Welcome to the latest edition of my e-newsletter!
Included in this issue are some important updates, along with a few resources I hope you find helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0844 or email at NataliePrice@house.mi.gov with questions on any state-level issue. Feel free to also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get regular updates as well.
5th House District
In this issue:
- Upcoming Events
- Community Conversation — Aug. 22
- Legislative Update
- Rep. Price: Check Your Heart, Organ Donation Bill Becomes Law
- Summer Legislative Walks
- State Updates & Resources
- MDARD Encourages Owners to Work with Their Veterinarian to Help Protect Their Animals’ Health with Vaccinations
- Let’s Do Some Trash Talking On Household Hazardous Waste (Detroit Only)
- MDHHS Medicaid Redeterminations
- Students, Families Encouraged to Apply for Michigan Achievement Scholarship
- Treasury: Applicants Wanted for Home Heating Credit
- Treasury and UIA Ask Michigan Residents to Be Alert for Fake Letters in Collections Scam
- Important Dates
Community Conversation — Aug. 22
Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, Aug. 22, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. My office will be hosting a community conversation at the Mathis Center, 19300 Greenfield Road, Detroit, MI 48235. My special guest will be state Sen. Jeremy Moss of the 7th District. We will be discussing our legislative agenda and policy priorities heading into the fall, as well as answering questions from the community. We would love for you to attend and share with us your thoughts, and any issues or concerns you may have. We hope to see you there!
Check Your Heart, Organ Donation Bill Becomes Law
Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the Check Your Heart Act, becoming Public Acts 100-102 of 2023 and making Michigan the first state in the nation to allow residents to sign up as an organ/tissue donor by checking a box on their income tax forms. State Reps. Felicia Brabec, Cynthia Neeley and I sponsored the bills.
Reportedly, there are over 2,500 Michiganders awaiting an organ donation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people visited their local Secretary of State offices, which slowed the growth of the donor registry, as fewer people were being asked to sign up. This new law seeks to remedy that issue and make it easier to become a donor.
For every one person that signs up as an organ and tissue donor, 75 lives can be improved and eight can be saved. That is remarkable. There is a desperate need in Michigan for additional donors, and I thank my colleagues and Gov. Whitmer for signing this commonsense legislation into law, which has the potential to save lives across the state of Michigan.
Residents can still register at the Secretary of State or sign up online at https://www.michigan.gov/sos/resources/initiatives/organ-donation.
Summer Legislative Walks
The Legislature might not be in session this summer, but working on behalf of my constituents continues. My staff, volunteers and I have been going door-to-door throughout our district this summer, reaching out to constituents to update them on what is happening in state government, listen to their ideas and concerns, and provide essential services where needed.
We have already knocked thousands of doors and will continue to knock into the fall. We hope to see you soon.
If you would like to volunteer and join us in our summer walks, please email us at NataliePrice@house.mi.gov. In the meantime, you can let us know your thoughts at: housedems.com/natalie-price/spring-survey/.
State Updates & Resources
Vaccinations Help Owners Protect Animals
With the potential for pets and livestock to be exposed to wild and other domestic animals or bitten by insects that could carry disease, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) encourages animal owners to talk to their veterinarian about what vaccinations are needed to protect their animals best, benefiting not only the animals’ health but also human health.
For dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and other animals, rabies is a core vaccination they should have. In fact, Michigan law requires dogs and ferrets to be vaccinated against this disease. Rabies is zoonotic, often fatal, and carried by certain wildlife species (such as bats and skunks) in Michigan. Pets and other animals can get rabies from bites or other interactions with rabid animals. As of July 14, there have been 18 cases of rabies within the state, including 12 bats, five skunks, and a cat. Highly safe and effective vaccines are available to protect animals against this virus.
Vaccinations are also vital to protecting the health of horses, especially from several mosquito-borne diseases — such as West Nile virus (WNV), eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and western equine encephalitis (WEE). WNV and EEE are regularly seen in Michigan, and EEE is particularly fatal. In 2022, one case of WNV in a horse was discovered, and there were three confirmed cases of EEE in horses. For a majority of these detections, the animals were either unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, and many of the horses died or were euthanized due to the severity of their illness.
There are many other diseases out there that can impact the health of your animals. Contacting your veterinarian can help you not only determine what vaccinations are best for your animals but also make sure these vaccinations are up to date.
More information on animal diseases can be found on MDARD’s website.
