Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are some important legislative and COVID-19 updates, along with a few resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1788 or email at KyraBolden@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 35th House District
On Jan. 24 from 5-6 p.m., my office will be hosting a Financial Literacy Virtual Town Hall. To join via Zoom, please visit this link.
Meeting ID: 814 6870 3496
2021 was a busy year for my office! Above you can find several highlights and accomplishments from the previous year. My staff and I look forward to a productive 2022 serving you!
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
Oakland County Health Division Expands Testing Sites Due to COVID-19 Surge
Record numbers of COVID-19 cases are prompting the Oakland County Health Division to expand COVID-19 drive-through testing beginning next week. To make an appointment, go to www.oakgov.com/COVID and click on the COVID Testing button or contact the Nurse on Call at (800) 848-5533.
MDHHS Updates Quarantine Guidance for General Public Based on CDC Recommendations
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated its quarantine guidance for the general public to reflect the recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Notably, the CDC recommends a shortened quarantine and isolation period for those who aren’t vaccinated or haven’t received their booster to five days; they recommend an additional five days of masking around others. The updated guidance is specific to the general public and does not change the current guidance for congregate settings, early child care or K-12 settings, which should continue to use existing guidelines and policies regarding quarantine and isolation. Guidance will continue to evolve as the CDC provides more information.
COVID-19 Vaccine Help
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet and they’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance.
Invest in MI Community Survey
The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law in mid-November. It promises to deliver billions of dollars for Michigan that will help us make large-scale positive investments and create good-paying jobs.
Governor Whitmer has asked state departments to begin planning on how to spend this money, but the Legislature has a role to play, too. That’s why we want to hear from you! House Democrats know that it’s those we serve, the people living in and working in our communities, who know best what infrastructure needs to be improved.
Now’s your chance to tell us! Please click this link to fill out the survey with as much detail as possible. We’ll collect responses from across the state and partner with state and local officials, along with industry experts, to turn your input into action and rebuild Michigan.
Special Benefits for Military Members and Veterans Provided by the MI Department of Treasury
Current and former military members may be eligible to receive these benefits through the Michigan Department of Treasury:
UIA Virtual Appointments Offer More Accessibility for Michiganders
Closed caption option available for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers
The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has added a virtual appointment option for customers needing assistance with their claims, including a dedicated link for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing utilizing voice-to-text closed captioning.
In addition to phone and in-person appointments, customers can now also schedule virtual appointments. Virtual appointments provide personal contact with a customer service agent with the convenience of a remote connection.
The 20-minute virtual appointments can be scheduled online up to one week in advance at Michigan.gov/uia. Click on “Schedule an Appointment.” The UIA expects to schedule up to 340 virtual appointments per day.
“We’re excited to expand the ways that customers can get one-on-one service if they need assistance with their claim,” said Liza Estlund Olson, former acting director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency. “Offering virtual appointments also helps us to be more responsive to our customers who are Deaf or hard of hearing.”
“The UIA’s efforts to implement a virtual meeting platform option and enhance service accessibility to the public, particularly at this time, are excellent,” said the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “The platform’s real-time captioning and chat features may provide those with disabilities, such as deafness or hearing loss, a readily available accommodation so they can engage UIA and receive their services.”
Once the virtual appointment is scheduled, customers will receive an email with a link to join the appointment via Google Meet on the appointed day and time. Customers will need to have a Gmail account to join from a mobile device. They do not need to have a Gmail account to join from a computer.
Hours of operation for virtual appointments are:
In addition to scheduling a virtual appointment, customers may contact UIA by:
Customers in need of other special accommodations to participate in a virtual meeting should request the accommodation when initially scheduling their appointment.
So far, the Agency has held more than 12,000 virtual appointments, including 212 which utilized the closed captioning feature.
Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
In 1983, Congress established a new federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to remember his life and accomplishments. On the third Monday of January, we honor Dr. King and remember his struggle for civil rights and social justice. We must also recognize the work that still needs to be done to create the more just and equitable society that Dr. King dreamed of.
Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time to acknowledge those experiencing enslavement and those who have escaped. Michigan ranked in the top 10 states for human trafficking in 2019 with 364 cases. Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers still profit from trapping millions of people worldwide in horrific situations. We must all do our part to prevent and report this horrendous crime. Follow the link to learn more about how you can help.