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 Districts
Tax Season Virtual Town Hall
On March 18, from 2-3 p.m., my office will be hosting a Tax Season Virtual Town Hall. You can watch by following this link. Meeting ID: 896 5562 1163 Passcode: 106848
Financial Literacy Virtual Town Hall Recording
I want to thank everyone who attended our Financial Literacy Virtual Town Hall. We were able to spread the word on best practices for building generational wealth. To view a recording of the town hall, please click here.
Incentivizing Economic Growth in DDAs
I am very pleased to share that HB 5062 was passed through the Senate unanimously and signed by Gov. Whitmer! This bill makes some minor changes to the Michigan Liquor Control Code to clarify the definition of “redevelopment” to incentivize economic growth in our downtown development districts.
Film Tax Credit Legislation
On Tuesday, Feb. 1, I introduced HB 5724, which would help rebuild Michigan’s economy through the reinstatement of the historically successful film incentive program. This bill is part of a bipartisan package that would elevate Michigan as a leader in film production through a credit on tax liability for only verified, qualified expenditures by the industry. This will create lasting jobs in editorial facilities, stages and prop houses. Additional industries that directly help the production industry will also be impacted, including carpenters, catering, location rentals, hair, makeup, hotels and restaurants, just to name a few.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
MDHHS Updates Mask Guidance as State Enters a Post-Surge Recovery Phase in the COVID-19 Pandemic
As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is updating its mask guidance for public settings, including school settings, to reflect that Michigan is entering a post-surge, recovery phase.
Moving forward, the COVID-19 cycle can be broken down into three key phases:
- Response — Local and state public health implement rapid response to a surge. The public may be advised to increase masking, testing and social distancing.
- Recovery — Post-surge. No immediate resurgence predicted. Local and state public health will monitor conditions that could lead to future surges.
- Readiness — A surge in cases is expected, with implications on the severity of illness and hospital capacity. Increased communication to the public regarding possible new risks.
Currently, decreases in cases and hospitalizations and increased access to vaccines, testing and treatment indicate that Michigan is entering a post-surge, recovery phase of the cycle.
During this phase, MDHHS recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, continue to practice universal masking in high-risk congregate settings, including long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, jails and health care facilities. All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should also wear a mask during isolation and quarantine periods to stop further community spread of COVID-19.
MDHHS continues to recommend the use of layered mitigation strategies for Michiganders:
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19. Michiganders should get up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about vaccines and when you’re up to date at Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.
- After testing positive for COVID-19, individuals are encouraged to talk to their doctors about whether they meet eligibility criteria and should get antibody or antiviral treatment to help with their recovery. Learn more about COVID-19 Therapeutics.
- Isolation and Quarantine. Staying away from others when you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19 are important tools to preventing further spread of the virus. Learn more about what happens when you have or are exposed to COVID-19
- Get tested if you are exposed or have symptoms. Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others while you wait for your test result. Testing before unmasked gatherings provides an additional layer of protection. Find a test site at Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest.
- Take additional steps to protect yourself and others. For additional guidance on mitigation strategies, see How to Protect Yourself and Others.
- Get a free mask. Free KN95 masks are being distributed by community organizations, including local MDHHS offices, health departments and Area Agency on Aging offices. Residents who want masks can obtain masks from partner agencies across the state. Michiganders are asked to refer to partner websites or social media sites to find out about mask availability as opposed to calling sites.
COVID-19 Vaccine Help
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet and they need the vaccine or need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines specifically in Oakland County, visit the county’s website. The website also has resources for testing and FAQ about COVID-19.
MSHDA Homeowners Assistance Fund
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 $242.8 million to Michigan to mitigate hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by providing funds to address:
- Homeowner mortgage delinquencies.
- Loss of utilities or home energy services.
- Displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship on or after Jan. 21, 2020.
- Homeowners who experience a coronavirus pandemic financial hardship that began before Jan. 21, 2020 but continued after that date.
Applicants will be 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:
- Delinquent mortgage/housing expenses, escrow shortages and corporate advances.
- Delinquent land contract payments, mobile home consumer loan payments or contracted park lot payments.
- Property taxes.
- Condominium/homeowners’ association fees.
- Homeowners’, hazard, flood or mortgage insurance.
- Utilities, gas, electric, water or sewer.
- Internet broadband services.
Additional program details and updates can be found at Michigan.gov/MIHAF.
Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month. It is an annual celebration and recognition of women and our role in U.S. history. This is a time to reflect and honor the contributions made by women in history and contemporary society today. Visit womenshistorymonth.gov to learn more.
National Reading Month
March is National Reading Month! This month, we encourage everyone, especially our school children to read a book (or several books!). Every week of this month, I will be joining several elementary classrooms in our district to read to the students.
March 13 is the start of daylight saving time. Make sure to adjust your clocks an hour forward!