I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather here in Michigan. Memorial Day is a great day to enjoy time with friends and family, but the holiday also holds a deeper meaning. It is a time to commemorate those who lost their lives while serving in the American armed forces. I hope everyone had a safe Memorial Day weekend while honoring those lost.
June 1 marked the start of Pride Month. Pride began as an uprising against police brutality in June 1969 when police in New York City violently raided the Stonewall Inn, a Manhattan gay and trans bar that served as a refuge for many queer people of color at the time. The Stonewall Uprising is widely considered the most significant event leading to the gay liberation movement in the United States, the precursor to the modern LGBTQ equality movement.
We celebrate Pride Month in June to honor the Stonewall Uprising, the gay liberation movement that followed, the modern-day LGBTQ equality movement and the struggles LGBTQ people continue to face worldwide still today. Pride is also a celebration of LGBTQ love, culture and community in the face of adversity. This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the 52nd celebration of Pride Month worldwide.
Celebrating Pride does not erase the trauma faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and it does not solve the problems of homophobia and transphobia in our state. However, we have a duty to honor those who fought tirelessly to get us to where we are today, to value LGBTQ Michiganders and to ensure we do not lose sight of the end goal: liberty and justice for all.
Everyone should feel safe and proud to be who they are and love who they love. Happy Pride!
As always, if our office can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out.
State Representative, 21st District
Proudly serving Belleville, Canton, and Van Buren Township
In this Edition:
- Upcoming Time with Ranjeev
- Executive Update
- Legislative Update
- What We’ve Been Up To
UPCOMING TIME WITH RANJEEV
Thank you to everyone who joined me at the Village Arts Factory for my May coffee hour. My office has yet to set a date for our next community conversation, so be sure to check back in our next e-newsletter or on our social media pages for updates.
Caring for MI Future Plan
On May 16, Gov. Whitmer announced the ambitious goal of opening 1,000 new child care programs by 2024, with a $100 million investment, passed by Michigan legislators, to expand access to child care for working families and support child care providers. Today, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy, nearly half of communities do not have enough child care options to meet demand. The governor and others involved in the Caring for Mi Future Plan are hopeful that their goal will remedy the lack of child care options available. In addition to expanding availability, the plan prioritizes investing in child care entrepreneurs to help them secure the funding they need for children to receive quality care. Child care entrepreneurs will receive support in the following areas:
- Identifying and renovating facilities
- Start-up funding
- Support to recruit staff
- Business development tools.
For additional details on when specific grants will be available to entrepreneurs, visit Michigan.gov/childcare.
Caring for MI Future is part of a $1.4 billion investment to expand access to quality, affordable child care and get Michigan families back to work. To qualify, families must:
- Have a child under age 13
- Need child care because they’re working or going to school
- Have a qualifying income (monthly income must be less than $2,686 for a family of 2, $3,386 for a family of 3, or $4,085 for a family of 4).
Visit Michigan.gov/childcare for a complete list of reasons families may qualify for low or no cost child care and qualifying income levels for larger families. Families can apply for childcare support by visiting MiBridges.Michigan.gov.
As the father of two young children, with a third on the way, I know firsthand how expensive child care is and its financial impact on Michigan families. As your state representative, I am committed to advocating for affordable and accessible child care in Michigan; that is why I sponsored House Bill 5044. This bipartisan package of bills assists Michigan’s current child care facilities and providers. HB 5044 provides an infant-toddler contract model that incentivizes increased wages and quality improvements in care. The Caring for MI Future Plan will work hand-in-hand with HB 5044. The plan is a big step in the right direction to make childcare more accessible and affordable for our working families, and I am excited to continue the work that lies ahead.
Addressing Gun Violence
As legislators, we have a responsibility to protect our communities, to do something when tragedy strikes, and to take action when policy, or lack thereof, fails our residents.
