Dear Friends,


I hope you and yours are remaining safe and healthy. I wanted to begin my Capitol & Community Update by highlighting how important it is for us to continue taking the necessary precautions as we reopen and re-engage our state. Masks or face coverings, along with proper social distancing practices, are sure to prove useful as we fight to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 cases in Michigan. I’m proud to take part in the #MaskUpMichigan initiative, not only to protect myself and my family but you and yours as well. I hope you join me in doing so!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1783 or email at; we’re here and ready to help.




Padma Kuppa

State Representative, 41st House District

Upcoming Events


Women in Local Government Virtual Town Hall

One hundred years of women’s suffrage has changed the focus of public policy and makeup of government. To recognize and discuss this milestone, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be hosting a virtual town hall later this month to highlight a few of our incredible elected officials, with special guest panelists Clawson Mayor Reese Scripture, and Troy Councilwomen Ann Erickson Gault and Rebecca Chamberlain Creanga. We’ll be discussing their experiences as women serving in local government and what we can continue to do together to address the economic and health crises our cities, state and nation are facing.


When: Thursday, June 18, from 6-7 p.m.

How: Register here.

Lifting the Safer at Home Order

On Monday, Gov. Whitmer lifted Michigan’s Safer at Home order as the state moves to the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan. In the coming days, retail businesses, some offices, day camps, swimming pools, outdoor fitness classes, and restaurants and bars may begin reopening as long as they adopt proper safety measures, practices and training, including:

  • Implementing workplace infection-control practices;
  • Training employees to properly use personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Informing workers on the steps they must take to notify their employers of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; and
  • Teaching workers how to report unsafe workplace conditions.


Beginning Immediately:

  • Outdoor social gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed immediately, but residents are encouraged to continue taking precautions to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.
  • Office work may resume where remote work is not possible.


Beginning Thursday, June 4:

  • Retail stores may reopen and serve customers without an appointment, but must continue following strict social distancing guidelines. Customers are still required to wear masks.


Beginning Monday, June 8:

  • Restaurants and bars may reopen statewide with limited capacity while maintaining social distancing. Servers must wear masks and all other employees must follow rigorous disinfection protocols. Patrons are required to wear masks until they are seated at their table.
  • Day camps and swimming pools can begin reopening with limited capacity.


On Friday, Gov. Whitmer announced that Regions 6 & 8 of Michigan, including the U.P. and northern lower Michigan, will move to Phase 5 of reopening under her MI Safe Start Plan beginning June 10.


Beginning Wednesday, June 10, salons, barber shops, movie theaters, and gyms may reopen as long as they adopt proper safety measures, practices and training, including:

  • Implementing workplace infection-control practices;
  • Training employees to properly use personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Informing workers on the steps they must take to notify their employers of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; and
  • Teaching workers how to report unsafe workplace conditions.


Under Phase 5, indoor social gatherings and organized events of up to 50 people will be allowed with social distancing and other precautions, as well as outdoor social gatherings of up to 250 people as long as attendees maintain 6 feet of distance from each other.


Outdoor performance and sports venues may reopen with up to 500 people with precautions, allowing some outdoor graduation ceremonies to take place.


Beginning Monday, June 15, personal care services like salons, barbershops, and massage and nail parlors can reopen with strict social distancing precautions throughout the rest of the state. At this time, the rest of the state will remain in Phase 4.


This executive order still allows for cities, villages, townships and other local entities to choose to take a more cautious course of re-engagement if they wish.


For more information on Gov. Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan, click here.

UIA Claims Update & House Bill 5826

The U.S. Secret Service and the Office of Inspector General are working with states across the country to reduce the risk of international criminals attempting to unlawfully access unemployment benefits at a time when residents need that support the most.


Although Michigan hasn’t been targeted yet, the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is proactively taking steps to authenticate claims — including asking some claimants to submit additional information. If you or someone you know has received a notice regarding your claim, you’ll find more information below.


For claims that require additional information:

  • The UIA will send residents Form UIA 6347 Request for Identity Verification by U.S. Postal Service mail, which will provide a mailing address or fax number for submitting ID verification documents.
  • For faster processing, UIA encourages residents to upload copies of the requested documents electronically to their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM).


In addition to Form UIA 6347, residents will also be asked to provide their:

  • US Passport or US Passport Card,
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card


  • Driver’s licenses or ID card AND
  • Social Security Card, or
  • Original or certified copy of birth certificate


How to upload documents to MiWAM:

  • Login to MiWAM account and under “I Want To”, click “Send Unemployment a Message” to upload required documents. Documents may be sent by message 24/7.


Tips to Prevent Unemployment Identity Theft:

When individuals file a claim for unemployment, they receive a written Monetary Determination letter. If you receive this letter and have not applied for benefits, or the name listed is not yours, be sure to contact UIA immediately online at and click on the “Report Identity Theft” icon or call the customer service hotline at (866) 500-0017.


If you believe you’re the victim of identity theft, you can place fraud alerts on your credit reports for free through Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You only need to contact one credit bureau and they will contact the others for you.


Always remember:

  • Guard your Social security number. Give it out only when absolutely necessary.
  • Never respond to unsolicited requests for personal information like your name, birth date or bank account number by phone, mail or online.
  • Shred your receipts, credit card offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent individuals from acquiring your personal information.
  • Review your credit report at least once a year to be certain it doesn’t include accounts you haven’t opened.
  • You can access your free annual credit reports from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax at or by calling (877) 322-8228.


You can find additional tips to keep yourself protected by clicking here.


House Bill 5826

While thousands of people are still waiting on their UIA payments, I’m proud to have been a co-sponsor of House Bill 5826. This bill would appropriate $100,000,000 of CARES Act dollars to provide “bridge loans” to individuals who have applied for unemployment assistance but have not been processed through the system.


