I got back to Battle Creek from Lansing, and I heard a red-winged blackbird. I looked up, and there he was, singing “Conk-la-ree!” between the parking lot and the freeway entrance ramp. I couldn’t see the red swatch on its sides, but I know the call — it’s the song of spring. I smiled.
House Passes Infrastructure Bill, Whitmer Signs Bill Into Law
The state legislature recently passed a historic infrastructure bill using mostly federal dollars. The bill included $249 million for broadband expansion, $2.2 billion for water infrastructure and $316 million for local roads and bridges. Other items included funding for drinking water dispensers, parks and homeowner assistance funds.
Prior Authorization Reform Passes
Prior authorization is a decision by a health insurer as to whether something is medically necessary and will be covered. Senate Bill 247 was recently signed into law, and the bill reduces the time for insurers to consider prior authorization requests and requires insurers to provide more information to the public and health care providers. This bill will reduce wait times for tests and prescription approvals in the health care system.
More Shoes Heading to Charities
House Bill 4994 allows shoe repair businesses to donate shoes if they have been unclaimed for more than six months. Previously, shoe repair businesses had to hold on to shoes indefinitely. By increasing the supply of donated shoes, more people will be able to afford them.
Events and ResourcesInfrastructure Listening Tour
I will be hosting an infrastructure listening tour on May 23 at 6 p.m. at Full Blast’s Auditorium in Battle Creek. State and local government officials will be in attendance to discuss infrastructure needs in our community and how to best spend the recently allocated federal funds. You are invited to attend.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance
Renters and landlords are still able to apply for the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program by contacting their local housing providers. Renters in the eviction process will be prioritized because of the eviction moratorium expiration.
Unemployment Appointments Available Online, In-person Or By Phone
The Unemployment Insurance Agency has appointments available for people with questions about their claims. For general questions, try a phone appointment. For more complicated situations, sign up for an in-person appointment in Kalamazoo or Lansing.
Meet Your State Representative
On the first Saturday of each month, I go to Mr. Don’s at 9 a.m. in Springfield and Stirling Books and Brew in Albion at 1 p.m. to discuss issues facing the state. Please stop by if you’d like to bring state government problems to my attention. I enjoy meeting and catching up with constituents.
News From the District
Report Road Issues
The Calhoun County Road Department (CCRD) will make every effort to respond to your pothole requests and road issues as quickly as possible. If you’re having an issue with a road in Calhoun County, please fill out this form for the Calhoun County Road Department. You can also email your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Battle Creek Receives $1.1 Million Grant to Address Homelessness
The City of Battle Creek recently received a HOME-ARP grant. These American Rescue Plan Act funds can be used for eligible activities: production or preservation of affordable housing, rental assistance, homeless prevention services, and housing counseling, purchase and development of non-congregate shelter.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out. You can email me at any time at JimHaadsma@house.mi.gov or call my office at (517) 373-0555.