Although it is not the easiest of conversations, I want to acknowledge the tragic events that transpired at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. I would like to start by expressing my deepest condolences to the Uvalde Community who are experiencing unimaginable grief after a student opened fire at Robb Elementary School on May 24, killing 19 children and two adults.
Additionally, just in the last few days, shootings unfolded at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a Walmart in Pittston, Pennsylvania; and a high school in Los Angeles, California. As of earlier this week, there have been 18 mass shootings across the country SINCE Uvalde.
Not even one community should ever suffer through these unimaginable tragedies, let alone community after community. Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. The United States is the only country in the world where these mass shootings and this scale of gun violence occur.
As your state representative, and as a father, I use every unfortunate opportunity to talk about this epidemic of gun violence — to fight for policies that could save our kids. Earlier this year, I was appointed to the bipartisan School Safety Committee in response to the tragedy at Oxford High School. Gun safety laws implemented correctly are constitutional and do not affect safe gun owners, but rather, stop dangerous individuals, or those who are mentally unstable from acquiring a gun. The goal of reform is not to take away guns, but to find solutions to make our state and country safer. The right given to Americans in the Second Amendment is absolute, but it is important to work toward solutions to end gun violence in this nation.
My democratic colleagues in Lansing have introduced dozens of bills in 2021 and 2022 alone that seek to prevent gun violence. Some of the bills:
- Require universal background checks
- Require safe storage
- Keep guns away from domestic abusers
- Toughen penalties for drive-bys that injure kids
- Fund new gun violence gun prevention programs
- Limit ammunition capacities
Most of these bills have been introduced in previous years, at both the state and federal levels. Yet, rarely are these bills ever even given a committee hearing, let alone passed out of committee in order to receive a full floor vote. This is unacceptable. We can’t train ourselves out of these tragedies; we need gun reform now.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has provided guidance and resources for families struggling to find infant formula. You can find more information at https://www.hhs.gov/formula.
Connect with Community Resources:
- Locate your nearest Community Action Agency (CAA). Your neighborhood CAA may be able to provide you with formula or connect you with local agencies that have formula in stock.
- Call 211: United Way’s 2-1-1 connects you to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you find food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.
- Find an accredited milk bank through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) distributes donated breast milk to mothers in need. Please note that some may require a prescription from a medical professional.
For WIC-Eligible Families:
- Contact your local Women, Infant and Child office to identify or obtain additional sources of infant formula nearby.
Guidance for Parents and Caretakers:
- Call your OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they have in-office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be more readily available in stores and is nutritionally similar to your infant’s typical formula.
- Do not water down formula, try to make formula at home or use toddler formula to feed infants.
- Do not discard formula unless it is expired or is part of the recall.
- Check your formula’s lot code to see whether or not it was affected by the recall.
- Find more guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- MyGerber Baby Expert: Reach a certified nutrition or lactation consultant by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat or video call, who can help you identify a similar formula that may be more readily available.
- Abbott’s urgent product request line: Ask your OBGYN or your infant’s pediatrician to submit an urgent product request by downloading and completing the form – PDF.
- Reckitt’s Customer Service line: Call (800) 222-9123 (BABY-123).
Buying food is expensive right now, especially for our neighbors struggling to put food on the table. Double Up Food Bucks is here to help. For those who shop for groceries with a SNAP/Michigan Bridge Card, they can double their benefits to purchase fresh, Michigan-grown fruits and veggies using Double Up Food Bucks. The program is available at 260+ participating farmers’ markets and grocery stores across Michigan. With farmers’ market season around the corner, it’s a great time to use the program! Learn how it works and find a participating location near you at DoubleUpFoodBucks.org.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Our office is always here to answer any questions or concerns or to listen to any thoughts you have on any particular issue. The best way to reach us is by email at RanjeevPuri@house.mi.gov. Our team is working hard to respond to every email and voicemail left with our office in a timely manner. We appreciate your patience as we experience increased communications!
We also hope you will join us for upcoming coffee hours so that we can meet and I can hear what is on your mind.