Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am most effective at my job when acting on your direct input. I encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any questions, comments or concerns you may have regarding our community or state and with any policy ideas.
Please do not hesitate to reach out by phone at (517) 373-0853 or send an email to AngelaWitwer@house.gov.
State Representative, 71st House District
In This Issue:
- Upcoming Coffee Hours
- Fall Senior Fair
- In-District Update
- Legislative Update
- General Update
Upcoming Coffee Hours
Please join me for one of my virtual or in-person Weekly Wrap-ups with Witwer. You can find the event on my Facebook page. Please also like and follow my page to stay connected with updates from the Capitol. I look forward to seeing you at a coffee hour soon!
Upcoming Coffee Hours:
- 11:30 a.m. TODAY, Friday, Sept. 30, at the Delta Township District Library.
- 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at MorningLory Café and Bakery in Dimondale.
Fall Senior Fair
Mark your calendars for our upcoming Fall Senior Fair on Healthy Aging TOMORROW, Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event will be held at the Lansing Mall (in front of the old Macy’s) at 5330 W. Saginaw Highway. We will have a variety of senior resource booths, as well as some fun activities planned, including free giveaways. The Tri-County Office on Aging, Oasis Senior Advisors and AmeriCorp RSVP, along with other community organizations, will be participating. We hope to see you there!
September Teacher of the Month Winner
I’d like to congratulate our September Teacher of the Month winner, Sarah Felsing! Mrs. Felsing is an 8th grade social studies teacher at Beagle Elementary in Grand Ledge. Literacy is the gift that keeps on giving. As quoted by her nominator, “Sarah has been teaching for 20 years with Grand Ledge. She goes above and beyond to ensure that her students are engaged and excited to learn about the subject matter. She has not only been an excellent teacher, but also served in leadership roles like department chair.” I applaud and thank Mrs. Felsing for the invaluable work she does for our community.
If there’s a teacher that you’d like to celebrate for the next Teacher of the Month, you can nominate them here. I look forward to reading your submissions and to celebrating another outstanding teacher next month!
September Small Business of the Month Winner
I’d like to congratulate September’s Small Business of the Month winner, Rick’s Family Barbershop located in Dimondale! As quoted by the nominator, “Rick has been faithfully and continuously serving our town for over 30 years. He has hundreds of clients, including multigenerational family members who see him to this day. He’s the longest-running business in our village. He secretly helps two men in town that are homeless that others help as well. Rick works tirelessly on 10-hour shifts to serve his customers.”
A big part of what makes our community so great is small, family-owned businesses like Rick’s Family Barbershop. I’m always happy to celebrate businesses like theirs! If you own a business or know of a business that you think should be recognized for its outstanding service to the community and its customers, please fill out the form here. I look forward to reading your submissions and showcasing a new small business in our community for October!
On Wednesday, we passed several pieces of legislation that I would like to highlight.
EMT Immunity for Transporting Patients
House Bill 5266 would protect emergency medical professionals from liability for injuries that result during the transportation of patients. Current law provides immunity for these professionals when they are rendering treatment to a patient outside of a hospital.
School Bus Safety Package
HB 5501 would allow school districts to enter into an agreement with law enforcement agencies to report a violation of Section 682 of the Motor Vehicle Code (MVC) (failing to stop behind a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing) and provide evidence from the stop arm camera system. HB 5508 and HB 5509 would increase the fine for violating section 682 of the MVC (or a substantially similar local ordinance) to up to $500 and send that money to the school district that operates the school bus.
This bill would help keep our children safe and punish those who put them at risk. I was proud to support it.
HB 5393 would allow charitable nonprofits to conduct internet raffles. This common-sense piece of legislation would help nonprofits help those in need.
If you are ever curious about any other piece of legislation, please click here to learn more or feel free to give my office a call at (517) 373-0853 or email us!
Next Phase of Work on Rebuilding I-69 in Calhoun and Eaton Counties
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will begin rebuilding two ramps and a bridge’s approaches as part of the ongoing $210 million investment to rebuild I-69 between Island Highway in Charlotte, Eaton County and I-94 in Marshall, Calhoun County. Based on economic modeling, this investment is expected to support over 2,500 jobs.
