Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are some important legislative and community updates, along with a few resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0144 or email at AlabasFarhat@house.mi.gov or questions about this or any other state-level issue.
Alabas A. Farhat
State Representative, 3rd House District
Our final Coffee Hour for 2023 will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m. at Family Bakery in Detroit (17032 W. Warren Ave.) I look forward to seeing you there!
HB 4276 Passes the Senate
Last week, HB 4276 passed the Senate unanimously and now awaits Gov. Whitmer’s signature. This legislation will increase access to vital medications for Michiganders by ensuring that independent pharmacists can operate and be fairly compensated for their services and care.
HB 4606 Passes the House
I am excited to share that HB 4606 has passed the House and has been transmitted to the Senate. Along with HB 4605, the two-bill package establishes a new Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund, a dedicated source of funding for local public safety. This fund will be a much-needed lifeline for our locals to retain police officers, hire mental health professionals and fund community violence intervention. I’m proud that my colleagues joined me in taking this critical step to keep our neighborhoods safe.
HB 4606 establishes the new fund and sets up the restrictions, eligibility and use of funds. HB 4605 outlines where the funding will come from. The fund will receive about $100 million annually from a new required monthly deposit of 1.5% of the revenue from the 4% portion of the sales tax. The money will be distributed to municipalities based on their average share of violent crimes statewide, create a statewide grant program for community violence intervention, and establish a stable funding stream for the Crime Victim’s Rights Fund.
HB 4905 Passes the House
On Wednesday evening, HB 4905 passed the House with overwhelming support! This bill, along with HB 4906, amends the Use Tax Act and the General Sales Tax Act, respectively, to exempt from sales and use taxes the sale or the storage, use or consumption of data center equipment. This package will help drive jobs and development to our state and make Michigan significantly more competitive.
Michigan Secure App Provides More Protections for Michiganders
The Michigan Secure mobile app, provided by the State of Michigan, is a free tool for Michiganders to protect themselves from cybercrime. It empowers users by informing them of threats they may encounter in an increasingly technology-driven world.
The most recent version of the app continuously detects and blocks risky links on mobile devices across apps if the user chooses to opt in. It also extends anti-phishing capabilities to the Messages app and the Safari browser on iOS mobile devices, protecting users from malicious and risky links, pictures or videos in text messages and online. Additionally, the upgraded version of the app provides users with a summary of permission requests and privacy information for new downloads, describing the information that can and cannot be accessed from the user’s devices.
Michigan Secure is available for mobile devices running iOS 11 or higher, Android 6.0 or higher, and Chromebooks with Android app support. Michiganders can download Michigan Secure from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, go to Michigan.gov/MichiganSecureApp. To learn more about Michigan’s cybersecurity efforts, including tips and tricks, go to Michigan.gov/Cybersecurity.
SAVE Plan: New Student Loan Repayment Program
The SAVE plan is an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan that calculates payments based on a student loan borrower’s income and family size — not their loan balance — and forgives remaining balances after a certain number of years. It significantly decreases monthly payments by increasing the income exemption from 150% to 225% of the poverty line; eliminates 100% of remaining interest for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans after a scheduled payment is made and excludes spousal income for borrowers who are married and file separately. Get more info and apply here.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that student loan relief would not be treated as taxable income in Michigan. Roughly 1.4 million Michiganders eligible for relief will not owe any state taxes for receiving benefits of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program or other student loan forgiveness.
Take action to avoid a gap in Medicaid coverage.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency, allowing Medicaid members to keep their health care coverage. Per recent federal legislation, eligibility renewals have resumed. Monthly renewal notifications resumed being sent by mail in May 2023. Get ready to renew now. Following these steps will help determine if you still qualify:
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Check mail or text messages for a letter.
- Complete your renewal form if you get one.
If you’re a Medicaid member, learn more about how these changes may affect your health care coverage at www.Michigan.gov/2023benefitchanges.
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