I hope that everyone had a very relaxing holiday break! Our office is happy to be back in Lansing and starting the second year of my first term.
Due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, my team has decided that we will be holding virtual coffee hours for the time being. We have included the dates below for two of our upcoming meet-ups and will continue to decide things on a case by case basis. As always, if our office can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out.
State Representative, 21st District
Proudly serving Belleville, Canton and Van Buren Township
In this Edition:
UPCOMING TIME WITH RANJEEV
Due to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, we will be meeting virtually for the time being.
During the virtual meet-up, you will be able to ask questions in the chat on any of the available platforms. We typically hold Q&A at the end of our virtual coffee hours. A huge benefit to virtual coffee hours is that if you are unable to join us, you can watch the archived video later at your convenience.
Virtual Coffee Hour
Monday, Jan. 24, noon-1 p.m.
Livestreamed via YouTube and social media
Virtual Coffee Hour
Monday, Feb. 28, 6-7 p.m.
Livestreamed via YouTube and social media
We will evaluate future coffee hours on a case by case basis after this, taking into consideration COVID-19 numbers and feedback from all of you.
School Safety Task Force
In recent weeks, I was appointed by the Speaker’s Office to serve on a newly created School Safety Task Force. The bipartisan task force in the Michigan House will study safety in schools and policy solutions we hope will help prevent further violence in the wake of the Nov. 30 Oxford High School shooting.
In addition to my role on this task force, I also remain a member of the Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Caucus where we are continuing to work on and introduce dozens of bills focused on things such as safe storage, red flag laws, universal background checks and much more.
As your state representative and as a father, I will use every opportunity I have to talk about the gun violence epidemic — to fight for policies that could save our kids.
As you likely know, historically the political party in power in Lansing would draw district maps. However, in the 2018 election, a ballot initiative to create the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission (MICRC), which is made up of equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and independents, passed with two-thirds of Michigan voters voting YES.
After months of public hearings, map drawing and discussion, the MICRC adopted new maps that will govern Michigan’s 13 congressional districts, 38 state Senate seats and 110 state House seats for the next decade.
For summaries of the new maps, see below.
Michigan House of Representatives
At this time, the newly drawn maps split up what is currently House District 21, the district I serve in as your state representative. As you know, HD 21 currently comprises part of Canton, Van Buren Township and the city of Belleville.
See the maps below for a better idea of what this looks like.
Michigan State Senate
As some of you may know, Canton and Van Buren/Belleville are not included in the same Michigan Senate District under current maps. The new maps make adjustments to these district lines and still keep them separate.
At this time, the newly drawn congressional map for this area draws Canton in with Van Buren Township — under current maps they are not in the same district. The new maps designate this as MI-6, which comprises Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Canton, Novi and Downriver.
It is important to note that even these new maps, which are much more “fair” and a better representation of the population and representation in Michigan, are still drawing concern from many and are facing legal challenges. Legal challenges could force the commission to make changes. If no legal challenges are successful, these maps will stand and be reviewed again in 10 years by the commission.
For more information, you can visit the MICRC’s website here.
Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association Refunds
As some may recall, in November, Gov. Whitmer called upon auto insurance companies to issue refunds for insured drivers due to a surplus of money in the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association’s fund. The MCCA unanimously approved refunds a few days later.
Funds will be transferred by MCCA to insurers by March 9. Companies are then directed to issue the refunds via check or ACH deposit to consumers no later than May 9. The refunds will be issued to policyholders for every vehicle that was insured as of 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2021, under a policy that meets the minimum insurance requirements for operating a vehicle on Michigan roads.
A consumer FAQ page can be found here.
When refunds like this come, it is important to be cautious of potential fraud or scams. Officials say if you are contacted by anyone claiming to be an MCCA representative, your auto insurance company or another official, you should end the communication and contact your insurer directly.
Consumers who have questions or concerns that cannot be resolved directly with their insurer should contact DIFS by calling 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (833) 275-3437 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you find that you are in need of assistance with your unemployment claim, you can contact my office using this form.
State Resources for Job Search
There are numerous free resources and programs available to support individuals in taking the next steps in their job search. Whether they want to look for a job, explore new career pathways or discover educational or training programs, there are many opportunities they can pursue.
Michigan has reported more than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Jan. 6, with 69% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 63.1% of 16+ residents are considered fully vaccinated. Across Michigan’s entire population, 64.3% have received at least one COVID vaccine dose.
We are in the midst of a massive COVID-19 surge, and health experts have indicated that cases and hospitalizations likely won’t even peak until late January or early February. At this time, the omicron variant accounts for around 90% of infections in some regions.
While health restrictions are not being put in place by the state, medical experts are strongly urging people to get vaccinated, get a booster shot if eligible, wear a well-fitting mask in public and avoid large gatherings.
Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department and Health and Human Services, indicated that people should upgrade to an N95 mask or wear two masks that fit well. Those who are sick but not in need of emergency medical care should avoid the emergency room and instead go to an urgent care or their physician, and get tested at home or at a test site.
Now that we are in the winter months, with respiratory viruses more likely to spread and everyone returning from holiday season travel and gatherings, boosting our overall protection against COVID-19 is so important.
Hospitals are at capacity. There are not enough beds, and our medical professionals are stretched thin. It has been a long two years, but we are not out of the pandemic yet. I know that we all have “COVID-19 fatigue.” We are tired of this pandemic. But, we need to continue to work together to make it out on the other side.
To find and/or schedule a vaccine or a booster near you, visit here.
Free COVID-19 At-Home Tests – Available Now!
In recent weeks, the Biden administration announced that they will be providing at home COVID-19 tests free of charge to every residence.
Every household is eligible to order four free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to be delivered by the Postal Service, which will begin shipping tests in late January. The administration says that its four-test limit was imposed “to promote broad access” to the program. It has also launched other efforts, including a requirement for private insurers to cover the cost of over-the-counter at-home tests, to help expand the distribution of needed tests.
To order your tests, visit here.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Our office is always here to answer any questions, hear your concerns or listen to any thoughts you have on any particular issue. The best way to reach us is by email at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov. We also hope you will join us for upcoming coffee hours so we can meet and I can hear what is on your mind.