Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Legislature Passes $4.7 Billion Infrastructure Bill
Last week, the legislature passed a $4.7 billion supplemental spending bill to improve our state’s water infrastructure and other infrastructure. Senate Bill 565 allocates more than $2 billion in funding for water projects, including:
This package also includes funding for housing improvements, energy infrastructure, high-speed internet access, homeowner and rental assistance, transportation projects, and local governments. I was proud to vote “yes” on SB 565. These huge investments — made possible by one-time federal funds — are long overdue.
Funds will be distributed to local units of government via grants. Guidance is still being developed. I’ll share the information as soon as it becomes available.
In addition to this historic infrastructure investment, the Legislature also passed House Bill 5525 last week, which allocated $100 million to the Unemployment Compensation Fund and $40 million to improvements and anti-fraud efforts at the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Both bills are expected to be signed by the governor.
Lansing Expungement Fair Helps Provide a Second Chance
Thank you to all of the organizations, volunteers and attendees who made last week’s expungement fair at Cooley Law School a success! Together, we started expungement paperwork for 85 people.
Expungement removes arrests and convictions from a person’s public criminal record. Criminal offenses that have been expunged are no longer accessible to employers or landlords. Michigan law has always allowed for expungements, but the “Clean Slate” legislation enacted in 2020 made more individuals and offenses eligible for expungement. If you or someone you know would potentially benefit from expungement, please reach out to the Clean Slate Program at Capital Area Michigan Works! at (517) 492-5500. Feel free to complete the registration link before calling for faster assistance.
Hope Visits Soybean Farm for Agriculture Week
Thanks to the Michigan Soybean Association and the Michigan Soybean Committee, I had the chance to tour a farm in my district last week. I learned more about the soybean industry here in Michigan, and I enjoyed meeting with local farmers. Thank you to Pete Crawford for hosting us at his farm near Dansville.
Growing MI Business Grant Program Application Due Thursday
The application for the Growing MI Business Grant Program is due at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 31. This $409 million grant program is designed to provide financial support to certain Michigan businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for this program comes from federal American Rescue Plan dollars appropriated by Senate Bill 85; this bill was signed into law in December.
Under this program, eligible businesses in operation before Oct. 1, 2019, may receive a grant up to $5 million due to financial hardship. Eligible businesses that began operating between Oct. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, may receive a grant equal to 25% of certain specified costs. Grant awardees will be notified in early summer and grant awards will be distributed by July 1. These grants may be prorated depending upon the number of businesses that apply to ensure that all eligible businesses can receive funding. Grants will not be distributed based on a first come, first serve basis. Businesses can apply online at www.michigan.gov/abr.
MI Treasury Department Urges Eligible Michiganders to Claim EITC on 2021 Taxes
The Michigan Department of Treasury encourages eligible families and individuals to claim federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) when they file their 2021 income taxes. To qualify for the EITC, individuals must have worked and earned an income under $57,414 and have investment income below $10,000. To learn more about the EITC and see if you qualify, visit irs.gov/eitc.
FAFSA Deadline Extended to May 1
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline for current high school seniors has been extended to May 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.
The Legislature is on a two-week in-district work period through April 8. But my staff and I are here to help as always. Don’t hesitate to call or email us!