Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.
This week, I introduced House Bill 6464, which would ensure transparency for Michigan consumers by requiring retailers to provide them with the scanned price of individual items they purchase at the point of sale. This bill was introduced in response to concerns voiced by constituents about their experiences at some local stores. Figuring out what price you are paying for an item can sometimes be difficult when retailers run promotional sales or price signs are simply misplaced. This bill would bring some much needed clarity to the shopping experience.
Under the existing Michigan Consumer Protection Act, retailers are not required to display item prices at the checkout, leaving it difficult for consumers to know the per-item price of their purchase before they’ve paid and are provided a receipt. HB 6464 would ensure that the customer can visibly see the price of an item as it is being scanned. Currently, some stores only have individual item prices visible to the cashier, not the customer, even though there are a variety of ways those prices could be displayed properly in addition to the total.
Michigan residents have a right to know exactly how much they’re paying for products they’re purchasing, no matter where that purchase is made. This common-sense proposal would strengthen consumer protections for families across the state by adequately displaying how much money is coming out of their pocketbooks before they have to pay the bill.
I have also recently co-sponsored House Bill 6363, a bill that would require schools to test for lead levels and other contaminants in drinking water. Under this bill, a water supplier to a public school, private school or a child care organization will have to collect samples from drinking water faucets at least once every three years. The samples would be analyzed for lead and other contaminants for which there is a state drinking water standard. The results would be provided to the school or child care organization and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Flint Mobile Food Pantry October Dates
Flint families may get nutritious food that can limit the effects of lead exposure during mobile food pantry hours set for October at locations throughout Flint.
Food distribution sites remain open while supplies last. Future dates by location are:
o Bethel United Methodist Church, 1309 Ballenger Highway
- Mondays throughout October beginning at 10 a.m.
o Asbury United Methodist Church, 1653 Davison Road
- Tuesdays throughout October beginning at 10 a.m.
o Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties,
910 Chippewa St.
- Tuesdays throughout October beginning at noon
o Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Highway
- Thursdays throughout October beginning at 10 a.m.
o Hispanic Tech Center, 2101 Lewis Street
- Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m.
Flint residents can also pick up free, nutritious food at three Flint Help Center locations:
- Bethel United Methodist Church, 1309 N. Ballenger Highway, open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Mondays
- Asbury United Methodist Church, 1653 Davison Road, open Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Highway, open Thursdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
State Emergency Relief: Home Heating Assistance
Temporary heat and utility assistance may be available for eligible low-income families and individuals when heating or electric service has been or will be shut off. Payments may include the amount needed to restore or continue the service for at least 30 days. Assistance may also be available to provide payment for necessary charges to deliver a 30-day supply of a deliverable fuel.
To qualify for State Emergency Relief, you must meet a number of requirements. Apply online using MI Bridges. In general, eligibility is based on the number of individuals in your household, your monthly income and your countable cash assets over $50. Some assets such as homestead, one vehicle, personal and household goods are excluded.
The application can be found by clicking here:
For assistance applying, please contact DHHS at (855) 275-6424 or feel free to call our office at (517) 373-7557. Please know this is our last e-newsletter before the application deadline.
529 Plans Provide Michiganders a Way to Save for College
The Michigan Department of Treasury reminds Michiganders about the importance of saving for college and using a 529 plan to save. A 529 plan is an education savings plan designed to help families set aside money for future education expenses. Contributions provide state income tax deductions and earnings in a plan grow tax free and are exempt at the federal and state level.
The state of Michigan offers three Section 529 college saving plans that potentially provide state and federal tax benefits: Michigan Education Trust (MET), Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) and MI 529 Advisor Plan (MAP). These plans can be broken up into two categories:
- Prepaid Tuition Plan (MET) allows for the pre-purchase of tuition based on today's rates and then paid out at the future cost when the beneficiary is in college. Performance is often based upon tuition inflation. Prepaid plans may be administered by states or higher education institutions.
- Investment-Based Savings Plans (MESP and MAP) are different in that your account earnings are based upon the market performance of the underlying investments, which typically consist of mutual funds. Investment-based savings plans may only be administered by states.
For more information about 529 plans, go to SavewithMI529.com. For more information about saving for college, contact MI Student Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org, (888) 4-GRANTS or @mistudentaid on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Genesee County Health Department is working with Weiss Child Advocacy Center to remind parents and caregivers of techniques that can help reduce the infant death rate in Genesee County.
Sleep-related infant deaths are those where the sleep environment was likely to have contributed to the death, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), suffocation, and other causes. Sleep-related infant death is a leading cause of death among infants less than 1 year of age. In Genesee County between 2010 and 2015, 59 sleep-related infant deaths were reported, which is a rate of 2.0 deaths per 1,000. The sleep-related deaths in Genesee County is more than the overall rate in Michigan, which is 1.3 deaths per 1,000.
There are many resources available to the general public, parents, families, professionals, and caregivers of infants. Within Genesee County, Weiss Child Advocacy Center offers trainings on Safe Sleep and houses the Safe Sleep Coalition of Genesee County that meets monthly. If you are interested in learning more about the coalition, visit their Facebook page. For additional safe sleep information, visit the Genesee County Health Department’s website or Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.
