Welcome to my Capitol & Community Update e-newsletter! Since my last update, we’ve had many celebrations to recognize, including Lunar New Year, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and White Shirt Day to recognize the advances of workers and unions. February also marks Black History Month! As historian of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC), I encourage you to follow MLBC on Facebook (@michiganlbc) and Twitter (@MI_LBC) and share their posts uplifting black historical figures.
Additionally, Feb. 3 marked the official end to the tampon tax in Michigan! Those who have been following my work this term know how proud I am to have championed this legislation removing government-implemented barriers to medical necessities. As it may take some time for retailers to adjust their systems, consumers can request a refund from a retailer if they are accidently taxed for menstrual hygiene products. Check your receipts!
Please encourage neighbors and friends in HD 41 – Troy and Clawson – to also sign up for these updates at kuppa.housedems.com, and let us know if you have any thoughts on any state-level issues or requests for scheduling. As always, you can reach my office at (517) 373-1783, or by email at PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov. Be sure to also check out the latest on my social media platforms — @PadmaKuppaMI41 (Twitter) and @MIRepPadmaKuppa (Facebook)!
House District 41.
Monthly Community Conversations
Please join me for my in-person office hours, where I will be giving legislative updates and taking your questions about the issues facing our state and our community. Please refer to the policy of the venue regarding masks. Physical distancing is also strongly encouraged during the event.
These constituent events will be held on the fourth Monday of each month from 4:30-6 p.m. at the centrally located Troy Community Center, unless otherwise posted. The information for my next office hour is as follows:
When: Monday, Feb. 28, from 4:30-6 p.m.
Where: Troy Community Center (3179 Livernois Road in Troy)
Student-Led Firearm Violence Prevention Roundtable
Join me and Allison Liu, a student at Troy High School and a member of the city of Troy’s Global Troy Advisory Committee, for a student-focused roundtable on how we can prevent firearm violence and promote safety in the community. Special guests include state Sen. Rosemary Bayer, chair of the Michigan Legislative Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus, and guests from Moms Demand Action!
When: Monday, Feb. 21, from 7-8 p.m.
Where: Zoom (Register here)
APA Caucus Firearm Safety Town Hall
Firearm purchases by the Asian Pacific American (APA) community have increased in response to recent COVID-related hostility toward APA individuals. Many of these individuals have never owned firearms before and may not know current laws related to firearms or proper firearm safety. Please join state Sen. Stephanie Chang and me, co-chairs of the Michigan Legislative APA Caucus, for a Firearm Safety Town Hall. This event is geared toward the APA community, but anyone looking to know more about firearm laws and safety is welcome to join.
When: Wednesday, March 9, from 6-7 p.m.
Where: Zoom (Register here)
Our panelists include Cathy Tang (Everytown for Gun Safety), Alex Nguyen (Giffords Law Center) and Paul Creger (Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police).
The following are highlights from recent legislative developments. You can see all of my sponsored legislation and co-sponsored legislation from this term at the provided hyperlinks. Gov. Whitmer also recently released her executive budget recommendations for FY23, the presentation of which can be found here.
The Drive Michigan Forward coalition recently embarked on a week of action to support the Drive SAFE (Safety, Access, Freedom and the Economy) legislation, which includes my bill, HB 4835. This legislation would help address the current worker shortage by expanding access to driver’s licenses and state IDs. The House bills were scheduled for a hearing in the Rules and Competitiveness Committee in September, but the committee meeting was canceled at the last minute by the Speaker of the House. Discussions on rescheduling the hearing are ongoing, but additional advocacy will be needed. I want to express my appreciation to the committee chair for scheduling the initial hearing and thank all who have advocated for this legislation!
Lunar New Year
Feb. 1 was the first day of Lunar New Year 2022! It was a pleasure to join Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Gilchrist for their annual Lunar New Year event, in addition to events recognizing the holiday with the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena and virtually with the Association of Chinese Americans! This is also a reminder of my bill package with Rep. Matt Koleszar of Plymouth and Rep. Kelly Breen of Novi to formally recognize the holidays of Diwali (HB 4935), Vaisakhi (HB 4936) and Lunar New Year (HB 4937). These bills are awaiting movement in the House Government Operations Committee.
Legislation in Development
In the weeks since my last e-newsletter, my office and I have been busy meeting with constituents, other legislators and relevant stakeholders on many issues that we are developing legislation around. These issues include lowering the price of prescription drugs, ensuring access to clean water, supporting those with disabilities through their educational journey, addressing shortcomings in federal policy that are impacting workers and employers in the state, and promoting transparency and accountability when it comes to how our tax dollars are being spent. Stay tuned as we roll out these important legislative developments!
I-75 Sound Study
At my last coffee hour, a major point of conversation was about noise pollution stemming from I-75. This issue stems from construction from the I-75 Modernization Project and the related increased highway capacity championed by former Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson in 2016.
Since taking office in 2019, I have advocated for increased noise mitigation measures in impacted residential areas. Additional segments were added that year thanks to joint advocacy between my team, local residents and MDOT. After hosting a meeting for residents to communicate with MDOT officials directly in October 2020, I was able to secure $300,000 in our state budget for a new sound study, which represents another chance for impacted areas to be eligible for sound wall implementation.
Per state and federal regulations, all federally funded projects that increase roadway capacity are required to be studied to determine the reasonableness and feasibility of noise protection. Sound walls cannot be implemented without the results of the study. Once the study is complete, we will have a better understanding of how we can proceed with noise mitigation efforts.
In the meantime, I will continue to advocate for citizen participation and transparency in the sound study. I’m also working to bring awareness to the issue and advocate for additional funding with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, the governor’s office and Congresswoman Stevens. The city of Troy has also been advised on how they can work to fund the project as well.
UPDATE: Help me advocate for noise mitigation resources by sharing your story here.
Michigan Homeowners Assistance Fund Launch
On Feb. 14, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) launched the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), which will help prevent foreclosure and displacements of homeowners due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Homeowner Assistance Fund, established under section 3206 of the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) and administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, allocated over $242 million to Michigan to mitigate hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to address:
MSHDA’s online and mobile application portal is currently live. Applicants are able to apply and submit required documentation through the web-based application or may be assisted by a third-party counseling agency or legal aid office. MSHDA also is partnering with Michigan 2-1-1, a nonprofit organization, to serve as a statewide call center to answer questions, provide program details and help homeowners with application submissions.
Funds can provide homeowners relief from the following:
Additional program details and updates can be found at Michigan.gov/MIHAF.
Community Recognitions and Resources
Small Business of the Month
Each month, I recognize two small businesses in the community, one in Troy and one in Clawson, as our small businesses of the month. To nominate a business for this recognition, please fill out this form on my website.
Tributes, Letters and Certificates
Do you know someone in the district who is retiring and would like a legislative tribute to celebrate their years of service? Has a local team or group reached a milestone that they would like to be acknowledged with an official certificate for each member? Our office can provide legislative tributes, letters and certificates on a wide range of recognitions for constituents. If you would like to request any of these materials for yourself or others, please email my office at PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov with as much information as possible on the requested recognition and we will work with you to arrange delivery or presentation of the recognition!
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