Welcome to my e-newsletter! I’m honored and humbled to serve as our community’s voice at the Capitol in Lansing. As we continue into the term, rest assured that the challenges families in our community and state are facing are at the top of my legislative priorities.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0152 or email at AmosONeal@house.mi.gov if we can help.
State Representative, 95th House District
In this issue:
- Upcoming Events.
- Community Conversation – Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.
- Good Time Bills Package.
- DIFS Student Loan Scam Warning.
Community Conversation – Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.
Please join us on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live for the last community conversation of the year! I will give a brief legislative update. Then, we will have a conversation about food security and maternal/infant health. Our special guest helping discuss this crucial issue is Tina Swanton, director of program development at Michigan Health Improvement Alliance Inc.
We hope to save some time for Q&A, so come with questions for our guest. You can join us on Facebook Live by clicking here or searching @StateRepAmosONeal.
I hope to see you there!
Good Time Bill Package
Due to the combination of Michigan’s 100% Truth in Sentencing law and the lack of any sentencing credits, incarcerated individuals in Michigan serve approximately 126% of their minimum sentence or 6.5 years on average. Consequently, we are #1 in the country for length of time served. We consistently outspend other states on corrections, currently spending 18.3% of our general fund budget on corrections compared to the national average of 5.8%.
The proposed bills would allow incarcerated citizens to earn thirty days off their sentence for thirty days of good behavior. These credits would provide critical relief to Michigan’s overcrowded prisons, creating a safer environment both for correction officers and those who are incarcerated. I was so happy to work on this package with the Michigan Justice Advocacy.
With the current correction officer staffing crisis, skyrocketing cost of incarceration, and the numerous reentry programs across the state that are ready to help individuals successfully rejoin their communities and the workforce, Michigan has never been more ready to become a leader in sound justice policies.
DIFS School Loan Scam Warning
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is warning Michiganders to protect themselves from scams related to the Biden administration’s new Student Loan Debt Relief Program. The plan is currently blocked by the courts, and scammers have been attempting to take advantage of this uncertainty to steal money and personal information from Michigan student loan borrowers.
Under the program’s eligibility requirements, an estimated 1.3 million Michiganders, and 43 million Americans nationwide, could qualify for some level of relief. Programs with major financial impact such as this create new opportunities for scammers. Scammers seek to take advantage of confusion or the time constraints to obtain Social Security numbers or other personal information for identity theft. Other scammers will claim to be able to help borrowers get relief for a fee and will take the money without providing the services they have offered.
DIFS encourages Michiganders to take the following steps to avoid falling into these scams:
- Never agree to pay for assistance in obtaining student loan relief.
- Never give away your Social Security number or FSA ID. Scammers will often contact you to offer assistance but will say they need your Federal Student Aid ID or Social Security number to process your application. These people will then use these numbers to steal your identity.
- Do not rely on caller ID. Scammers can use technology to make it look like they are calling from a legitimate business or government agency.
- Don’t trust mailers that appear to be government communications. These may be advertisements for private companies that may have a disclaimer buried in small print.
- Don’t be rushed into taking action or signing paperwork. Some scammers will attempt to rush you into taking action now to ensure you qualify and that you don’t miss a deadline. Be sure to take your time and check out all offers and statements that are made to you.