The loans would be paid back automatically through benefits received after application processing and approval has been completed. If someone is deemed to not qualify for unemployment benefits, the unemployment department will work with the Treasury department to utilize their mechanisms to collect repayment.


By bridging the gap between the UIA’s outdated technology and overloaded system, HB 5826 will take the necessary steps forward to ensure the people of our state have the tools and resources they need to weather this storm.

Secretary of State Branch Offices Reopen

Secretary of State (SOS) Jocelyn Benson announced branch offices reopened on Monday, June 1, for essential transactions not available online by appointment only. All 131 branch offices throughout the state will be open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for services and transactions including:

  • Driver licenses and state ID transactions that must be done in person
  • Title transfers
  • Operator, CDL, chauffeur, mechanic and motorcycle testing
  • Seasonal commercial vehicle renewal


SOS branch staff will follow strict health and safety protocols, including:

  • Wearing masks
  • Standing six feet apart
  • Using desk shields
  • Continuously disinfecting shared or common surfaces


Branch doors will be locked and will have a greeter to let customers with appointments in at their scheduled appointment times. For a copy of the department’s reopening preparedness plan, click here.


Anyone scheduling an appointment or receiving an appointment reminder will also be instructed on how to safely attend their appointment by:

  • Arriving at the appointment alone
  • Wearing a mask or homemade face covering over their mouth and nose
  • Waiting in their vehicle or outside prior to the appointment time and maintaining six feet of social distance when announcing themselves and their appointment to staff at the doors
  • Following directions on where to stand during the transaction and only stepping forward toward the clerk when providing or retrieving documents
  • Cancelling their appointment if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 within 14 days of the appointment
  • Adhering to CDC guidelines when in public


In addition to preparing to reopen branches, the department began sending updated renewal forms this week, color-coded based on the type of transaction needed and with streamlined information to explain how best to conduct the transaction. Renewal forms, which will be mailed in redesigned envelopes measuring 9.5 inches by 6 inches, come in six colors:

  • Red: Vehicle registration
  • Blue: Driver’s license
  • Green: State identification card
  • Teal: Watercraft
  • Gray: Snowmobile
  • Purple: Special plate


Instructions are provided at the bottom of each form to direct customers on options for renewing their credentials, providing information on whether they can complete their transaction online, at a self-service station or by mail, or if they will need to schedule an appointment at a SOS branch office.


For a sample of the updated renewal forms, click here. To schedule an appointment visit or call (888) SOS-MICH (888-767-6424).

Utilities Protections Extended 

Last week, Michigan’s regulated utilities agreed to extend shutoff protections, flexible payment plans and other options offered to help customers struggling to pay utility bills due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic until Friday, June 12. This follows Gov. Whitmer’s extension of the Stay Safer at Home order through that date.


The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) encourages any Michigander experiencing financial distress due to COVID-19 to take proactive action by:

  • Contacting your utility or propane supplier right away to find out what kind of protections, funding, flexible options, or energy saving tools and resources are available.
  • Calling 2-1-1 or visiting for information about getting help paying your utility bills or how to contact state agencies that may assist you with your energy bill.
  • Applying for State Emergency Relief directly through MI Bridges for bill payment assistance, or call (855) 275-6424. You can also get assistance with the applications process by calling 2-1-1 to be referred to a Michigan Energy Assistance Program grantee that can help.
  • Applying for a Home Heating Credit. Visit the Michigan Dept. of Treasury’s website to see if you qualify. Even though this funding is distributed through the Dept. of Treasury, you do not need to pay taxes or wait for a tax return to receive this credit, so consider applying now if you are eligible. For more information, read the MPSC’s Home Heating Credit consumer tip.

BCBSM COVID-19 Refunds 

In recent weeks, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network announced they will be returning more than $100 million to many fully insured customers this year due to the disruptions in previously anticipated health care services caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Included in these refunds are:

  • Blue Dental and Blue Vision employer group customers will be sharing a total refund of about $10.5 million. All fully-insured groups with dental and vision coverage will receive a one-month premium refund to be credited on their July invoice. BCBSM also will not increase rates for fully-insured customers renewing dental and vision plans for 2021.
  • Individual health plan members from 2019 will receive a one-time rebate resulting from lower than expected health care claims. Altogether, about $45 million will be paid directly to these 2019 individual plan subscribers in September. Rebates will be determined based on each subscriber’s plan and premiums paid in 2019, with rebate amounts varying by subscriber.
  • Medigap (Medicare Supplement) and individual Medicare Advantage members in a plan with a premium above $0 will receive a 15 percent premium refund for the months of March and April to be applied to their July premium bill. This refund totals about $15 million to Medigap and Individual Medicare Advantage members. For Individual Advantage members, this includes their Optional Supplemental Buy-up (if applicable).

Mom’s Equal Pay Day

Thursday, June 4 marked Mom’s Equal Pay Day, symbolizing how much longer the average woman with children must work into 2020 compared to their male colleagues. Women comprise almost half of the U.S. workforce, with women serving as the sole or primary breadwinner in roughly 41 percent of American households with children.


Despite this, women’s earnings, along with their earning potential, often face major impacts when they become a mother. This has been dubbed the “Motherhood Penalty,” with working moms making on average only 70 cents for every dollar paid to fathers. As a working mom myself, and especially during my time as a woman in a STEM field, I came across the “Motherhood Penalty” time and time again. I will always fight for equal pay for equal work, and that equity can’t be achieved without factoring in the effects working moms are forced to bear.


I’m here for you! Contact me:
(517) 373-1783

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