Welcome to our January e-newsletter!
Included in this edition are some important legislative updates, community events 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 next 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, Jan. 29, from 10-11 a.m. It will be streamed via Zoom and my Facebook page. We hope to see you there!
Brabec Appointed as Democratic Vice-Chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services
I am happy to share that I have been appointed as Democratic vice-chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services! With this new position, I will be able to focus on what I am truly passionate about: the people of Michigan and their mental and physical health. As the only practicing mental health practitioner in the Legislature, I am excited to be taking on a leadership position on this committee. As a practicing psychologist, I’ve seen up close how decisions made by our state government affect peoples’ everyday lives, and I will continue to bring the full breadth of my experience with clients to the bargaining table every day.
Brabec Introduces Resolution Declaring Jan. 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
I recently introduced a resolution declaring Jan. 11 Human Trafficking Awareness Day across the state of Michigan. We know human trafficking is a growing issue both around the country and right here in Michigan. Men, women and children are being forced to engage in commercial sex acts or solicit other services against their will. Our state has made great strides in strengthening our laws to increase criminal penalties for those who engage in trafficking. We have also made progress in providing more support for survivors. Yet, we still have a long way to go. To make change, we have to spread awareness of this horrific crime. I look forward to continuing to look for ways to elevate this issue and provide support for survivors.
Oxford Task Force
In light of the devastation in Oxford, the House has created a bipartisan task force that will work to make Michigan schools safer. Not only will this include measures to ensure this does not happen again, but it will also encompass school safety, mental health for students, educators, and faculty, and will focus on getting all necessary resources to our schools. I believe the safety of our students and faculty members should be of utmost priority. I have worked on legislation to ensure this safety by requiring the safe storage of firearms and introducing more extensive background checks for purchasing firearms. With this legislation and the new task force, we continue to strive for safer schools in Michigan.
GM to Invest Historic $7 billion in 4 facilities Across Michigan, Creating 4,000 jobs
General Motors has announced its plans to invest $7 billion in four manufacturing facilities, making the state a prime location for electric vehicle development and manufacturing.
GM said it will spend $2.6 billion to build a new battery factory in the Lansing area and $4 billion to convert its existing factory in Orion Township to make electric pickups. It will also spend about half a billion dollars to make upgrades to its two existing vehicle assembly plants in Lansing.
This was a tremendous bipartisan effort with so many people involved to bring manufacturing to Michigan alongside over 4,000 good-paying jobs to Michiganders.
Whitmer State of the State Address
On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her 2022 State Of The State Address. She put forward proposals that will put Michiganders first by growing Michigan’s economy, creating jobs, cutting taxes and lowering costs for families. This included her intention to repeal the pension tax.
I was particularly pleased to hear Gov. Whitmer’s plan to expand access to mental health. Many of the themes the governor shared tonight are what we’ve been hearing throughout our Mental Health Listening Tour. Issues such as access, workforce recruitment and retention, and mental health parity were all common challenges cited.
There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that mental health is covered at the same level of care as other health conditions. I remain hopeful that, with the governor’s leadership on this issue, we will continue to make great strides towards improving access to mental health care in Michigan.
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 Catastrophic Claims fund. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association 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 advise that 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.
We Need YOUR Feedback on the MI Healthy Climate Plan
On January 14, the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy released the draft MI Healthy Climate Plan, Michigan’s number one tool to drive our state’s transition toward clean, affordable energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The draft MI Healthy Climate Plan is a strong first step to tackle climate change and jumpstart our state’s clean energy economy.
Before final recommendations are sent to the governor in March 2022, stakeholders and the public have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggest changes to the draft plan, as well as items that should be included. Through Feb. 14, individuals can provide written feedback via email or attend one of two virtual listening sessions to be held on Feb. 8, from 6-8 p.m., to provide verbal feedback.
We encourage residents to share their voices!
UIA Overpayment Letters
If you received an overpayment letter from Michigan Unemployment regarding Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), there may be a few reasons why. You can protest the claim by visiting this site. If you have any more questions or concerns regarding unemployment, please feel free to reach out to my office directly at (517) 373-1792.
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 household.
Every household is eligible to order four rapid antigen COVID-19 at-home tests delivered by the Postal Service for free, 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, you can visit here.