Welcome to this month’s Capitol and community update e-newsletter!
As always, please encourage neighbors and friends in House District 56 — Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Birmingham and Bloomfield Township — to also sign up for these updates at RepMacDonell.com. Please let us know if you have any thoughts on state-level issues or want to meet with me. My office can be reached by phone at (517) 373-2617 or by email at SharonMacDonell@house.mi.gov.
House District 56
Community Conversation in Troy
Please join me for coffee and conversation this weekend! Events like these a great opportunity to share your thoughts and concerns directly with me
When: Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10-11 a.m.
Where: Umai Cafe, 3277 Rochester Road, Troy, MI 48083
The following are highlights from my recent work in the legislature. All of my sponsored and co-sponsored legislation from this term are available at the provided hyperlink. You can also see my press releases page for additional updates.
Update on the timeline for I-75 noise abatement walls
After I secured $10 million for sound wall construction along the I-75 corridor in Troy in this year’s budget, I was initially informed that construction would not be complete on the project until the fall of 2026. This was unacceptable to me, and over the intervening months, my team and I worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation to find ways to shorten the project’s timeline. This week, I received confirmation that ground will break on the project next fall, and construction of the noise walls should be substantially completed by the fall of 2025.
Justice for Allie passes the House!
Earlier today, the Michigan House of Representatives voted out my House Bills 4320 and 4387 unanimously — the only bill package to receive the full support of the chamber this session! This legislation, known as Justice for Allie, would help prevent the online sexual exploitation of seniors and adults with disabilities. The bills now head to the Senate, where I’m hopeful for a timely committee hearing. The lion’s share of credit for this huge step goes to House District 56 resident Allie Hayes and her family, who have fought tirelessly for this legislation across multiple legislative sessions.
Michigan Legislative Disability Caucus!
This month marked the first meeting of the Michigan Legislative Disability Caucus (MLDC), of which I am the founder and chair. My staff and I have been working for the past few months on this caucus, which will serve as a policy shop for legislation aimed at improving the lives of Michiganders with disabilities. Having lived with disabilities nearly my whole life, I know what it’s like for public institutions and policies to not accommodate my needs. My hope is that the MLDC will convene legislators, disability organizations and disability advocates to give the voices of Michiganders with disabilities true representation in the Legislature.
- The MLDC held its first meeting on Tuesday, and will meet once a month.
- Disability organizations and advocates (whether you’re advocating for yourself or someone else) are eligible to join the MLDC as non-voting members. If you or your organization is interested in joining the MLDC, click here to fill out our membership form.
Community Recognitions and Resources
Federal Student Loan Payments Resuming:
What you need to know
To provide temporary relief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education paused federal student loan payments beginning in March 2020. The payment pause is ending, which means federal student loan payments will be due starting in October 2023.
If you have federal student loans, here are some steps you should take to make sure you are ready for the resumption of your payments:
- Update your contact information in your profile on your loan servicer’s website and in your StudentAid.gov profile. To find out who your loan servicer is, visit your StudentAid.gov account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.
- Keep an eye on your mailbox. At least 21 days before your first payment will be due, your loan servicer(s) will send you a billing statement or other notice that will include your payment due date, upcoming interest, and payment amount. That information should also be available on your loan servicer’s website.
- Make sure your monthly budget can accommodate your student loan payments. If you are concerned you won’t be able to make your payments, consider applying for an income-driven repayment plan, which can lower your payments, depending on your income and family size.
- Protect yourself from scams involving student loan payments and assistance. Don’t give your Federal Student Aid ID, account information, personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you. The U.S. Department of Education and your federal student loan servicer will never call or email you asking for this information. Also, never pay an outside company for help with your federal student loans. Your loan servicer will help you for free. Contact your servicer to apply for income driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness, and more.
The State of Michigan is here to help you as student loan payments resume. If you have questions or need assistance navigating the process, visit Michigan.gov/StudentLoanRestart.
For information or assistance from the federal government, visit StudentAid.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243.
Submissions for Small Business of the Month
AND Teacher of the Month
Each month, I recognize a small business in the community from House District 56 as our small businesses of the month. To nominate a business for this recognition, please fill out this form for Small Business of the Month. I am also excited to recognize a Teacher of the Month! Teachers are the backbone of this nation, and our district has the BEST teachers! Please fill out this form to recognize a Teacher of the Month.
Tributes, Letters and Certificates
Do you know someone in the district who is retiring and would like a legislative tribute to celebrate their years of service? Has a local team or group reached a milestone that they would like to be acknowledged with an official certificate for each member? Our office can provide legislative tributes, letters and certificates on a wide range of recognitions for constituents. If you would like to request any of these materials for yourself or others, please email my office at SharonMacDonell@house.mi.gov with as much information as possible on the requested recognition, and we will work with you to arrange delivery or presentation of the recognition!