Let’s Do Some Trash Talking On Household Hazardous Waste (Detroit Only)
Not all items you use for your garage, basement, kitchen, bathroom cupboards and home office should be placed in regular trash. Also, poisons, solvents, heavy metals and other toxic products should never be poured down a drain or thrown into the trash.
Detroit residents can safely dispose of household hazardous waste items for FREE at the Department of Public Works Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Receiving Facility listed below.
The DPW Household Hazardous Waste Receiving Facility
2000 E. Ferry St. (near I-75 and I-94)
- Every Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Every fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Phone Number: (313) 923-2240 or (313) 876-0148
For the list of acceptable items (Home Toxics/Electronics) that can be dropped off, click or tap here.
MDHHS Medicaid Redeterminations
Recent federal changes could affect health care coverage for those on Medicaid. During the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), many changes were made to the Medicaid program’s eligibility, administration, and policies to ease rules for providers and prevent Medicaid beneficiaries from losing health care coverage. Per recent federal legislation, Michigan will restart Medicaid eligibility renewals in June and amend certain waived policies that were in place during the pandemic.
To find out more information and to check your eligibility, please visit: Medicaid Benefit Changes.
Students, Families Encouraged to Apply for Michigan Achievement Scholarship
State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks is encouraging Michigan students and their families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), so they have the opportunity for assistance available from the Michigan Achievement Scholarship.
Students who graduate from high school in Michigan with a diploma or certificate of completion or who have achieved a high school equivalency certificate in 2023 or after will be eligible for more financial aid from the state of Michigan:
- Up to $2,000 if they attend an eligible training provider in Michigan, per year, up to two years.
- Up to $2,750 if they attend a Michigan community college, per year, up to three years.
- Up to $4,000 if they attend a Michigan private college or university, per year, up to five years.
- Up to $5,500 if they attend a Michigan public university, per year, up to five years.
Completion of the FAFSA is required to be considered for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. To get started with the FAFSA, go to FAFSA.gov.
Additional information about the Michigan Achievement Scholarship is available at Michigan.gov/MIStudentAid.
Treasury: Applicants Wanted for Home Heating Credit
Michiganders who need help with their energy bills can now apply for the Home Heating Credit, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Low-income, deaf, disabled or blind persons, disabled veterans, and senior citizens may qualify for the Home Heating Credit. Applicants are not required to file a Michigan individual income tax return to receive the credit.
Individuals can apply for the Home Heating Credit electronically through the e-File system.
Forms and instructional materials are available on the internet at Michigan.gov/IncomeTax or by calling (517) 636-4486. Forms are also available at many libraries, Northern Michigan post offices, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offices across the state.
All applications for the credit must be received by Sept. 30.
Over the last five years, around 257,500 claimants each year have received the Home Heating Credit, with an average credit of $209.
Be Alert for Fake Letters in Collections Scam
State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks and Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) Director Julia Dale are urging Michigan residents and businesses with past-due state debts to be on alert for scam letters making the rounds through the U.S. Postal Service.
In the scam, residents or employers receive a letter about an overdue state debt that requests immediate contact through a toll-free number to resolve the outstanding balance. The letter aggressively threatens to seize property — including bank accounts, wages, business assets, cars, real estate, refunds and cash — if the debt is not settled.
The correspondence appears credible to the recipient because it uses personal facts and information pulled directly from the internet and public records. The scammer’s letter attempts to lure a person or business into a situation where they could make a payment to a criminal.
Dale, who has made fighting fraud a cornerstone of her efforts to transform the UIA into a national leader in fast, fair and fraud-free service, cautioned businesses to be on alert for bad actors who try to scam money using questionable documents.
The Department of Treasury — which functions as the state’s collections agency — and UIA correspond with residents and businesses through official letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service that use official state of Michigan letterhead.
Treasury’s letters embody both the names of the governor and state treasurer, provide several options to resolve an outstanding debt, and outline taxpayer rights. UIA’s letters embody both the names of the governor and the director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). UIA is a part of LEO. Letters from the unemployment agency will include information about how to protest and appeal payment determinations.
The UIA posts correspondence to an employer’s Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account. If employers have questions about their account, a payment or their balance, or they are unsure about official-looking correspondence requesting direct payments, they should contact UIA by calling (855) 484-2636. Attempts at fraud or identity theft can also be reported through an employer’s MiWAM account.
Individuals who receive a letter from a scammer or have questions about their state debts should call the Collections Service Center at (517) 636-5265. A customer service representative can log the scam, verify outstanding state debts and provide flexible payment options.
- Aug. 22 — Community Conversation