebook page (@MIRepPadmaKuppa)
In-Person Coffee Hour
Please join me for an in-person coffee hour where I will be giving a legislative update and taking your questions about the issues facing our state and our community.
When: Friday, Dec. 3 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Where: Downtown Charlie’s (236 S. Main St. in Clawson)
Budget Wins for Troy & Clawson
Gov. Whitmer recently signed into law a budget that I voted in favor of. It makes pivotal investments in our cities, our schools and our state. Key funding areas include child care, education, infrastructure and business development, all to strengthen the economy.
This budget also includes:
I was proud to see funding in the budget for some of the projects that I have championed since taking office in 2019 based on direct input from constituents. Read my full statement here.
Justice for Allie
The first bill I introduced in both of my terms so far, Justice for Allie, has received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee! View my testimony and the entire hearing here. This legislation, inspired by a courageous family of constituents, would close a loophole in the law to protect vulnerable adults from being sexually exploited online. This session, Justice for Allie is a bipartisan duo of bills, HB 4159 and HB 4160, with the latter bill being sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley. The bills were previously PASSED unanimously by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee, and now we are awaiting a vote before the Judiciary Committee. Thank you to everyone who has continued to support these bills on their legislative journey!
My bill, HB 4802, was recently PASSED by the Michigan House of Representatives! You can see my floor speech here. The bill is part of a bipartisan legislative bill package (HB 4801-4805) to expand electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in Michigan. After working with industry leaders, the administration and a bipartisan group of legislators, I am hopeful that these bills will be passed by the Senate soon and on their way to the governor’s desk. I am proud to support efforts to ensure that Michigan remains a leader in the automotive industry!
Eliminating the Tampon Tax
Another of our legislative efforts has paid off! I am thrilled to share that I, along with my Democratic legislative colleagues and many student and stakeholder advocates, have championed bipartisan legislation that was recently PASSED by the Senate. Now, the house only needs to pass SB 153. You can watch my floor speech here. In February, I introduced HB 4271 as part of a bicameral legislative bill package that would exempt necessary menstrual hygiene products such as pads and tampons from Michigan’s sales and use tax. I am proud to see that Michigan is that much closer to eliminating this unjust tax and finally addressing the issue of “period poverty” in a meaningful way.
This legislative term, I sponsored HB 4835, which is part of the bicameral Drive SAFE legislative bill package to expand access to driver’s licenses and/or state ID cards for certain Michigan residents, including seniors who may have lost records, those undergoing the immigration process and children of veterans who were born overseas. Without automotive independence or the ability to identify themselves when prompted, many Michiganders find it difficult or even impossible to do basic things like grocery shop, go to work or the doctor, or get their kids to school. With support from law enforcement, faith leaders, and the agriculture and business sectors, we have widespread agreement that it’s time we become the 17th state to adopt this legislation and stop holding Michigan’s residents and economy back! The House bills were recently scheduled for a committee hearing, but it was cancelled at the last minute by the speaker. Help us advocate for the bills to get a hearing by sharing your stories and support with the speaker’s office!
House Dems Pass FY 22 Budget
I was proud to work with my House colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a budget that will make transformational investments in Michigan’s future.
My House Democratic colleagues and I fought to ensure this budget works for Michigan families across our state, and I am so proud to deliver critical funding for a number of my key priorities:
This budget is a far cry from the budget originally proposed by the Legislature last spring, which included a 75% funding cut for most departments. House Democrats fought hard to negotiate a real budget that is good for working families, students, seniors, and everyone else in the district and the state.
In the wake of the worst crisis we’ve seen in our lifetime, it’s more important than ever that we invest in our communities and ensure everyone in our state has the support they need to not only recover but thrive.
I look forward to continuing negotiations around the remaining federal dollars available to Michigan and bringing even more funding home to our community.
Currently, all Michiganders who are at least 12 years of age are eligible to receive the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are eligible can visit Oakland County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hub, Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine or the CDC’s Vaccine Finder to find local health departments and vaccine clinics that are ready to book appointments.
The FDA has granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. For information regarding the third “booster” dose of the vaccine, visit the CDC’s guide on booster shots.
If you know a vaccine-eligible individual who doesn’t have access to the internet or needs help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance. If you need additional help navigating the vaccine scheduling process, call the COVID-19 hotline at (888) 535-6136 (press 1).
Oakland County continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan, so we all must remain vigilant and do our part to limit the spread of this virus. This includes getting vaccinated if you are able, continuing to wear masks when appropriate, physically distancing and frequently washing your hands.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) is a federally funded program available through MI State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to help Michigan tenants facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent. The program can provide rental and utility assistance for eligible renter households so that they retain their housing stability.
The CERA program is an important resource for those who have experienced financial hardships due to the pandemic and provides peace of mind to renters by ensuring they will be able to stay in their homes.
MSHDA is currently administering the CERA Program through its statewide network of local nonprofit housing resource agencies. MSHDA estimates that 50,000 to 55,000 families will be able to receive financial assistance through CERA. For more info on who is eligible, check out the FAQ page here.
HOW TO APPLY? MSHDA has an online application portal for application intake. This is the best way to apply for those that have a smartphone, tablet or computer.Tenants and landlords can also apply through their local service agency. Please see the CERA Contact List for the service agency in our county.
New Federal Programs to Expand Internet Access
We know that many families here in Michigan still do not have access to reliable, high-speed internet. This makes learning and working in the 21st century increasingly difficult. As we have all had to rely on virtual tools to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to bridge the digital divide and equip Michiganders with the tools they need to succeed. These exciting federal programs will be instrumental in expanding access to crucial broadband services.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
This is a program that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month off a qualifying household’s internet bill (and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands). In addition, some internet service providers are also providing discounts on the purchase of internet-capable devices, like laptop computers.
More than one million Americans enrolled in this program during its first week. Some of the most common ways that families qualify are:
Visit www.GetEmergencyBroadband.org to learn more and enroll, call (833) 511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week, or sign up directly with your internet service provider.
Additional Tax Credit for Michigan Families
Raising kids can be expensive, and the Child Tax Credit is here to help. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit to support families with children. The full benefit of the Child Tax Credit is now $300 per month per child under age 6 and $250 for each child ages 6 to 17.
If you filed your 2020 taxes this year, your 2019 taxes last year or used the IRS “Non-Filer Portal” to get a stimulus check last year, you don’t need to do anything. The IRS will automatically send you a monthly payment by direct deposit or check.
If you didn’t file taxes in the last 2 years, you just need to fill out a simple form available at www.childtaxcredit.gov.
Clean Energy Projects Financing
Home and Commercial Energy Financing
Make your house a comfortable, energy-modern home through Michigan Saves financing. Getting started is simple! Tap into cleaner power for your household today. You can also minimize your commercial property or building’s expenses with affordable financing for clean energy improvements to keep more money for the things that matter most.
Find your Michigan Saves contractor to get an estimate on qualifying energy improvements. Find Your Contractor.
Apply for financing online anytime and have your authorized contractor’s six digit ID number handy. Apply for Financing.
You can also apply by calling (877) 867-8522 during designated phone hours:
Monday-Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.