It's Time for Flu Vaccinations
Michigan residents are being urged by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to get flu vaccines to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening influenza amidst the first confirmed cases in the state.
An annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu and its complications. The flu is a contagious respiratory virus that often causes fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and fatigue. People already infected with the flu can spread the virus to others even before they feel sick. Everyone 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccine every year. It is especially important that children, adults ages 65 years and older, persons with chronic health conditions, and pregnant women get vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccination for pregnant women protects both the mother and the unborn child.
Eat Safe Fish Guide
The Eat Safe Fish Guide (ESF Guide) is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). MDHHS uses the test results from the fish filets to find the average amount of chemicals in the fish species from that lake or river, based on current guidelines. They use this information to determine how much fish is safe to eat per month. The ESF Guide is not a rulebook. These are only guidelines to help you make safer choices for you and your family. You are not required to use it.
The guide can be found by clicking here:
If you have questions about choosing safer fish to eat or would like the ESF Guide for another region, please call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 648-6942 or visit www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish.
Scammers Can Fake Caller ID Info
Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal?
Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust — like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with — like your bank or cable provider. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use. One scammer recently used the phone number of an FTC employee.
Don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling. It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real. Here are a few tips for handling these calls:
- If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. If you want to check it out, visit the official (.gov) website for contact information. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.
- Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
- Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legit.
- Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
Want more tips for avoiding scams? Check out 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud.
Halloween Safety Reminders
Michigan State Police would like to remind residents, parents and guardians of the following Halloween Safety Tips:
- Parents should help their children pick out a costume that will be safe. The costumes should be fire resistant, masks should have eye-holes large enough to allow for good peripheral vision and finally, the costume should allow free movement.
- If your child will be carrying a prop such as a pitchfork or sword make sure the tips are flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on. Of course, never carry real weapons of any kind.
- If you set jack-o-lanterns on your porch with candles in them, make sure that they are far enough out of the way so that children’s costumes will not accidentally be set on fire. Better yet, use battery operated pumpkin lights!
- Make sure you know the route your children will be taking for trick or treating, if you are not going with them.
- The best bet is to make sure that an adult is going with the children during trick or treating. If you cannot go with your child see if another parent or a teenage sibling can.
- Children should stay together as a group if going trick or treating without an adult.
- Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars. Tell your children to only cross streets at crosswalks.
- Instruct your children never to go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.
- Make sure you set a time for your children to be home and stress the importance for them to be home at that time.
- Please check with your local city or village for hours that Trick or Treating will take place. You can also seek out other activities in your area that might be more of what you would approve of for your little ones.
Events, Programs or Services in the 48th House District
Golf Cart Tours
Davison Township Parks and Recreation is hosting free golf cart tours for those who have physical limitations that prevent them from enjoying the trails at the Robert Williams Nature & Historical Learning Center. This will take place on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Enjoy the sights and sounds as Naturalist Megan shares information about the history, flora and fauna of the park. This tour is free thanks to a sponsorship from the staff at the Davison Community Senior Center but participants must pre-register. Tours offered every hour. Limit 3 per tour. All ages are welcome. To register, please visit:https://register.dtparks.com/CourseActivities.aspx?id=10&cat=3.
Thetford Senior Center Craft Show
The Thetford Senior Center will be hosting a craft show on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free. The Thetford Senior Center is located on 4014 E Vienna Road in Clio. For more information, please visit the Thetford Senior Center Facebook page.
Public Safety Day Open House
On Saturday Oct. 13, the Clio Fire Dept. Station #1 will be hosting their Public Safety Day Open House from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This event will include emergency vehicles on display, giveaways, and meet and greets with the firefighters! The Clio Fire Dept. Station #1 is located on 3290 W. Vienna Road.
Clio Fire Station 1 Halloween Open House
Clio fire department station 1 is having their Annual Halloween Open House on Oct. 31 between 5-8 p.m. There will be fire trucks for kids, places to warm up, cotton candy, popcorn, hot and cold apple cider, yummy doughnuts and let's now forget tons and tons of candy for all the kids. Please be sure to share this for everyone to enjoy.
Trick or Treat at the Davison Farmers Market
The Davison Farmer’s Market is hosting a Trick or Treat event Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Davison Farmers Market. The schedule will be as follows:
1:30-3:30 p.m.: Trick or Treat at the market
4 p.m.: Make Your Own Caramel Apple Station
Feel free to invite and share with family and friends! For more information, please visit: https://www.davisonfarmersmarket.com.
Children's Halloween Party Davison Area Library
The Davison Area Library is hosting a children’s Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 2-3 p.m. Have a spooky good time at this trick-or-treat party sponsored by the Davison Area Library Board! For more information and to register, please visit the Genesee District Library website.
Michigan House of Representatives policies prohibit sending e-newsletters for one month before elections. We are approaching one month out from the Nov. 6 general election, so this will be the last e-newsletter I send out until mid-November. As always, if anyone needs assistance, please call my office at (517) 373-7557 or email me at PamFaris@house.mi.gov, and I or my staff will be happy to help.
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.
State Rep. Pam Faris
48th House District
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