Funding for this project is made possible by Gov. Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program to rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state’s infrastructure.
For project news and updates, subscribe to the I-69 rebuilding project e-mail list.
Monday, Sept. 26
Estimated end date:
Wednesday, Nov. 2
The northbound I-69 ramp to M-78, the Ainger Road ramp to northbound I-69 and the Kalamo Highway bridge over I-69 will be closed and detoured for the duration of work at each location. Motorists are advised to see alternate routes.
These improvements will extend the life of the bridge and ramps.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Background
Until Oct. 31, the U.S. Department of Education is offering public servants working in government and eligible nonprofits a second chance to qualify for student loan forgiveness. An estimated 154,000 public service workers in Michigan could be eligible for student loan debt relief under the PSLF waiver. According to the Office of Federal Student Aid’s June report, over 6,000 Michiganders have taken advantage of the PSLF waiver and have had $358 million in loans forgiven.
The recent changes to the PSLF program allow previously ineligible borrowers — those with a non-direct loan, who are not enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, who have missed a repayment or made a partial repayment in the past — to receive credit toward loan forgiveness for the years they worked in government or a qualifying nonprofit.
To apply for the PSLF waiver, borrowers should:
- Click here to verify their employer qualifies for PSLF.
- Submit a certified copy of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification form to the U.S. Department of Education before Oct. 31.
If borrowers have questions regarding their individual situation, they can click here or call FedLoan Servicing at (855) 265-4038.
Enroll 4-Year-Old Kids in Free Preschool Program
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Education are encouraging parents of 4-year-old children across Michigan to contact their local school districts or visit GreatStarttoQuality.org to explore getting their children enrolled in a Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) — Michigan’s nationally recognized, state-funded preschool for 4-year-olds.
In 2021, Gov. Whitmer announced a bold plan to expand GSRP to ensure more Michigan children could get a great start to a quality education. Last summer, she signed into law the largest expansion of GSRP in the state’s history — allowing Michigan to eliminate waiting lists and serve 22,000 additional 4-year-olds. This year, the governor continued to work with the Legislature to take the next step in expansion and help recruit enough teachers and classrooms to serve all eligible children.
The expansion of GSRP increases the opportunity for families to enroll their children in programs that will better prepare students for kindergarten. Children that attend GSRP are more likely to enter school ready to learn, read by third grade and graduate from high school on time.
The GSRP program meets all 10 quality benchmarks recommended by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), such as having teacher credentials, low staff-child ratios, smaller class sizes and a research-based curriculum.
Parents can apply for GSRP’s 2022-23 program year now! Parents can search for local GSRP programs through Michigan’s Great Start to Quality website or apply directly through their local intermediate school district here.
Expanding Access to Child Care
The Our Strong Start is part of a $1.4 billion investment to expand access to quality, affordable child care for families. To date, the governor has awarded over $700 million in grants, a record amount, to nearly 6,000 child care businesses, provided bonuses up to $1,000 for 38,000 child care professionals, and launched Caring for Mi Future — a $100 million strategy to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024.
Lowering Costs for Working Families
More families are eligible to receive help paying for child care than you might think. To help families know if they are likely to qualify, Gov. Whitmer partnered with the Michigan Department of Education and Early Childhood Investment Corporation to create an online eligibility calculator. Now families can know in less than two minutes if they could get help lower child care costs by visiting greatstarttoquality.org/calculator.
To qualify for the Child Development and Care Program (commonly called the child care subsidy), families must:
- Have a child under the age of 13.
- Need child care because they’re working or going to school.
- Have a qualifying income, up to:
- $36,620 for a family of two.
- $46,060 for a family of three.
- $55,500 for a family of four.
Families can visit Michigan.gov/childcare for a complete list of reasons they may qualify for low or no cost child care and for more information on qualifications for larger families.
Michiganders to Receive Additional Assistance in September to Lower Cost of Groceries
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced all Michigan families who are eligible for food assistance benefits will continue to receive at least an additional $95 monthly payment in September to help lower the cost of groceries and ensure Michiganders can keep more of their hard-earned money. The additional assistance will help more than 1.3 million Michiganders in more than 700,000 households.
Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at (888) 678-8914. They can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.
Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is available. If you are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.