Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Michigan’s Tampon Tax Repeal Takes Effect
The bills repealing Michigan’s tampon tax (House Bill 5267 and Senate Bill 153) went into effect last week. This means that menstrual hygiene products are now exempt from the 6% state sales and use taxes. These products are necessities that are often inaccessible for low-income individuals. According to the non-profit Helping Women Period, 1 in 4 menstruators in Michigan cannot afford enough sanitary products every month. This repeal will help lower the costs of these products across our state. I proudly voted for these bills, and I am glad to see them signed into law.
Lansing State Journal Features Op-Ed on Juvenile Court Fines
On Sunday, the Lansing State Journal ran an editorial I wrote calling for the elimination of juvenile justice fees in Michigan. Last year, my colleagues and I introduced bipartisan bills that would prohibit juvenile courts from charging and collecting fines and fees from young offenders or their families. Fines and fees for youth are rarely collected, but the debt can follow the young person and their parents for years. The fines and fees ruin credit, and they disproportionately harm youth and families of color. It’s time for our state to take this crucial step to improve our juvenile justice system.
You can read the op-ed here.
Whitmer Presents Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal
Today, Gov. Whitmer presented her proposed budget for the 2023 fiscal year. Some details include:
New UIA Benefit Waiver Eligibility Announced
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced additional categories of Michigan workers who mistakenly received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. A waiver means that the worker will not have to repay their benefits. Five new scenarios have been approved for waiver eligibility:
UIA is currently determining how these categories will apply. Claimants who qualify for a waiver under the new eligibility will be notified through MiWAM and receive a letter from the UIA. More information is available here.
FAFSA Deadline Approaches on March 1
The free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for current high school seniors is due by March 1. This form determines eligibility for state and federal financial aid, including grants, scholarships and student loans. Find more information and fill out the application at studentaid.gov.
The local nonprofit Capital Area College Access Network offers help completing the FAFSA. Call (517) 203-5011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants are also encouraged to seek help from their school counselors or college advisers.
Get Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests, N95 Masks
Testing is a good way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for those with symptoms and those who have been exposed to the virus. There are a few options for getting a free at-home test:
The federal government recently sent 400 million N95 masks to retail pharmacies and community health centers across the country. In Michigan, Costco, CVS, Meijer, Rite Aid, Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club are offering up to three free N95 masks per person. Find more information about this program here.